[SpaceProgram] Quick Update on Day 1 of 100YSS Symposium

Huei Ming Tan tanhueiming at gmail.com
Wed Sep 19 22:32:36 CEST 2012

Hi all,

Sorry for being slow to update. Need to organize my notes a bit and type it
all out. Jerry has updated you on Day 1 so I'm just gonna wrap up some
loose ends (and add some links for all to explore and chew on).

*JSC tour*
We arrived at Space Center Houston (the tour center for JSC) without
incident only to discover that we didn't have an organizer accompany us so
we had to call around before we were let in. Inside we were received by
someone who came down from PR office who gave us a nice intro to the place
and some tour recommendations. Once we found out that we're not going to
have a guided tour we took matters into our own hands, someone in our party
from JPL graciously volunteered to be a guide and we're off!

Trip itinerary basically went like:
1) A video showcasing NASA's achievement and future plans for the manned
programs (quite dated IMO for our Youtube HD world).
2) Tram tour to JSC's Apollo Mission Control Center, Space Vehicle Mockup
Facility & Rocket Park (there's an actual Saturn V restored rocket there!).
3) Lunch
4) Tour of Starship Gallery
Then most of us tour participants gathered somewhere quiet and just had a
conversation about why we came to the Symposium and our expectations (quite
a number of us were eager and willing to go hands on) before heading back
to the hotel.

It's remarkable that so much was done using 1960s technologies (see
image of the Mission Control), which was also echoed by a fellow
participant (cinema seats today trumps the seats in the VIP gallery there).
Another commented that visiting SpaceX first before JSC set the wrong
expectations (I've seen some
I agree too). I think it's a terrible pity that this institution, of
'national pride' has so much of a museum feel everywhere (which made me
understand better why Neil deGrasse Tyson's lamented
nobody dreams about the future anymore).

I can understand the gentleman from LLNL's sentiment because while there
are good content and quality speakers (but not too many), there are very
few projects that deal with actual implementation. The interesting projects
I was fortunate to listen to were the ones on habitability around brown
dwarfs, SERVIR <http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/servir/index.html>,
Optically Controlled and Corrected Active Meta-material Space Structures
the Open Source Starship Alliance
By the way I did not attend the presentation, but we were told by one of
the Project Icarus guys that we should be interested in Project
we can think of collaborating with them on mission planning).

*Proposers Lunch*
This was the one item on the agenda that I thought was well worth having us
flying out all the way to Houston on our own dime (the rest was bonus). And
instead of having a working lunch to discuss how we can all work together,
we had a fancy lunch and each group was asked to take turns at the mic to
share their project proposals in ~3 mins. We could have been asked to write
a two paragraph summary, have everyone's summaries collated into a PDF to
be mailed to all participants before Day 1 of Symposium. What a waste of
our collective money and time.

Anyway, I did my best to pitch what we intend to do within the allocated 3
mins, that:

   - we would like to start an international and inclusive organization
   called Space GAMBIT (for Global Alliance of Makers Building Interstellar
   - organize interested Hackerspaces (and other maker communities) into
   working towards building a spacefaring civilization,
   - that we're aiming for 'sustainability living to enable a sustained
   effort' where Hackerspaces working towards a self sustainable community
   will be well positioned to contribute towards an international, long term
   space program,
   - our key focus areas are community, education and research
   - that we welcome partnerships with private & public sector,

*Day 3*
There was another plenary session with Levar Burton, Workshop Wrap Up
session and Track Wrap Up session to summarise the presentation tracks.
Nothing much of significance, except that Space GAMBIT was mentioned a
couple times in these sessions. Let's be grateful that others have taken
notice and was nice enough to give us a shoutout! :)

That's about it from me!

Warmest regards,
Huei Ming

On Sun, Sep 16, 2012 at 6:48 AM, Alex Cureton-Griffiths <alexcg at gmail.com>wrote:

> On 15 Sep, 2012, at 9:33 PM, Jerry Isdale wrote:
> Huei Ming Tan and I are attending the 100Year StarShip Study Symposium in
> Houston Tx this weekend.
> Yesterday was the first full day ... Thursday there was a 'tour of Johnson
> Space Center' activity for early arrivals.  Huei Ming was here and went on
> it.  He can give a more full report, but as an indicator of conference
> preparation, the folks who went were surprised to learn when they got there
> that there was no arranged tour.  Fortunately one of the attendees was from
> JPL and became an impromptu tour guide.
> Appears to be about 250 registered attendees. Maybe 30 are teams that
> proposed for the DARPA RFP (like us).  The conference printed
> agenda/materials is another indicator of the organization... It is very
> difficult to read and figure out.  The font and spacing is very crammed,
> yet most of the page is blank space.  There is little consistency in the
> timing layout.  I dont think they have anyone with graphical design
> experience on board.  Or at most a 1st year intern.
> Wow, I would've expected a lot better. Go figure.
> The Opening Session was a couple Welcome speeches, including a video
> recorded welcome from Honorary Chair (former usa) President Bill Clinton.
> Mae Jemison, astronaut heading up 100YSS organization gave the long speech
> about the org. Lots of 'preaching to the choir' about how great this is and
> that they want to be inclusive, etc. Nothing of great news, IMHO.
> THen started the 7 parallel tracks of papers and workshops .. 7!! really
> hard to choose, except that I was registered for a workshop (Research
> Priorities.. RP).  Huei did a papers track.  The workshop (13 people) chose
> to frame the discussion around the Socio-Political Environment aspects.  We
> were asked to come up with various S/P hypothesis and then broke into small
> 3-4 person groups to discuss priorities as colored by one or another
> hypothesis.  Some of the Hypothesis were: what if research is controlled by
> corporate interests?  What if Anti-Science becomes dominant politically?
> What if there is a major world war? What if Social Cooperation proves
> impractical/impossible on world scale?
> My group focused on the Corporate Dominance theme (odd for hacker like me,
> but groups were not self-selecting, rather by seats in room).    First
> divided research into categories of Propulsion, Habitat, Social and
> Destination, and then talked about how Corporations might rank those in
> priorities. The personal views of participants showed here - One guy
> (corporate) said corporations would totally discount social priorities. I
> countered that might not be true as they have a strong interest in
> education to insure there are people to hire.  Other social issues (like
> how do you keep a society together for duration of interstellar travel)
> were completely discounted in corporate priorities (i think they would be
> higher but ...)  Propulsion was seen as highest priority.
> I'd have thought they'd be higher as well - they're investing megabucks
> into getting a society out there then could end up pissing it away as it
> turns into Lord of the Flies. Mars One are hoping to do a reality TV show
> to finance first trip to Mars, by filming the actual crew. Perhaps falling
> apart would be good TV…
> More details hopefully in the summaries to be given on Sunday. (and when I
> have time to write up notes)
> Huei Ming and I then attended the Proposers Luncheon, which got us
> sit-down meals (vs box lunches for others) and a chance for people to talk
> quickly (3min) about their proposal. The moderator was not very good at
> pulling the microphone and first couple of people dragged on for 10min.
>  One guy had a nuclear propulsion based system that he has been promoting
> since 1961 (tried for patents but denied, etc) and ran on and on about it
> for a while.  They nearly cut off the last 3 groups - including us.   Huei
> did talk and turns out there are a couple other very interesting related
> groups here with whom we have connected (more later).
> At last, some good news out of this conference :)
> I went to a papers session in later afternoon, and Joe Ritter of the Open
> Source Space Alliance (and one of the track chair's) gave me 10min of his
> presentation (last of day) to talk about SpaceGAMBIT.  Lot of people were
> excited by it  and one former LLNL scientist came up afterwards to say he
> was about to give up on conference until he heard last couple of talks
> including ours.  Now he has some hope for effort.
> Overall there has been little about the 100YSS organization itself here.
>  What is there corporate org, plans, research done, etc.  It seems that
> they are  using the seed $$ to set up a group that will then do fundraising
> and after that maybe do some research support.
> Be interested to see how well that works. I'd like to the see the ROI on
> their fundraising at some point
> (I skipped out on the extra cost dinner/reception last night and went to a
> blues club with a friend who lives here in Houston. ... wound up talking
> till 2am)
> Lots of interesting people, from hard science, social angles, and some
> lunatic fringe too... I'm probably in the latter group - Hackerspaces in
> Space? Are you Crazy? .... yes.
> Jerry Isdale
>  isdale at spacegambit.org
> USA Program Lead, SpaceGAMBIT
> Global Alliance of Makers Building Interstellar Technology
> http://SpaceGAMBIT.org
> This email is intended only for the personal and confidential use of
> the human(s) named above. If intercepted by an extraterrestrial
> civilization, all opinions expressed in this email are my own and do not
> necessarily reflect the opinion of mankind as a whole.
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