Greetings all, and welcome. First, a few paragraphs about me.  

Others describe me as being an accomplished and adaptable scientist. I have specific experience in the space, defence and aerospace sectors, and use my my scientific background (in physics, applied mathematics and technology) to help advance commercial businesses and provide advice to government agencies. I have wide experience across the fields of optics, radar, orbital dynamics, and communications systems. I have published over 140 refereed research papers.

Apart from that, I am the author of four popular-level books, all appearing globally in multiple editions. Amongst the many newspapers and magazines for which I have written are the Guardian, Nature, New Statesman, ProspectFocusBBC The Sky at NightAstronomy Now and the Manchester Evening News, to which I contributed a weekly column for three years. My substantial broadcast experience includes appearances on radio and TV with the BBC, the ABC (Australia), various commercial stations, and acting as science adviser for an Emmy-winning documentary.

I am currently working on a book advocating the spreading of genetically-engineered microbial life to all extraterrestrial locations found to be barren.

My interests are many, perhaps too many, and include keeping fit; the history of computing and astronomy and their influences on society; reading and writing, mainly non-fiction; extensive travel; rock and classical music; and my two sons, who are both splendid young men.

A summary of my career can be found in various places on the web, for example on my Wikipedia page.

There is a minor planet/asteroid formally named for me by the International Astronomical Union — (4713) Steel — and also a lunar-roving robot (again called Steel) in one of Arthur C. Clarke’s SF novels (Clarke provided the Foreword for one of my books, and the Afterword for another).

Currently I live in Nelson, New Zealand. However I tend to shift around a lot, and I hold visiting appointments as a Professor of Astrobiology at the University of Buckingham, England; and as a Space Scientist at NASA-Ames Research Center in California.

Those looking for posts/pages on specific topics, please look in the margin at left for links to the series concerning the missing Malaysian airliner (flight MH370); about astronomy and space science; and about orbital debris.

This website:

Email: TMA1 (at)


Space Scientist, Author & Broadcaster