Commercial Space and Suborbital Science – The Wave of the Future

Saturday June 23rd, 2012
11:00 am
Ballroom B

Buy the Panel Discussion DVD


Alan SternAlan Stern - a planetary scientist, space program executive, aerospace consultant, and author. For the last three years, he’s been an Associate Vice President at the Southwest Research Institute, and since 2008 has had his own aerospace consulting practice. Alan was also recently appointed as Director of the Florida Space Institute. In 2007 and 2008, Alan served as NASA’s chief of all space and Earth science programs, directing a $4.4 billion organization with 93 separate flight missions and a program of over 3,000 research grants. He is currently training to fly a series of suborbital space research missions with Virgin Galactic and XCOR Aerospace in 2012-2013, and serves as the Chief Scientist and Mission Architect for the Moon Express Google Lunar X-Prize.
Peter Jenniskens - If you ever spend a night under the stars watching for meteors and saw something unusual, you may want to meet astronomer Dr. Peter Jenniskens. He’s an expert on meteor showers and author of Meteor Showers and their Parent Comets, a 790 page book containing predictions on what unusual meteor showers to expect in the next 50 years. Peter is best known for his recovery of fragments of asteroid 2008 TC3 in the Nubian Desert of northern Sudan with Sudanese astronomer Muawia Shaddad and his students from the University of Khartoum. This was the first time that an asteroid was spotted in space, observed by telescopes, then samples retrieved for study.
Ariel Waldman - Ariel Waldman is the founder of, a directory of ways to participate in space exploration, and the global coordinator of Science Hack Day, an event that brings together scientists, technologists, designers and people with good ideas to see what they can create in one weekend. She also is an interaction designer and Research Affiliate at Institute For The Future. Previously, she worked at NASA's CoLab program whose mission was to connect communities inside and outside NASA to collaborate. Her website is at
David Knight Originally trained in Applied Physics, he has been an entrepreneur and investor in the high-technology world through multiple ventures. He was part of the original Ansari XPRIZE executive team, leading up to the successful prize-winning flights of Burt Rutan’s SPACESHIPONE in 2004. He is now pursuing a core mission of exciting our youth about Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM), through new and traditional media. His upcoming film, SHUTTLE3D & The New Pioneers, chronicles the final missions of the Space Shuttle program, and the hopeful future being led by technology visionaries via SpaceX, Stratolaunch, Blue Origin and more.


Franck Marchis - Dr. Franck Marchis is a Planetary Astronomer at the Carl Sagan Center of the SETI Institute and also an associate astronomer at the Observatoire de Paris. Our solar system is characterized by considerable diversity of its constituent bodies. Franck Marchis’ first involvement in the study of this diversity started in 1996 while working at the UNAM Astronomy Department in Mexico City. He made the first ground-based observations of the volcanoes on the jovian moon Io, using the first Adaptive Optics (AO) systems available on the European Southern Observatory (ESO) 3.6 m telescope in Chile. After a brief stay in London and four years in Chile at ESO, he completed in 2000 his PhD in France. Since then, he has been studying asteroids with large telescopes and he discovered in 2005 the first triple using the Very Large Telescope in Chile. His work consists in using and developing adaptive optics on current and future 30m telescopes dedicated to the study of the solar system and extra solar planets.