Brian O'Leary

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Brian T. O'Leary
Brian todd oleary nasa bio photo.jpg
NASA Astronaut
Nationality American
Born January 27, 1940
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
Died July 28, 2011(2011-07-28) (aged 71)
Vilcabamba, Ecuador
Other names
Brian Todd O'Leary
Other occupation
Williams College, B.A. 1961
Georgetown University, M.A. 1964
UC Berkeley, Ph.D. 1967
Selection 1967 NASA Group 6
Missions None
Retirement April 23, 1968

Brian Todd O'Leary (January 27, 1940 – July 28, 2011)[1] was an American scientist, author, and former NASA astronaut. He was a member of the sixth group of astronauts selected by NASA in August 1967.[1] The members of this group of eleven were known as the scientist-astronauts, intended to train for the Apollo Applications Program—a follow-on to the Apollo program that was ultimately canceled.


O'Leary was born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts on January 27, 1940, and credited a teenage visit to Washington, D.C. with inspiring the patriotism that drove his efforts to become an astronaut.[2] Climbing the Matterhorn, running the Boston Marathon and becoming an Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America were among his pre-astronautic activities. O'Leary had two children by his first wife, and was married to the artist Meredith Miller when he died. He enjoyed photography, hiking, cartooning, jazz piano and yoga.


O'Leary graduated from Belmont High School in 1957. He received a B.A. in physics from Williams College in 1961, an M.A. in astronomy from Georgetown University in 1964, and a Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of California, Berkeley in 1967.[1]


O'Leary became a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1975.[1] Other organizations are: 1970–1976, secretary of the American Geophysical Union's Planetology Section; 1977, team leader of the Asteroidal Resources Group, NASA Ames Summer Study on Space Settlements;[1] 1976–1979, member of the nominating committee of the American Astronomical Society Division for Planetary Sciences; 1983–1985, chairman of the board of directors of the Institute for Security and Cooperation in Space; 1990, founding board member of the International Association for New Science; 2003, founding president of the New Energy Movement; 2007–2011, Fellow, World Innovation Foundation.

Astronaut program[edit]

The members of NASA Astronaut Group 6. O'Leary is at the far right.

While attending graduate school in astronomy at the University of California, Berkeley, O'Leary published several scientific papers on the atmosphere of Mars.[3][4][5] O'Leary's Ph.D. thesis in 1967 was on the Martian surface.[6] Soon after completing his Ph.D. thesis, O'Leary was the first astronaut specifically selected for a potential manned Mars mission when it was still in NASA's program plan, projected for the 1980s as a follow-on to the Apollo lunar program.[1][7] O'Leary was the only planetary scientist-astronaut in NASA Astronaut Corps during the Apollo program.[8] O'Leary resigned from the astronaut program in April 1968, and cited several reasons for resigning in his The Making of an Ex-Astronaut.[9]

Academic career[edit]

After O'Leary's resignation from NASA, Carl Sagan recruited him to teach at Cornell University in 1968, where he researched and lectured until 1971 as a research associate (1968–1969) and assistant professor (1969–1971) of astronomy. While at Cornell, he studied lunar mascons.[10][11] During the 1970–1971 academic year, O'Leary was deputy team leader of the Mariner 10 Venus-Mercury TV Science Team as a visiting researcher at the California Institute of Technology.[12][13][14][15][16] The team received NASA's group achievement award for its participation.[17] He subsequently taught astronomy, physics, and science policy assessment at several academic institutions, including San Francisco State University (associate professor of astronomy and interdisciplinary sciences; 1971–1972), the UC Berkeley School of Law (visiting associate professor; 1971–1972), Hampshire College (assistant professor of astronomy and science policy assessment; 1972–1975), Princeton University (research staff and lecturer in physics; 1976–1981) and California State University, Long Beach (visiting lecturer in physics; 1986–1987).[18][19]

O'Leary authored several popular books and more than one hundred peer-reviewed articles in the fields of planetary science, astronautics, and science policy.[20] At Princeton, he was one of the more visible scientists who participated in Gerard K. O'Neill and the L5 Society's plans for an orbiting city.[21][22][23][24] He suggested that Earth-approaching asteroids and the moons of Mars would be the most accessible space-based resource for space colonies.[25][26][27][28][29][30][31]

O'Leary was an early proponent of coordinating observations and interpretations of stellar occultations by planetary satellites and asteroids.[32][33][34][35] He wrote and edited popular books on astronomy and astronautics.[36][37] During the 1970s and 1980s, he was a regular contributor to Omni, Science Digest, New Scientist, Astronomy and Sky & Telescope.[citation needed]

