Skip to Main Content
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
Space Studies Board
Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences
Board Members
Board Meetings
Discipline Committees
Decadal Surveys
Current Projects
Completed Projects
Lloyd V. Berkner Space Policy Internships

Contact Us

Space Studies Board
500 Fifth Street, NW
Washington, DC
Phone: (202) 334-3477
Fax: (202) 334-3701

Bookmark and Share 

  Follow us on Twitter 

"Sharing the Adventure with the Public"
The Value and Excitement of "Grand Questions" of Space Science and Exploration

SSB Workshop 2010 Website Banner

Arnold and Mabel Beckman Center of the National Academies

100 Academy Drive
Irvine, California
November 8-10, 2010

 ANNOUNCEMENT: Video of the Workshop is now available!  Click on the links below to watch:

The Space Studies Board would like to thank all of the speakers, panelists, and audience members who contributed to the success of the Workshop!  The SSB will release a report detailing the entire workshop early in the new year.  You can view presentations from the workshop down in the Speaker & Moderator Bio section.

Workshop Background

Over the past 50 years NASA has advanced our knowledge of Earth, the solar system, and the universe; expanded human presence in space; and searched for evidence of life elsewhere. These accomplishments can be encompassed by five “Grand Questions”:
  1. Understanding the Universe: How did it begin and how is it evolving?
  2. Are we alone?
  3. Understanding the Solar System: How did it begin and how is it evolving?
  4. Earth: Will it remain a hospitable home for humanity in the future?
  5. What could the future hold for humans in space?
NASA will continue to address these questions in the coming decades, largely through science[1] and exploration[2] missions. While doing so, a key goal will remain of successfully conveying to the public an understanding of and an appreciation for this quest for knowledge. Beyond NASA’s obligation to share information as a recipient of public funds is the value in showing tax payers the return on their investment, the geopolitical advantages of the space program to the United States, and the responsibility of scientists to advance public understanding and appreciation of science.
NASA’s success in public outreach has varied over time and across the spectrum of its programs. Notable successes such as the Apollo program and the Hubble Space Telescope have stimulated broad public excitement and a feeling of “ownership” with NASA’s science and exploration programs. A recent perception, however, is that there are fewer successes than in the past. One major reason for this perception may be that many of NASA’s missions now take years to develop to the point where noteworthy milestones occur or significant results begin to appear. For example, the International Space Station has taken more than 20 years from President Reagan’s initial announcement to the achievement of “Assembly Complete,” and the James Webb Space Telescope, widely seen as the successor to Hubble, will have been under development for at least 15 years by the time of its scheduled launch in 2014. Continuously involving the public and conveying the value and excitement of missions during their long development periods can be daunting. If such efforts are not successful, there is a risk that dramatic loss of public interest will result.
The Space Studies Board’s 2010 Workshop will explore both how these grand questions focus of the nation's space research program and how best to convey the value and excitement so generated, to the public.  The workshop will feature invited presentations and session discussions on the aforementioned five “Grand” Questions.” Public understanding of the discoveries and achievements of the past 50 years and public interest and involvement in potential achievements and NASA activities in space science and exploration and will be addressed. Lesson learned, from the communications and social marketing sector at large will also be considered. Sessions addressing “Inspiring Public Interest in Space Research and Exploration: Communication Challenges and Opportunities” and “Communication Pathways to the Public: Readable Content, Video, and Social Media” will focus on sustaining public understanding of, interest in, and involvement with NASA science and exploration efforts that might take several years to decades to unfold.
Following the event, the NRC will produce and release a summary of the workshop proceedings.

[1] The impetus for many of these missions stems from recommendations from National Research Council decadal surveys. A new set of such surveys now underway will provide the basis for mission planning for the decade to come and beyond. NASA is working on programs to advance the next phase of human space exploration.
[2] NASA is working on programs to advance the next phase of human space exploration.



