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Ariel Waldman is the founder of, a directory of ways to participate in space exploration, and the global instigator of Science Hack Day, an event that brings together scientists, technologists, designers and people with good ideas to see what they can create in one weekend. Ariel is currently an appointed National Academy of Sciences committee member of a congressionally-requested study on the future of human spaceflight; the prepublication reportPathways to Exploration: Rationales and Approaches for a U.S. Program of Human Space Exploration, was released in June 2014. She also sits on the external council for NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts, a program that nurtures radical, sci-fi-esque ideas that could transform future NASA missions. In 2013, Ariel received an honor from the White House for being a Champion of Change in citizen science.

For her work on Science Hack Day, Ariel has been awarded grants from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. In 2012, she authored a white paper on Democratized Science Instrumentation that was presented to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Previously, Ariel worked at NASA’s CoLab program whose mission was to connect communities inside and outside NASA to collaborate. She has also been a fellow at Institute For The Future, an interaction designer, a sci-fi movie gadget columnist for Engadget and a digital anthropologist at VML. In 2008, she was named one of the top 50 most influential individuals in Silicon Valley by NowPublic.

Although her home base is in San Francisco, Ariel loves to travel across the globe to speak to a variety of audiences and work on fun projects. She has keynoted DARPA’s 100 Year Starship Symposium and O’Reilly’s Open Source Convention (OSCON), as well as appeared on the SyFy channel as part of their Let’s Imagine Greater campaign. Her work with Science Hack Day has taken her to Colombia, China, Kenya, Madagascar and South Africa to help grow budding science enthusiast communities. Ariel originally grew up in Kansas where she attended art school at the Kansas City Art Institute and later obtained a B.Sc. in graphic design from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh.

“Hacking Space Exploration” keynote at O’Reilly’s Open Source Convention: