Museum of Science and Industry

From Science Fiction to Science Fact

April 11, 2015 |

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Event Essentials

  • Date:
  • April 11, 2015
  • Time:
  • 1:00 PM
  • Tickets:
  • This Inventive Genius Lecture is FREE for Household Premium and Annual Fund members, and available to other members at discounted member rates.
  • Cost:
  • Household Premium/Annual Fund members FREE; Member adults $8; Member children $4; Non-members $20 + Museum Entry (required).
  • Register Online

Join us for an out-of-this-world lecture with three award-winning scientists and innovators, John Bradford, Adrian Agogino and Vytas SunSpiral—recipients of the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) award.

What if you could sleep your way to Mars? Traveling to the Red Planet and beyond can take months. Sleeping through the journey offers multiple benefits, including conservation of resources such as food and water, and reduced bodily stress. Dr. John Bradford is leading efforts to understand how human hibernation or suspended animation could be used for long-distance human spaceflight. Learn about current medical progress related to inducing deep sleep states and the exciting possibilities that lie ahead.

Can bouncing balls be used as robotic explorers? You may have seen tensegrity balls in the Museum Store—they’re lightweight balls made of interlocking rods and cables that can collapse and expand with a gentle push or pull. Using a similar design, Adrian Agogino and Vytas SunSpiral are developing a “Super Ball Bot” that pops open, bounces to a landing on a planet, and then rolls around to explore other spots for scientific study. Learn about their research to create the “Super Ball Bot” and their plans to control it using science-inspired algorithms.

This event is part of the “From Science Fiction to Science Fact” educational lecture series produced by MSI and NIAC. Run from NASA Headquarters in the Space Technology Mission Directorate, the NIAC program funds and nurtures visionary ideas that could transform future NASA missions with the creation of innovative, advanced technology breakthroughs while engaging America’s innovators and entrepreneurs as partners in the journey.

Celebrate National Robotics Week, too!

While you're here, take part in our National Robotics Week events (included in Museum Entry) that day.


FREE for Household Premium and Annual Fund members
Member adults: $8
Member children: $4
Non-members: $20 + Museum Entry (also required)


Tickets for this event are available online or by phone at (773) 684-1414.
Household Premium and Annual Fund members must call (773) 684-1414 to reserve their tickets.

Note: Choose April 11 as your visit date.

Speaker Bios

Dr. John E. Bradford is president of SpaceWorks Enterprises, Inc. John’s expertise is in systems integration, multidisciplinary optimization, and power/propulsion system design and performance assessment for future space concepts. He holds a master’s degree in science and a doctorate in aerospace engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering, with a minor in computer programming, from North Carolina State University. He is also an Adjunct Professor at Georgia Tech in the School of Aerospace.

One of the foremost experts in tensegrity control methods, Dr. Adrian Agogino is a research scientist with the University of California working at NASA Ames Research Center. His interests involve tackling seemingly impossible complex control tasks that involve dozens to thousands of components interacting in non-linear ways. He has developed solutions in tensegrity robotics, multi-robot control, aviation flow analysis and rocket analysis, among others. Adrian holds a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering from the University of California, San Diego, and a master’s degree and doctorate in electrical and computer engineering from the University of Texas at Austin.

Vytas SunSpiral is the Principle Investigator of the Dynamic Tensegrity Robotics Lab (DTRL) at NASA Ames Research Center. Over the last 20 years he has been the founder and Chief Technology Officer of multiple startup companies, launched a number of robotics projects at NASA, and served as an advisor and consultant to technology entrepreneurs. Vytas holds a bachelor’s degree in symbolic systems and a master’s degree in computer science from Stanford University, both with a focus on robotics.

Museum Hours
  • Daily from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
    Open daily except Thanksgiving and Christmas
More Information

Museum Location
Museum of Science+Industry
5700 S. Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60637
1 (773) 684-1414
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