Beyond the Cradle 2023


Space Exploration Initiative

Space Exploration Initiative

March 15, 2023
8:00am — 8:00pm ET

Beyond the Cradle: Earth + Space 
Wednesday, March 15, 2023
Virtual and In-Person

This event will be live streamed starting at 8:45am ET on Wednesday, March 15. Bookmark this page and mark your calendars.

This year at our seventh annual Beyond the Cradle event, co-presented by Aurelia Institute, the MIT Space Exploration Initiative (SEI), and the MIT Media Lab, our theme as we emerge from a remarkable year of advancements made in space exploration will focus on our responsibilities and exploration horizons across both Earth + Space, in this age of the Anthropocosmos. 

Mark your calendars and join us virtually or in-person as we investigate and design new dimensions to interplanetary life with experts from the space industry, scientists, designers, engineers, artists, authors and more. In the meantime, check out other events during MIT Space Week!

This will be a day-long event with multiple networking breaks, plenary talks and panel discussions, breakout sessions, and workshops. We will also have exhibits on display from artists Josh Simpson, Mikael Owunna, Marques Redd, Zach Mendoza, and several members of the MIT Space Exploration Initiative and Aurelia Institute. 


8:00 AM     Breakfast and registration

8:45 AM     We are go for launch | Dava Newman and Ariel Ekblaw

9:00 AM     Keynote
Dr. John C. Mather, NASA Senior Project Scientist for James Webb Space Telescope and Nobel Prize Winner

9:40 AM     Break

9:50 AM     Our Sci-Fi Space Future panel
Akiva Goldsman, film and television producer, writer, and director

10:30 AM     Democratizing Access to Space panel
Jay Kim, CEO, Boryung
Dr. Eliah Overbey, Postdoctoral Fellow, Mason Lab, Weill Cornell Medicine
Dr. Erika Wagner, Senior Director of Emerging Markets, Blue Origin
Denna Lambert, Inclusive Innovation Lead, Early Stage Innovations and Partnerships, NASA
Moderated by Dr. Danielle DeLatte, COO and CTO, Aurelia Institute

(in Lecture Hall) Lunar Outpost
Dr. Forrest Meyen, Co-Founder and CSO, Lunar Outpost

11:15 AM     Space Stations Near and Far panel
Matthew Kuta, President, COO, and Co-Founder of Voyager Space
David Zuniga, Senior Director for In-Space Solutions, Axiom Space
Daniel Inocente, Senior Space Architect, Blue Origin
Eleanor Morgan, Program Manager and Habitation Architecture Lead, Lockheed Martin
Moderated by Sana Sharma, Co-Founder and CDO at Aurelia Institute

(in Lecture Hall) MIT Student Lightning Talks, part I
Maya Nasr, Somayajulu Dhulipala, Fangzheng Liu, Dan Erkel, and Cody Paige

12:00 PM     Lunch

1:00 PM     Earth and Space: Connecting Worlds panel
Dr. Minoo Rathnasabapathy, Research Engineer, MIT Media Lab and Project Fellow, Future of Space at the World Economic Forum
Dr. Jennifer Heldmann, Research Scientist and Principal Investigator, NASA Ames Research Center
Moderated by Cody Paige

(in Lecture Hall) Translational Research Institute for Space Health
Dr. Dorit Donoviel, Executive Director, TRISH

1:45 PM     Space and the Arts panel
Dana Karwas, Director of the Center for Collaborative Arts and Media at Yale University
Zach Mendoza, Fine Artist
Mikael Owunna, Multimedia Artist, Filmmaker, and Engineer
Marques Redd, Cosmologist, Independent Scholar, and Multimedia Artist
Moderated by Viktoria Modesta, S
inger-Songwriter, Performance Artist, Creative Director, and Model

(in Lecture Hall) MIT Student Lightning Talks, part II
Jessica Todd, Rachel Bellisle, Thomas G. Roberts, David Colby Reed, Joseph Kennedy, and Pat Pataranutaporn

2:30 PM     Breakout Workshops

(in Lecture Hall) Humans in the Middle: funding next-generation human spaceflight
Hosted by Dr. Dorit Donoviel, Executive Director, TRISH

(in E14-240) The Business of Space: One small step for businesses, one giant leap for the business of space
Facilitated by Lars Cromley, Technology Fellow at Deloitte

(in E14-244) Connectivity across space & time: Project ICE-MELT
Moderated by MIT SEI

(in E14-514b) Design Rituals for Bodies in Space: Exploring the potential of the body in the environment of weightlessness
Moderated by Dana Karwas and Harshita Nedunuri

