2020 Speakers

Adam Steltzner

Evening with Rob Meyerson and Adam Steltzner

Team Leader & Chief Engineer EDL, NASA Mars Rover Curiosity & Author

From aspiring rock star to history-making Ph.D. rocket scientist, Adam Steltzner is recognized as one of NASA’s leading – and most unique – innovators. For nearly a decade, Adam led and inspired the breakthrough team that invented the ingenious “sky crane” landing system that so spectacularly landed the Mars rover, Curiosity on the Martian surface in 2012. Next, Adam will lead NASA’s Mars 2020 Project that will gather core samples of Mars for scientific discovery.

Robert Meyerson

Evening with Rob Meyerson and Adam Stelzner

CEO, Delalune Space

Rob Meyerson is the founder and CEO of Delalune Space, a management consulting company focused on the aerospace, mobility and technology sectors. As President of Blue Origin, Rob oversaw the steady growth of the company from startup, evolving a 10-person research team into a more than 1500-person organization. Under Rob’s leadership, Blue Origin developed the New Shepard system for suborbital human and research flights, the BE-3 LOX/LH2 rocket engine, the BE-4 LOX/LNG rocket engine, the New Glenn launch vehicle as well as the manufacturing and test capabilities to enable all the above. During 2018, Rob created Blue’s Advanced Development Programs group, a new P&L business developing the Blue Moon lunar lander, human spacecraft, habitats, in-space tugs and the technology portfolio that will enable a future where millions of people are living and working in space. 

Dr. Shawna Pandya

Science for Breakfast


Dr. Shawna Pandya is a citizen-scientist astronaut candidate with Project PoSSUM,
physician-surgeon, speaker, martial artist, advanced diver, skydiver and pilot-in-training.
She holds degrees in in neuroscience, space, entrepreneurship and medicine, and is
currently completing concurrent fellowships in Wilderness Medicine and Enhanced Surgical Skills. In her spare time, Dr. Pandya practices Taekwondo (as a second degree black belt) and Muay Thai. She is currently working towards her private pilot’s license, and holds her accelerated free fall solo skydiving and numerous SCUBA diving certifications. Dr. Pandya also sings and plays the piano. In addition to English, French and Gujurati, she dabbles in Spanish, Russian and Hindi.

Dr. Robert Thirsk

Lecture with Robert Thirsk with special guest Nicole Stott

Engineer, physician, former Canadian Space Agency astronaut, chancellor emeritus University of Calgary.

Dr. Robert Thirsk has flown on two space missions as a member of the Canadian Space Agency’s astronaut corps. He first flew aboard the space shuttle Columbia in 1996 with six international crewmates as part of the Life and Microgravity Spacelab Mission. His second flight in 2009 was a six-month expedition aboard the International Space Station. Thirsk and his five international crewmates performed multi-disciplinary research, robotic operations, and maintenance of Station systems.

Nicole Stott

Lecture with Robert Thirsk with special guest Nicole Stott

Artist, Astronaut, Earthling, Founder, Space for Art Foundation

Nicole is an astronaut and artist who creatively combines the awe and wonder of her spaceflight experience with her artwork to inspire everyone’s appreciation of our role as crewmates here on Spaceship Earth. A veteran NASA Astronaut with two spaceflights and 104 days living and working in space as a crew member on both the International Space Station (ISS) and the Space Shuttle. Personal highlights of her time in space were performing a spacewalk (10th woman to do so), flying the robotic arm to capture the first HTV, painting a watercolor, working with her crew mates in space and the ground team on science and exploration that’s all about improving life on Earth, and of course the view out the window. She is also a NASA Aquanaut and was a crew member on an 18-day saturation dive mission at the Aquarius undersea laboratory. Nicole believes that the international model of peaceful and successful cooperation we have experienced in the extreme environments of space and sea hold the key to the same kind of peaceful and successful cooperation for all of humanity here on Earth.   

Torah Kachur

science for breakfast

Freelance scientist, CBC radio personality

Dr. Torah Kachur is the CBC Radio One National Science columnist and a sessional professor at the University of Alberta.  She received her PhD from the University of Alberta in the wonderfully irrelevant field of worm gonads and molecular genetics.  The reality of studying worm gonads for the rest of her life forced Torah into doing something she loves even more than worms and that’s talking about science.  Each week on CBC, Torah explains the latest and greatest science news stories and gets to talk about everything from white blood cells to black holes.  In the summer of 2014, Torah produced and hosted “What a Waste” – a nationally broadcasted summer show on CBC radio One as well as dozens of holiday radio specials on all kinds of topics.  She’s even guest hosted for Quirks & Quarks!    

Alan Nursall

After Dark Triva Night 



CEO of TELUS World of Science – Edmonton

Alan Nursall is a Canadian scientist and President & CEO TELUS World of Science Edmonton, who reported on science news for the Canadian television series Daily Planet and the Alan Nursall Experience on the Discovery Channel.

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