Undersea Mission Commander

With Astronaut - Aquanaut
Scott Carpenter

Inside a Docking Collar Mockup of the
International Space Station

As a Radiological Team Member Beside the Mars Bound Curiosity Rover

Aquanaut Dennis Chamberland


DENNIS CHAMBERLAND is an explorer, author, bioengineer, award winning nuclear engineer, space life scientist, and aquanaut. Following his role as a United States Naval Officer and after completing graduate studies, he again worked with the Navy as a civilian U.S. Government Nuclear Engineer. Dennis was a radiological control professional for Navy Nuclear submarines and was involved in a Nuclear Emergency Planning study at the Harvard School of Public Health.

     He is the chief architect, design engineer, and builder of several undersea habitats, including NASA’s Scott Carpenter Space Analog Station. Dennis served as the NASA Mission Commander for 14 undersea missions and was the Principal Investigator for the planting and harvesting of the first 90 day duration agricultural crop ever grown in a habitat on the seafloor. Dr. Chamberland is the author of the seminal, visionary work Undersea Colonies and is widely considered the world’s leading professional in permanent undersea colonization. He was featured in National Geographic’s documentary series Naked Science, “City Under the Sea” episode, and Motherboard’s “The Aquatic Life of Dennis Chamberland.”

     Dennis Chamberland was a design engineer at NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center for Advanced Space Life Support Systems being considered for Moon and Mars bases, where he conceived the phrase and developed the philosophy of Resource Recovery in lieu of Waste Processing, which was adopted across the Space Agency. During this time in his career, he was an active annual participant in presentation of his work at the Princeton Space Studies Institute, chairing multiple sessions there.

     During his 30-year distinguished career at NASA, Dennis was privileged to apply his skills to the NASA Safety, Quality, and Reliability Office as an Operational Safety Specialist for the Space Shuttle orbiter fleet. While at KSC, Dennis additionally managed NASA scientific contracts and sat as the Chairman of the NASA Kennedy Space Center Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) for 14 years, reviewing during his tenure all vertebrate animal life science payloads on Shuttle and those flown by Space Shuttle to the Russian Mir Space Station and later to the International Space Station. He was also an active member of the NASA KSC Speakers Bureau for over 20 years and spoke to groups and students across the U.S.

     Dennis published the 1986 groundbreaking cover story on the bioethics of genetic engineering in Christianity Today, quoted as the conclusion of the President's Commission for the Study of Ethical Problems in Medicine and Behavioral Research. During his tenure as the Chairman of the KSC IACUC, he acted as a NASA representative on several Agency biomedical ethics review boards.

     He was also a Principal Investigator for a landmark scientific study conducted by a team from the John F. Kennedy Space Center, Brookhaven National Laboratory, McKnight Brain Institute at the University of Florida, and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory that inquired into the chronic neurological effects of galactic space radiation related to a crewed mission to Mars utilizing the Brookhaven Natinoal Laboratory’s Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider.

     Dennis Chamberland is the 2018 recipient of the prestigious Nuclear Professional of the Year Award from the International Atomic Energy Agency – ISOE North American Technical Center.





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