SIMOC and SAM build momentum, 2021

A Year in Distance Engagement, 2020
As all lectures and presentations moved on-line, the number of engagements increased in 2020. As an on-line tool for both physical and virtual classroom, interest in SIMOC grew. The following talks and lectures are those presented in 2020.

Life and Systems in Closed Worlds, Biosphere 2, December 13, 2019
A new interdisciplinary research initiative on “Life and Systems in Closed Worlds”, involving social and natural scientists, launched by the French ​Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique and the University of Arizona and​ Ecole Normale Supérieure. Kai Staats shared his team’s work in off-world habitat simulation through SIMOC, and development of the Mars analog research station SAM.

A Study of Analogs Missions for the Moon and Mars, Biosphere 2, May 10, 2019
Kai Staats shared withe Biosphere 2 Board of Directors a vision for the world’s highest fidelity Lunar and Mars analog and research station. A Study of Analog Missions (SAM) will be a human-in-the-loop, hermetically sealed environment for short- and long-term biology, ecology, chemistry, and habitation studies. It will incorporate a fully functional airlock, semi-closed ecosystem, Paragon ECLSS life support, and pressure suits for all entry, exit, and EVAs.

Rose City Astronomers, Portland, Oregon, November 19, 2018
Living on Mars—From Biosphere 2 to The Martian. Kai Staats engaged the audience in a brief overview of historic microgravity plant growth experiments, human-in-the-loop closed ecosystem studies, the challenges of living off-world, and an introduction to SIMOC (see-mok), an ASU Interplanetary Initiative pilot project. In this scalable, interactive model of an off-world community built on decades of NASA data, researchers and citizen scientists select crew quarters, a greenhouse and plants, and power generation, and then set the model in motion to learn how well the design holds up.

Holden Village, Lake Chelan, Washington, August 13, 2018
An impromptu presentation about LIGO and gravitational wave astronomy for staff and guests of Holden Village. The film LIGO, A Passion for understanding was shown, followed by an engaging question and answer session.

Arizona Science Center, Phoenix, Arizona, May 4, 2018
Science With a Twist, “Going Where No Man Has Gone Before…Mars” + Space Science Panel.
7-7:45 p.m. followed by a Q&A session with audience members.

Taste of Science, Berkeley, CA, April 25, 2018
For the East Bay Taste of Science, Kai Staats presented his 3rd film “LIGO Detection” about the September 14, 2015 detection of two distant, merging black holes and the effort to validate such an extraordinary claim, followed by a presentation by Riccardo Bassiri, Stanford University graduate student and LIGO researcher.

American Physical Society, Columbus, Ohio, April 16, 2018
Session S14: Gravitational Waves: Detectors and Instrumentation
Machine Learning in the LIGO-Virgo Era with the slide deck available from this sub-page.

South African Astronomical Observatory, Cape Town, South Africa, September 28, 2017
LIGO Detection: An exploration of complex data“, a colloquium talk about the application of machine learning to glitch classification and mechanical couplings in the LIGO interferometer; and the presentation of the film “LIGO Detection”.

Arizona Science Center, Phoenix, Arizona, April 29, 2017
For Astronomy Day at the Arizona Science Center, Kai Staats presented his 3rd film “LIGO Detection” about the September 14, 2015 detection of two distant, merging black holes, and a special sneak preview of a new planetarium film about Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory.

National Center for Supercomputing Applications, Urbana-Champaign, Illinois, April 10, 2017
An NCSA Special Event brings Kai Staats for a colloquium titled “Making Movies about Making History: A Non-linear Journey from LEGO to LIGO“.

Anthem Community Center, Arizona, February 21, 2017
A screening of the third film in the series, “LIGO Detection” by Kai Staats followed by a presentation about the effort to detect supernovae using gravitational-wave astronomy at LIGO by Dr. Michele Zanolin, head of the astrophysics group at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

Arizona Science Center, Phoenix, Arizona, October 21, 2016
From Pinocchio to the Terminator, What A.I. Teaches us About Ourselves” was the opening presenter for the evening, themed “A.I. Apocalypse”. Joined by Dr. Peter Jansen and Prof. Clayton T. Morrison from the University of Arizona for a panel discussion for this unique event.

Ohio State University, CCAPP, Columbus, Ohio, August 24-26 2016
Kai Staats was co-organiser and presenter at this first-ever Computing in High-Energy AstroParticle Research workshop in which Karoo GP was featured as a tool for improved understanding of complex data, as Evolutionary Computation applied to Astro-particle Physics.

SKA Machine Learning Journal Club, Pinelands, South Africa, August 2016
An introduction to the function of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) and Genetic Programming applied to glitch classification (remote presentation to the Square Kilometre Array).