Statement of Task

Read the Statement of Task for "Sharing the Adventure with the Public"





Confirmed Speaker (S) and Moderator (M)  Bios and PRESENTATIONS


 Steve Benner headshot 

Steve Benner, Distinguished Fellow, Florida Foundation of Applied Molecular Evotion (S)

View Steve's presentation from Session 3

Dr. Steven A. Benner is a distinguished fellow at the Foundation for Applied Molecular Evolution (FFAME). Dr. Benner’s research interests include chemical genetics, synthetic biology, paleogenetics, astrobiology, systems biology, and the connection of natural history to the physical sciences. His research group at FFAME initiated synthetic biology as a field, and was the first to synthesize a gene for an enzyme and use organic synthesis to prepare the first artificial genetic systems. Dr. Benner’s research has led to promising drug development leads through the invention of dynamic combinatorial chemistry, which combines ideas from different areas of chemistry and biology to discover small molecule therapeutic leads. He also established paleomolecular biology, where researchers resurrect ancestral proteins from extinct organisms for study in the laboratory. Dr. Benner was a National Science Foundation graduate fellow, a Sloan Foundation Fellow, recipient of the Nola Summer Award, Anniversary Prize of the Federation of European Biochemical Societies, and Sigma Xi Senior Faculty Award. He has also sat on numerous Space Studies Board committees, such as the Committee on the Astrophysical Context of Life, and the Committee on the Limits of Organic Life in Planetary Science. Dr. Benner received his B.S. and M.S. in molecular biophysics and biochemistry from Yale University, and his Ph.D. in chemistry from Harvard University.
 Jeff Bingham

Jeff M. Bingham, Senior Advisor on Space and Aeronautics, Republican Staff U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation Subcommittee on Science and Space (S)

Jeff Bingham served as Chief of Staff for Senator Jake Garn from 1974-1990,  and throughout that service was heavily involved in the Senator's space-related activity, as Ranking Member and Chairman of the Senate VA-HUD-IA Subcommittee on Appropriations, which had responsibility for NASA appropriations. From September of 1990 to April 1991, Mr. Bingham was a NASA consultant and participant in the Synthesis Group, charged with developing alternative architectures for missions to the Moon and Mars under the Space Exploration Initiative. From May 1991 to July 1994, Mr. Bingham was a Senior Policy Analyst for SAIC, and supported the Johnson Space Center New Initiatives Office in strategic planning and exploration policy activities. In 1994, at the request of NASA, Mr. Bingham became the Legislative Coordinator for the International Space Station Program, serving in that role until September 1996. From April 1996 to April 1999, he managed the Space Station Information Center (aka "War Room"), relocating to NASA Headquarters in September 1996 to undertake that activity full-time. In December 2000, Mr. Bingham supported the Bush-Cheney NASA Transition Team, and in January 2001 was appointed by the White House Personnel Office as Special Assistant to NASA Chief of Staff Courtney A. Stadd. From May 2001 to May 2002, Mr. Bingham served as Associate Administrator for Legislative Affairs, at NASA Headquarters. In May 2002, he was appointed Senior Advisor/Special Assistant to the NASA Administrator. Mr. Bingham left NASA in April, 2004, and spent a year writing, speaking and consulting. In April, 2005, Mr. Bingham accepted the appointment as Staff Director for the Subcommittee on Science and Space of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, which had authorization and oversight jurisdiction for NASA and the National Science Foundation. In that capacity, Mr. Bingham was charged with the development and drafting of the 2005 NASA Authorization Act, which was signed into law on December 30, 2005. During the 110th Congress, Mr. Bingham assumed his current position as senior Republican staff member for space and aeronautics for the Commerce Committee, with staff responsibility for the Subcommittee on Space, Aeronautics and Related Sciences, and in that capacity participated in drafting, consideration and passage of the 2008 NASA Authorization Act. With the reorganization of the Committee in the 111th Congress, he continues in providing staff support at the full Committee level and for the newly reorganized Subcommittee on Science and Space. In that capacity, he served as one of the principal staff involved in drafting and securing passage of S.3729, the NASA Authorization Act of 2010.


Roger Blandford headshot


Roger Blandford, Director, Kavli Institute of Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology, Stanford University (S)

Roger Blandford is a native of England and took his BA, MA and PhD degrees at Cambridge University. Following postdoctoral research at Cambridge, Princeton and Berkeley he took up a faculty position at Caltech in 1976 where he was appointed as the Richard Chace Tolman Professor of Theoretical Astrophysis. In 2003 he moved to Stanford University to become the first Director of the Kavli Institute of Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology and the Luke Blossom Chair in the School of Humanities and Science. His research interests include black hole astrophysics, cosmology, gravitational lensing, cosmic ray physics and compact stars. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a Member of the National Academy of Science.


