Science Fiction to Fact

Learn More About the History of Tomorrow

Science Fiction to Fact Location

Laguna

Session Date and Time
Sunday, May 26 @ 2 pm - 6 pm

Science fiction has long provided a tantalizing glimpse of a great future for humans in space. While for decades this was purely speculative, the 21st century has seen the rapid development of concepts that were pure fiction just a few decades ago. The reusable rockets of SpaceX were the stuff of black-and-white Saturday matinees in the 1960s. Much of the technology of shows like “Star Trek” are now in daily use, with more coming online every year. Even nuclear and fusion propulsion systems may not be far off. What other speculative technologies—and the societies that will benefit from them—loom on the horizon? Join some of the great voices in sci-fi to learn more about the history of tomorrow.

Panel Title: The Magic Behind the Motivation

Panel Description: Hollywood has a special gift of creating strange new worlds…worlds that are so realistic in design, one can’t help but be inspired. Since the advent of science fiction, people have imagined new technologies and described or presented them with incredible detail that people couldn’t resist the temptation to actually create them. This panel will go into detail about the creative process that some of Hollywood’s best professionals use to expand our imaginations. 

Panelists:

  • Melissa Navia:  Actor, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds
  • Howard Berger: Co-owner of KNB EFX Group and Oscar- and Emmy-winning prosthetic make-up artist and visual effects creator for over 200 films and TV shows including The Orville, The Chronicles of Narnia, and The Walking Dead)
  • Greg Russell: 16-time Oscar-nominated post-production sound mixer on over 235 feature films including the Transformers franchise, Star Trek IV, Starship Troopers, Pearl Harbor, and Armageddon.
  • Moderator – Dr. Anthony Paustian:  Chief Creative Officer for Bookpress Publishing & Media and Chair of ISDC 2024

 

Fireside Chat: Selling Space Science: TV’s Cosmic Conundrum

Description: When it comes to scripted television, science fiction is doing better ever. The 3 Body Problem, For All Mankind, The Expanse, Foundation…all are standouts in the genre. But even though streaming TV has opened more doors to distribution, unscripted science TV (sci-fact, you could say) lags far behind its bigger cousin. Why is this? Join Rod Pyle, editor-in-chief of Ad Astra, as he talks with Jeff Stepp, twice Emmy-nominated documentary TV producer and development executive with twenty years of experience bringing science and history to a television audience. Jeff’s credits include Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman, History’s Greatest Mysteries, and The UnXplained with William Shatner. Do we have to accept our inevitable status as television outliers? How can we reach audiences with the captivating and cutting-edge real science that props up science fiction without alienating those same viewers?

 

Panel Title: Creating the Roddenberry Future

Panel Description: Star Trek‘s hopeful vision of the future is what makes its message so inspiring and enduring, especially for aerospace professionals – but how can we create the Roddenberry future now? Join Star Trek talent, experts, and space enthusiasts for a discussion on how to bring equality and activism to your professional and personal networks.

Panelists: 

  • John Billingsley:  Actor: Star Trek: Enterprise
  • Nana Visitor:  Actor: Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
  • Alex Rosalez:  Director of Product, Inclusion at Snap and Amazon; Trekkie & Philanthropist
  • Moderator – Amy Imhoff:  Above Space, Assoc. Commercial Space Professionals, Star Trek talent media director

Science Fiction to Fact  Session Co-Chairs Info 

VP of Marketing National Space Society

Following his Air Force career in fighter aircraft and the building of national brands for companies like Rockwell Avionics and Miller Brewing, Dr. Anthony Paustian created a technology-focused college campus that was named one of the nation’s most innovative organizations. The campus has received national media attention for its groundbreaking initiatives, ranging from advances in educational delivery systems to its inspiring Celebrate Innovation Live! (ciLive!) event.

