Candidate Profile

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EXPERTISE
Astronomy & Space Science
Aviation
PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE WITH:
BIOGRAPHY
Col Verderame is currently the Director of the Joint STARS Combined Test Force at Patrick Air Force Base. He is a graduate of the United States Air Force Test Pilot School and has flown in 56 different aircraft. While on active duty he was a NASA flight control & propulsion astronaut instructor, teaching astronauts to fly the Space Shuttle and is 1 of only 5 non-astronaut Air Force officers ever qualified to fly the full motion simulator, logging over 500 hrs and 100+ landings.

He trained both the STS-28 & STS-30 crews, the latter deploying the Magellan Synthetic Aperture Radar Probe to Venus. Col verderame has also been an instructor at the USAF Test Pilot School and in 1997 he was selected as the Air Force Senior Fellow at the RAND Corp where he studied future military space applications.

Col Verderame holds a B.S. degree in aerospace engineering as well as a master’s degree in astrophysics with a minor in planetary geology and a second master’s degree in geological engineering. He has published 3 books and 11 scientific and engineering papers including a study for the NASA Mars Exploration Office on selecting drilling sites for upcoming robotic missions in search of subterranean water. He is an active member of 2 local astronomy clubs where he regularly participates in astronomy ‘outreach’ programs, helping the public experience the universe first hand and can he be found on most clear nights in his backyard with his beloved 14” aperture telescope searching the cosmos.

Although relatively new to cruise ship enrichment lecturing, Col Verderame has been public speaking for over 25 years to a diverse group of audiences from Astronauts to grade school students to community groups with a down-to-earth, entertaining and engaging style that takes the complex world of astro physics and makes it easily understandable to anyone. Since 2008 he has also been a part-time actor, appeared in 13 films and 3 commercials. He is the owner of 2 small businesses and is a nationally ranked competitive shooter and 3-division Grand Master in the action shooting sport of Steel Challenge. Col Verderame currently resides in Indialantic, FL with 5 cats.





(Click image to download sample Powerpoint Presentation PDF - large file, 10MB)
PRESENTATIONS
1. CAN WE REALLY BE THE ONLY INTELLIGENT LIFE IN THE UNIVERSE?
A fun but factual look at the intriguing possibilities of finding other life in the universe. How do scientists find potential planets that could support life? Where would beings inhabiting these planets most likely be found and what might they look like are a few of the questions he’ll discuss.

2. ARE YOU READY TO BE A MEMBER OF THE FIRST MARS COLONY?
So you decided to volunteer to be a member of the first Mars colony! Find out what will it be like to live on Mars. What will living conditions be like inside the colony? Will you have cable TV? What will you be doing every day? And what will the training be like to get you ready for your 2-year voyager to the red planet?

3. ONE BILLION YEARS IN THE FUTURE
What will things be like on Earth in the distant future? How about the rest of the solar system? Will we have colonized other planets? When you look up in the night sky what will you see? Explore these and many other fascinating questions as we peer into our far distance future.

4. THE AUORA BOREALIS: ORGINS & MYSTERIES OF THE NIGHT
Take an up-close look at one of nature’s truly amazing phenomena of the night sky. What it is, as well as where and when can you see it will be discussed. On cruises to the upper northern latitudes join Ken on deck in the evenings to potentially get a firsthand look at this amazing wonder of nature.

5. WHO DISCOVERED IT FIRST?
Who was the first person to discover the Andromeda galaxy? What about the first black hole? How about Pluto? A fun, historical tour of famous & not-so-famous astronomer’s lives and their discoveries

6. KILLER ASTERIODS: WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO?
What would civilization do if we found out an ‘extinction-level” asteroid was going to hit the earth? Could we survive? Is anyone planning for this and exactly what technologies would need to be applied to move or destroy the asteroid and save the human race from extinction? A fun, but factual study of current planetary defense programs, plans & activities.

7. BLACK HOLES: A ONE-WAY TRIP INTO THE COSMIC ABYSS
Long envisioned as the ‘holy grail’ of astrophysics, astronomers have finally captured an image of a black hole. Black holes are one of the most fascinating, and mind-bendingly complex objects in the universe, but exactly what are they? Come take an in depth look at an object so bizarre that light & even time itself can never escape!

8. HOW DO ASTRONAUTS LEARN TO FLY THE SPACE SHUTTLE?
An inside look at astronaut training from a NASA astronaut instructor. While all pilot astronauts are highly experienced test pilots when they join NASA, flying the Space Shuttle is like no other craft they’ve ever flown. See the unique training program used to teach these test pilots and go inside the world of NASA space flight training.

9. SO YOU WANNA BE AN ASTRONAUT?
An up close look at the selection process and the everyday life of preparing to travel in space. See what it takes to compete for one of the most coveted jobs in the world and then prepare for space travel!

10. THE GAS GIANTS: A CLOSEUP LOOK AT JUPITER, SATURN, URANUS & NEPTUNE
Hitch a ride on Voyager 2 and other spacecraft on their missions to study the outer solar system and beyond. See images of these planets like you’ve never seen before and learn fun scientific facts about the distance neighbors that we share our solar system with.

11. GET YOURSELF A TIME MACHINE AND TRAVEL THROUGH THE UNIVERSE!
Want to see the rings of Saturn for yourself? Or maybe the Giant Red Spot on Jupiter? How about Deep Space Objects like the Andromeda galaxy? Everything you need to know to get started as an amateur astronomer will be covered. How to select your first telescope. What accessories are essential, nice to have and a waste of money. What you can see in the night sky during your cruise will be covered and WEATHER PERMITTING ON SELECT EVENINGS, YOU’RE INVITED TO JOIN KEN OUT ON THE DECK TO VIEW THE UNIVERSE THROUGH HIS NIGHT VISION OPTICS.

12. THE UNIVERSE: HOW BIG, HOW FAR, HOW FAST
The dimensions of the Universe are difficult for most people to comprehend. This lecture takes these incomprehensible facts and transforms them, by way of scale models of everyday concepts, into easy-to-understand ideas that will bring the Universe within reach of everyone.

13. NIGHT VISION ASTRONOMY.
Want to see the universe but don’t own a telescope? With commercially available night vision equipment you can see things in the night sky most amateur astronomers can’t see WITH a telescope! Learn how do to night vision astronomy in your backyard and see examples of what you’ll be able to observe. If you already own a telescope this technology will effectively double the aperture of your current scope!
CRUISE HISTORY / EXPERIENCE
I'm a retired LTC who was a Space Shuttle astronaut instructor, graduate of the USAF Test Pilot School and instructor. I hold M.S. degrees in AstroPhysics (w/minor in planetary geology) & Geological Engineering and a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering and have flown in over 56 different military & civilian aircraft. I have worked in space exploration, development & acquisition for over 30 years with NASA and the USAF.
RECENT PAST CRUISES COMPLETED
The following recent Cruise History has been recorded for this candidate.
SHIP REF CRUISE DESCRIPTION NIGHTS SAILING FROM DEPARTURE DATE
Island Princess 2911 Panama Canal - Ocean to Ocean 15 Fort Lauderdale, Florida Tuesday, April 9, 2019