How Will We Best Explore, Prospect, and Settle Our Natural Satellite?

Moon Location


Session Date and Time
Sunday, May 26 @ 10 am - 12 noon & 2 pm - 6 pm

During the Space Age, the United States sent astronauts to the lunar surface six times, exploring a tiny fraction of its equatorial regions. Before and since that time, a handful of robotic explorers have expanded these investigations incrementally. Lunar orbiters have mapped the entirety of the lunar surface in the past few decades … yet this closest of Earth’s neighbors remains just out of reach for habitation and exploitation. But this situation is at a crossroads, with the spacefaring powers of Earth, and many private companies in the U.S. and abroad, poised to reach the Moon within the decade. How will we best explore, prospect, and settle our natural satellite? The Moon session at ISDC will bring together some of our finest thinkers to explore the subject in depth.

Moon  Session Chair Info

Department of Astronautical Engineering, Viterbi School of Engineering

Madhu Thangavelu conducts the ASTE527 graduate Space Exploration Architectures Concept Synthesis Studio in the Department of Astronautical Engineering within the Viterbi School of Engineering, and he is also a graduate thesis adviser in the School of Architecture at USC. He holds degrees in both engineering and architecture and has contributed extensively to concepts in space architecture, especially dealing with extraterrestrial development. He is the author or co-author of over 70 technical papers in space architecture, lunar base design and human factors, and co-author of the book The Moon: Resources, Future Development and Settlement (1999) published by John Wiley and Sons and the second edition by Springer/Praxis in 2007. He is the invited author of the chapter “Living on the Moon” in the Encyclopedia of Aerospace Engineering, a major reference work published by John Wiley and Sons in 2010 and the online second edition updated in 2012. He is a member of the USC team that won the NASA NIAC Phase I award in 2011 and Phase II award in 2012. As a former AIAA officer, he served as Vice Chair for Education in the Los Angeles section. He is on the faculty of the International Space University, an international organization that provides training for a promising new generation of leaders and space professionals around the world.

He is a strong advocate for articulating the philosophy of space: Scientists and Engineers(in particular) have a tendency to get lost in the tools and toys they make, though some of us do arrive at philosophy for the meaning of what we do and why, via the long route of experience. By then, alas, for the most part, our life’s work is done. It is a good idea to set us all on a solid foundation in space philosophy, so we can all have a steady handle on our works, as nature reveals her secrets… slowly, ever so slowly, but surely…

Moon Presentation Speakers

CEO, Leviathan Space Industries & Guayaquil Space Society & Ambassador Milo Space Science Institute
Presentation Title: Workforce Development in the Artemis Accords Framework

Robert Aillon is the founder and CEO of Leviathan Space Industries LLC, which is leading the initiative to develop a Private Spaceport in Ecuador. Robert serves as President of the Guayaquil Space Society, a chapter of the National Space Society where he also serves as International Chapter Coordinator. As a current member of the Global Spaceport Alliance, he participates in the Working group of Point-to-Point Transportation and Academic Partnerships. Currently he participates in the Committee of Emerging Countries and Developing Communities (ACDCEC) as a member of the International Astronautical Federation. He is an active board member of GEN Space which supports the creation of a space based entrepreneurial ecosystem. He works in education outreach activities with schools and universities in Ecuador, having sent the first Ecuadorian seeds to the International Space Station in a project with local students.

Student, Member of NSS and AIAA
Presentation Title: MOON Cubes: A Rapidly Deployable Lunar Construction System

With experience spanning robotics, IT, sales, consulting, sustainable construction and 28+ LEED design build projects across 3 countries, Andrew built a supremely satisfying career working with teams to deliver affordable, sustainable and efficient built environments. This knowledge lends strength and credibility to his lunar and Martian construction research, emphasizing simplified techniques and delivery. His title of ‘Martian Plumber’ came from his work at the Mars Society’s Mars Desert Research Station in Utah, where he volunteered to re-plumb the freshwater system for the entire habitat.

High School Student, Mars Institute
Presentation Title: An ATV For The Moon

Finn Braun is a junior year high school student in Colorado and is interested in space exploration. He has a strong background and interest in mathematics, engineering, and design.

