Power Lab Workshop

The science retreat that advances Mars exploration

Workshop 2016

We have successfully accomplished our Workshop 2016
and exhibited our designs at the: 



Jim Erickson, JPL NASA 


Col. Buzz Aldrin


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How was it?

How did we make it happen?

The Life Changing Experiences

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Col. Buzz Aldrin

Col. Buzz Aldrin is an American engineer and former astronaut. As the Lunar Module Pilot on Apollo 11, he was one of the first two humans to land on the Moon, and to walk on it. He set foot on the Moon at 03:15:16 on July 21, 1969 (UTC), following mission commander Neil Armstrong. He is a former U.S. Air Force officer with the Command Pilot rating. His Buzz Aldrin Space Institute focuses on the humans' journey to get to Mars. 

Christina Ciardullo

Space Architect at SEArch Architects, teacher at Carnegie Mellon University.

Ms. Ciardullo holds the current Ann Kalla Professorship in Architecture at Carnegie Mellon University. Ciardullo has a background in astronomy and philosophy and has held research positions at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture’s Space Architecture Lab and the Habitability Design Center at the NASA Johnson Space Center. In addition to terrestrial practice, including a resilient waterfront development and the Shanghai Planetarium with Ennead Architects, she has consulted in the lunar and martian endeavors of Foster+Partners and is founding member of SEArch, a consortium of architects designing for habitats for life in other atmospheres.

Ms. Ciardullo also took part in designing ICE HOUSE, the wining project of NASA 3D Printed Habitat 2015.

Ms. Ciardullo led 11 selected projects, submitted to Mars City Design competition 2016, by the students of Carnegie Mellon Space Architecture Program.

Artemis Westenberg

President and Director, co-founder of Explore Mars, Inc.


Artemis Westenberg has over 35 years of experience as an influential lobbyist and advocate among variety of circles, organizations and causes in the Netherlands, Europe and North America. She has been a lobbyist in the space exploration sector since 2000. 
She has worked as account manager, project manager and spokesperson for Mutlinationals, Dutch Government, Policy groups putting her degree in General Management from the Dutch Entrepreneurial Society to good use. Over the years, she has developped a wide network of contacts on board level with many companies and organisations. 
She has become an expert on many things Mars, e.g. the geology of Mars and NASA’s Curiosity, and Opportunity & Spirit, and ESA's Mars Express. Westenberg is a well-known Mars and space ambassador, often as a Netherlands spokesperson among the national and international space community. 
She served as president of the Mars Society Netherlands and as a Steering Committee member for the Mars Society Inc. Prior to that, she served as Capsule Communicator (CapCom) and crewmember in a number of Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) missions. In 2007, she was logistics manager for the Flashline Arctic Research Station (FMARS) crew. Westenberg took on management of MDRS in 2008 as Mission Director where she turned the project into a completely self-sufficient and financially independent venture. She has coordinated both national and international conferences since 1980, many taking place in the Netherlands and Europe.
Since early in her career, she has been a nationally decorated feminist in her country, which began when she was delegated as a member of the Dutch government to attend the UN conference on the status of women, in Copenhagen 1980. Westenberg gained knowledge in public affairs and business administration as president of the Council of Women for Rotterdam. 
Westenberg is multilingual, speaking Dutch, English, French, German regularly, with fluency in six others languages.

Madhu Thangavelu 

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, as well as numerous articles in space related trade journals and magazines dealing with space stations, lunar base design and human factors. He is a co-author of the book The Moon: Resources, Future Development and Settlement (1999) published by John Wiley and Sons and 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 on-line second edition updated in 2012. He is a member of the USC team that won the consecutive NASA NIAC Phase I award in 2011 and Phase II award in 2012 for advancing robotic building technologies for extraterrestrial construction. Madhu is an alumnus of the inaugural session of the International Space University at MIT where he proposed the MALEO concept for lunar landers and is on the faculty of the International Space University, an international organization that offers advanced interdisciplinary, intercultural and international training for promising leaders and space professionals. He is a former AIAA officer, having served as Vice Chair for Education in the Los Angeles section. Mr.Thangavelu’s concepts have been reviewed and appreciated by NASA, the National Research Council, the National Space Council(Bush Sr. Administration),and his work has been presented before the National Academy of Sciences.