Roger Bonnet headshot

Roger Bonnet, Executive Director, International Space Science Institute (ISSI) (S)

View Roger's presentation from Session 1

View Roger's presentation from Session 5

Roger-Maurice Bonnet is a solar physicist mostly known for his early work in the study and observation of the ultraviolet radiation. His early work concerned the study of solar radiation and solar irradiance. He has also been involved in the problems of solar radiation forcing on the Earth. As an instrumentalist, he designed several original telescopes and spectrometers. He was responsible for the design of the telescope that obtained the first pictures of a comet nucleus (Halley) with the European Space Agency (ESA) Giotto probe in 1986. From 1969 to 1983, he was the Director of the Laboratoire de Physique Stellaire et Planétaire of the French CNRS (now re-named Institut d’Astrophysique Spatiale, IAS). He then became Director of ESA’s scientific programme from 1983 until 2001, where he defined and led the Horizon 2000 program and established the basis and structure of the Living Planet Earth Sciences program. Dr. Bonnet became Director General for Science at CNES, the French space agency, in 2002, and is presently the Executive Director of the International Space Science Institute (ISSI) in Bern (Switzerland). He is President of COSPAR, Member of the Royal scientific Academy of Sweden, of the Société Royale des Sciences de Liège and of the International Academy of Astronautics of which he received the Von Karman award in 2009. He is also Doctor Honoris Causa of the Universities  of London and Liège, and Officier of the French Légion d’Honneur. He is the author of more than 150 scientific papers in solar physics, astronomy and space science, as well as of several books in particular “Les Horizons Chimériques” (Dunod) and “Surviving 100,000 Centuries, Can we do it?”, co-authored with L. Woltjer (Springer).


Linda Billings Headshot

Linda Billings, Research Professor, George Washington University; Principal Investigator, NASA Astrobiology Program (S)

Linda Billings is a research professor at the George Washington University School of Media and Public Affairs in Washington, D.C. She does communication research for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA’s) astrobiology program in the Science Mission Directorate. She also advises NASA’s Planetary Protection Officer and Lead Scientist for Mars Exploration on communications. Her research interests and expertise include mass communication, science communication, risk communication, rhetorical analysis, journalism studies, and social studies of science. Her research has focused on the role that journalists play in constructing the cultural authority of scientists, the rhetorical strategies that scientists and journalists employ in communicating about science, and the rhetoric of space exploration. As a researcher, she has worked on communication strategy, media analysis, and audience research for NASA’s astrobiology, Mars exploration, and planetary protection programs. As a journalist, she has covered energy, environment, and labor relations as well as aerospace. Dr. Billings was a member of the staff for the National Commission on Space (1985-86), appointed by President Reagan to develop a long-term plan for space exploration. She earned her Ph.D. in mass communication from Indiana State University. She is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the recipient of Outstanding Achievement and Lifetime Achievement awards from Women in Aerospace.


 Betsy Cantwell headshot


Elizabeth Cantwell, Director for Mission Development, Engineering Directorate, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL); Member, Space Studies Board; Chair, Space Studies Board's Decadal Survey on Biological and Physical Sciences in Space (M)

Elizabeth Cantwell is the director for national security initiatives at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Prior to joining Oak Ridge, she was the deputy division leader for science and technology in the International, Space and Response Division at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Dr. Cantwell has served as the section leader for the Micro and Nanotechnology Center at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. She began her career building life support systems for human spaceflight missions with the NASA. Her NRC experience includes past membership on the Committee on NASA's Bioastronautics Critical Path Roadmap, the Space Station Panel of the Review of NASA Strategic Roadmaps, the Committee on Technology for Human/Robotic Exploration and Development of Space, and the Committee on Advanced Technology for Human Support in Space.


 Dexter Cole photo


Dexter Cole, Vice President of Programming, The Science Channel (S)

View Dexter's presentation from Session 8

In his current role as VP of Programming for the Science Channel, Dexter oversees the programming strategy for the network and is responsible for securing acquisitions which will fuel the network’s programming pipeline. He also currently manages members of the Scheduling and Development teams. Dexter returns to Discovery after a two-year term as Vice President of Research for TV One, where he was responsible for network strategy in the areas of programming and consumer research. Dexter joined TV One in March 2008 and was instrumental in growing the network’s prime time ratings by double-digits. Prior to working for TV One, Dexter was employed at Discovery Communications, LLC for ten years and during his initial tenure managed research for each of the five major Discovery networks: Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, Travel Channel and Discovery Health Channel. Having spent the majority of his time at Discovery supporting the TLC network, Dexter last served as Vice President, TLC Research and was instrumental in the launch of successful TLC series such as Little People, Big World, Miami Ink, Trading Spaces and What Not to Wear. He and his team were also responsible for the management of both the qualitative and quantitative research initiatives in the creation of TLC’s award-winning “Life Lessons” brand campaign. Prior to joining Discovery, Dexter worked in corporate research at GEICO and in production at WTTG-FOX TV, Washington, DC. He received both his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Howard University in Washington, DC, with a Bachelor of Arts, Magna Cum Laude, in Journalism and a MBA.