Director, International Lunar Observatory Association

Steve Durst is Director of the International Lunar Observatory Association, based in Hawai’i, and its ILOA Galaxy Forum program, committed to advance 21st Century Education and see Humans on the Moon within the decade — the first giant step toward the Galaxy / Stars. He also is Editor and Publisher at Space Age Publishing Company, since 1976, and operates its Hawai`i (1988) and California offices. Space Age publishes and Space Calendar (weekly) and Lunar Enterprise Daily, and supports pioneering enterprises such as the ILOA, Stanford on the Moon, and Ad Astra Kansas initiatives.

CTO, Gravitronics
Presentation Title: Wireless Power Transfer System for Lunar and Planetary Exploration

Dr. Harrison works on superluminal space engines, after 37 years as a lead technologist and Associate Fellow at Lockheed Martin. He fielded many advanced projects for the military services, including artificial intelligence and augmented reality. He contributed 40 patents.

University of California, Los Angeles
Presentation Title: Recent Lava Tube Findings

Tyler is a PhD student at UCLA studying the thermal environment of the Moon, focusing on lunar pits and caves, water ice within permanently shadowed regions at the lunar Poles, and the production of global high-resolution thermal maps. He has been involved in multiple NASA missions and mission concepts, including the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter’s Diviner Lunar Radiometer Experiment, Lunar Flashlight, the Lunar Compact Infrared imaging Spectrometer (L-CIRiS), and the Moon Diver mission concept to explore lunar pits. Tyler is also part-time faculty at Loyola Marymount University’s Physics department teaching astronomy.

Co-founder and Chairman, Mars Institute
Presentation Title: Clavius: An Off-Polar Site Option For The NASA Artemis Base Camp

Dr. Pascal Lee is a Planetary Scientist at the SETI Institute. He is Co-Founder and Chairman of the Mars Institute, and Director of the Haughton-Mars Project (HMP) at NASA Ames Research Center. He holds an ME in Geology and Geophysics from the University of Paris, and a PhD in Astronomy and Space Sciences from Cornell University.

Pascal Lee’s research focuses on asteroids, impact craters, and Mars, in particular the history of water on Mars. Based on his fieldwork in Earth’s polar regions, Lee was first to propose the Cold Early Mars model which suggests, counter to conventional wisdom, that Mars was climatically cold throughout its history, rather than ever “warm and wet”.

Pascal Lee has worked extensively in the Arctic and Antarctica viewed as “analogs” for Mars. In 1988, he wintered over in Antarctica as Chief Geophysicist at Dumont d’Urville Station, Adelie Land. He participated in five additional summer field campaigns in Antarctica with the U.S., French, and Chilean polar programs, including three as a member of the United States Antarctic Search for Meteorites (ANSMET) project. He is a recipient of the United States Antarctic Service Medal.

In 1997, Pascal Lee initiated the Haughton-Mars Project (HMP), an international multidisciplinary field research project focused on planetary science and human exploration studies at the Haughton meteorite impact crater site on Devon Island, High Arctic. He established the Haughton-Mars Project Research Station (HMPRS), now the largest privately operated polar research station in the world. To date, Lee has led 18 summer and 5 winter field campaigns in the Arctic, including the recent Northwest Passage Drive Expedition in 2009-2011 during which he and five other team members drove a Humvee serving as a pressurized rover simulator over a record-setting distance of 500 km on sea-ice along the fabled Northwest Passage.

Pascal Lee is internationally recognized for his efforts to advance the human exploration of Mars, in particular via its moons Phobos and Deimos. He has led, or participated in, the development of several new mission concepts to explore Mars and its moons, of new spacesuit technologies for Moon and Mars exploration, and of pressurized vehicles for future human planetary exploration. Lee was scientist-pilot of the first field test of NASA’s Small Pressurized Rover (SPR), a.k.a. the Space Exploration Vehicle (SEV). Lee also led the first field investigations of the use of robotic arm systems in support of human explorers operating future pressurized vehicles on asteroids, the Moon, and Mars.

Pascal Lee is the author and co-author of over 100 scientific publications and the recipient of research grants from NASA, the National Research Council, the Canadian Space Agency, and the National Geographic Society’s Committee for Research & Exploration. He is as an advisor to NASA.