Introduction to Evolutionary Computation, March-June 2016
Three talks on an introduction to machine learning, feature construction, and evolutionary computation:

  • Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Supernovae research group at LIGO, Prescott, Arizona
  • Fullerton State University, Detector Characterisation research group at LIGO, Fullerton, California
  • Ohio State University, ANITA research group at CCAPP, Columbus, Ohio

Science Cafe Cape Town, October 2015
In “From Earth to Mars: A Journey for Us All” Kai engaged the audience of more than 100 in a brief introduction, one of the six films from the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS), and two dozen slides which described the current efforts to take humans to Mars, the asteroids, and beyond. Kai engaged the audience in an interactive question and answer period which lead to a wide diversity of subjects. Following the talk, Kai edited the audio recording and vetted all answers, with supporting data, corrections, and additions, as given here.

Astronomical Society of South Africa, June 2015
From Dark Skies to Data Mining: A Propensity for Pattern Recognition” with Dr. Marco Cavaglia, University of Mississippi and the LIGO Scientific Collaboration — An introduction to Machine Learning as an extension of the innate human capacity for pattern recognition.

SAAO Open Night, May 2015
Making Movies about Making History: A Passion for Science Discovery” — What unfolds when we ask questions about how the universe functions? And who are the people who work to discover the answers?

SAAO Colloquium, March 2015
A public screening of the second film in the series, “LIGO Generations” followed by a Q&A about the function of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO).

SKA Colloquium, July 2014
“From Hunter-Gatherer to Data Farmer: A Personal Journey in Email & Data Management” — A full-house offering both enthusiasm and resistance to evidence that a single, overloaded Inbox is in fact a horrible idea and more than 1000 unread messages is not something to brag about.

SAAO Colloquium, May 2014
Science Outreach and Education through Film – Storytelling in a Digital World” — A brief introduction to the making of science outreach films, the screening of three short films, and then a Q&A period prior to a public star party.

TEDx Front Range, Colorado, May 2014
A Telescope Opens the Mind to a Larger World” — The culmination of a thee year journey to understand how looking through a telescope can change one’s view of his or her place in the universe.

16th Annual Mars Society Conference, August 2013
Kai Staats shares the starting point for his research into human social evolution in the confines of isolated colonies with “A Good Sams Utopia: Human Social Evolution in the Development of Isolated Colonies“. Learn more …


Space Radio with Dr. Paul Sutter, June 10, 2021
Simulating Mars Habitats with Kai Staats with Paul Stutter and Space Radio Live. Recorded live from the University of Arizona Biosphere 2.

The Space Show with Dr. David Livingston, January 5, 2021
“We welcomed Trent Tresch back to the show and Kai Staats for the first time to discuss the SAM analog study at Biosphere 2 in Arizona. Our
65 minute discussion started by my asking Kai about his background and what specifically led him to the point of developing the SAM simulation model …

ASU Interplanetary Initiative, September 30, 2019
An interview video about SIMOC, for the Arizona State University, School of Earth & Space Exploration, Interplanetary Initiative. Watch here …

An interview for Self Made, December 2018
Host Andy Albright travels America to find entrepreneurs from wildly diverse backgrounds and companies share their big idea, their struggles, triumphs and their advise to others who want to take the path of Self Made. Farm, Mars, Movies, Brewery, Episode 9, Amazon

Looking Up, September 2017
Interview with Kechil Kirkham, Industrial Astronomer and weekly host. Find out about gravitational waves and the latest news about their detection from one of the visiting scientists at LIGO, Kai Staats.

WOSU Radio – NPR Affiliate, September 2016
Space Colonization by All Sides with Ann Fisher, with guests Dr. Paul Sutter (OSU CCAPP), Fraser Cain (Universe Today), Katherine Gorringe (documentary filmmaker), and Dr. Pete Roma (NASA HI-SEAS). Discussed is space travel, life on Proxima B, and the HI-SEAS one year mission.

Weekly Space Hangout, Universe Today, June 2016
Hosted by Fraser Cain, a live video interview with Kai Staats and Michael Landry, lead detection scientist at LIGO, Hanford. About filmmaking, the second LIGO detection of merging black holes, and translating science for the public audience.

Casimir, January 2016
“Why Does Mars Matter?”, an interview by Victoria Young for the South African based blog site which “explores the space between” in speaking with writers, artists, inventors, designers, filmmakers, chefs, scientists and travellers.

RealSpace with Dr. Paul Sutter, December 2015
Making films about Science, Mars Analogues, and Streaking in Low Pressure Atmospheres
Recorded at the South African offices of the SKA, we discuss filmmaking, surfing, living on Mars, underwater cities, civil war, a brief history of human migration, beans on toast, and of course, streaking in a low pressure atmosphere.

Tatler, May 2015
Film of the Stars about LIGO, A Passion for Understanding
For the Southern Suburbs Tatler, Cape Town, South Africa

Fiat Physica, December 2014
“Chatting Astronomy with Kai Staats”