Dr. Betul Kacar

 

Betül Kacar is an evolutionary biologist and currently a NASA postdoctoral fellow in astrobiology. She is primarily interested in understanding whether evolutionary outcomes are results of biological accidents or whether certain rules govern evolutionary adaptations.  To understand this, she created a molecular time traveling system in the laboratory, whereby ancient biomolecules are inserted inside the current microorganisms and then monitored as these resurrected molecules adapt to the conditions of modern life. Besides her work in the laboratory, Dr. Kacar also develops and implements courses in molecular evolution, the origins of life and astrobiology for high school students and teachers in her home country Turkey, as well as in the United States.

Bob Riddle

 

 For the past 25 years, Bob has held the position of  School District Planetarium Director and classroom Teacher. He has performed duties as Column editor for NSTA Science Scope magazine, and online publications such as currentsky.com and bobs-spaces.net. Bob is an Avid and active amateur astronomer and photographer and holds an Undergraduate degree in Earth Science, MS in Physical Geography.

Zach Adam

Astrobiologist

Zach Adam is an NSF Graduate Research Fellow and co-founder of the space science research and education nonprofit Blue Marble Space. He currently spends his time looking for fossils that are about 1.4 billion years old in Montana near his town; these fossils are from a time when eukaryotes (the group of organisms that later became REALLY complex, evolving into things like trees, dinosaurs, mushrooms, flowers, and people) had just started to diversify. Zach would like to use these fossils to better understand how, when, and why these organisms became so complex, and then to use this information to speculate about how likely it might be to find complex life on the thousands of other planets we have found outside of our solar system. In addition to his research, Zach also likes to talk about the crucial role that space systems such as satellites can play in emergency preparedness and response efforts.

Zach's dream is to see practical space education catalyze teachers and students into becoming agents of peace, progress, and stability within their communities.