Beyond the Cradle 2017: Envisioning a New Space Age

David Silverman Photography

Archived video of this event is available. 

Looking for Beyond the Cradle 2018? Find it here.

Space will be hackable. Space will be playful. Space grows ever more accessible to the space enthusiast—through the reach of their DIY instruments, experiments, sensors and satellites, and soon through space tourism. This opportunity to design our interplanetary lives beckons to us.

On Sunday, March 12, we discussed envisioning, designing, hacking, and fabricating our space future with innovation engineers at NASA, sci-fi's most creative minds, Hollywood imagineers, astronauts, and industry leaders in "New Space."


StarTracks Alpha Centauri (A) and Beta Centauri (B) include industry talks, panels, and breakout sessions. Exhibition, art gallery, and demos from 9am-6pm.

Check back for agenda updates.

8:00am | Breakfast and registration

9:00am | Welcome and kickoff—“Houston, we are GO for launch”
Joi Ito, Director, MIT Media Lab
Dr. Maria T. Zuber, VP for Research, MIT

9:15am | Keynote
Julien de Wit, Postdoctoral Associate on TRAPPIST-1 team, MIT EAPS

9:45am | Plenary Address: Living a sci-fi space future
Doug Trumbull, director and visual effects supervisor, Trumbull Studios
Ben Grossmann, visual effects supervisor, Magnopus
Warren Ellis, author

10:30am | Break

10:45am | Session 1 | Please choose one track.
(A) Avi Loeb, Chair, Harvard University Department of Astronomy; Advisory Committee Chair, Breakthrough Starshot Initiative

(B) Democratizing "Open Space" panel: Defining new modes of engagement from Earth to LEO
Moderator: Ariel Waldman, founder, Spacehack.org
Kerri Cahoy, MIT AeroAstro STAR Lab Principal Investigator
Ayodamola Tanimowo Okunseinde, artist and designer
Andy Sellars, Director, BU/MIT Technology and Cyberlaw Clinic
Rie Yamamoto, Global Strategy for ALE

11:30am | Session 2 | Please choose one track.
(A) Erika Wagner, Business Development Manager, Blue Origin

(B) Doug Trumbull, visual effects designer and Ron Dantowitz, President, MARS Scientific [joint demo]

12:30pm | Lunch

1:30pm | Session 3 | Please choose one track.
(A) Andrew Rush, CEO, Made in Space

(B) Frontiers for Life in Space panel: From tardigrades to astronaut wellbeing
Moderator: Sheyna Gifford, MD, HI-SEAS IV Crew
Elizabeth B. Klerman, MD PhD, Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School
John Min, MIT Media Lab, Sculpting Evolution research group
Alexandra Pontefract, Postdoctoral Associate, MIT EAPS

2:15pm | Session 4 | Please choose one track.
(A) Paul Wooster, Spacecraft GNC Manager, SpaceX

(B) The Future of Space Research panel
Moderator: Joi Ito, Director, MIT Media Lab
Neil Gershenfeld, Director, Center for Bits and Atoms
Dava Newman, Apollo Professor of Astronautics, MIT
Joe Paradiso, Professor, MIT Media Lab
Danielle Wood, MIT Alum, PhD 2012

3:00pm | Workshops

Workshop 1—Design your space future
Warren Ellis, author
Salome Asega, artist
Ayodamola Tanimowo Okunseinde, artist and designer
Ariel Waldman, founder of spacehack.org

Join a panel of sci-fi, open-space, and Afrofuturist artists, designers, and hackers for a speculative brainstorming session on the ideologies of our space future. If Outer Space is a canvas for new norms and narratives, what would you nurture or curtail? What are the laws and cultural expectations that might evolve over long-duration space missions, or at the asteroid mining frontier? How will we preserve, adapt, and/or update our Earth-based cultures for populations that may never call Earth home? If we were to write a “Declaration of the Independence of Outer Space” (a la John Perry Barlow), what might it say?

Workshop 2—Space simulation sandbox
Sheyna Gifford, MD, HI-SEAS IV Crew
Katy Croff Bell, PhD, Nautilus Exploration Program

Think you have what it takes to make it in space? Bring your friends and form a Spaceteam! Join space simulation veterans Katy Croff Bell (oceanographer) and Dr. Sheyna Gifford (HERA VI asteroid simulation and HI-SEAS VI Mars simulation) for an exercise in simulated space travel that will leave you with a fresh perspective on one of mankind's favorite pastimes: exploration. This workshop will feature mission planning, group games, role playing, and a variety of exciting potential destinations from the Moon and Mars to Europa, Enceladus, and TRAPPIST-1. A simulated space suit will be on hand. Mobile devices and an active imagination are encouraged. 

Workshop 3—Space structures
Chuck Hoberman, Wyss Institute associate faculty; founder, Hoberman Associates
Keegan Kirkpatrick, founder and team lead, Redworks
Andrew Rush, CEO, Made in Space
Philip Metzger, Planetary Scientist, UCF; Co-Founder, NASA Kennedy Space Center Swamp Works

Engage with the designers, engineers, hackers, and makers of your future space habitat! From 3D printing space fiber in microgravity to houses built from accreted Martian regolith, this design workshop will take you through the latest in space construction. You’ll hear from Chuck Hoberman (creator of the isokinetic Hoberman Sphere) on the power of creative geometries and new structural forms, with a chance to then run your best design ideas by the pioneers of space architecture!

Workshop 4Virtual reality space experiences
Ben Grossmann, Visual effects supervisor, Magnopus

Explore the future of immersive experiences, as Virtual Reality makes its space debut! Join Oscar-winning and Emmy Award-winning visual effects supervisor Ben Grossmann, as he demonstrates a visual journey through an ISS mission, complete with spacecraft docking and a full tour of the station. This session will also explore the growing ecosystem of Space VR experiences, so bring your questions and viewing curiosities!

4:00pm | Break

4:15pm | Plenary Panel: Astronaut Augury
Cady Coleman, Astronaut
Jeff Hoffman, Astronaut
Leland Melvin, Astronaut
Sheyna Gifford, Simulation Astronaut

4:45pm | Closing keynote
Dan Goods, visual strategist, NASA JPL

5:30pm | Cocktail reception 

If you have general questions about this event, please email beyondthecradle@media.mit.edu.  If you have any questions about accessibility or need to request accommodations, please email events@media.mit.edu.

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