 Alan Dressler headshot

Alan Dressler, Astronomer, The Observatories of the Carnegie Institution; Member, Space Studies Board (M)

Alan Dressler, (NAS) is an observational astronomer at the Observatories of the Carnegie Institution. His principal areas of research cover the formation and evolution of galaxies and the study of star populations of distant galaxies. Dr. Dressler has made significant contributions in understanding galaxy formation and evolution, including effects of the environment on galaxy morphology. He was a leader in the identification of the "great attractor" which causes a large distortion of the Hubble expansion. From 1993-1995 Dr. Dressler chaired the AURA committee "HST & Beyond: Exploration and the Search for Origins" that presented NASA with A Vision for Ultraviolet-Optical-Infrared Space Astronomy. NASA embraced the report's three recommendations—the extension of the Hubble mission, the building of a infrared-optimized successor to Hubble (the James Webb Space Telescope) to study the birth of galaxies in the early universe, and the development of technology for space telescopes capable of finding Earth-like planets around neighboring stars—which now form a substantial component of the NASA program in astrophysics. Dr. Dressler served on the NRC Committee on Setting Priorities for NSF-Sponsored Large Research Facility Projects and he chaired the Panel on Optical and Infrared Astronomy from the Ground of the Astronomy and Astrophysics Survey Committee.


Heidi Hammel headshot

Heidi Hammel, Senior Research Scientist and Co-Director, Space Sciences Institute (S)

View Heidi's presentation from Session 4

Heidi Hammel is a senior research scientist with the Space Science Institute, an independent research and education organization based in Boulder, Colorado. Her primary research interests are the outer planets and their satellites, with a specific focus on observational techniques. Dr. Hammel is a leading expert on the planet Neptune and was a member of the Imaging Science Team during the Voyager 2 spacecraft’s encounter with that planet in 1989. For the impact of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 with Jupiter in July 1994, Dr. Hammel led the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) team that investigated Jupiter’s atmospheric response to the collisions. Her latest research has focused on the imaging of Neptune and Uranus with the HST and on ground-based observations of Uranus. Dr. Hammel was elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in 2000 and received the AAS/DPS’s Sagan Medal for outstanding communication by an active planetary scientist to the general public in 2002. In addition, Asteroid 1981 EC20 has been renamed 3530 Hammel in her honor.  Dr. Hammel was profiled by the New York Times in 2008 and Newsweek Magazine in 2007, and was identified as one of the 50 most important women in science by Discover Magazine in 2002. She received her Ph.D. in astronomy and astrophysics from the University of Hawaii. Dr. Hammel is currently the chair of the Giant Planets Panel of the Space Studies Board's Planetary Science Decadal Survey.


 joan johnson freese web

Joan Johnson-Freese, Chair, Department of National Security Decision Making, Naval War College; Member, Space Studies Board (M)

Joan Johnson-Freese is chair of the Department of National Security Decision Making at the Naval War College (NWC). Prior to that, she held positions as chair of the Transnational Studies Department at the Asia Pacific Center for Security Studies in Honolulu, Hawaii, as a faculty member at the Air War College in Montgomery, AL and as director of the Center for Space Policy and Law at the University of Central Florida. Dr. Johnson-Freese has focused her research and writing on security studies generally, and space programs and policies specifically, including issues relating to technology transfer and export, missile defense, transparency, space and regional development, transformation, and globalization. She is on the editorial board of China Security and a member of the International Academy of Astronautics and the International Institute for Strategic Studies. She has testified before Congress concerning U.S.-Sino security issues concerning space. Dr. Johnson-Freese's most recent book is Space as a Strategic Asset, Columbia University Press (2007). Her next book, Heavenly Ambition: Will America Dominate Space? is forthcoming from University of Pennsylvania Press in 2009.


