Help Shape the Future of Space Exploration

Join The Planetary Society Now  arrow.png

Join our eNewsletter for updates & action alerts

    Please leave this field empty

Astronauts and Robots: Partners in Space Science and Exploration

Pasadena, California

Planetary Society members save $100 on registration. Register here and select "AAS or TPS Member"

Hotel Information

- Program as of March 26 -


Tuesday, May 12


7:15    AAS Corporate Members Breakfast (Invitation Only)


7:30    Registration Opens / Networking / Continental Breakfast


8:30    Welcome and Announcements  

Walt Faulconer,  AAS Executive Vice President


8:45    JPL Welcome and Update

            Charles Elachi, Director   


9:15    Keynote

Jim Bell, Professor, School of Earth and Space Exploration, Arizona State University; President, Board of Directors, The Planetary Society


9:45    Break   


10:00  NASA’s Science Program Update

Jim Green, Planetary Science Division Director, Science Mission Directorate, NASA HQ    


10:45  NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations Program Update

Jason Crusan, Director, Advanced Exploration Systems Division, Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, NASA HQ


11:30  Awards Lunch – plus Conversation with the JPL Mars Program Team

with Fuk Li, Director for Mars Exploration; Ashwin Vasavada, MSL/Curiosity Project Scientist; John McNamee, Mars 2020 Project Manager; and Jim Watzin, Director, Mars Exploration Program, NASA HQ 11:30 to 12:00 – get food and return to seats

12:00 to 1:00 – Award presentations and conversation with Mars Team


1:00    Integration of Robotic and Human Exploration

Moderator:  Scott Hubbard, Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Stanford University 


  • Representing the perspective of a field geologist with direct experience with a Mars rover: Ashwin Vasavada, MSL/Curiosity Project Scientist, JPL
  • Representing the perspective of a specialist in robots, AI and related technologies:  TBD 
  • Representing the perspective of a field astrobiologist:  David Des Marais, Principal Investigator,  Astrobiology Institute, NASA Ames 
  • Representing the perspective an engineer who drives Mars rovers:  Jennifer Trosper, Curiosity Deputy Project Manager, JPL 


3:00    Break    


3:15    Destination Mars:  Pathways     

Moderator: John Baker, Systems Engineer, JPL  


  • John Guidi, Deputy Director, Directorate Integration Office, Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, NASA HQ 
  • Mike Gernhardt, Manager, Environmental Physiology Laboratory, NASA JSC
  • Lou Friedman, Executive Director Emeritus, The Planetary Society  
  • Joe Parrish, Deputy Manager, Mars Program Formulation, JPL


 5:15    Networking Reception with Movies

            Theodore von Kármán Auditorium


Wednesday, May 13


7:30    Registration Opens / Networking / Continental Breakfast   


8:30    Opening Remarks:  TBD 


8:45    Environment for Pragmatic Realities: Politics, Money and Technology

Moderator:  Charles Elachi, Director, JPL


  • Jeff Bingham, Space Studies Board and former Senior Advisor to the U.S. Senate   invited
  • Michael Potter, Senior Fellow, International Institute of Space Commerce
  • Bill Adkins, Washington Consultant for The Planetary Society; former Senior Staff, House Science Sub-Committee  
  • Joel Parriott, Deputy Executive Officer & Director of Public Policy, American Astronomical Society


10:15  Break


10:30  Roles and Perspectives of the Aerospace Industry

Moderator:  Larry James, Deputy Director, JPL 


  • Jim Crocker, Vice President and General Manager/Civil Space, Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company 
  • John Shannon, Program Manager, International Space Station, Boeing 
  • Gwynne Shotwell, President and CEO, SpaceX 
  • Frank Culbertson, Executive Vice President and President, Space Systems Group, Orbital ATK
  • Jeff Grant, Sector Vice President and General Manager, Space Systems,  Northrop Grumman


12:15  Lunch – Conversation with JPL’s Dawn Team

Carol Raymond, Dawn Mission Deputy PI; Bob Mase, Dawn Project Manager; Marc Rayman, Dawn Project System Engineer; and Christophe Sotin, Solar System Directorate Chief Scientist

12:15 to 12:45 – get food, return to seats

12:45 to 1:45 – Conversation with Dawn Team


1:45    NASA’s Robotic Space Science Program Today: Current status and selected highlights of late-breaking science discoveries  

Moderator:  Dan McCleese, JPL Chief Scientist  


  • Astrophysics – Jonas Zmuidzinas, Caltech
  • Planetary Science – Kevin Hand, JPL
  • Earth Science – Randall Friedl, JPL
  • Heliophysics – Marco Velli, UCLA
  • Exoplanets – Scott Gaudi, Ohio State  


3:15    Break 


3:30    Future Missions – Confirmed or Nearing Confirmation 

Moderator:  Jakob van Zyl, Associate Director for Program Formulation, JPL


  • WFIRST/AFTA – Neil Gehrels, NASA GSFC  
  • Solar Probe – Steve Arnold, APL   
  • Europa Mission – Bob Pappalardo, JPL 
  • PACE Mission – TBD, NASA GSFC   
  • SWOT Mission – Tamlin Pavelsky, JPL  
  • Exoplanet Technology Demo Missions – Gary Blackwood, JPL and NASA HQ


5:00    Wrap-up

Walt Faulconer, AAS Executive Vice President


Closing Reception with Optional Tour of JPL

Theodore von Kármán Auditorium



Note: This event is not sponsored by The Planetary Society. The Society has no control over, or responsibility for, the content or operation of events sponsored by other organizations.


Astronauts and Robots: Partners in Space Science and Exploration
May 12, 2015 - May 13, 2015, 7:00am - 5:00pm PDT
Theodore von Kármán Auditorium
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Pasadena, California
Buy Tickets



The American Astronautical Society will host a special meeting looking at the interplay of human and robotic explorers in space and scientific exploration. Planetary Society President Dr. Jim Bell will provide the keynote address. Special discount for Society members.
Facebook Twitter Email RSS AddThis

Planetary Defense

An asteroid or comet headed for Earth is the only large-scale natural disaster we can prevent. Working together to fund our Shoemaker NEO Grants for astronomers, we can help save the world.


Space in Images

Pretty pictures and
awe-inspiring science.

See More

Join The Planetary Society

Let’s explore the cosmos together!

Become a Member

Connect With Us

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and more…
Continue the conversation with our online community!