Darlene Lim

Darlene Lim is a geobiologist with the Bay Area Research Institute (BAERI) and based at the NASA Ames Research Center. She is currently the Principal Investigator of the NASA BASALT  (Biologic Analog Science Associated with Lava Terrains) research program, the Deputy PI of the NASA SSERVI FINESSE (Field Investigations to Enable Solar System Science and Exploration) research program, and the Principal Investigator (PI) of the Pavilion Lake Research Project (PLRP). She is actively involved in the development of operational concepts for human scientific exploration of deep space.  Her research programs are focused on seamlessly blending field science with the development of operational concepts for future human scientific exploration of Mars and Near Earth Asteroids. Darlene has also served as the NASA MEPAG (Mars Exploration Program Analysis Group) Goal IV (Prepare for Human Exploration) Co-Chair (2009-2016), and is currently a member of the NOAA Ocean Exploration Advisory Board (OEAB). 

Seth Shostak
Senior Astronomer
SETI Institute

Seth is the Senior Astronomer at the SETI Institute, in Mountain View.  He has an undergraduate degree in physics from Princeton University, and a doctorate in astronomy from the California Institute of Technology.  For much of his career, Seth conducted radio astronomy research on galaxies, and has published approximately sixty papers in professional journals.

He has written over five hundred popular magazine, newspaper and Web articles on various topics in astronomy, technology, film and television.  He lectures on astronomy and other subjects, and for six years was a Distinguished Speaker for the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.  He also chaired the International Academy of Astronautics’ SETI Permanent Study Group. Every week he hosts the SETI Institute’s hour-long, science radio show, “Big Picture Science”

Seth has written, edited and contributed to a half dozen books, including a textbook on astrobiology.  His most recent tome is Confessions of an Alien Hunter: A Scientist’s Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (National Geographic).

A.C. Charania
Director of Strategy and Business Develpment
Virgin Galactic

A.C. Charania is an entrepreneurial engineer and technical innovator possessing more than a decade of experience creating and advancing new aerospace ventures. He is currently Director of Strategy and Business Development at Virgin Galactic, the world’s first commercial spaceline. He helps to mature Virgin Galactic’s overall strategic roadmap by advancing new initiatives as well as capturing customers for its LauncherOne small satellite launch vehicle service.

Previously, he was a key visionary in three aerospace start-ups (SpaceWorks, Generation Orbit, and Terminal Velocity Aerospace), initiated space projects with Japan and South Korea, and supported asteroid mining firm Planetary Resources early in their development. Mr. Charania holds a B.S. and M.S. in Aerospace Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a B.A. in Economics/Mathematics from Emory University.

Twitter: @ac_charania

Timoni West

Timoni West leads design in Unity’s Labs team, focusing on the future of game development and creation tools in VR. Labs’ first project, EditorVR, was introduced at Vision Summit in February 2016. Before Unity, Timoni was SVP of Design at Alphaworks, and cofounder & creative director of Department of Design. She's also a mentor at the Upload Collective, advising new VR startups in the Bay area.

David Pescovitz
Boing Boing

David Pescovitz is co-editor/partner in Boing Boing, the technology and culture Web site with more than 5 million monthly readers, and a research director at the nonprofit thinktank Institute for the Future. Pescovitz was also the founding editor-at-large for MAKE:, the DIY technology magazine, and co-wrote the book Reality Check (HardWired, 1996), based on his long-running futurist column in Wired magazine. He has written for Scientific American, Popular Science, New York Times, Washington Post, Businessweek, and New Scientist, among many other publications. As a futurist, he frequently presents to senior leaders at Fortune 500 companies like Intel, Procter & Gamble, Tesco, and Samsung as well as large conferences about the future of technology, science, and culture. From 2000 to 2007 he was the first ever writer-in-residence at UC Berkeley's College of Engineering. Pescovitz holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Electronic Media from the University of Cincinnati and a Master's in Journalism from UC Berkeley.

Pescovitz has also contributed to the Los Angeles Times, IEEE Spectrum, Fast Company, MTV, Discovery Channel Online, and Encyclopaedia Britannica. His writings on technology and culture are featured in the books What Are You Optimistic About?: Today's Leading Thinkers on Why Things Are Good and Getting Better, Dissident Futures, The Happy Mutant Handbook, and The 'Zine Reader. Pescovitz is a member of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Science and has appeared on numerous television and radio programs and networks including CNN, NPR, and PBS NewsHour.