Mark Kaufman


Marc Kaufman, Writer & Editor, The Washington Post (S)

Marc Kaufman is a science writer and editor at The Washington Post, though at heart he sees himself as a foreign correspondent. His book on astrobiology, First Contact: Scientific Breakthroughs in the Hunt for Life Beyond Earth, will be published in April. Publisher Simon & Schuster describes it as “remarkable, unfolding story of science's search for the beginnings of life on Earth and the probability that it exists elsewhere in our universe.” Before joining The Post in 1999, Mr. Kaufman was a reporter at the Philadelphia Inquirer for 17 years. He did a tour in India for the Inquirer, spent a lot of time in Afghanistan in the late 1980s and through the 1990s, and returned to Afghanistan for The Post after 9/11. Given his foreign-correspondent instincts, Mr. Kaufman managed to turn his First Contact reporting into a global affair, making trips to Alaska, Australia, Chile, Death Valley (CA), England, Florida, Idaho, Italy, Japan, Louisiana, and South Africa, among other places. Over the past six months, he has reported for the Post on topics ranging from the BP oil spill to the search for organics on Mars, plans for space tourism, and the Kepler mission’s extrasolar planet discoveries. Mr. Kaufman’s wife, Lynn Litterine, is an editor, writer and educator, their son David is an attorney, and son John is studying to be a veterinarian.


 charles kennel nasa web

Charles Kennel, Chair, Space Studies Board (M)

Charles F. Kenel (NAS) is a distinguished professor of atmospheric science and director emeritus in the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). Dr. Kennel was the founding director of the UCSD Environment and Sustainability Initiative, an all-campus effort embracing teaching, research, campus operations, and public outreach, and is now chairman of its international advisory board. His research covers plasma physics, space plasma physics, solar-terrestrial physics, plasma astrophysics, and environmental science and policy. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and the International Academy of Astronautics. He was a member of the NASA Advisory Council from 1998 to 2006, its chair from 2001-2005, and is presently chair of the California Council on Science and Technology. He has had visiting appointments to the International Centre for Theoretical Physics (Trieste), the National Center for Atmospheric Research (Boulder), the Ecole Polytechnique (Paris), California Institute of Technology (Pasadena), Space Research Institute (Moscow), and the University of Cambridge (U.K.). He is a recipient of the James Clerk Maxwell Prize (American Physical Society), the Hannes Alfven Prize (European Geophysical Society), the Aurelio Peccei Prize (Accademia Lincei), and the NASA Distinguished Service and Distinguished Public Service Medals. He was the 2007 C.P. Snow Lecturer at Christ's College, Cambridge (U.K.). Dr. Kennel has served on numerous other NRC committees and boards including the Committee on NASA's Beyond Einstein Program: An Architecture for Implementation (co-chair), the Committee on Global Change Research (chair), the Committee on Fusion Science Assessment (chair), the Board on Physics and Astronomy (chair), the Panel to Review the National Space Science Data Center/World Data Center-A for Rockets and Satellites, the Committee on Cooperation with the USSR in Solar Activity, Solar Wind, Terrestrial Effects, and Solar Acceleration (co-chair), the Plasma Science Committee (chair), and the Air Force Physics Research Committee.


 Andrew Lawler headshot


Andrew Lawler, Journalist (S)

View Andrew's presentation from Session 8

Andrew Lawler is a contributing writer with Science Magazine, and freelance writer for Smithsonian, National Geographic, Discover and other publications. He began to cover the space program in 1984 for The Futurist Magazine. Later he was associate editor of Space Business News and then founding editor of Space Station News. In 1989, he joined the first staff of Space News, where he covered NASA, NOAA, the Defense Department, the White House, Congress, and international space programs. From 1994 until 2009, he was a senior writer at Science, following a host of space and science beats. During his quarter century writing about space, Lawler has interviewed every NASA administrator as well as many chiefs of other space agencies, sat through countless congressional hearings on Capitol Hill, and written about space-related news in Europe, Japan, Russia, China, and India.


 Molly Macauley headshot

Molly Macauley, Senior Fellow, Resources for the Future; Member, Space Studies Board (M)

View Molly's presentation from Session 5

Molly Macauley is a senior fellow and co-director of research at Resources for the Future (RFF). RFF is a research organization established upon recommendation of a US presidential commission in 1952 and dedicated to economic and policy analyses of the health of the nation’s natural and environmental resources. Dr. Macauley’s research at RFF has covered studies on economics and policy issues of new technology, the valuation of non-priced resources, the design of incentive arrangements to improve space resource use, and the appropriate relationship between public and private endeavors in space research, development, and commercial enterprise. Dr. Macauley serves as a visiting professor in the Department of Economics at Johns Hopkins University and has previously served in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public Affairs at Princeton University. She has frequently testified before Congress and serves on many national-level committees and panels. She served on the NRC Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board, the Panel on Earth Science Applications and Societal Needs, and the Science Panel of the Review of NASA Strategic Roadmaps.