(in E14-6F Silverman Skyline) Inclusive Design for Low Earth Orbit and Beyond: Priorities & Methods
Moderated by SciAccess, Corey McClelland, and Sherri Wells 

4:15 PM     Astronaut Augury Fireside Chat
Former NASA Astronauts Dr. Cady Coleman and Dr. Michael Massimino

5:00 PM     Closing remarks

5:30 PM     Reception 


Humans in the Middle: funding next-generation human spaceflight

Dr. Dorit Donoviel
Executive Director, Translational Research Institute for Space Health
Location: E14-633 Lecture Hall

Join the Translational Research Institute for Space Health (TRISH) at the MIT Media Lab for a thought-provoking workshop discussing the pink and squishy parts of spaceflight. Leaders in microgravity human research delve into the intersection of public and private research funds and their impact on science and society. The interactive discussions explore the ethical considerations, benefits, and drawbacks that come with this emerging research model, and the role of humans in its future. What do we owe to future explorers? Don't miss this opportunity to engage with leading experts and contribute to the conversation on one of the most pressing issues of the next space era.

The Business of Space: One small step for businesses, one giant leap for the business of space

Facilitator: Lars Cromley, Technology Fellow at Deloitte
Location: E14-240

The barriers that prevent companies from seeing their connection to space, and how they can prepare their business to benefit as part of the maturing space ecosystem. Isn’t every company a space company? Maybe they don’t all produce rockets or satellites, but instead rely on GPS to improve logistics or weather data to inform operations. Maybe the cutting-edge consumer electronics they produce are also relevant to emerging space activities. Even tax companies are space companies when they help commercial space service providers navigate global tax requirements. Whether actively focused on space as a business, dependent on the many services space provides, or innovating in ways that can also benefit space systems, every company is a space company.

The trouble is companies often don’t see their connection to space, and consequently unaware of how they can contribute to the ecosystem of space. How can we improve the connection to space? How do we ensure companies aren’t just passively benefitting from space services but actively exploring their role in the ecosystem of space? In this workshop we’ll discuss common barriers and opportunities to ensuring every company sees themselves as a space company. 

Connectivity across space & time: Project ICE-MELT

Location: E14-244

Project ICE-MELT addresses the loss of emotional connection between astronauts on deep space missions and their loved ones on Earth. The AI-enabled, time-shifted communication experience increases feelings of connection and mediates the effects of communication lag time (MELT). The time-shifting communication solution helps bridge the gap caused by the 40-minute round-trip latency between Earth and Mars, allowing astronauts to feel connected with their loved ones even in the isolated, confined, and extreme (ICE) conditions of space. The AI, referred to as the "Space Whisperer", facilitates interactive video dialogues that are delivered as experiential memories, helping to maintain strong relationships and contribute to the astronaut's emotional well-being.

Design Rituals for Bodies in Space: Exploring the potential of the body in the environment of weightlessness

Dana Karwas
Harshita Nedunuri
Location: E14-514b

The majority of earth bound Architecture is about building volumes. Architects use volumes to deploy forms that are systems of control into which a person’s body enters. But even the most celebrated architectural volumes tend to present themselves as universal in how they activate the body, thus reducing all of them to neutral architectural experiences. But what is volume? What is its potential for the body in the environment of weightlessness? How do we design for the lived experience of space? It is difficult to design for a volume that we do not have access to or that our bodies do not understand. The sensory feedback and spatial reference frames in the zero gravity environment is something unknown to most people. Is it possible to empower earth-bound people with the expanded consciousness enabled by the overview effect through thoughtful intervention in human reference frames? How can we consider new ways of creating meaning and being to expand spatial accessibility and inverse the current power structures affecting the cyborg-person? 

Inclusive Design for Low Earth Orbit and Beyond: Priorities & Methods

Corey McClelland
Sherri Wells
Location: E14-6th Floor Silverman Skyline

AstroAccess is hosting a workshop to discuss the advantages of inclusive design in human spaceflight and specific methods/criteria for organizing this work and setting priorities. During the workshop, attendees will learn about AstroAccess' ongoing efforts to explore inclusive design strategies for microgravity environments. The discussion will focus on the benefits of designing for crew members with disabilities, which can improve the overall experience for all crew members. The workshop will cover topics such as system analysis, subsystem prioritization for missions/projects, co-design, and co-creation. Attendees will work with two examples: new interaction models for caution and warning systems, and designs for orientation and navigation in low-visibility scenarios.

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