Planetary Defense

Discuss Comprehensive Solutions Planetary Defense

Planetary Defense Location


Session Date and Time
Friday, May 24 @ 2 pm - 6 pm

This planetary defense session will bring together various branches of government, space agencies, and other international organizations to discuss comprehensive solutions in all areas of detecting, monitoring, understanding, predicting, preparing, and mitigating Near-Earth objects, including a multidisciplinary approach addressing recent developments in planetary defense. We accept papers on sample return missions on NEO properties and the analysis of small bodies’ material, including data on the mineralogy and thermomechanical properties of such bodies obtained through missions like OSIRIS-REx and Hayabusa2. Additionally, current and upcoming missions, including the first deflection test with DART, such as revised numerical modeling and physical characteristics of Didymos and Dimorphos, are also welcome. The multidisciplinary and synergetic approach will cover the impact hazard posed to space assets by micrometeoroids or human-made debris that can help drive technological advancements. The session will also cover various areas that inform the future of planetary defense, such as methods for the prevention of impactful events, preparations for the worst-case scenario mitigation campaigns, and factors entailed in decision-making, communication, education, legal considerations, and other transdisciplinary research that could help make better decisions and prevent any threat posed by an asteroid or comet.

Planetary Defense  Session Co-Chairs Info 

Nancy C Wolfson
The American institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA)
Presentation Title: Planetary Defense: New Platforms for Science Communication: Building Bridges Between Experts, New Audiences, and Decision-Makers

Nancy C. Wolfson is a Washington, D.C., US-based scholar, lecturer, and researcher. Nancy is a published author with over 18 years of professional managerial experience. President of Disrupting Space, a company dedicated to analog and risk management space-related research and developing international partnership opportunities for various space activities. Nancy focuses on space exploration, sustainability, and planetary defense research and education. Nancy was elected Vice-Chair of the International Astronautical Federation’s (IAF) Planetary Defense (PD) and Near-Earth Objects (NEOs) Technical Committee 2019-2021. Nancy is currently the Vice-Chair of the IAF Risk Management Committee, where she focuses on research for space and defense activities to identify and mitigate potential threats and exploit opportunities to support decision-makers. Nancy founded the first IAF Planetary Defense and Near-Earth Object Symposium (E10), innovating this initiative by uniting the topics of NEO-Space Debris in a Joint Session, receiving the support of 30 members of two IAF committees, the IAF bureau and the larger Planetary Defense-NEO community. Nancy’s current research is in the areas of planetary defense, asteroid missions, multiple applications, and lessons learned from COVID-19. Nancy advocates for increasing space agencies, young professional and citizen scientist-amateurs astronomer’s involvement in planetary defense. Nancy is acting as an Expert-Judge for the Unistellar-SETI “Nickname and Asteroid” Program; she provides formal recommendations to the International Astronomical Union (IAU) regarding newly discovered asteroids such as NEA 1999 AP10. She is a signatory to United Nations Asteroid Declaration-100X for Asteroid Day, to mention some.

Nancy is an active member of the America Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Society and Aerospace Technology; her role within the organization is to increase planetary defense and NEO content, launching Special Sessions online with AIAA-LA and acting as a Session Chair for SciTech and ASCEND. Nancy was recently elected Chair of the IAF Space Entrepreneurship and Investment Committee (IAF-SEIC), where she focuses on space sustainability, space resources utilization, public and private partnerships for manned and unmanned missions, and providing proposals to foster the diversification of the space economy-budgets for various sectors of the space industry, in this topic she is conducting a research on the UN-ITU for space resources utilization in collaboration with representatives from multiple space agencies. Wolfson’s objective is to democratize access to higher learning, making space concepts accessible to all academia, corporations, and the general public.

