If you’re from the United States, Happy Fourth of July! Most of us had the day off, but I was in the office working on some stuff with folks in Europe. I’m leaving in a few minutes to watch fireworks, eat hotdogs, and drink beer! This is one of my favorite holidays. ;-)
Monday: I woke up at 5:30 for a 6am meeting with folks in Scotland. We’re working with Professor Anderson at the Glasgow Caledonian University’s Engineering Department to develop a video for the Lunar Space Elevator Infrastructure. This involves half-a-dozen students, as well as my technical team. It was a somewhat crowded conversation with five LiftPort people contributing. This was the first conversation with these folks, but they are already off to a great start!
The video will be used in two museum exhibits, four technical conferences (these four are already scheduled, it’s certain that there will be more in the future), and for three documentaries: Discovery Channel, NHK in Japan, and an independent team from New York. So we’ll be working extra hard to ensure that this video has as much technical accuracy as we can cram into it.
Tuesday: I took the day off after working through the weekend.
Wednesday: I helped the Space Frontier Foundation and the folks working on the Integrated Space Plan. I’m the Chair of the new SFF Membership Committee. In all the years that the SFF has existed, they’ve never had a formalized membership program. That’s changing. The details will be released at their annual conference in a few weeks. I’m also friends with the ISP people. So I did what I could to push them both together.
I think this is important. The ISP is a 25 year old document that was created during the Cold War between the US and the USSR. Despite its origins, it was a document of hope, vision and tenacity. It was – and will be again – a roadmap of how humanity will reach for, and attain, the stars. The original ignored political boundaries’, and focused on the technology needed to move humans – long-term – to the Moon, Mars, and beyond. It was crafted just a few months prior to the fall of the Berlin Wall, and only 18 months before Kuwait was invaded. These two events obviously sidelined the motivated plans of both the Soviets and the Americans.
So here we are, 25 years later, and it’s time to reboot the spirit of this document. The new ISP will be an online tool (and a glorious 7x4ft color poster – that’s what I pledged for!). I hope that the new plan becomes a rallying point for all the different goals for getting to space. It will evaluate the ~50 national programs (today, NASA is accompanied – or led by – many other national efforts). This new plan will also try to incorporate the ~100 commercial efforts, and about 15 programs led by various non-profits and academic teams. This is both audacious and ambitious.
For those of you that are unimpressed with how I’ve handled my own Kickstarter campaign, I want to assure you that I have nothing-what-so-ever to do with fulfillment. I’m simply a fan, and a contributor, and I gave both teams pro/con advice from my own good/bad Kickstarter experience. And for those wondering why this relates to the Lunar Elevator – our system is an element (one of many) that is incorporated into the settlement of the Moon, Mars, and an eventual Elevator here on Earth. We’ll be presenting the technical roadmap at the big conference in Toronto this September.
Thursday: Mostly this was an administration day, filled with email phone calls, and general operations. And of course, I posted a KS Update late in the day. The most fun of the day was reviewing the (very) rough draft from Scotland. Yes, I know there are errors, and, yes, I know it’s much too fast. But here’s the beginning. Let me know what you think – I’ll pass constructive criticism along to the team.
Friday: Another admin day. Only worked 6 hours. At the end, I posted this update. I’m now off to be with my friends for the holiday.
Take care, mjl
This week, and last, have blurred into one. Here’s an update for the last days of last week. More tomorrow.
Thursday: Drove down to Portland to meet with David A, and retrieve all the Kickstarter Rewards that he had. I’m very grateful to David for his help these past few months! He focused on getting the postcards sent. I’m reviewing these, and it looks like (most) of them have been sent. A few have been returned to us, so we’ll have to sort out those address problems. It was a nice chat with David.
I then left to meet with Charles about the NASA proposals that are in the works. We were denied on two (we expected that) and there are still several that are processing. Charles and I also discussed our papers that we will be presenting in Toronto and here in Seattle this summer. All total we’ve got 6 technical papers, 2 posters, and 4 proposals that are being developed or are already being evaluated. This isn’t very exciting work, but it is very important if we are going to take our project from a group of ad hoc volunteers and turn it (back!) into a professional, globally recognized research program.
Friday: After just a few hours’ sleep, I drove up to Vancouver. Normally, both Portland and Vancouver are just 3.5 hours roadtrip from my house. But for reasons unknown, this trip to British Columbia took almost 9! So I spent most of the day in the car. I was able to do some work because I brought my headset, and so I dedicated most of that driving time to talking with my team. Overall, the day that I had planned was a botch, so I tried recovering with telephone time. That kinda worked. I caught up on some long-overdue conversations.
Saturday: I spent all day getting to know my two newest team-members, Sumari, and Cameron. She is working on writing… tons and tons of writing. You know that that is a task I loath, so this helps me a lot. But it is also time-consuming. I’ve got to get her up to speed on various aspects of the project, so every time she writes a paragraph, there’s 15 minutes of explanation that goes along with it. But as she learns, she gets better at the assigned task. Meanwhile, he is working on our new website. I’m hoping it will finally be the web-portal that this project really deserves. We’ve thousands of photos, about 100 videos, and several hundred technical documents that will go online. This is something that I’ve wanted for several years – it feels especially good to finally have started this. We will release this new site as part of the upcoming conference in August.
The evening was a little unexpected, I met with a local group of “trans-humanists” and ‘longevity’ enthusiasts. Now I’d encountered these folks many times – advanced technology folks tend to run in similar communities – and I always find it interesting to interact with them. Basically, they are optimists in the same way that I am an optimist. We watched the movie “Her” and talked about ‘the singularity’, uploading your conscience to the ‘net, bitcoins and other crypto-currencies, and of course, Space Elevators and expansion into the solar system.
Sunday: More of the same. In the late afternoon, I had back-to-back meetings regarding bitcoin and space development. Those were interesting conversations. If anything develops from them, I’ll let you know. I learned a little more about my friend’s Jeff Garzik and Rick Tumlinson’s “BitSat” program. I’m going to investigate this further. I didn’t leave Canada until just about Midnight. I was dead-tired and pulled over to sleep in the car for a couple hours before heading home.
Take care, Mjl
P.s., More on this tomorrow, but if you’re interested in long-term human settlement in space, you might be interested in this Kickstarter. I backed in 2 weeks ago. I think it’s important. bit.ly/TheSpacePlan