Beyond the Cradle 2019: Envisioning a New Space Age


Dave Silverman

Dave Silverman for Space Exploration Initiative

March 14, 2019

This event took place at the MIT Media Lab on March 14, 2019. 

Watch Beyond the Cradle 2019 videos here! 

With humanity at the cusp of interplanetary civilization, we are actively building the technologies, tools, and human experiences of our sci-fi space future. Join us, in the 50th anniversary year of the Apollo Moon landing, for an exciting day with the scientists, engineers, artists, and designers revolutionizing our next half-century of moonshots and starshots.

On March 14 we'll hear from NASA scientists and Hollywood storytellers, from “New Space” industry vanguards leading space tourism and lunar settlement, and from engineers of the intrepid probe missions now far beyond our planetary neighborhood. Come to meet the astronauts and innovation engineers from space agencies around our home world, and the authors and artists seeding our imagination of other worlds!

*Note: Attendance at this private event is by invitation only, but the full program will be publicly livestreamed here!

Follow @ExploreSpace-ML and @medialab on Twitter for real-time updates, photos, and quotes throughout the day! #BeyondTheCradle #SpaceExploration

Speaker bios 


8:00am | Breakfast and registration

8:45am | Welcome and kickoff: Houston we are GO for launch

  • Ariel Ekblaw, founder and lead, Space Exploration Initiative
  • Joi Ito, director, MIT Media Lab and Dr. Maria T. Zuber, VP for Research, MIT

9:00am | Plenary keynote

  • Samuel C. C. Ting, Thomas Dudley Cabot Professor of Physics, Nobel Laureate

9:30am | Plenary panel: Our sci-fi space future

  • [Moderator] Victoria Jaggard, senior editor for science and innovation, National Geographic
  • Marc Okrand, linguist
  • Daniel Suarez, novelist
  • Ytasha L. Womack, screenwriter

10:15am | Plenary address and conversation with:

  • [Moderator] Ariel Ekblaw, founder and lead, Space Exploration Initiative
  • Larry James, deputy director, Jet Propulsion Laboratory
  • Loretta Whitesides, Yuri’s Night co-creator and founder astronaut, Virgin Galactic

10:50am | Break

11:00am | Session 1 | Please choose one track

(A) Space Industry Talk

  • Robbie Schingler, co-founder and CSO, Planet

(B) Democratizing "Open Space" Panel

  • [Moderator] Kerri Cahoy, associate professor of aeronautics and astronautics, MIT
  • Alex MacDonald, Emerging Space Program executive, NASA
  • Leland Melvin, ret. NASA astronaut
  • Teasel Muir-Harmony, curator, Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum
  • Frank White, author and space philosopher

11:45am | Session 2 | Please choose one track

(A) Space Industry and Research Talk

  • Natalya Bailey, co-founder and CEO, Accion Systems

(B) Frontiers for Space Exploration

  • [Moderator] Dava Newman, Apollo Program Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics and Engineering Systems, MIT
  • Dr. Leon Alkalai, JPL Fellow and manager, Office of Strategic Planning
  • Sara Seager, Professor of Physics, Professor of Planetary Science, Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics
  • Erika Wagner, payload sales director, Blue Origin
  • Yonatan Winetraub, co-founder, SpaceIL

12:30pm | Lunch

1:30pm | Session 3 | Please choose one track

(A) Space Industry Talk

  • Mandy Vaughn, president, VOX

(B) Space and the Arts Panel

  • [Moderator] Eva Diaz, author; associate professor of history of art and design, Pratt
  • Laurie Anderson, artist
  • Agnes Meyer-Brandis, artist
  • Tomas Saraceno, artist
  • Josh Simpson, artist

2:15pm | Session 4 | Please choose one track

(A) Space Industry Talk

  • Jeff Manber, CEO, NanoRacks

(B) Life in Space Panel

  • [Moderator] Sunanda Sharma, PhD student, MIT Media Lab
  • Paul Horowitz, professor of physics and  electrical engineering, emeritus, Harvard
  • Julie Huber, associate scientist, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
  • Lynn Rothschild, senior research scientist, NASA Ames
  • Max Tegmark, professor of physics, MIT

3:00pm | Workshops

Explore full workshop descriptions here!

  1. Creative Movement in Zero G
  2. Design Your Space Future
  3. Hyper-Abilities
  4. Native Space Farer, Part II
  5. Open Access Space
  6. Space Architecture
  7. Martian Biomanufacturing 
  8. Space Food
  9. Space Health Wearables
  10. Zero-G-ames

4:15pm | Break

4:30pm | Plenary keynote

  • Janna Levin, professor of physics and astronomy, Barnard College

5:00pm | Event finale: Astronaut augury

  • [Moderator] Cady Coleman, ret. NASA astronaut
  • Dominic Antonelli, ret. NASA astronaut
  • Nikolay Chub, cosmonaut
  • Leland Melvin, ret. NASA astronaut
  • Nicole Stott,  ret. NASA astronaut

5:45pm | Closing remarks

  • Ariel Ekblaw, founder and lead, Space Exploration Initiative

6:00pm | Cocktail reception

Accessibility Note: This event will have open captioning (English) at the event and on the webcast. Archival video will also include English-language closed captions.

Contact beyondthecradle@media.mit.edu with general questions.  
Contact events@media.mit.edu with accessibility questions.

Explore full gallery descriptions here!

View the archive of the 2018 event. Learn more about the Space Exploration Initiative.  

This year’s event will be part of MIT Space Week (March 13-15), including a celebration of the Apollo Moon landing 50th anniversary and the New Space Age conference

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