Project Manager, German Aerospace Center (DLR)

Dr. Stephan Ulamec is a highly skilled and experienced professional with over 20 years of expertise in the development and operations of space systems and instruments. For three decades, he has been associated with the German Aerospace Center, DLR, in Cologne. Dr. Ulamec is well-known for his contributions to the system engineering and project management of the Rosetta Lander, Philae. Currently, he is engaged as payload manager of MASCOT for the JAXA Hayabusa 2 mission and is also part of the science management board for the ESA HERA Mission. He is involved in various studies for in-situ packages for space research. He has contributed to the definition and performance of tests for various mechanisms and surface packages to be operated on planetary surfaces.

Dr. Ulamec’s outstanding achievements in the field of space exploration have been recognized with several prestigious awards, including the Juri Gagarin Medal of the Russian Cosmonautics Federation, the Sir Arthur Clark Award, and the International Academy of Astronautics, the IAA Team Award. The International Astronomical Union (IAU) has also named the asteroid (11818) Ulamec after him, further solidifying his contributions to space research.

Technical Director, International Academy of Astronautics

Claudio Maccone is a distinguished Italian SETI astronomer, space scientist, and mathematician. Maccone’s groundbreaking work in the field of SETI, or the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, has not only earned him worldwide recognition but has also significantly advanced our understanding of the universe. In 2002, he was awarded the “Giordano Bruno Award” by the SETI League for his efforts to establish a radio observatory on the far side of the moon. He later served as the Chair of the IAA SETI Permanent Committee from 2012 to 2021, where he organized SETI conferences worldwide. Maccone has published 149 scientific and technical papers and authored five highly mathematical books. Maccone is a member of the International Astronomical Union (IAU) and an Associate of Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica (INAF) in Italy. On September 2, 2001, NASA named the central main-belt binary asteroid 11264 Claudiomaccone in his honor. Since December 2021, Maccone, a respected leader in the field, has been serving as the Chair of the IAA Moon Farside Protection Permanent Committee alongside his Co-Chair, Prof. Jack O. Burns, from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Planetary Defense Presentation Speakers

Business Analyst
Presentation Title: From Ozone Layer to Planetary Defense: Lessons from the Montreal Protocol

Kevin, a business analyst with a passion for history and gaming, has extensively studied the correlation between the rise and fall of civilizations and their infrastructure quality. With several published papers on historical economic trends and their application to commercial space development, he continues to contribute to this field. Kevin holds a master’s degree in real estate development from George Mason School of Business and has a diverse educational background, including Engineering Physics, Environmental Science, and Urban Planning.
Currently, Kevin is working on space solar power, advocating for the development of both soft and hard space infrastructure, and managing commercial real estate. With over a decade of experience as a developer and business analyst, he brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to his current projects. His work aims to drive innovation and progress in the field of space infrastructure development. Kevin envisions a future where space infrastructure is robust and efficient, powering our world and beyond. He believes in the potential of space solar power and is dedicated to making this vision a reality.

Aerospace Engineer, Planetary Sunshade Foundation
Presentation Title: Utilizing Moon and Asteroid Materials to Build a Space Sunshade

As a space enthusiast and aerospace engineer at Boeing, Damian is actively engaged with the Planetary Sunshade Foundation, contributing to their efforts in promoting the concept of space-based solar radiation management as a means to address climate change.

Doctoral Researcher, University of Southern California
Presentation Title: Atmospheric Demise of High-Speed Entering Bodies: The Case of Aluminum

José Pedro Ferreira is a Fulbright and NASA FINESST fellow pursuing a doctoral degree in Astronautical Engineering at the University of Southern California under the subject of space sustainability and the environmental impact of spacecraft demise in the atmosphere. He has been trained in concurrent engineering by ESA and in nanosatellite technology by ISRO. José contributed as a guest researcher at Delft University of Technology and at NASA Ames Research Center. As an aerospace engineer, he served as the lead systems engineer for the INFANTE project that developed a SAR microsatellite, and as a guest lecturer at the Polytechnic Institute of Setubal where he also conducted research at its Center for Product Development and Technology Transfer. Furthermore, José worked as the co-lead of the Commercial Space Project Group within the Space Generation Advisory Council, is an effective member of the Space Entrepreneurship and Investment Committee at the International Astronautical Federation and served as a delegate in the 57th and 58th Scientific and Technical Subcommittees of the UN COPUOS. José is the recipient of the ESA Space for Sustainability award in 2023.

