Advisory Council

Buzz Aldrin

Selected by NASA in 1963 into the third group of astronauts, Buzz Aldrin was the first with a doctorate and became known as “Dr. Rendezvous.” The docking and rendezvous techniques he devised for spacecraft in Earth and lunar orbit became critical to the success of the Gemini and Apollo programs, and are still used today. He pioneered underwater training techniques to simulate spacewalking. In 1966 on the Gemini 12 orbital mission, Buzz performed the world’s first successful spacewalk – extra-vehicular activity (EVA), and set a new EVA record of 5 1⁄2 hours. During that mission he also took the first ‘selfie’ in space. On July 20, 1969, Buzz and Neil Armstrong made their historic Apollo 11 moonwalk, becoming the first two humans to set foot on another world. Since retiring from NASA and the U.S. Air Force, Col. Aldrin calls himself a Global Statesman for Space and has remained a tireless advocate for human space exploration.

Robert D. Braun

Dr. Robert D. Braun has 30 years experience as a space systems engineer, technologist, and organizational leader. He is a recognized authority in the development of entry, descent and landing systems and the advancement of space technology. He leads an active research program focused on the design of advanced flight systems and technologies for planetary exploration and has contributed to the formulation, development, and operation of multiple space flight missions. He began service as the Dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Science in January 2017. From 2003 to 2016, he served as a faculty member at the Georgia Institute of Technology where he led the Space Systems Design Laboratory and founded the Center for Space Technology and Research. Prior to joining the Georgia Tech faculty, Dr. Braun was a member of the technical staff of the NASA Langley Research Center for 16 years. He served as the NASA Chief Technologist in 2010 and 2011.

Dr. Braun is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, Vice Chair of the National Academies Space Studies Board, an AIAA Fellow, and the author or co-author of over 300 technical publications. He received a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from Penn State, M.S. in Astronautics from the George Washington University, and Ph.D. in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Stanford University.

David Brin

David Brin is a scientist, author and public speaker. Several of his novels have been New York Time Bestsellers, winning multiple Hugo, Nebula and other awards. As a member of the Planetary Society, Brin has helped rouse support for Society programs such as the development of solar sails and he has spoken at PlanetFest and other events celebrating planetary encounters. He serves on the external council of NASA's Innovative and Advanced Concepts program. After receiving an undergraduate degree in astrophysics from Caltech, Brin earned a Ph.D in Planetary Science from UCSD with his work on the physics and evolution of comets. His books include The Postman (filmed by Kevin Costner), Startide Rising, Kiln People and many more.

Nagin Cox

Nagin Cox graduated from Cornell University with a BS in Operations Research and Industrial Engineering and a BA in Psychology and was commissioned as an officer in the US Air Force. She worked in F-16 Aircrew Training and received a masters degree in Space Operations Systems Engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology. As a captain, she served as an Orbital Analyst at NORAD/Space Command in Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado Springs. In 1993, joined the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and has since served as a systems engineer and manager on multiple interplanetary robotic missions including NASA/JPL’s Galileo mission to Jupiter, the Mars Exploration Rover Missions and the Kepler telescope mission to search for earth-like planets around other stars. She is currently on the mission operations team for Mars Science Laboratory (MSL)—NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover.

G. Scott Hubbard

Dr. Scott Hubbard has been a leader in space exploration for almost 50 years. His career includes a National Lab, a start-up venture, NASA, and Stanford. At NASA, Dr. Hubbard is best known as Director of NASA’s Ames Research Center, the first Mars Program Director (aka the "Mars Czar"), and the founder of NASA's Astrobiology Institute. As the sole NASA member of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board, Hubbard’s work demonstrated the definitive technical cause of the accident. At Stanford, Hubbard was very active in the emerging entrepreneurial space enterprise, establishing a peer-reviewed journal New Space, and creating the Stanford Center of Excellence for Commercial Space Transportation. From 2012 to 2023, Hubbard chaired the SpaceX Commercial Crew Safety Advisory Panel. Although now retired from teaching and advising he continues to serve on various committees for the National Academy, NASA and other groups. He is the author of the award-winning "Exploring Mars: Chronicles from a Decade of Discovery," and his many honors include eight NASA medals, including NASA’s highest recognition, the Distinguished Service Medal. Dr. Hubbard is also an Honorary Fellow of the AIAA. More background is available at, including Hubbard's lifelong passion for playing music.