Political activities[edit]

O'Leary became politically active early in his career and participated in a demonstration in Washington, D.C. in 1970, to protest the Cambodian Campaign. Richard Nixon administration officials invited O'Leary and his fellow Cornell professors into the White House to present their grievances and the protest was the lead story of CBS Evening News on May 9, 1970, and depicted O'Leary as a protestor.[38][39] He was Morris Udall's energy advisor during his 1975–1976 campaign for U.S. president, and served under Udall as a special staff consultant on energy for the U.S. House Interior Committee subcommittee on energy and the environment in 1975–1976.[19] O'Leary advised other U.S. presidential candidates, including George McGovern, Walter Mondale, Jesse Jackson, and Dennis Kucinich.[8][40]

During those years, he also immersed himself in several controversies relating to NASA's objectives, including its manned lunar landings, the Space Shuttle, and the weaponization of space.[41][42][43][44][45][46] He promoted a joint manned mission to Mars between the U.S. and the Soviet Union.[47][48] O'Leary twice traveled to the Soviet Union in the late 1980s to promote the peaceful exploration of space. He participated in a peace cruise along the Dnieper River in the Ukraine with the first Westerners to visit the area in decades.[49]

The Frontiers of Science[edit]

A remote viewing experience in 1979[50] and a near-death experience in 1982[51] initiated O'Leary's departure from orthodox science. After Princeton, O'Leary worked in the space industry at Science Applications International Corporation in Hermosa Beach, California, beginning in 1982.[19] He refused to work on military space applications, for which reason he lost his position there in 1987.[52] Beginning in 1987, O'Leary increasingly explored unorthodox ideas, particularly the relationship between consciousness and science, and became widely known for his writings on "the frontiers of science, space, energy and culture".[19][53] He advocated scientific testing of phenomena not currently recognized by orthodox science.[54][55]

He lectured extensively since the 1980s on science and consciousness, in places such as the Findhorn Foundation, Esalen Institute, Omega Institute for Holistic Studies, Unity Churches, Religious Science churches and Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres. He extensively traveled internationally during his investigations, which included visiting scientific laboratories and mystics such as Sathya Sai Baba. In the mid-1990s, he began to write about his investigations regarding innovative technologies that allegedly utilize energy sources that science does not currently recognize (also called "new energy"), and how those technologies can transform the planet and the human journey.[56][57] He believed in an extraterrestrial presence on Earth, its relationship to those potentially transformative technologies, and their conjoined organized suppression.

In 2003, O'Leary founded the New Energy Movement.[58] Shortly after his new energy colleague Eugene Mallove was murdered in 2004,[59] he moved to Ecuador, where he resided for the rest of his life. He continued to travel and publicly lecture on the subject of new energy and planetary healing.[60]

In 2005, O'Leary wrote the foreword to Steven M. Greer's Hidden Truth, Forbidden Knowledge (Crossing Point, 2006, ISBN 0-9673238-2-7), which is concerned with the extraterrestrial presence on Earth and related free energy, anti-gravity and other exotic technologies. He participated in the Face on Mars debate.[61][62]

In 2007, he presented his paper, "Renewable and Unconventional Energy for a Sustainable Future: Can We Convert in Time?", at the International Energy Conference and Exhibition in Daegu, South Korea.[63] With Meredith Miller, his artist wife, he co-founded the Montesueños Eco-Retreat in Vilcabamba, Ecuador in 2008, which is devoted to "peace, sustainability, the arts and new science".[64]

In 2009, O'Leary published The Energy Solution Revolution.[65] In 2010, he published "The Turquoise Revolution", the cover story for the September/October 2010 issue of Infinite Energy Magazine[66]


O'Leary contracted skin cancer in his 60s, which he treated with an alternative methodology involving a substance called Cansema. After having his second heart attack in 2010, he died of intestinal cancer on July 28, 2011, soon after diagnosis, at his home in Vilcabamba.