 Berrien Moore headshot

Berrien Moore, Dean, College of Atmospheric and Geographic Sciences, University of Oklahoma; Member, Space Studies Board (S)

View Berrien's presentation from Session 5

Berrien Moore III is the executive director of Climate Central. He is the former director of the Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space at the University of New Hampshire. Dr. Moore's research focuses on the carbon cycle, global biogeochemical cycles, global change, and policy issues in the area of the global environment. From 1998-2002 he served as chair of the Science Committee of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme and served as the lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Third Annual Report (TAR) that was released in spring 2001. In July 2001 he chaired the Global Change Open Science Conference in Amsterdam and is one of the four architects of the Amsterdam Declaration on Global Change. He has simultaneously served on and chaired numerous NASA and NOAA committees and has served on NRC committees including the Committee on Global Change Research, which produced the landmark report, Global Environmental Change: Research Pathways for the Next Decade (1999). Dr. Moore also served and co-chair of the NRC Survey Steering Committee for Earth Science and Applications from Space: A Community Assessment and Strategy for the Future.


Christie Nicholson headshot


Christie Nicholson, Journalist & Editor, Scientific American (S)
Christie Nicholson is a science journalist based in New York City. She hosts Scientific American’s podcasts 60-Second Psych, 60-Second Science, and produces 60-Second Earth. As special projects editor at Scientific American she launched their first online community and helped develop two video series, Instant Egghead and The Monitor. This year she spoke on brain-machine interfaces at the South by Southwest Interactive conference in Austin, TX. She is an on-air contributor to Web and TV shows on Slate, Scientific American, the Discovery Channel, and the Science Channel. A graduate of Columbia University’s School of Journalism, she co-created the “Science of Sex,” that won two Webby Awards. Nicholson has spoken at many organizations about the current upheaval in traditional communication due to the Web, including the National Science Foundation, the New York Academy of Sciences, Rockefeller University, and Brookhaven National Laboratory. Currently a contributing editor at Scientific American, she teaches an intensive program in Web journalism each summer at the Banff Centre for the Arts.



Miles O'Brien


Miles O'Brien, Media Consultant & Chair of the NASA Advisory Council's Education and Public Outreach Committee (S)

Miles O'Brien is a 30-year broadcast news veteran who has successfully melded a talent for telling complex stories in accessible terms with a lifelong passion for aviation, space, science and technology. Based in New York City, he owns a production company that creates, produces and distributes compelling stories across all media platforms. He is the science correspondent for the PBS NewsHour and chief correspondent for the National Science Foundation series “Science Nation” and the Discovery Science Channel series “Innovation Nation”. He has done several documentaries for PBS and appears on the radio serving as a frequent guest anchor of “The Takeaway” and “The Leonard Lopate Show” on WNET/New York. He is Managing Editor of “This Week in Space” - a popular webcast found at In partnership with that site, he has pioneered web-based live, extended coverage of space shuttle launches that have lured a global audience of more than 200,000 viewers. O’Brien is also a member of the NASA Advisory Council, chairing its Education and Public Outreach Committee. He is currently working on a documentary and book on the space shuttle program and the rise of a private sector space industry. For nearly 17 years he worked as a correspondent, anchor and producer for CNN based in Atlanta and New York. At various times he was CNN's science, space, aviation, technology and environment correspondent. During his time at CNN, he also anchored a myriad of news and talk programs, including Science and Technology Week, CNN Saturday and Sunday Morning, Talkback Live, Headline News Primetime, CNN Live From…and CNN American Morning. O’Brien has received three Emmys, a DuPont and Peabody and numerous other prestigious awards over the years for his coverage of hurricanes, wars and politics in addition to his coverage of space, aviation, science, technology and the environment. O’Brien may be best known for his coverage of the US space program. In February of 2003, he led the network’s acclaimed coverage of the loss of the Space Shuttle Columbia stating on the air live for 16 solid hours. O’Brien has covered every major space story in the past twenty years: the repair missions to the Hubble Space Telescope; the shuttle dockings at Mir; the launch of the first space station crew from Kazakhstan; several robotic landings on Mars and the private sector endeavors of Burt Rutan and others. In October of 1998, he co-anchored CNN’s coverage of John Glenn’s return to space with broadcast veteran Walter Cronkite. In 2000, he produced, shot and wrote a one-hour documentary on the intricate, sometimes-perilous process of readying a space shuttle for flight. "Terminal Count: What it Takes to Make the Space Shuttle Fly" aired in May 2001.