Photo credit: Ransom & Mitchell

Jesse Kriss
Netflix / Formerly JPL

Jesse Kriss designs and builds tools for humans.

His past work includes Many Eyes, a the collaborative visualization platform, at IBM Research, tools for artists and performers at Figure 53, makers of QLab, web platforms for online organizing and voter protection on the Obama 2012 tech team, and augmented reality software for the Curiosity Mars Rover science team at NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab.

He currently works at Netflix, where he helps create tools to help people manage security and scale.

Jesse holds a Master's in Human-Computer Interaction from Carnegie Mellon University, and BA in Music from Carleton College.

Alex Filippenko
UC Berkeley

Alex Filippenko, an elected member of both the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, is one of the world's most highly cited astronomers and the recipient of numerous prizes for his scientific research. He was the only person to have been a member of both teams that revealed the accelerating expansion of the Universe, an amazing discovery that was honored with the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics to the teams’ leaders and the 2015 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics to all team members. Winner of the most prestigious teaching awards at UC Berkeley and voted the “Best Professor” on campus a record 9 times, he was named the National Professor of the Year in 2006. He has produced 5 astronomy video courses with The Great Courses, coauthored an award-winning astronomy textbook, and appears in more than 100 television documentaries. In 2004, he was awarded the Carl Sagan Prize for Science Popularization. He enjoys tennis, hiking, photography, snorkeling, scuba diving, whitewater rafting, skiing, traveling the world, and spending time with his wife and children. Also, he is addicted to observing total solar eclipses, having seen 15 so far.

Will Pomerantz
Vice President for Special Projects
Virgin Galactic

Will Pomerantz is the Vice President for Special Projects at Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic. In that role, Will helps extend Virgin Galactic’s business beyond suborbital space tourism, developing efforts such as the LauncherOne orbital launch vehicle for small satellites as well as suborbital research campaigns on board SpaceShipTwo. Will also serves as a Trustee and the Chair of the Board of Advisers for the Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS), the world's largest student space organization; as an advisor to WayPaver Labs, a nonprofit dedicated to pushing the boundaries of human exploration; and as a member of the Professional Development Committee of Women in Aerospace.

Will is a graduate of Harvard University, the NASA Academy, and the International Space University. Prior to joining Virgin Galactic, he worked at the non-profit XPRIZE Foundation, where he served as the primary author and manager of the $30 million Google Lunar XPRIZE and the $2 million Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander XCHALLENGE. Will has also worked at Brown University, the Futron Corporation, and the United Nations, and was the co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of, an early social network for space professionals. He previously served on the Federal Aviation Administration's Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee and on a National Academies committee studying issues impacting the national aerospace workforce.

Annalee Newitz
Ars Technica

Annalee Newitz writes about science, culture, and the future. She is the Tech Culture Editor at Ars Technica, and the founding editor of io9. Previously, she was the editor-in-chief of popular tech site Gizmodo. She’s the author of Scatter, Adapt and Remember: How Humans Will Survive a Mass Extinction (Doubleday and Anchor), which was nominated for a 2013 LA Times book prize. Her first science fiction novel, Autonomous, will be released from Tor in 2017.

She’s also been published in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Wired, The Smithsonian Magazine, The Washington Post, 2600, New Scientist, Technology Review, Popular Science, Discover and the San Francisco Bay Guardian. She’s co-editor of the essay collection She’s Such A Geek (Seal Press), and author of Pretend We’re Dead: Capitalist Monsters in American Pop Culture (Duke University Press). Formerly, she was a policy analyst at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and a lecturer in American Studies at UC Berkeley. She was the recipient of a Knight Science Journalism Fellowship at MIT, and has a Ph.D. in English and American Studies from UC Berkeley.

Amy Shira Teitel
Vintage Space

After discovering that men walked on the Moon in the 1960s and 1970s, Amy set out trying to understand how and why that happened. Her childhood curiosity gave way to an adult profession as a spaceflight historian, because the more you try to understand the Moon landing the more complicated the answer gets. Amy now shares her enthusiasm and curiosity as the blogger and vlogger behind Vintage Space.

She has written for more than two dozen websites and print outlets, appeared in more than half a dozen TV series, and her first book, Breaking the Chains of Gravity, is out now.