Pascal Lee is the author of a non-fiction children’s book titled MISSION: MARS, published by Scholastic. The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) awarded MISSION: MARS the 2015 AAAS/Subaru Prize for Excellence in Children’s Science Book in the Middle Grades Category.

Pascal Lee enjoys flying and painting (but not at the same time). He is an FAA-certified helicopter commercial pilot and flight instructor, and an artist member of the International Association of Astronomical Artists (IAAA).

Architect, DesignArt
Presentation Title: Advancing Modular Underground Architecture for Lunar Habitation

Ayse Oren is an architect, designer, and sculptor with expertise in electronics and design, emphasizing the integration of human life into her projects. She advocates for the fusion of underground architecture and culture with modularity to potentially establish standardization in space architecture. Inspired by historical cave architecture, she applies these principles to future space habitation with a unified and academic approach.

President & Founder, The Space Development Network
Presentation Title: The Application of Inflatable Habitats on the Moon

Dr. Plata is an Urgent Care physician in Southern California and the President and Founder of the Space Development Network. He presents frequently at space conferences, the radio, and podcasts. His primary interest is in the near-term development of humanity’s first permanent foothold off Earth starting at the Moon and the steps necessary to achieve full self-sufficiency on Mars on a small scale. The Network is projects-oriented and is free to join forever.

Master of Building Science student at the University of Southern California School of Architecture
Presentation Title: Leader: Lunar Equatorial Daylight Exploration Rover

Saba is a graduate student specializing in Building Science at the University of Southern California’s School of Architecture. She is an experienced architectural designer backed by a robust foundation in Architecture and Building Science and technology, with a specialization in Workplace Design, Master Planning for Biotech, commercial, and residential projects. Saba has a deep knowledge of environmental studies and sustainability practices, which she incorporates into her designs to ensure they are not only aesthetically pleasing but also functional and environmentally responsible. She is a dynamic collaborator and leader, skilled at generating innovative ideas and blending diverse skills throughout all phases of project development.

President, Science of Laws Institute
Presentation Title: Lunar Lava Tubes and Chambers: Optimum Sites for Permanent Lunar Settlement

David G. Schrunk is an aerospace engineer and medical doctor with board certifications in the medical specialties of nuclear medicine and diagnostic radiology. He has authored numerous papers and presentations on scientific and law topics related to the exploration and development of the Moon and is a co-author of the book, “The Moon: Resources, Future Development, and Settlement.” Dr. Schrunk’s affiliations include the International Lunar Observatory Association, The Science of Laws Institute, INCOSE, AAAS, AIAA, and NSS.

Conceptual Designer,
Presentation Title: Spacehabs Simulator

Bryan Versteeg has spent decades designing and visualizing the future of humankind off the Earth for private space companies, documentaries, hundreds of scientific publications and space advocacy organizations like the NSS. He is the founder of

Research Scientist & Engineering Consultant

Leslie Wickman, Ph.D., is an internationally respected research scientist, engineering consultant, author and inspirational speaker. For more than a decade Wickman was an engineer for Lockheed Martin Missiles & Space, where she worked on NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and International Space Station Programs, receiving commendations from NASA for her contributions and being designated as Lockheed’s Corporate Astronaut. Wickman recently resigned from four years as Executive Director of the non-profit American Scientific Affiliation, and now spends most of her time on a variety of free-lance projects. She recently became the Principal Investigator on a Templeton-funded project to advance the participation of women in the important field of Science & Religion. She is also an ordained minister.

Other Sessions at ISDC 2025

Preserving Aerospace Heritage
Infrastructure is the Backbone of Civilization
Space Ventures Stride Toward Lucrative Horizons
Newest and Most Exciting Ideas
Growing Life Beyond Earth: Innovating for Sustainable Space Habitats
...Some More Traveled Than Others
A Martian Renaissance is at Hand
How Will We Best Explore, Prospect, and Settle Our Natural Satellite?
Discuss Comprehensive Solutions Planetary Defense
Learn More About the History of Tomorrow
Educating and Enlightening People
Exciting Technology that will Revolutionize Access to Space
Global Collaboration for Outer Space
Medical Capabilities to Travel Into Deep Space
Who Owns the Vast Riches of Space?
Making Humanity a Space Faring Species
Core Interest of the NSS Since the 1970s
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