Virtual Beyond the Cradle 2021: Envisioning a New Space Age


Space Exploration Initiative

Space Exploration Initiative

April 15, 2021

This year Beyond the Cradle will be a virtual celebration! 

Envisioning a New Space Age 

April 15, 2021

Beyond the Cradle: Envisioning a New Space Age, is the MIT Space Exploration Initiative's annual flagship event, where we weave the tapestry of the space industry with leading space visionaries—from the space scientists and astronauts at the vanguard of exploration, to the CEOs and founders building a burgeoning space ecosystem, to the artists and storytellers shaping our conception of the possible.

  • Best-of highlight reel for Beyond the Cradle here!

This event is hosted annually by the MIT Space Exploration Initiative.

This year Beyond the Cradle will be virtual. Virtual attendance is by invitation only; the event will be livestreamed and made freely available for public viewership. 

Follow @ExploreSpace_ML and @medialab on Twitter for photos and quotes from the day! #BeyondTheCradle #SpaceExploration


12:00 PM - 12:20 PM - Welcome from Ariel Ekblaw, Director of the MIT Space Exploration Initiative. 

12:20 PM - 1:00 PM - Session 1: Keynote

  • Dr. Moogega Cooper, Planetary Protection Lead, Mars 2020 (Perseverance) Mission

1:00 PM - 2:30 PM - Session 2: Lightning Talks (including break) 

Topic: Space Architecture & Environments

  • Dr. Valentina Sumini, Politecnico di Milano and Space Exploration Initiative: "Space Architecture: a new design challenge across disciplines and scales"
  • Don Derek Haddad, Responsive Environments: "Space Tele-Exploration in Polydimensional Augmented Virtuality"

Topic: Space Art & Design

  • Sands Fish, Space Exploration Initiative: "The Nuance of Designing On Orbit"
  • Xin Liu, Sojourner; Space Exploration Initiative: "Sojourner 2020, the first international art open call payload in ISS"

Topic: Space Suits

  • Rachel Bellisle, Human Systems Laboratory: "Skinsuit: A Countermeasure Suit for Spaceflight"
  • Dr. Canan Dagdeviren, Conformable Decoders: "Electronic Textile Conformable Suit (E-TeCS)"

Topic: Space Health 

  • Pat Pataranutaporn, Fluid Interfaces: "Bio-Digital Cyborg for the Future of Human Space Exploration"
  • Golda Nguyen, Space Enabled: "Sharing lessons on telehealth between Earth and space"
  • Jack Reid, Space Enabled: "Using EO Data to Explore COVID-19 Impacts"

Topic: Space Governance 

  • David Colby Reed,  Space Enabled: "Hidden Features: Designing for Democratic Equality Among Future Spacefarers"
  • Mehak Sarang, Space Exploration Initiative: "Launching the MIT SEI Space Governance Collaborative"

Topic: Space Education

  • Dr. Rachel Connolly, MIT Media Lab/NASA Science Activation Program: "Envisioning the Future of Space Education"
  • Dr. Jim Gray, MIT Media Lab: "Future School: Education for an Interplanetary Species"

2:30 PM - 3:30 PM -Session 3: Moon Dialogs salon 

Moderators: Mehak Sarang, MIT Space Exploration Initiative and Michelle Hanlon, Co-founder For All Moonkind, Co-Director Air and Space Law at UMiss.

Webinar Link: https://mit.zoom.us/j/94545293509

  • Dr. Peter Martinez, Secure World Foundation
  • Dr. Marlene Losier, For All Moonkind
  • Dr. Minoo Rathnasabathy, MIT Media Lab Space Enabled

3:30 PM - 4:15 PM - Session 4: Social networking session in MIT Virtual Spaceship 

MIT Virtual Spaceship Link Here.

4:15 PM - 4:30 PM - Session 5: Life in Space panel Opening Address by Dr. Jill Tarter: "Searching for Aliens, Finding Ourselves"

  • Dr. Jill Tarter, Emeritus Chair for SETI Research at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California

4:30 PM - 5:30 PM - Session 5: Life in Space panel 

Moderator: Dr. Sunanda Sharma, Space Exploration Initiative

  • Dr. Jill Tarter, Emeritus Chair for SETI Research at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California
  • Prof. Max Tegmark, Professor of Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Dr. Nathalie A. Cabrol, Director of the Carl Sagan Center for the Study of Life in the Universe, SETI
  • Dr. Rohit Bhartia, Deputy PI on NASA's JPL SHERLOC payload, Perseverance Rover; Principal Scientist, Photon Systems Inc.

