If there are limits to innovation, Jim and MJ Marggraff have yet to encounter them.

Meet ASCEND attendees Jim and MJ Marggraff who are making the connections so astronauts can stay connected over long-duration space flight.

Why we’re going to ASCEND

Jim and MJ Marggraff

Jim Marggraff, CEO and Co-Founder, Kinoo; MJ Marggraff, PI Space Isolation, Co-Founder, Kinoo

We are co-entrepreneurs, having co-founded more than a half-dozen companies specializing in everything from telecommunications, assistive technology, and education.  Our passion is basically creating and inventing.

A few years ago, while pursuing her doctorate at USC, MJ was looking at residual psycho-social issues of long-duration space flight. It was then that we began exploring ways astronauts could stay connected on these years-long missions. We pioneered a way to overcome space and time by using Augmented Reality and Artificial Intelligence in an interesting way to facilitate connections. We presented our work to NASA and NASA was interested in this idea, so we put a team together, raised some funding, and now we are developing our product.

We find ASCEND’s Shark-Tank-like approach to spawning innovation appealing, particularly in fostering public-private partnerships like ours. We see it as a means to support interaction with partners, with potential investors, and with other passionate people looking at the future of space and who are excited about creating the innovation that will make it possible.

We’re excited to attend ASCEND.  It helps innovators thrive. And that’s just the space for us.

Who we want to meet

We’d like to speak with people who see the future of space as a mixture of physical structures that have to be created in space, but that are supported in advance by the communication that can result from the bits, if you will, that allow us to stay connected as human beings.

Sustaining our humanity, after all, is critical, so we’re interested in meeting professionals who are also looking at supporting astronauts physically, cognitively, and emotionally. That’s where we fit in because we know that space missions are going to rely on an adequately sustained astronaut and connection is key to preserving that humanity. So, naturally, we’ll look at human performance people, human behavior people, and others who are innovating in these areas.  And, of course, we’re looking for those who are interested in hearing about what we’re doing and learning their reactions and insight.

What we hope to achieve

Our focus is on trying to find innovative solutions to space health—particularly the issue of isolation of astronauts over extended periods of time. We look for ways to help humanity, in communication, in emotional relationships, and in understanding. We believe this is a critical component of the future of space travel. Our hope is that in ASCEND, we can find like-minded people who understand and respect this human element of space exploration—the human component of staying in touch, staying connected, and interacting with one another.

And ASCEND is the perfect platform for that. It gives us a forum to present radically new thinking, to share ideas, and ask the important questions.   In fact, one of the things we are looking forward to most at ASCEND are those spontaneous conversations and unexpected moments of serendipity when you find someone at just the right moment and a new idea emerges from the collaboration.  And the makeup of ASCEND is ideal for just those kinds of experiences.

Share your dreams of tomorrow

Your entrepreneurial spirit, business acumen, technical innovations, and passion for aerospace play an important role in both advancing life on earth and building our off-world civilization. Like MJ and Jim Marggraff, we invite you to share your vision for what that future will look like and how we’ll get there.



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Jaclyn Vann

About Jaclyn Vann