Garry E. Hunt

Garry Hunt has been an active member of The Planetary Society since its formation and a tireless communicator, as both a speaker and author of the results of space exploration to audiences all over the world. A former staff member of JPL, and the UK’s only scientist selected at the start of the Voyager mission in 1972, he was actively involved in all the other NASA Planetary and many Earth Climate missions through the 70-90s. These activities formed the basis of major UK research groups at UCL and Imperial College. Garry has also held many appointments at Universities both in the UK and the US as a Professor of Atmospheric Physics. Among other posts, Garry is a Past President of IAU Commission 16 (The Planets), the Commission on Planetary Atmospheres and their Evolution (IMAP), Chairman of the Space Society and a founding member of the Planetary Society. Now a successful international businessman, he has been a CEO and Executive Director of several major FTSE companies including Logica and ICL, a non Executive Director and advisor to numerous UK and US companies and Governments. For more than four decades, Garry has been a regular speaker about space exploration and climate change throughout the world, to audiences on TV, radio, and to businesses, Universities, schools and societies throughout the world . Garry is a Freeman of the City of London, a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Information Technologists and has been awarded the Queen's Jubilee Medal for his work in local community.

Mark Hunter

Mark Hunter is an attorney and works for Entergy Corporation, an integrated energy company engaged primarily in electric power production and retail distribution operations. Mr. Hunter handles transmission regulatory and policy issues for the company, which owns and operates regulated and merchant power plants with approximately 30,000 megawatts of generating capacity and a 2018 annual revenue of approximately $11 billion. The company’s utility business serves roughly three million customers in four states; its merchant portfolio includes nuclear plants that primarily serve the country’s northeastern states.

Prior to joining Entergy Corporation, Mr. Hunter practiced law at the Chamberlain Hrdlicka law firm in Houston, Texas, where he counseled clients in all facets of intellectual property, including patents, licensing, litigation, trademarks, and energy-related matters.

Prior to entering the legal profession, Mr. Hunter gained significant, extensive experience as an electrical engineer and a physicist. He also conducted extensive research involving MEMS devices and signal processing, which led to multiple publications in the electrical engineering field. In 2003, Mr. Hunter was selected as one of 30 students from all over the world to conduct research at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, FL. Mr. Hunter’s research involved the development of a closed ecological system to support plant cultivation on other planetary bodies. This research supported NASA’s goal of human exploration on Mars.

Ryan Johnson

Ryan Johnson, J.D., is a nationally recognized lawyer for innovative healthcare and technology companies. Ryan frequently lectures about issues emerging from the intersection of law, science, and technology. He is a serial social entrepreneur who has founded several organizations designed to enhance the public’s support and understanding of science, including the Northstar Science Film Festival. Ryan currently serves as a director and officer of, a charitable organization that asks political candidates, elected officials, the public and the media to focus more on science policy issues of vital importance to modern life. He is a shareholder at the law firm of Fredrikson & Byron, P.A.

Ryan Kriser

Ryan Kriser is an investment entrepreneur with a lifelong passion for bringing the emerging private space sector to market. He is the founder and CIO of Helios Capital, a family office dedicated to supporting private investors and entrepreneurs, especially within disruptive technology. In addition to Mr. Kriser’s endeavor at Helios Capital, he is also CIO and co-founder of The Robert Andrew Kriser Foundation, which supports other nonprofits aligned with the foundation’s goals. Some of the foundation’s interests include The Planetary Society, SENS Research Foundation, and Space for Humanity.

Ben Lamm

Ben Lamm is the co-founder and CEO of Colossal. Ben is a serial technology entrepreneur driven to solve the most complex challenges facing our planet. For over a decade, Ben has built disruptive businesses that future-proof our world. In addition to leading and growing his own companies, he is passionate about emerging technology, science, space and climate change. Active in angel investing, incubators and startup communities, Ben invests in software and emerging tech, and is deeply engaged in the technology, defense and climate change communities.

Prior to Colossal, Ben served as the founder and CEO to a number of companies, including Hypergiant, an enterprise AI software company focused on critical infractures, space, and defense; Conversable, the leading conversational intelligence platform that helps brands reach customers through automated experiences acquired by LivePerson; and Chaotic Moon, a global creative technology powerhouse acquired by Accenture. Ben was also the co-founder of Team Chaos, a consumer gaming company acquired by Zynga.

Ben is a fellow of the Explorer's Club, whose mission is to promote the scientific exploration of land, sea, air, and space by supporting research and education in the physical, natural and biological sciences. He also sits on the Advisory Council for the Arch Mission. Ben has appeared as a thought leader in many publications, including the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Forbes, Entrepreneur, Wired, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and Newsweek on topics such as innovation, technology and entrepreneurship.

Rosaly Lopes

Rosaly Lopes is a Senior Research Scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology. Specializing in planetary and terrestrial geology and volcanology, Lopes has traveled extensively to active volcanoes on all continents. Lopes worked on the Galileo mission and was responsible for observations of Jupiter's volcanic moon Io from 1996 to 2001, discovering 71 active volcanoes. She is currently the Investigation Scientist on the Cassini Titan Radar Mapper Team and is studying the geology of Titan, particularly its strange ice volcanoes. She is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and of the Geological Society of America.

Brian Murphy

Brian Murphy comes to the Advisory Council with a strong connection to space travel and exploration. Growing up in Southern California, Brian was a child of the Space Race. His father worked for North American Aviation, which produced the X-15 rocket plane, the second stage of the Saturn V rocket, along with the Apollo command module. Like many of his colleagues here at The Society, he was also an avid watcher of Carl Sagan’s Cosmos series.

