William earned a BS in wildlife biology at the University of Maryland (1970), an MA in Political Science (environmental policy) and a Graduate Certificate in Public Administration from the University of Hawaii (1986). In 2005, he became interested in astrobiology and the search for extraterrestrial life, returned to UH, and was awarded a doctorate in Political Science and Futures Studies in 2012. His dissertation, “Bioethical considerations and property rights issues associated with the discovery of extraterrestrial biological entities -- Implications for political policy in the context of futures studies,” provided new perspectives on the relationships of bioethics and concepts of the ownership of life to the political process of space exploration and exploitation.
He served in the US Submarine Service (the ultimate space analog!); US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) at Patuxent Wildlife Research Center; Primate and Large Carnivore divisions at the National Zoological Park; as a wildlife biologist with the Smithsonian Institution; and 19 years with FWS’s Endangered Species Program in Honolulu and Washington D.C. He retired from Federal service in 1997 as Chief of Endangered Species Recovery and Consultation. After returning to Hawaii, he taught biology and bioethics at the Punahou Academy and Hawaii Pacific University. In 2001 he was contracted by the Naval Facilities Engineering Command and U.S. Pacific Fleet where he was a senior environmental scientist for 13 years, advising on a wide range of endangered species and environmental policy issues. William is currently HDR, Inc.’s Extraterrestrial Environmental Analyst, exploring ways to encourage space ventures to consider their potential impact on the Moon and Mars.
He has served as Mission Commander at the Mars Desert Research Station in Utah and as First Tier Mission Support for NASA’s Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation study. More recently, he has taught seminars and workshops for the International Space University in Strasbourg, France and in Lieden, the Netherlands (summer 2018).
His publications include critiques on astrobiology, the culture of outer space exploration, bioethics, and the application of intellectual property rights (patents) to potential extraterrestrial life. Current academic research includes assessing potential environmental impacts on extraterrestrial landscapes, Aldo Leopold’s land ethic as applied to space exploration, the concept of cultural and political boundaries in outer space, and the growing effect of technology on bioethics.
Although he now lives in Frederick, Maryland, William remains affiliated with the Hawaii Research Center for Futures Studies (University of Hawaii) and is a member of the following organizations:
The Space Society
The Long Now Foundation
World Futures Studies Federation
National Association of Environmental Professionals