Project Leader, The Aerospace Corporation
Presentation Title: Defending Earth from Asteroids and Comets: How We Might Respond to the Threat

Dr. Nahum Melamed is a project leader in the Embedded Control Systems Department in the Guidance and Control Subdivision at The Aerospace Corporation, where he has been serving since 2003. He is responsible for guiding and coordinating a team of interdepartmental technical experts as the technical lead in Launch Vehicle Software. Dr. Melamed is also involved in supporting the validation and certification of the flight software and mission parameters for NASA’s Artemis missions. He serves as the point of contact for management, program office, customer, and contractors in the flight software area. Dr. Melamed actively monitors the flight operations on the day of the launch, performs post-flight analyses, and participates in discussions concerning launch performance. Throughout his tenure at Aerospace, Dr. Melamed has established a corporate educational standard for knowledge and competency in space systems engineering. He conducts planetary defense technical and policy studies, co-chairs planetary defense conferences, serves on exercise organizing committees, speaks at these venues, and supports science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) events. Dr. Melamed holds a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in aeronautical engineering from the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology, and a Ph.D. in aerospace engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology. Dr. Melamed has been honored by The Aerospace University (TAU) for leading the development of a web-based asteroid deflection application jointly with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. He has also been recognized for instructing a TAU planetary defense class utilizing the tool. Upon successfully completing the corporation’s certificate program, Dr. Melamed was awarded the Aerospace Systems Architecting Engineering Certificate. He is also a member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

President, International Space Elevator Consortium
Presentation Title: Apex Anchors – Providing Stereoscopic Surveillance towards the Sun for Planetary Defense

Peter A. Swan, Ph.D, is President of the International Space Elevator Consortium and leads teams to further the Space Elevator concepts. He is also a Senior Vice President for Galactic Harbour Associates. Dr. Swan is very active inside the National Space Society with leadership in each year’s International Space Development Conference, the Roadmap Document team, the SpacEdge Academy, and their Center of Educational Excellence on Space Elevators. Over 20 years he has published many books on space topics as author and/or co-editor. He is an Academician of the International Academy of Astronautics. He has edited three major Cosmic Studies on Space Elevators and space mineral resources for the Academy. He graduated from the US Military Academy in 1968, with a Bachelor of Science degree, and served 20 years in the Air Force with a variety of research and development positions in the space arena. Upon retirement in 1988, he joined Motorola on the Iridium satellite program. He lead the team responsible for the development of the Iridium spacecraft bus. In 1998, he helped develop Teaching Science and Technology, Inc. a company that teaches space systems engineering. His classes emphasized engineering know-how and management techniques to successfully develop space systems. He teaches at Arizona State University within OLLI. He is a fellow of both British Interplanetary Society and American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Pete received his Ph.D. from the University of California at Los Angeles in Space Systems Engineering. A few of his books are: Road to the Space Elevator Era; Space Elevators: An Assessment of the Technological Feasibility and the Way Forward; Space Elevator Architecture and Roadmaps; Space Elevators are the Green Road to Space; and, Space Elevators are the Transportation Story of the 21st Century.

High School Junior, Valley Christian High School
Presentation Title: Next-Generation Space Science: Young Professionals Developing CNN-Based Detection of Near-Earth Objects

Minghao Zou, a junior at Valley Christian High School, excels in physics and astronomy, with achievements including a Bronze at the US Physics Olympiad, Silver in the International Astronomy, Astrophysics Competition and National Astronomy Competition finalist. He has published astrophysics paper focusing on asteroid detection and simulating relativistic particles in electromagnetic fields and spacetimes, in collaboration with Dr. Bart Ripperda. He also founded the non-profit organization One People One Cosmos (OPOC). With the motto “science transcends borders,” OPOC spreads the passion for astronomy by tutoring underserved students and advocating for equal education to all.

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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