The Gravity of the National Space Society’s Vision

Thorne award
NSS Executive Committee Chairman Mark Hopkins Presents Space Pioneer Award to Dr. Kip Thorne

We, the members of the National Space Society, believe exploring the unknown is one of the things that drives our vision of “people living and working in thriving communities beyond the Earth, and the use of the vast resources of space for the dramatic betterment of humanity.” The recent discovery of gravitational waves by NSS Space Pioneer award recipient Dr. Kip Thorne is another giant leap forward.

We are very proud and honored to congratulate the amazing achievement of our NSS member Dr. Kip Thorne for his leading involvement in the creation of the LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory) project. LIGO’s recent world-changing detection of the existence of gravitational waves predicted by Einstein a century ago in his General Relativity Theory is opening new eyes on the cosmos and the doors that will bring humanity closer to the NSS vision!

Regarding the grand NSS vision, Dr. Thorne remarked, “I think that it’s clear that it is attainable to colonize the solar system. Getting beyond the solar system is going to be exceedingly difficult. We are going to either require a lot of brute force over a period of several centuries or else a brilliant idea that none of us has grasped yet. The first thing is the solar system, but we have not been moving at anything like the pace that we could or we should.”

Thorne at ISDC

Dr. Thorne was honored at the National Space Society’s 2015 International Space Development Conference® (ISDC) in Toronto, Canada for his work with the movie Interstellar and spoke not only to the conference participants, but also to more than 400 Space Settlement Design Contest winning students from around the world.

Thorn at ISDC
At the Toronto ISDC, Dr. Thorne visited with the students, viewing their Space Settlement Design Contest poster presentations, and posing for group photos with the winners. Here is Dr. Thorne with a winning team from Romania.

The ISDC, which brings together and engages students, scientists, business leaders, space industry stakeholders, families, policy makers and people from all walks of life, is held annually at different locations. This year it will be held at the surprisingly inexpensive location of San Juan, Puerto Rico! By attending ISDC Puerto Rico, you’ll be able to meet a whole new batch of winning space settlement students, the latest Space Pioneer Award winners like Pluto New Horizon’s Alan Stern, NASA center director Elen Ochoa, and Blue Origin’s president Rob Meyerson.

Here’s a quick look of what the ISDC 2016 holds for its attendees:
https://youtu.be/aYC3G-6hzFQ

When asked during an interview at the ISDC how pleased Dr. Thorne was to see that this type of conference, exists, he replied, “Well I think it’s very wonderful, particularly getting the young people involved around the world and being an inspiration for them. It’s very important for the future of science and the future of space.”

About the Gravity Wave Discovery

On February 11, 2016, a team of four physicists using LIGO announced that they had heard and recorded in September 2015 the gravitational wave motion of two black holes colliding 1.3 billion light-years away. The announcement team included Kip Thorne, David Reitze, Gabriela González, and Rainer Weiss.

Gravity waves

This is the first time scientists have observed ripples in the fabric of spacetime, called gravitational waves, arriving at Earth from a cataclysmic event in the distant universe. Dr. Thorne’s work has dealt with the prediction of gravity-wave strengths and their temporal signatures as observed on Earth. Dr. Thorne cofounded the LIGO Project in 1984 to discern and measure any fluctuations between two or more ‘static’ points on Earth. Such fluctuations would be evidence of gravitational waves. The specter of gravitational waves will show us the universe in a brand new light.

“With this discovery, we humans are embarking on a marvelous new quest: the quest to explore the warped side of the universe — objects and phenomena that are made from warped spacetime. Colliding black holes and gravitational waves are our first beautiful examples,” says Dr. Thorne.

NSS congratulates Professor Kip Thorne and the entire LIGO team for the confirmed detection of Gravitational Waves and his support of the National Space Society, it’s ISDCs, and projects like Enterprise In Space!

International Space Development Conference (ISDC) 2016

The National Space Society invites you to come to ISDC 2016, where you’ll be immersed in bleeding-edge technologies and bold business models, rub shoulders with astronauts, and meet those able to help accelerate your own efforts to reach beyond borders…and beyond Earth.

isdc.nss.org/2016

The International Space Development Conference (ISDC) is the preeminent gathering place for people all around the world who seek to accelerate our pursuits beyond Earth. The conference brings together aerospace-industry leaders and startups, space exploration pioneers, academic thought leaders, and space supporters young and old – all united by a common goal to explore and develop space for the benefit of humankind.

