Meet the Founders


The JustSpace Alliance was co-founded by Erika Nesvold and Lucianne Walkowicz, two astronomers who connected over their mutual hope for an inclusive, ethical future, both on Earth and beyond. Read more below!


Erika Nesvold

Erika Nesvold earned her Ph.D. in Physics at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and has conducted astrophysics research at the NASA Goddard Spaceflight Center, the Carnegie Institute’s Department of Terrestrial Magnetism, and the NASA Frontier Development Laboratory. She currently works as an Astrophysicist & Developer on the Universe Sandbox astronomy simulator game, and has written articles on astronomy, history, and other topics for Astronomy Magazine, The Planetary Society, and More information on her research and writing can be found on her website.

Erika produced and hosted the 13-episode Making New Worlds podcast, which explored the ethical issues involved in settling space. In 2018, Erika co-founded The JustSpace Alliance in partnership with Lucianne Walkowicz.

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Lucianne Walkowicz

Lucianne Walkowicz is an astronomer at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago and the 2017-2018 Baruch S. Blumberg NASA/LOC Chair in Astrobiology. Walkowicz studies the ethics of Mars exploration, stellar magnetic activity, how stars influence a planet’s suitability as a host for alien life, and how to use advanced computing to discover unusual events in large astronomical data sets. Walkowicz is the founding director of the LSSTC Data Science Fellowship Program, an initiative to provide astronomy graduate students with training in advanced computing. Walkowicz speaks and writes regularly on topics at the intersection of science and society, which have appeared on, Slate, The Washington Post, Vox, and more.

Walkowicz holds a BS in Physics and Astronomy from Johns Hopkins University, an MS and PhD in Astronomy from the University of Washington, and held postdoctoral fellowships at UC Berkeley and Princeton prior to joining the Adler Planetarium. They are also a TED Senior Fellow and a practicing artist, working in a variety of media, from performance to sound.