Charles Cockell is Professor of Astrobiology at the University of Edinburgh and Co-Director of the UK Centre for Astrobiology, which he established in 2011. His academic interests encompass life in extreme environments, the habitability of extraterrestrial environments and the exploration and settlement of space. He has previously worked at NASA Ames Research Centre (NRC Postdoctoral Fellowship) and the British Antarctic Survey. His work has taken him to both poles and many other extreme environments. He has published many scientific papers and numerous books, including on the subject of space societies: Interplanetary Liberty: Building Free Societies in the Cosmos (OUP, 2022). He leads the Life Beyond program, which engages prisoners in the design of human settlements in space. He is Chair of the Earth and Space Foundation, a non-profit organisation he established in 1994 which funds expeditions that advance the unity between space exploration and environmentalism.