Advisory Council

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.

G. Scott Hubbard

Prof. G. Scott Hubbard has been engaged in science, technology research, and executive and program management for more than 40 years—including 20 years with NASA. He currently is a consulting Professor in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Stanford University where he focuses on planetary exploration, especially Mars and also serves as the Director of the Stanford Center of Excellence for Commercial Space Transportation.

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.

Bruce Jakosky

Dr. Jakosky is a Professor in the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics and the Dept. of Geological Sciences at the University of Colorado in Boulder, and is Associate Director for Science at LASP. His research interests are in the geology of planetary surfaces, the evolution of the Martian atmosphere and climate, the potential for life on Mars and elsewhere, and the philosophical and societal issues in astrobiology. He has been involved with the Viking, Solar Mesosphere Explorer, Clementine, Mars Observer, Mars Global Surveyor, Mars Odyssey, Mars Science Laboratory, and Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft missions. He headed the University of Colorado’s team in the NASA Astrobiology Institute for more than ten years. He is the Principal Investigator of the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) mission to Mars, which has been operating in Mars orbit since fall of 2014. He has published about 200 papers in the refereed scientific literature, and has authored or co-authored a number of books, including “The Search for Life on Other Planets” and “Science, Society, and the Search for Life in the Universe”.

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.

Charles E. Kohlhase Jr.

Charles Kohlhase is a planetary mission designer, author, artist, teacher, environmentalist, and public outreach specialist. In his five-decade JPL career, he led the mission design and navigation activities for robotic missions to most of the planets, including the epic Voyager Grand Tour and the international Cassini-Huygens mission to Saturn and Titan, receiving four NASA special achievement medals, including the Distinguished Service Medal. He produces fine art for galleries, participates in many joint art and science educational projects, and consults for NASA/JPL on future missions in 2020 and beyond.

Ben Lamm

Ben Lamm is a serial technology entrepreneur that builds intelligent and transformative businesses. He is currently the founder and CEO of Hypergiant, the Office of Machine Intelligence. Previous to founding Hypergiant, Lamm was the CEO and founder of Conversable, the leading conversational intelligence platform that helps brands reach their customers through automated experiences on all major messaging and voice platforms. Conversable was acquired by LivePerson in 2018.

Lamm was also the the founder and CEO of Chaotic Moon, a global mobile creative technology powerhouse acquired by Accenture. During his time at Chaotic Moon and as a Managing Director at Accenture, Lamm spearheaded the creation of some of the Fortune 500’s most groundbreaking digital products and experiences in the emerging tech world of IoT, VR, Connected Car, Mobile, Tablet, and Wearables.

After leaving Accenture, Lamm focused his attention on other ventures, including the consumer gaming company he co-founded, Team Chaos. Team Chaos was focused on making fun, original games that people can easily play across a variety of platforms. In 2016, Team Chaos was acquired by Zynga.

In addition to leading and growing his own companies, Lamm is very active in angel investing, incubators and startup communities, with investments in the software and emerging tech space. He is both an active voice in the tech community as well as actively mentoring fellow entrepreneurs on how to build disruptive businesses through accelerators and corporate programs. In addition to supporting startups, Lamm also serves on Adweek’s advisory board and the Planetary Society’s advisory council.

Lamm is often quoted in the press on innovation, technology and entrepreneurship, and has appeared as a thought leader in outlets such as Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Forbes, Adweek, Entrepreneur, Inc, Wired, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and Newsweek.

Laurie Leshin

Before becoming Director of Sciences and Exploration at NASA Goddard in August 2005, Laurie Leshin was The Dee and John Whiteman Dean's Distinguished Professor of Geological Sciences and the Director of the Center for Meteorites Studies at Arizona State University. She has served on President Bush's Commission on Implementation of United States Space Exploration Policy, and she has received the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal. The International Astronomical Union recognized her contributions to planetary science with the naming of asteroid 4922 Leshin.

Jon Lomberg

Jon Lomberg was involved in the formation of the Planetary Society in 1981, when he designed the famous sailing ship logo, used during the first 20 years of the Society's existence. An artist of science, he worked closely with astronomer Carl Sagan as Sagan's principle artistic collaborator for 25 years, collaborating on such projects as the TV series COSMOS (for which Lomberg was Chief Artist and won an Emmy Award); the film CONTACT; the Nuclear Winter hypothesis; and NASA's legendary Voyager Interstellar Record (for which Lomberg was Design Director). He was Project Director for the Planetary Society’s Visions of Mars DVD, now on Mars aboard NASA’s Phoenix lander. He also worked with Society President Jim Bell, Exec. Director Louis Friedman, and Director Bill Nye on the Mars sundial aboard the Mars rovers Spirit, Opportunity, and Curiosity.

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.

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.

Dipak Srinivasan

Dipak Srinivasan is a part of the Principal Staff at The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), in its Space Exploration Sector. He has a Bachelor’s and Master’s in Electrical Engineering from Cornell University, and another Master’s in Applied Physics from Johns Hopkins. He has led diverse teams to develop or operate systems to enable several NASA/APL spacecraft missions, including the MESSENGER mission to Mercury, the New Horizons mission to Pluto, the STEREO solar observatories, and the Van Allen Probes mission to study our planet’s radiation belts. He is currently the lead communications engineer for NASA’s Europa Clipper mission, and chairs a conference session at the International Astronautical Congress discussing deep-space and near-Earth communications systems.

As active STEAM advocates, Dipak and his wife, Aparna, regularly give talks at their local schools to energize young kids’ enthusiasm for both space science and engineering. Dipak is also an avid trumpet player and music composer/arranger, currently performing with the Hopkins Symphony Orchestra, and he also coaches his daughters’ soccer teams.

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.