Madhu’s latest projects >>>

James K. Erickson

Mars Exploration Rover (MER) Project Manager, Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), NASA. Former Mission Manager, MER; former Project Manager, Galileo Project to study Jupiter; senior level experience on the Viking Missions.

Mr. Erickson started working at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in 1974 as a Summer hire.  Since there was always something fun to do at JPL, he never left.  During his 33 years at the JPL, Mr. Erickson has worked on numerous spaceflight projects including the Viking mission to Mars, the Voyager mission to the outer planets, Mars Observer, and managed the Galileo Project to the planet Jupiter.

Mr. Erickson then managed the Mars Exploration Rovers, the Mars Reconnaisance Orbiter, the DSN's Mission Support and Planning Program Office, and now the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover. Mr. Erickson received his B.S. from Harvey Mudd College in 1975, and his MBA from West Coast University in 1981. 

Frank Miuccio

Frank Miuccio began his career as a hardware and software engineer for Allied Signal where he worked on a variety of products in the aerospace industry, including the Space Shuttle. Frank is currently in a very exciting role as Director of Information Technology at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.  His 25 years of experience spanning many different fields has given him a unique perspective. In his spare time, Frank serves as the Vice President of the Reaction Research Society, the oldest continuously operating amateur rocketry group (est. 1943).


Frank received his Associate of Arts in Electronics from El Camino College before attending CSU Dominguez Hills where he obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science. This year Frank will earn his Executive Master of Leadership from USC.

Jeffery Greenblatt

(Ph.D. Chemistry, UC Berkeley, 1999)

Jeffery Greenblatt is the founder and Chief Scientist at Emerging-Futures.space, as well as a Staff Scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. His professional interests span two complementary areas: large-scale, multi-sector, multi-decadal assessment of greenhouse gas reduction strategies, and analysis of emerging technologies including artificial photosynthesis, autonomous vehicles, and commercial space technologies. In 2015, he published an analysis in Nature Climate Change on the greenhouse gas benefits of autonomous taxis, and he self-published an analysis of a large-scale Earth-Mars human transport system in 2016. He participated in a Keck Institute workshop on fuel and oxygen production on Mars, and is scheduled to speak at the International Astronautical Congress in Guadalajara, Mexico in September. His interests in space span propulsion technologies, in-situ resource utilization on the Moon, Mars and asteroids, asteroid hazard mitigation, space-based geoengineering, and energy and resource assessment of large-scale space technologies. He writes a blog on the future of transportation, both terrestrial and otherworldly, at Move-Forward.com.

Kriss J. Kennedy,

Future Capabilities Study [Proving Grounds CisLunar Habitat System] HH&P/HRP Study POC

Human Systems Engineering and Development Division - SF

Human Health & Performance Directorate - SA

NASA Johnson Space Center

Kriss is a licensed architect in Texas and has been working at NASA since 1987. He is a recognized exploration habitat expert at NASA and with the international community. He has published over 50 papers in the field of aerospace industry since 1988. Prior to NASA, Mr. Kennedy worked in numerous architectural firms around the United States. Mr. Kennedy is currently working in the Human Health and Performance Directorate (HH&P) at NASA-JSC. He is the HH&P & Human Research Program (HRP) lead (point of contact) for the Proving Grounds - Futures Capabilities Definition Study (the CisLunar Habitat System definition). Mr. Kennedy is also an Adjunct Professor at the University of Houston – Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture. Mr. Kennedy has held key leadership and management positions such as Deputy Project Manager of the Deep Space Habitat project, Manager of the Habitat Demonstration Unit Project, supported the Constellation Lunar Surface Systems Habitation Team, and Lunar Architecture Team. Mr. Kennedy provides leadership, project management, strategic planning, space architecture and space habitat expertise for future human exploration missions DDT&E. He has dedicated his career to the definition, development, and testing of exploration habitation systems and planetary surface base definition for the human exploration of Space, the Moon, and Mars. 