 Robert Pappalardo headshot

Robert Pappalardo, Senior Research Scientist, Jet Propulsion Laboratory; Member, Space Studies Board (M)

Robert Pappalardo is a senior research scientist in the Planetary Science Division of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology. He also holds visiting faculty positions in the Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences at the California Institute of Technology and in the Department of Geological Sciences and Laboratory for Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences at the University of Colorado, Boulder. His research interests focus on the study of processes that have shaped the icy satellites of the outer solar system, particularly Jupiter's Europa. He is also involved in the study of the nature, origin, and evolution of bright grooved terrain on Jupiter's moon, Ganymede, specifically the style of tectonism. In addition to these projects, he is interested in the geological implications of geyser-like activity on Saturn's moon, Enceladus. He is currently the project scientist for the extended mission of the Cassini spacecraft. He was formerly an affiliate member of the Galileo Imaging Team and oversaw many of the Galileo observations of Jupiter's icy Galilean satellites. Dr. Pappalardo's previous NRC service includes membership on the Committee on Planetary and Lunar Exploration and the Committee on Solar System Exploration Strategy. He is currently the co-chair of the Committee on the Origins and Evolution of Life.


 Kim Stanley Robinson headshot


Kim Stanley Robinson, Author (S)

Kim Stanley Robinson is a science fiction writer, best known for the Mars trilogy, Red Mars, Green Mars, and Blue Mars. He holds a Ph.D. in literature from U.C. San Diego and attended the Clarion Science Fiction Writer's Workshop. He has published twenty books, translated into 23 languages. His books have been awarded eleven awards in the science fiction field, including the Hugo and Nebula awards. he was chosen by the U.S. National Science Foundation to go with them to Antarctica as part of their Antarctic Artists and Writers Program and is involved in the Sequoia Parks Foundation's Artists in the Back Country program. Dr. Robinson lives in Davis, California.


 dietram sch...web


Dietram A. Scheufele, Professor of Science Communication, University of Wisconsin (S)
Dietram A. Scheufele is Professor and John E. Ross Chair in Science Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is Co-PI of the NSF-funded Center for Nanotechnology in Society at Arizona State University (CNS-ASU) and affiliated with the UW’s Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center (NSEC) on Templated Synthesis and Assembly at the Nanoscale. Scheufele co-chairs the National Conference of Lawyers and Scientists, a joint committee of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Bar Association, and is a former member of the Nanotechnology Technical Advisory Group to the U.S. President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. Before coming to Wisconsin, he was a tenured faculty member at Cornell University. He is currently a visiting fellow at the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard University.



 sara seager web


Sara Seager, Professor Planetary Science and Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (S)
View Sara's presentation from Session 3
Sara Seager is the Ellen Swallow Richards Professor of Planetary Science and Professor of Physics at MIT. Professor Seager’s research focuses on theoretical models of atmospheres and interiors of all kinds of exoplanets. Her research has introduced many new ideas to the field of exoplanet characterization, including work that led to the first detection of an exoplanet atmosphere. She was part of a team that co-discovered the first detection of light emitted from an exoplanet and the first spectrum of an exoplanet. Professor Seager is the 2007 recipient of the American Astronomical Society’s Helen B. Warner Prize. Before joining MIT in 2007, she spent four years on the senior research staff at the Carnegie Institution of Washington preceded by three years at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, NJ. Her BSc is from the University of Toronto and her PhD is from Harvard University.

 Edward C. Stone


Edward C. Stone, David Morrisroe Professor of Physics, and Vice Provost for Special Projects, California Institute of Technology (S)

View Ed's presentation from Session 4

Edward C. Stone is the David Morrisroe Professor of Physics and Vice Provost for Special Projects at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and a former Director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Since 1972, Stone has served as the Voyager chief scientist in the exploration of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune and continues to lead the study of the outer heliosphere as the two Voyager spacecraft continue their journey to interstellar space. As a Principal Investigator on nine NASA spacecraft and Co-Investigator of five others, he has studied energetic ions from the Sun and cosmic rays from the Galaxy and leads the ACE mission that is stationed sunward of Earth, reporting real time observations of approaching space weather. He has also had oversight of the construction and operation of the two ten-meter W. M. Keck telescopes on Mauna Kea, Hawaii, and of the design development of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT).  Stone is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Philosophi­cal Society, past president of the International Academy of Astronau­tics (IAA), a former vice president of COSPAR, and on the board of the W. M. Keck Foundation.  Among his scientific awards and honors, Stone has received the National Medal of Science from President Bush (1991) and three NASA Distinguished Service Medals. In 1996, asteroid (5481) was named after him.


