Who better to discuss the constantly moving boundary between current tech and science fiction than a woman who spent two years living in a self-contained biosphere?

By Jessica Stillman (Editor, Women 2.0)

Think science fiction and almost certainly the first thing you’ll picture is space exploration — rocket ships, self-sustaining colonies on Mars, intergalactic federations. But while pacts with friendly space aliens may still be far, far in the future, not all of what you picture actually is science fiction.

Just ask our final keynote speaker Jane Poynter.

Currently the president of Paragon Space Development Corporation, Poynter spent two years in the ‘90s living inside an entirely self-contained biosphere that included its own miniature rainforest, ocean and organic farm with seven other people. Their goal? Figuring out how to build habitats that sustain human life in hostile environments like Mars. These days Poynter’s company continues that work, creating hardware for dozen of space missions (they also recently contracted by Mars One to develop life support  systems for a proposed manned colony on Mars and are working on sending folks to the stratosphere via balloon).

We’re, of course, incredibly thrilled to have someone at work on such unbelievably cool projects join us in Vegas, but we’re particularly excited about Poynter’s talk for another reason. Who better to dig into our theme, 2020 Vision, and help illuminate how current tech is soon going to transform our lives than a woman who has been (literally) living on — and pushing — the boundary between scientific fact and science fiction for decades? And who better to discuss the sustainability and ecological impact of those changes than a woman who helped build a biosphere from scratch?

Excited to hear Poynter’s insights at our upcoming conference? Tickets are still available (though act quickly — regular bird pricing ends this Thursday). Or, if you’re already all set to join us, check out Poynter’s TEDx talk below to get even more excited for the event!

Photo by PurpleGecko / Flickr.

jessicaJessica Stillman (@entrylevelrebel) is an editor at Women 2.0 and a freelance writer with interests in unconventional career paths, generational differences, and the future of work. She writes a daily column for Inc.com, contributes regularly to Forbes and has blogged for CBS MoneyWatch, GigaOM and Brazen Careerist, among others.