  1. ^ a b c d e f National Aeronautics and Space Administration (August 2011). "Astronaut Bio: Brian T. O'Leary". NASA. Retrieved April 10, 2012. 
  2. ^ O'Leary, Brian (2009). The Energy Solution Revolution. Bridger House Publishers, Inc. pp. 176–177. ISBN 978-0-9799176-4-6. 
  3. ^ Among the papers on Mars published before O'Leary's astronaut selection were: Rea, D.G.; O'Leary, B.T. (1965). "Visible Polarization Data of Mars". Nature. 206 (4989): 1138–1140. Bibcode:1965Natur.206.1138R. doi:10.1038/2061138a0. 
  4. ^ O'Leary, Brian T. (1965). "A Revised Upper Limit of NO2 in the Martian Atmosphere" (PDF). Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific. 12 (456). Bibcode:1965PASP...77..168O. doi:10.1086/128188. ; Rea, D.G.; O'Leary, B.T.; Sinton, W.M. (March 12, 1965). "Mars: The Origin of the 3.58- and 3.69-Micron Minima in the Infrared Spectra". Science. 147 (3663): 1286–88. Bibcode:1965Sci...147.1286R. doi:10.1126/science.147.3663.1286. PMID 17790823. 
  5. ^ O'Leary, B.T; Rea, D.G. (January 20, 1967). "Mars: Influence of Topography on Formation of Temporary Bright Patches". Science. 155 (3760): 317–319. Bibcode:1967Sci...155..317O. doi:10.1126/science.155.3760.317. PMID 17792055. 
  6. ^ O'Leary's PhD thesis: O'Leary, Brian T. (1967). Mars: Visible and Near Infrared Studies and the Composition of the Surface (PDF). Department of Astronomy, University of California, Berkeley.  Abstract in: Astronomical Journal. American Institute of Physics. 1967. p. 317. 
  7. ^ O'Leary, Brian (1970). The Making of an Ex-Astronaut. Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 0-671-77285-6.  In this autobiographical account, O'Leary describes his astronaut selection committee interview in which his unique Mars credentials and willingness to risk a two-year hazardous mission to Mars were discussed.
  8. ^ a b Shayler, David J.; Burgess, Colin (2006). NASA's Scientist-Astronauts. Springer Praxis Books. p. 154. ISBN 0-387-21897-1. 
  9. ^ O'Leary, Brian (1970). The Making of an Ex-Astronaut. Houghton Mifflin. pp. 198–199. ISBN 0-671-77285-6. 
  10. ^ O'Leary, B.T. (1968). "The influence of lunar mascons on its dynamical figure". Nature. 220 (5174): 1309. Bibcode:1968Natur.220.1309O. doi:10.1038/2201309a0. ; O'Leary, Brian T.; Campbell, Malcolm J.; Sagan, Carl (August 15, 1969). "Lunar and Planetary Mass Concentrations". Science. 165 (3894): 651–657. Bibcode:1969Sci...165..651O. doi:10.1126/science.165.3894.651. PMID 17780710. 
  11. ^ Campbell, Malcolm J.; O'Leary, Brian T.; Sagan, Carl (June 13, 1968). "Moon: Two New Mascon Basins". Science. 164 (3885): 1273–75. Bibcode:1969Sci...164.1273C. doi:10.1126/science.164.3885.1273. PMID 17772565. 
  12. ^
  13. ^ Murray, Bruce C.; Brian O'Leary; et al. (March 29, 1974). "Venus: Atmospheric Motion and Structure from Mariner 10 Pictures". Science. 183 (4131): 1307–1315. Bibcode:1974Sci...183.1307M. doi:10.1126/science.183.4131.1307. PMID 17791373. 
  14. ^ Murray, Bruce C.; Brian O'Leary; et al. (July 12, 1974). "Mercury's Surface: Preliminary Description and Interpretation from Mariner 10 Pictures". Science. 185 (4146): 169–179. Bibcode:1974Sci...185..169M. doi:10.1126/science.185.4146.169. PMID 17810511. 
  15. ^ O'Leary, Brian (1975). "Venus: vertical structure of stratospheric hazes from Mariner 10 pictures". Journal of Atmospheric Science. 32 (6): 1091–1100. Bibcode:1975JAtS...32.1091O. doi:10.1175/1520-0469(1975)032<1091:VVSOSH>2.0.CO;2. ISSN 1520-0469. 
  16. ^ O'Leary, "Comments on Mariner 10 and Ground-based UV observations of Venus", Conference on the atmosphere of Venus, Goddard Institute for Space Studies, October 1974, pp. 63–68, and in same publication: O'Leary, "Stratospheric hazes from Mariner 10 limb pictures of Venus", pp. 129–132.