 Jean Pierre Swings


Jean-Pierre Swings, Honorary Professor, University of Liège (Belgium) (S)

View Jean-Pierre's presentation from Session 2

Jean-Pierre Swings is Honorary Professor at the University of Liège (Belgium) where he obtained his Master's degree in space engineering and his PhD and DSc in astrophysics. Between the latter two, he spent three years of post-doctoral fellowships in JILA (Boulder, Colorado) and at the Hale Observatories (Pasadena, California). His subjects of interest are solar physics, emission-line and/or infrared excess objects, extragalactic astrophysics, space research, (very) large telescopes and their instrumentation, solar system exploration, etc. He gradually switched from observational astrophysics to "astropolitics", as General Secretary of the International Astronomical Union, member of numerous committees of the European Space Agency; of the European Southern Observatory of which he was Council member for 17 years and involved in the advisory structure of the Very Large Telescope project and the selection of its site; and also of the European Astronomical Society of which he was one of the four founders with Lodewijk Woltjer. Jean-Pierre Swings is currently Chairman of the European Space Sciences Committee of the European Science Foundation and member of the Space Advisory Group of the European Commission 7th Framework Program.


 joan vernikos web


Joan Vernikos, Member, Space Studies Board (M)

Joan Vernikos was the director of Life and Biomedical Sciences and Applications at NASA Headquarters from 1993 until September 2000. Prior to this position, she was on staff at NASA's Ames Research Center and before that, at Ohio State University Medical School where she was assistant professor of pharmacology. While at NASA, Dr. Vernikos led the research that developed the framework for determining how spaceflight and Earth's gravity affect the human body. She was the first to carry out head-down bed-rest studies in women and compare the changes in fluid and electrolyte regulation and their post-bed-rest orthostatic response to that of men. For this work and her leadership in the space sciences, she received numerous awards including the Strughold and Leverett Awards from the Aerospace Medical Association and the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Women in Aerospace. After leaving NASA in 2000, Dr. Vernikos began a consulting company, Thirdage LLC.



 Chick Woodward headshot

Charles Woodward, Professor, University of Minnesota; Member, Space Studies Board (M)

Charles Woodward is a professor of astronomy at the University of Minnesota. He is an infrared astronomer who conducts studies on astronomical dust particles produced in the atmosphere of evolved stars and cometary dust in the solar system. He is a board member (U.S. Representative) and incoming chair of the International Gemini Observatory and has chaired the American Astronomical Society Committee on the Status of Minorities in Astronomy. Dr. Woodward served as a presidential faculty fellow at the University of Wyoming where he was an associate professor and a National Science Foundation fellow. His published research has covered infrared spectroscopy, star formation, novae, and comets. In 1997, he co-authored an article on the baffling halo emission from Galaxy NGC5907 for Nature. Dr. Woodward served on the NRC Committee on Astronomy and Astrophysics, the Committee on Review of Progress in Astronomy and Astrophysics toward the Decadal Vision, and the Committee on NASA Astrophysics Performance Assessment.

Workshop Rapporteur

Marcia Smith headshot

Marcia Smith, President, Space and Technology Policy Group, LLC

Marcia S. Smith is President of the Space and Technology Policy Group, LLC in Arlington, Virginia, which specializes inpolicy analysis of civil, military and commercial space programs, and other technology areas.  She is also the founder and editor of the website  From March 2006-March 2009, Ms. Smith was Director of the Space Studies Board at the National Research Council (NRC), and from January 2007-March 2009 was Director's of the NRC's Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board.  Prior to working for the NRC, Ms. Smith was a senior level specialist in aerospace and telecommunications policy at the Congressional Research Service (CRS), Library of Congress, Washington, DC.  She worked at CRS from 1975-2006, except for a one year leave of absence from 1985-86 while she served as Executive Director of the U.S. National Commission on Space.  The Commission, created by Congress and its members appointed by the President, developed long term (50 year) goals for the civilian space program under the chairmanship of (the late) former NASA Administrator Thomas Paine.  Before joining CRS, Ms. Smith worked in the Washington office of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (then headquartered in New York).  A graduate of Syracuse University, Ms. Smith is the author or co-author of more than 220 reports and articles on space, nuclear energy, and telecommunications and Internet issues.



Online Registration is closed effective October 29th.

Logistics Information

Meeting Location
Arnold and Mabel Beckman Center
100 Academy Drive
Irvine, CA

Accommodations: A list of preferred hotels in the Irvine, California area.

The Beckman Center is served by both the John Wayne/Orange County Airport (SNA) and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).
Click here for directions and parking information.