With a theme of “Space Beyond Borders,” ISDC 2016 will be held in the beautiful island of Puerto Rico. International attendees will engage with a young, bilingual, educated, local workforce eager to increase its engagement in global space development efforts. Our theme also celebrates the increasingly collaborative, multidisciplinary, and interconnected nature of space development in the twenty-first century. Furthermore, “Space Beyond Borders” presents current space programs, cutting-edge aerospace technology and innovative projects and features astronauts and other pioneers.

ISDC16logo

New Horizons Team Wins the National Space Society’s 2016 Space Pioneer Award for Science and Engineering

Ten years ago today, a bold mission launched on humankind’s first journey to Pluto. The New Horizons Team, which conducted the stunningly successful mission to and flyby of Pluto, is the winner of the National Space Society’s 2016 Space Pioneer Award for Science and Engineering. The team is led by the Southwest Research Institute and Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. This award will be presented at the National Space Society’s 2016 International Space Development Conference® (isdc2016.nss.org). It will be accepted by Dr. Alan Stern, the Team’s Principal Investigator and two other member of the mission team, Mission Systems Engineer Chris Hersman, and Deputy Project Scientist Dr. Leslie Young, on May 20, 2016. This will be the 35th ISDC and will be held in San Juan, Puerto Rico at the Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel. The conference will run from May 18-22, 2016.

Pluto senset
Pluto sunset

About the Space Pioneer Award

NSS Space Pioneer AwardThe Space Pioneer Award consists of a silvery pewter Moon globe cast by the Baker Art Foundry in Placerville, California, from a sculpture originally created by Don Davis, the well-known space and astronomical artist. The globe, as shown at left, which represents multiple space mission destinations and goals, sits freely on a brass support with a wooden base and brass plaque, which are created by Michael Hall’s Studio Foundry of Driftwood, TX. NSS has several different categories under which the award is presented each year, starting in 1988.

About the New Horizons Team and its Mission to Pluto

This Award recognizes the team’s success in conducting a mission that has lasted now over a decade, starting with the launch on Jan 19, 2006. Humanity went from seeing just a tiny dot of light to seeing a complex, geologically active world in just a few days during the flyby on July 14, 2015. Maintaining the spacecraft as it continues to send back more images is still a critically important task. Displaying a wide range of terrains, Pluto has been revealed to have multiple active processes on its surface, with huge ice mountains possibly floating in a probably deep sea of soft, deformable nitrogen ice. There may be liquid nitrogen deeper beneath the surface. The ice has formed large arctic polygon-like convection cells covering wide areas of icy plains, which are very young and totally free of impact craters. In some areas, nitrogen glaciers flow out of the mountains into the icy plains. Real water ice volcanoes may also have finally been found. Pluto’s thin but compact atmosphere sports amazingly high haze layers and the rate of atmosphere loss is much lower than expected. Many other types of spectacularly patterned terrains are still unexplained, and as more images are returned from the spacecraft, Pluto and Charon’s very different forms of “geology” will continue to be a major scientific topic for years to come. This mission has generated the largest public interest of any NASA mission in recent years, has completed NASA’s 50 year long quest to reconnoiter all of the planets known at the start of the Space Age, and represents the furthest exploration of a world by humanity.

About the NSS Video New Horizons

On July 14th, 2015, NASA’s New Horizons mission made its closest approach to the Pluto system, completing the first reconnaissance of the Solar System, begun over 50 years ago by NASA.

National Space Society 35th annual International Space Development Conference ISDC2016

The Puerto Rico National Space Society Chapter (NSS-PR) invites you to the National Space Society 35th annual International Space Development Conference (ISDC): “Space Beyond Borders” to be held at the Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel & Casino from Wednesday, May 18th to Sunday, May 22nd, 2016.

ISDC 2016: “Space Beyond Borders” presents current space programs, cutting-edge aerospace technology and innovative projects and features astronauts and other space pioneers. It brings together aerospace industry leaders, engineers, startups, space exploration pioneers, academic thought leaders, and space supporters young and old – all united by a common goal to explore and develop space for the benefit of humankind. ISDC will host tracks on different topics pertaining to Planetary Defense, Energy, Space Access, Space Resources, Deep Space Exploration, Commercial Space, Space Settlement besides others. Special speakers include Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin, Director at Johnson Space Center Ellen Ochoa, and serial astropreneur Rick Tumlinson among many others.

You will have the opportunity to tour the world’s largest radio telescope, the Arecibo Observatory and embark in the exploration of the Camuy Caves carved out by the third largest underground river in the world.

ISDC 2016 will host receptions every day. On Friday, May 20 join Alan Stern, Principal Investigator of the New Horizons Mission to Pluto at the Governor’s Dinner and on Saturday, May 21 join Dr. Ling Ming, Vice President of the China Academy of Space Technology at the Gala Dinner.