Amir Blachman

Executive Vice President at Phase Four

Mr. Blachman leads business development and finance for Phase Four, a company building plasma thrusters for the rapidly-growing satellite market. He also serves as a Strategic Advisor to the electric aircraft company Bye Aerospace. Prior to Phase Four, he served as Managing Director of Space Angels Network, investing in emerging aerospace companies. 


Mr. Blachman has over 20 years’ experience in startup operations, finance and marketing, and real estate investment. He holds a bachelors degree from UC Santa Barbara, an MBA from UCLA Anderson, and is a graduate of the NASDAQ/Anderson Director Certification Program for corporate governance. 


Mr. Blachman served as an instructor in the Israel Air Force, and holds a private pilot license with an instrument rating. He resides in Los Angeles with his wife and daughters.

Dr. Brian Hanley

Multiple Science Enterpreneur, Gene Therapy, Radiation Treatments...

Brian Hanley is the founder of Butterfly Sciences, a gene therapy company. He has a range of papers and patents in bioscience, science policy. Brian also has publications in economics, and, through West Point on terrorism. He obtained his PhD in microbiology with honors from UC Davis, has a bachelors degree in computer science, is a multiple entrepreneur and guest lectured for years to the MBA program at Santa Clara University. He is the author of the book, Radiation – Exposure and Its Treatment.


Joshua Borchardt

Mars Ecologist

Josh Borchardt has conducted numerous research projects in planetary sciences, space observatories, high altitude balloon launches, environmental sciences, and wetland remediation for the past eight years within academia, NASA, and now as a Research Scientist with the Advanced Space and Technology Research Laboratories in St. Paul, MN, and as the Region V Public Policy Deputy Director at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.  Current research interests involve Mars analog studies predominantly focused on sustainable agriculture for food production and waste water treatment in planetary environments, and extra vehicular activity (EVA) protocols, training, and technology development.  Past research studies have taken place at the Mars Desert Research Station in Utah, USA, the Prairie Pothole Region of ND and MT, NASA Ames Research Center, and now identifying unique Mars analog research sites across the US and Peru.  His professional and personal life has revolved around Earth exploration and astrobiology, and has current closed circuit rebreather (CCR) certifications, is a professional SCUBA Dive Master specializing in cold water environments, an avid mountaineer, rock climber, backpacker---and has even been a dogsled guide in the MN Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.  His educational background came from a Bachelor's Degree in Biological Sciences at North Dakota State University in 2012, and a Master's Degree in Space Studies (Planetary Science emphasis) from the University of North Dakota in 2014.

Monica Jan

Monica is a managing partner at LightSpeed Innvations, an aerospace accelerator. Monica has over 22 years of experience in the technology and aerospace industries; with expertise in technology R&D, product development, strategic partnerships, and innovation strategy.  She frequently advises high-tech start-ups and corporations on their business and technology strategies.   As part of the steering committee for the Wharton Angel Network and Wharton Aerospace Ventures, Monica works actively with investors and entrepreneurs.  Monica holds both BSEE and MSEE degrees from the University of Southern California, a Systems Engineering certificate from the California Institute of Technology, and an MBA from The Wharton School. She currently holds a faculty position at The Wharton School.

Joel Freedman

Innovation and enterpreneurship consultant

Senior Design Thinker at the Satellite Applications Catapult, Joel obtained a masters degree from Glasgow School of Art and The University of Glasgow’s Product Design Engineering course in 2008.  Since then he has worked in such areas as automotive, aeronautical, custodial, and marine design, before moving into working in the space industry.

In his current role Joel applies human centred design to opportunity scoping and problem solving across a range of different sectors, looking at how cutting edge space technologies can be used to enable innovative terrestrial applications.  He specialises in fusing lean start up methodology with design thinking to support start-ups and nurture ideas into scalable and sustainable business propositions.  

He has designed and facilitated multiple user engagement workshops with stakeholders ranging from universities, research councils, and SMEs, to big industry organisations and government departments.

Joel is passionate about humanity’s journey into space, and how innovating for a better future can help to create a better now.


Parachute Testing for NASA's InSight Mission​