Brian arrives on the heels of a thirty year career in major gifts fundraising in higher education, space, and environmental advocacy. In addition to his duties as a major gifts officer, he co-chaired a fundraising committee to build a new swimming complex at his alma mater, Occidental College. He is also a part-time coach for a youth swimming team.

Brian Pope

Brian Pope, a Yale-educated Native American writer/director, entrepreneur, and philanthropist, founded Arc/k Project, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in 2014 in the hopes of revolutionizing digital cultural heritage preservation. Pope combines a passion for art, film, and technology with a lifelong commitment to philanthropy by empowering cultures in crisis to protect their own identity against illicit trafficking, digital poaching, vandalism, and ideological/religious warfare.

The Arc/k Project works to put digital tools in the hands of those that can make a real difference. Arc/k recently created a crowd-sourced 3D reconstruction of the ancient ruins in Palmyra, Syria from software analysis of over 12,000 photos following its destruction by ISIS in 2015. Additionally, a highly successful campaign in cooperation with citizens and museums to archive endangered artworks such as bronze statues, historic paintings, and sculptures in Venezuela is currently ongoing.

Pope's beliefs about the roles of space exploration, science fiction storytelling, and humanist values and technologies also inspired him to found XR media lab Cognition in 2015, which hosts a progressive RE • t h i n k™ platform of ideas and endeavors, making Cognition a unique think-tank and development center. Among several current projects, Cognition is developing a high-concept science fiction computer game which, as part of gameplay, will teach the ethics and practices of basic archiving techniques as they might be employed to immortalize the history of human space exploration, to be released on PC and game consoles in spring/summer 2024.

Pete Slosberg

Pete Slosberg received his B.S. in Space Mechanics and Propulsion and his MBA from Columbia University and had jobs for three summers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. His first career was in the technology industry, where he held management positions at Xerox, ROLM, and IBM. In 1986, he turned a home brewing hobby into a pioneering craft beer company: Pete's Wicked Ale. After ten consecutive years of over 100% growth rates and three years on the Inc. Magazine top 100 fastest growing private companies, his company went public and was then sold. He then turned a love of Belgian chocolate into another company, Cocoa Pete's Chocolate Adventures, which was also sold. More recently, he has been active in helping to grow the craft beer business in South America; volunteering with the Clinton Foundation Entrepreneurship program and SCORE, the Service Corps of Retired Executives.

Timothy Spahr

Tim Spahr is the CEO of NEO Sciences LLP and former director of the Minor Planet Center in the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. He is also the coordinator of the Planetary Society's Shoemaker NEO Grant program.

Kevin Stube

Kevin Stube servers as a contractor at the NASA Ames Research Center supporting biological research projects to the International Space Station through strategic planning and management.

Kevin sees peaceful exploration and settlement of space as a priority for humanity, but this is difficult in the current economic difficulties of the world. He supports a dynamic international cooperative including government, commercial, private, and advocacy groups such as the Planetary Society, helps reduce the cost of space exploration and improve the economy.

Kevin Stube has followed a passion for space since he was ten years old and received a poster of the Hubble Space Telescope. Kevin received a Masters Degree in Space Studies and a Masters in Business Administration and Project Management. He has also studied doctoral level planetary science at the University of Arizona. Kevin was a member of the TESS mission proposal team and test support engineer for the TEGA instrument of the Mars Phoenix Mission.

Kevin Stube helped start the first, and all subsequent, IAF Young Professionals Programme at the International Astronautical Federation as a vehicle to offer more opportunities to young people and people from developing countries in the aerospace industry. He is the Chair of the IAF Workforce Development and Young Professionals Programme Committee and a member of the IAF Technical Advisory Committee for the Cultural Uses of Space (ITTACUS), and the Entrepreneurship and Investment Committee as well as a member of several award selection panels for more than 10 years.

Lorne Trottier

Lorne M. Trottier is co-founder of Matrox, a privately held group of companies known for innovative computer graphics, video and imaging products. He is a member of the advisory boards of McGill University’s Faculties of Engineering and Science, and he is a Governor Emeritus of the University. Trottier widely supports science education in Canada and has long been a supporter of The Planetary Society. Trottier also provides the Society with guidance for our work in Canada.

Neil deGrasse Tyson

An astrophysicist with the American Museum of Natural History and the Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium, Neil remains close to his hometown roots in New York City where he graduated from the Bronx High School of Science. Neil earned his BA in Physics from Harvard and his PhD in Astrophysics from Columbia. While Neil has focused his early research primarily on stellar evolution and galactic structure, he has also devoted considerable energy to educating the public. Neil's professional research interests include star formation, exploding stars, dwarf galaxies, and the structure of our Milky Way, working with data from the Hubble Space Telescope, as well as from telescopes in California, New Mexico, Arizona, and the Andes Mountains of Chile.