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Dr. Ian O'Neill

A self-described space geek, Ian is the Space Producer for Discovery News. In this role, he combines his expertise in solar physics and manned space flight with his passion for investigating the inner workings of our universe to offer in-depth coverage of space science and exploration for Ian is based in Los Angeles, California.

Beyond the Bio

  • The biggest story I’ve covered...was countering the 2012 doomsday hype by writing and researching science articles and opinion pieces, then sharing this on TV shows, in documentaries and on countless radio programs.
  • When I'm not covering space for Discovery News, you'll find me...practicing Thai boxing or playing volleyball down the beach. I am a hopeless science fiction fan, so when not watching Star Trek, I'll have my nose buried in the next Iain M. Banks novel. I am also the proud owner of five white rabbits and a Roborovski hamster named Kahlua.
  • I became interested in astronomy and physics thanks to...Dan Buckley, my college physics teacher. Before starting the course, I attended an introductory lecture by Dan to help me decide between picking Art or Physics as one of my three UK "A Level" courses. At the time I was hoping to join the Navy, so to help me make up my mind, Dan said: "If you were on a ship and a missile was fired at you, would you draw it, or would you want to calculate how long it'll take for it to hit you?" My decision was instantaneous and I've never looked back (even though I didn't join the Navy).
  • Favorite Quote: "The universe, as far as we can observe it, is a wonderful and immense engine." – George Santayana


  • Education: University of Wales, Aberystwyth (Ph.D. in Solar Physics); The University Centre on Svalbard, Norway (Masters in Ionospheric/Magnetospheric Physics and Radar Diagnostics); University of Wales, Aberystwyth (Masters in Planetary and Space Physics)
  • Areas of Concentration: Science, space physics, space concepts, solar physics, space commercialization, science fiction, Mars homesteading and debunking bad science.
  • Academic Work: Worked in the Solar Physics group in Aberystwyth under Dr. Xing Li; carried out computer modeling of the solar corona; wrote thesis "Quiescent Coronal Loops Heated by Turbulence."
  • Professional Memberships: The Mars Foundation, The Mars Society, International Circumpolar Explorers Club

Ian Online