  17. ^ "appendix d". SP-424 The Voyage of Mariner 10. NASA. Retrieved April 10, 2012. 
  18. ^ "Curriculum Vitaeand Selected Bibliography". 
  19. ^ a b c d Shayler and Burgess, p. 524.
  20. ^ "C.V. of Dr. Brian O'Leary". Retrieved April 10, 2012. 
  21. ^ O'Leary, Brian T.; O'Neill, Gerard K. (September 1979). "Space Manufacturing, Satellite Power and Human Exploration". Interdisciplinary Science Reviews. Maney Publishing. 4 (3): 193–207. Bibcode:1979ISRv....4..193O. doi:10.1179/030801879789768144. Archived from the original on 2012-10-23. 
  22. ^ O'Neill, Gerard K.; Driggers, G.; O'Leary, B. (1980). "New Routes to Manufacturing in Space". Astronautics and Aeronautics. 18: 46–51. Bibcode:1980AsAer..18...46G. 
  23. ^ O'Leary, Brian (1982). Space Industrialization — Volume 1. 1. CRC Press. ISBN 0-8493-5890-6. 
  24. ^ O'Leary, Brian (1982). Space Industrialization — Volume 2. 2. CRC Press. ISBN 0-8493-5891-4. 
  25. ^ O'Leary, Brian (July 22, 1977). "Mining the Apollo and Amor Asteroids". Science. 197 (4301): 363–366. Bibcode:1977Sci...197..363O. doi:10.1126/science.197.4301.363-a. PMID 17797965. 
  26. ^ O'Leary, Brian (1983). Burke, James D.; Whitt, April S, eds. "Mining the Earth-Approaching Asteroids for Their Precious and Strategic Metals". Advances in the Astronautical Sciences. Proceedings of Princeton Conference on Space Manufacturing. San Diego, CA: American Astronautical Society. 53: 375–389. ; O'Leary, Brian (1984). McKay, Christopher, ed. "Phobos & Deimos as Resource & Exploration Centers". The Case for Mars II. Presented at the 2nd Case For Mars conference, Boulder. Boulder, Colorado: American Astronautical Society. 81–164: 225–245. 
  27. ^ O'Leary, Brian (1989). McKay, Christopher, ed. "Mars 1999: A Concept for Low-Cost Near Term Human Exploration and Propulsion Processing on Phobos and Deimos". Case for Mars III. American Astronautical Society. 204. 
  28. ^ O'Leary, Brian (1985). "Rationales for Early Human Missions to Phobos and Deimos". In Mendell, W.W. Lunar Bases and Space Activities of the 21st Century. Lunar and Planetary Institute. p. 154. ISBN 0-942862-02-3. 
  29. ^ O'Neill, G.; O'Leary, B., eds. (1977). Space Manufacturing from Nonterrestrial Materials – in Progress in Astronautics and Aeronautics. vol. 57. AIAA. 
  30. ^ Billingham, John; Gilbreath, William; O'Leary, Brian, eds. (1979). Space Resources and Space Settlements. SP-428. Washington, D.C.: NASA. 
  31. ^ O'Leary, Brian; Gaffey, Michael J.; Ross, David J.; Salkeld, Robert (1979). "Retrieval of Asteroidal Materials". In John Billingham; William Gilbreath; Brian O'Leary eds. Space Resources and Space Settlements. SP-428. Washington, D.C.: NASA. pp. 142–154. 
  32. ^ Taylor, G.E.; O'Leary, B.; et al. (December 17, 1971). "Occultation of Beta Scorpii C by Io on May 14, 1971". Nature. 234 (5329): 405–406. Bibcode:1971Natur.234..405T. doi:10.1038/234405a0. 
  33. ^ O'Leary, B.T. (March 10, 1972). "Frequencies of Occultations of Stars by Planets, Satellites, and Asteroids". Science. 175 (4026): 1108–1112. Bibcode:1972Sci...175.1108O. doi:10.1126/science.175.4026.1108. PMID 17797390. 
  34. ^ O'Leary, Brian; Van Flandern, Thomas C. (August 1972). "Io's triaxial figure". Icarus. 17 (1): 209–215. Bibcode:1972Icar...17..209O. doi:10.1016/0019-1035(72)90057-7. 
  35. ^ Carlson, R.W.; B. O'Leary; et al. (October 5, 1973). "An Atmosphere on Ganymede from Its Occultation of SAO 186800 on 7 June 1972". Science. 182 (4107): 53–55. Bibcode:1973Sci...182...53C. doi:10.1126/science.182.4107.53. PMID 17829812. 
  36. ^ O'Leary, Brian (1981). The Fertile Stars. Everest House. ISBN 0-89696-079-X. 
  37. ^ Beatty, J. Kelly; O'Leary, Brian; Chaikin, Andrew, eds. (1981). The New Solar System. Cambridge University Press and Sky Publishing Corp. ISBN 0-521-23881-1. 
