President of the Chicago Society for Space Studies
Jim Plaxco in the cockpit of the Xcor Lynx spacecraft mockup
Jim Plaxco is a digital artist and computing professional who has been a space activist since the mid-80’s when he became a member of the National Space Institute. He currently serves as the Director of Information Systems for the National Space Society. He is also the Webmaster, a Director, and President of the Chicago Society for Space Studies. Mr. Plaxco also created the CSSS Speakers Bureau. He additionally serves as a NASA JPL Solar System Ambassador, a National Space Society Space Ambassador, the National Space Society Space Ambassador’s Economics Subject Matter Expert.
Mr. Plaxco has previously served as both a Director and a Vice President of the National Space Society and as both a Director and a Vice President of the Planetary Studies Foundation. He has been a judge in a variety of space art contests, including art contests sponsored by NASA. He also served as the manager of the Enterprise in Space Orbiter Design Contest and the National Space Society Space Settlement Art Contest.
Lectures and Presentations
Mr. Plaxco speaks on a wide variety of space development, space exploration, commercial space, and astronomical topics to a wide variety of audiences including schools, museums, various civic organizations, and special interest groups. A few of the topics that he has spoken on include:
- newspace and commercial space activities
- space policy and space development
- space tourism
- AI, robotics, and space settlement
- the exploration of Mars and Mars imaging
- Space Solar Power and Lunar Solar Power
- space mission planning
- lunar bases
- space economics
- human missions to Mars
- space settlement
- International Space Station (ISS)
- NASA’s Gemini program
- NASA’s Apollo program
- NASA’s Vision for Space Exploraton
- NASA’s Space Shuttle programs
- the Hubble Space Telescope
- space art
- astronomical art
- astronomical image processing
- Earth and Landsat remote sensing
Current core space and space development presentations include
- Space Settlement: The Moon, Mars, and Beyond
- Space Settlement: Robots Versus Humans
- The Future of Human Space Exploration
- The Globalization of the Solar System: The Economics of Space Settlement
- The Impact of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics on Space Settlement
- The Impact of Space Policy on Space Settlement
- Settling, Developing, and Commercializing the Moon
- Factors Impacting the Sustainability of a Cislunar Economy
- Camp Century: Lessons for a Lunar Settlement
- Space Solar Power for Earth
- The NewSpace Frontier
- Planning a Human Mission to Mars
- Space Art
- Earth As Art: The View From Space
Mr. Plaxco’s most offbeat presentation is “The Universe According to Monty Python” which analyzes the astronomical and cosmological lyrics of Monty Python’s Galaxy Song.
In addition to appearing live at venues in northeastern Illinois, Mr. Plaxco is available as a virtual speaker via Skype, Google Meet, Jitsi, Zoom, or similar services.
Biographical Background Information
In 1988 Mr. Plaxco joined and became an active member of the Chicago Space Frontier L5 and Chicago Society for Space Studies chapters of the National Space Society. He subsequently went on to serve as founder and President of the Northern Illinois Space Advocacy. Mr. Plaxco was elected to the National Space Society (NSS) Board of Directors as the Region 6 Director in 2002 and was subsequently elected to serve as the Vice President of Chapter Affairs for the NSS. His term of office ended in January 2005. In May 2006, Mr. Plaxco was selected to serve as the Chairman for the National Space Society’s Space Settlement Art Contest and Space Settlement Calendar Project. The success of this project led to Jim being presented with the National Space Society Award of Excellence at the 2007 International Space Development Conference. Jim continued as a judge in the art contest the following year.
In October 2007, Jim was selected to serve as the Chair of the National Space Society Web Oversight Committee. In 2008, Jim successfully ran for a seat on the NSS Board of Directors. His term expired in 2012. In 2019, Jim accepted the position of Director of Information Systems at the National Space Society and subsequently became that organization’s Data Protection Officer.
Mr. Plaxco’s other previous non-profit experiences include having served on the Board of Advisors for the Harper College Center for Meteorite and Planetary Studies; serving as Program Director for the Henize Science Learning Center; serving first as Membership Director and Editor of PSF News and later as Webmaster and Vice President of the Planetary Studies Foundation. In 1995, Mr. Plaxco received the Planetary Studies Foundation President’s Award, that organization’s top award, for his work on behalf of the society. Jim also served on the Enterprise in Space Board of Advisors.
Mr. Plaxco received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Economics and a Master of Science Degree in Computer Science from Northern Illinois University.
Mr. Plaxco blogs at Artsnova Digital Art and Space Blog.
Mr. Plaxco can be reached at
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Jim Plaxco speaking with NASA Administrator Charles Bolden
Jim Plaxco speaking with Jeff Bezos at the 2018 International Space Development Conference VIP reception