[SpaceProgram] "100 Years Starship Study Symposium" report

Ricky Ng-Adam rngadam at gmail.com
Sun Oct 2 12:12:09 CEST 2011


I've been at the Hilton Orlando (Flordia) for the last 2 days for the 100
Year Starship Study Symposium (http://100yss.org) going at a variety of
talks related to getting humanity to a point where we can build a starship.
There was a variety of concurrent tracks: exotic sciences, habitats and
environmental sciences, destinations, propulsion, etc. This was a great way
to get introduced to the challenges of building a starship in the next 100

I've personally focused on talks that seemed to relate to the immediate
future and related to making. This meant going to a talk about "Long-term
Computing", "Utilizing Video Games", "Creating Materials for the Starship
and a variety of organization related talks".  As hackerspaces, we have a
bias towards action so I was looking for an actionable plan with a focus on
how to structure the organization to do this.

The second day (Saturday), this meant spending a lots of time with the
"Education, Social, Economic and Legal considerations panel".

I've tried my best to summarize the various talks I've seen on Google+:


...although to be clear I did not write much from the presentations and
panel "Education, Social, Economic and Legal considerations panel" as the
information there was much more fuzzy and difficult to nail down

Today will be the last for the symposium. We (me and Huei Ming Tan from the
National University of Singapore) are both on an "Organizations" panel. We
will be given an opportunity to highlight what our big idea is in 5 minutes
and then discuss with our co-panelists. My job is made easier by the fact
that both the DARPA organizers have a bias towards making and that the
keynote speech was given by Ariel Waldman (of spacehack.org) who's already
familiar with hackerspaces.

My intent is to talk and champion the following (draft, I'll keep working on
it so if you have suggestions within the next few hours I'm open):

Hackerspaces are *community-operated physical places* all around the world,
where people can meet and have fun making things together. Each Hackerspace
is an autonomous entity, but they all share the same philosophy of having
fun building things. An Hackerspace is an environment where people can learn
and tinker with technology, work in teams, participate in international
competitions or do ambitious projects from flying machines to biology

XinCheJian, an Hackerspace I co-founded in Shanghai (China), is one of the
many hundreds Hackerspaces all around the world that have been created in
the last few years.  As an example of this global collaboration, back in
April, XinCheJian joined hackerspaces from San Francisco, New York,
Australia, Maui to give a response to DARPA Request For Information as part
of the 100YSS.

Hackerspaces are part of a large family of organizations called FabLab,
TechShops, Makerspaces, etc that exist all around the world.  Some are
privately incorporated, some are non-profits, some are part of universities
and schools, some are funded by individuals, some are sponsored by
corporations or governments, some are coops. As local communities, they are
adaptive to their environment and the make up of their local societies. They
all share a philosophy of making things so they are equipped to do a wide
variety of inter-disciplinary projects in mechanical, electrical, software
engineering disciplines, arts and/or design with a focus on teaching each
other how to make things. *Anyone can be part of an Hackerspace, from young
kids to retirees, engineers to hobbyists, students to professionals.*

*Hackerspaces typically use OpenSource and OpenHardware technologies and
generally have a consensus-based, democratic or even anarchism approach with
a focus on action*.  Some of them, such as Noisebridge in San Francisco
SpaceBridge program and Melbourne Connected Community Lunar Numbat program,
already have undertaken a variety of projects related to space.

Our proposal is to inspire some of these already existing communities to
join and participate to a well-defined, realistic, global 100 years space
program roadmap that can be broken down into small buildable projects with a
focus on dual-use technologies on Earth and in space to work towards our
long-term goal of reaching the stars.

Hackerspaces are best suited to attract the kind of people fascinated by
space and the promises of space.  *Hackerspaces philosophy is one of
openness, sharing, collaboration and communities which is essential for
humanity to building the knowledge and knowhow to reach the stars*.
Hackerspaces, because they are born from their local communities, have
organizations well-adapted to their social environments and through their
members, connected to the organizations surrounding them. They are also by
their existence *already self-sustainable communities*.

For the purpose of the space program, instead of centrally organizing, we
believe in *inspiring and evangelizing through a common dream and repository
of common technologies*.  The 100 Year Starship Study could funnel the small
amount of money it has remaining into funding a variety of realistic
short-term projects that fit into the larger plan with the hope that these
projects can be further funded through crowd-funding and productization.
This will give the opportunity to space fans, amateurs and hobbyists to move
beyond part-time endeavors while equipping further Hackerspaces with the
tools they need to build space technologies.

In the short-term, walking back from the long-term proposals discussed at
this symposium and while we wait for basic breakthrough in physics to make
the trip to the stars practical, *I personally believe* that we can focus
the next few years on self-sustainable ventures around near space. This
means a focus on making robots that can prospect and mine near-earth
objects, use the material generated to build space factories and power
stations that together can build more things. This is to both escape the
gravity well tax and find a profitable way to exploit space by bringing back
valuable resources to Earth. This is a necessary first step to any
sustainable long-term development.

Hackerspaces can extend their existing community to work in partnership with
individuals, other non-profits, universities, private companies, state-owned
enterprises, governmental organizations and governments to connect efforts
to a global one. By using this open platform for the 100 Years Starship, we
can increase the number of stakeholders dramatically and ensure that the
next four human generations are intimately involved with the global starship
space program through *making*.

Thank you!
伍思力 | Ricky Ng-Adam | http://xinchejian.com | (+86) 186-2126-2521
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