  38. ^ CBS Special - "Colleges, Cambodia, and Confrontation", originally aired on May 9, 1970.
  39. ^ O'Leary, Brian (2009). The Energy Solution Revolution. Bridger House Publishers, Inc. p. 189. ISBN 978-0-9799176-4-6. 
  40. ^ O'Leary, Brian (2009). The Energy Solution Revolution. Bridger House Publishers, Inc. pp. 189–198. ISBN 978-0-9799176-4-6. 
  41. ^ O'Leary, B. (April 25, 1977). "Topics — Science — Or Stunts — On the Moon?". The New York Times. 
  42. ^ O'Leary, B. (January 20, 1971). "The Wild Blue Space Shuttle". The New York Times. 
  43. ^ O'Leary, B. (February 16, 1972). "Do We Really Want a Space Shuttle?". The New York Times. 
  44. ^ O'Leary, B. (April 6, 1981). "Space Hawks: Military Race to Keep Shuttle Flying". The Globe and Mail. 
  45. ^ O'Leary, B. (January 22, 1984). "Wanted: A Space Program that will Fly into the Future". Los Angeles Times. 
  46. ^ O'Leary testified at the space authorization hearings in the U.S. Senate; Congressional Record, June 29, 1971.
  47. ^ O'Leary, B. (September 3, 1986). "Will U.S. Join Russians for a Trip to Mars in 1998?/The benefits, both scientific and economic, of a joint-manned Martian expedition are incalculable". San Francisco Chronicle. 
  48. ^ O'Leary, B. (1987). Mars 1999 — Exclusive Preview of the U.S. — Soviet Manned Mission. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Stackpole Books. ISBN 0-8117-0982-5. 
  49. ^ "Peace Cruise on the Dnieper". Soviet Life: 16. February 1990. 
  50. ^ O'Leary, Brian (1989). Exploring Inner and Outer Space. Berkeley, California: North Atlantic Books. pp. 6–9. ISBN 1-55643-068-X. 
  51. ^ O'Leary, Brian (1989). Exploring Inner and Outer Space. Berkeley, California: North Atlantic Books. pp. 131–132. ISBN 1-55643-068-X. 
  52. ^ O'Leary, Brian (2009). The Energy Solution Revolution. Bridger House Publishers, Inc. pp. 180–181. ISBN 978-0-9799176-4-6. 
  53. ^ O'Leary, Brian (1989). Exploring Inner and Outer Space. Berkeley, California: North Atlantic Books. ISBN 1-55643-068-X. ; O'Leary, Brian (1993). The Second Coming of Science. Berkeley, California: North Atlantic Books. ISBN 1-55643-152-X. 
  54. ^ O'Leary, Brian (1989). Exploring Inner and Outer Space. Berkeley, California: North Atlantic Books. pp. 10, 15–16. ISBN 1-55643-068-X. ; O'Leary, Brian (1993). The Second Coming of Science. Berkeley, California: North Atlantic Books. p. 3. ISBN 1-55643-152-X. 
  55. ^ O'Leary, Brian (1996). Miracle in the Void. Kihei, Hawaii: Kamapua'a Press. pp. 20–21. ISBN 0-9647826-0-X. 
  56. ^ O'Leary, Brian (1996). Miracle in the Void. Kihei, Hawaii: Kamapua'a Press. ISBN 0-9647826-0-X. 
  57. ^ O'Leary, Brian (2003). Re-Inheriting the Earth. self-published. ISBN 0-939040-37-9. 
  58. ^ "New Energy Movement - conference speakers". New Energy Movement. Retrieved April 12, 2012. 
  59. ^ "Dr. Eugene F. Mallove (1947-2004) profile". New Energy Foundation, Inc. Retrieved April 12, 2012. 
  60. ^ Project Camelot interview on YouTube
  61. ^ O'Leary, B. (1990). "Analysis of images of the Face on Mars and possible intelligent origin". Journal of the British Interplanetary Society. 43: 203–208. Bibcode:1990JBIS...43..203O. 
  62. ^ O'Leary, Brian (1998). "Carl Sagan and I: On Opposite Sides of Mars". In McDaniel, Stanley V.; Paxson, Monica Rix. The Case for the Face. Adventures Unlimited Press. pp. 40–44. ISBN 0-932813-59-3. 
  63. ^ O'Leary, Brian (February 2007). "Renewable and Unconventional Energy for a Sustainable Future". Retrieved April 12, 2012. 
  64. ^ "Montesuenos: A center for peace, sustainability, the arts and new science". Montesueños Eco-Retreat. Retrieved April 12, 2012. 
  65. ^ O'Leary, Brian (2009). The Energy Solution Revolution. Bridger House Publishers, Inc. ISBN 978-0-9799176-4-6. 
  66. ^ Infinite Energy Magazine Web site; accessed April 1, 2014.

External links[edit]