Dr. Paustian has authored four books including A Quarter Million Steps, which won seven international and national literary awards for best book in the areas of leadership, motivation, and success. He’s an author success coach with Bookpress Publishing, a regular contributor for Ad Astra (the journal of the National Space Society), and serves as the society’s Vice President of Marketing. Dr. Paustian holds graduate degrees in business administration and design management, as well as a Doctorate in Educational Psychology.

Amy Imhoff is an expert in digital media, event management, and partnerships for STEAM. She is a featured writer, speaker, and host for science fiction media, feminist pop culture, and STEM spaces, having spoken on or led over 100 panels primarily in the areas of women’s representation, amplifying brand strategy through marketing, and “Trektivism” (fandom + activism). Amy creates global aerospace industry connections through the legacy of Star Trek’s vision of an inclusive future, working closely with Starfleet officers, industry creatives, and change makers to uplift diverse voices. Recent client engagements include the US Space Force, Above Space Development Corp, the Association of Commercial Space Professionals, Explore Mars, Yuri’s Night/SpaceKind, and The Goddard Project.

Science Fiction to Fact Presentation Speakers

Howard Berger

Co-owner, KNB EFX Group
Presentation Title: The Magic Behind the Motivation

Oscar- and Emmy-winning prosthetic make-up artist and visual effects creator for over 200 films and TV shows including The Orville, The Chronicles of Narnia, and The Walking Dead.

John Billingsley

Actor
Presentation Title: Creating the Roddenberry Future

Star Trek: Enterprise

Melissa Navia

Actor & ISDC 2024 Host
Presentation Title: The Magic Behind the Motivation

Melissa Navia stars in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds as Lt. Erica Ortegas, helmsman of the USS Enterprise. Born and raised in New York, she is a Colombian-American actor and writer who has portrayed a myriad of singular characters on both the stage and screen, including guest star appearances on BillionsDietland, and Bull. Her STEM outreach and space advocacy work harnesses the power of storytelling and interdisciplinary collaborations to engage, educate, and inspire audiences.

Rod Pyle

Editor-in-Chief, Ad Astra magazine, Author of 20 space books, Host of "This Week in Space"
Presentation Title: Selling Space Science: TV's Cosmic Conundrum

Rod Pyle is an accomplished author, editor, and keynote speaker, renowned for his extensive work in space exploration and development. He has penned 18 influential books, with standout titles like “Space 2.0,” “Interplanetary Robots,” and “Heroes of the Space Age.” His articles have enhanced the prestige of organizations like NASA/JPL and Caltech. Pyle holds a pivotal role as the Editor-in-Chief of “Ad Astra” magazine, the official publication of the National Space Society (NSS). His expertise is widely recognized in various media outlets, and he is a sought-after speaker at significant events, including those at the Smithsonian Institution and the IBM Watson IoT conference. His books, particularly “Space 2.0,” are highly regarded within NASA, aerospace education, and among aerospace companies for their insights into space innovation. Pyle’s academic credentials include a BA from the Art Center College of Design and an MA from Stanford University, and he contributes to leadership development programs in collaboration with NASA’s Johnson Space Center.

Alex Rosalez

Director of Product, Inclusion, Snap and Amazon
Presentation Title: Creating the Roddenberry Future

Trekkie & Philanthropist

Greg Russell

Sound Mixer
Presentation Title: The Magic Behind the Motivation

16-time Oscar-nominated post-production sound mixer on over 235 feature films including the Transformers franchise, Star Trek IV, Starship Troopers, Pearl Harbor, and Armageddon.

Jeff Stepp

TV Producer, Freelance
Presentation Title: Selling Space Television: A Cosmic Conundrum

Jeff Stepp is a twice Emmy-nominated documentary TV producer and development executive with twenty years of experience bringing science and history to a television audience. Credits include Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman, History’s Greatest Mysteries, and The UnXplained with William Shatner.

Nana Visitor

Actor
Presentation Title: Creating the Roddenberry Future

Deep Space Nine


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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