5:30 PM  - 6:15 PM - Living Life in Low Earth Orbit: Fireside Chat with Michael T. Suffredini, President and co-founder of Axiom Space, Former ISS Program Manager

  • In conversation with Dr. Ariel Ekblaw, founder and Director of the MIT Space Exploration Initiative

Agenda Details

  1. Keynote
  2. Lightning Talks
  3. Moon Dialogs Salon
  4. MIT Virtual Spaceship
  5. Life in Space Panel
  6. Living Life in Low Earth Orbit: Fireside Chat with Michael T. Suffredini, President, CEO, and co-founder of Axiom Space, Inc.
  1. Keynote

     Dr. Moogega Cooper, Planteary Protection Lead, Mars 2020 Mission

  2. Lightning Talks

    An exciting session of Lightning Talks featuring advanced space research, art, and design across MIT.

  3. Moon Dialogs Salon

    Moderators: Mehak Sarang, MIT Space Exploration Initiative and Michelle Hanlon, For All Moonkind

    Webinar: https://mit.zoom.us/j/94545293509

    The MIT Space Exploration Initiative is a proud co-convener of the Moon Dialogs along with the Open Lunar Foundation, Arizona State University Interplanetary Initiative, Secure World Foundation, and For All Moonkind.The Moon Dialogs is a partnership focused on governance and coordination for the Moon. We bring together organizations and people exploring guardrails and frameworks that aim to help companies and countries going to the Moon to thrive and do so wisely and collaboratively.In addition to monthly Full Moon webinars exploring a myriad of topics related to near-term policy considerations on the lunar surface, this year we have launched three action teams centered around Accessibility, Peace, and Sustainability. Our April salon will be hosted in tandem with MIT Space Week and will be the launch of the Accessible Moon theme area, co-led by the SEI. 

    Overview: How will the next decade of negotiations and international relations on Earth affect our collective futures on the lunar surface? This panel features a roundtable discussion amongst experts in the space industry who are experienced advocates in multilateral fora for issues such as sustainability, standards development, and heritage site designation. Our panelists will draw upon their experiences to offer practical advice and guidance as we look ahead to ensure lunar exploration is truly the province of all humankind. This salon is part of the Moon Dialogs Accessible Moon salon series. 

    Questions and Grounding Issues: 

    All three of our panelists have extensive experience working in international convening bodies (the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, the World Economic Forum, and others) to not only discuss, but implement standards, regulations, protections, and guidelines for space actors. 

    We ask our panelists to draw upon their professional experiences and reflect on the utility of these fora (‘the tried and true way of diplomacy’) in resolving issues (and, with particular attention to the accessible moon theme, advocating for nontraditional space actors) and coalescing the international community as we look ahead to governing activities on the lunar surface. 

    Our panelists will also help frame our Accessible Moon theme: what does it mean, practically, to ensure that the Moon remains the “province of all humankind”? What are the near-term challenges to accessibility? What protections do our panelists wish to see in place (especially with lessons-learned from seeing events unfold both on Earth and in low-Earth orbit). Do we need to establish a new forum with a broader set of actors to discuss such issues? 

    Accessible Moon will focus on international collaboration strategies, specifically to bring new voices across academic fields, industry, and governments into lunar activities. This action team has a goal of coordinating multi stakeholder activity with a shared respect for the space commons, while promoting the peaceful use of outer space. Salons will include discussion of strategies to build broader participation within the US space industrial base as well as learning from successful international cooperations and public-private partnerships towards lunar governance structures.

  4. MIT Virtual Spaceship

    MIT Virtual Spaceship

    The Digital Spaceship from the MIT Media Lab Space Exploration Initiative took inspiration from Buckminster Fuller's “Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth,” a reminder that Earth is a spaceship with finite supplies and that collaboration is the key for our collective future. On our spaceship, you will encounter a diverse portfolio of imaginative projects, from astro-bacteria wearables, to open-access and shareable cubesat constellations, to musical instruments for our space voyages, to floating space habitats. The 3D web environment also enables social interactions as if you were in the physical space with other participants. You can walk and pass by each other!

  5. Life in Space Panel

    Moderator: Dr. Sunanda Sharma, Space Exploration Initiative

    Are we alone in the universe? What forms of life exist on other planets? What will human life look like beyond our home planet? These are just a few of the questions that we will explore in the Life in Space Panel with our distinguished panelists: Dr. Jill Tarter, Dr. Nathalie Cabrol, Dr. Rohit Bhartia, and Prof. Max Tegmark. Moderated by Dr. Sunanda Sharma, this hour-long discussion will dive into the different perspectives about intelligent life, habitability, ongoing and future life-detection missions, and the role of science fiction in shaping our imaginations on life in space. 

  6. Living Life in Low Earth Orbit: Fireside Chat with Michael T. Suffredini, President, CEO, and co-founder of Axiom Space, Inc.

    Mr. Michael T. Suffredini, President, CEO, and co-founder of Axiom Space, Inc. in conversation with Dr. Ariel Ekblaw, founder and Director of the MIT Space Exploration Initiative.


All press inquiries for Beyond the Cradle: 

beyondthecradle@media.mit.edu and web-press@media.mit.edu

Each year, we invite a select group of press to attend the event in-person. Please contact us if you are interested in participating. The event will be live-streamed publicly. 

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