We invite you to visit our website for more information and registration: isdc2016.nss.org

Dr. Kip Thorne, Renowned Physicist and Executive Producer of film Interstellar, to Speak at International Space Development Conference®

Conference convenes May 20-24 in downtown Toronto

The National Space Society’s 34th Annual International Space Development Conference (ISDC)®, being held next week in Toronto, Canada, features a presentation by famed physicist and author Dr. Kip Thorne. The National Space Society will present the 2015 Space Pioneer Award for Mass Media to Dr. Thorne at the ISDC Gala Dinner on Saturday, May 23, beginning at 7:00 p.m. EDT.

The award recognizes individuals whose accomplishments have helped open the space frontier and whose work has contributed significantly to the endeavor of developing a spacefaring civilization beyond Earth.

Dr. Thorne will also give a presentation entitled “The Science of Interstellar” on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. EDT. Among those attending the presentation will be over 300 award-winning students from around the world who are participants in the NSS/NASA Ames Space Settlement Design Competition. Students from last year’s competition appeared in Interstellar’s companion series The Science of Interstellar. Video clip: http://blog.nss.org/?p=4740

Kip ThorneDr. Thorne is a theoretical physicist and an author known for his contributions in gravitational physics and astrophysics. He was the Feynman Professor of Theoretical Physics at the California Institute of Technology from 1977 to 2009 and is considered one of the world’s leading experts on the astrophysical implications of Einstein’s general theory of relativity. In 2009, he left Caltech to ramp up a new career in writing, movies, and continued scientific research. Along with his distinguished career as a theoretical physicist, Dr. Thorne was an executive producer and scientific consultant on the 2014 Academy Award-winning film Interstellar, which was inspired by his work.

ISDC is the yearly conference of the National Space Society, a nonprofit organization that has hosted the gathering since 1982. The event is set for May 20-24, 2015 at the downtown Hyatt Regency in Toronto, Canada. The conference brings together leading managers, engineers, scientists, educators, and business people from civilian, military, commercial, entrepreneurial, and grassroots advocacy space sectors. The Canadian Space Commerce Association is hosting this year’s ISDC.

Online registration for the 34th Annual International Space Development Conference is currently open with a variety of options, from single day registration passes to full conference registration with meals. Discounts are provided for youth, full-time students, seniors, and members of the National Space Society and its affiliates.

For more information, visit isdc2015.nss.org.

International and U.S. Students and Teachers Headed to Toronto for 34th Annual International Space Development Conference®

Students competed in prestigious NSS-NASA Ames Space Settlement Design Contest – Video narrated by Matthew McConaughey

Hundreds of students and teachers from the United States and countries across the globe will converge in Toronto this month for the National Space Society’s (NSS) 34th annual International Space Development Conference (ISDC)® to celebrate and engage people in the goal of space settlement. The event is set for May 20-24, 2015 at the downtown Hyatt Regency in Toronto, Canada.

Students attending the conference, grades 6-12, will be sharing their imaginative ideas about how people will be living and working in space. They are attending the conference as a result of their participation in this year’s Space Settlement Design Contest, co-sponsored by the National Space Society and NASA Ames Research Center. The contest challenges students to design a space settlement, which must realistically address concerns such as atmosphere, food, gravity, radiation shielding, energy production, and recreation for human space colonists.

Students at last year’s ISDC were filmed and appeared in the movie Interstellar‘s companion series The Science of Interstellar (video clip above). Students this year will meet Interstellar‘s science advisor and world renowned physicist Kip Thorne, who will be receiving this year’s prestigious NSS Pioneer Award for Mass Media.

“The students attending the ISDC are so passionate and excited to be there to share their ideas and projects. There is so much to learn from them, their cultures, and creative insights,” said Lynne F. Zielinski, NSS Vice President of Public Affairs and chair of NSS’ Education and Outreach Committee. “We are always dazzled by their insightful and futuristic designs. Their enthusiasm is infectious and gives us all hope that we will soon be living and working in space ourselves. These students are the ones to take us there.”

Alexander C. Reeves
Alexander C. Reeves, Contest Grand Prize Winner

Each year, NSS invites contest participants to attend the organization’s ISDC. Throughout the conference, students will provide oral presentations about their space settlement designs, along with colorful artwork related to the contest. The NSS-NASA Ames Space Settlement Design Competition’s Grand Prize winner, Alexander C. Reeves of Ann Arbor, Michigan, will receive the $5,000 NSS Bruce M. Clark, Jr. Memorial Scholarship.

Alexander and his teacher, Dr. Deano Smith from Greenhills School, will be in attendance at ISDC. Reeves created The Freyr Project, an orbital settlement that provides a home and societal structure for 20,000 individuals and is designed to be part of a pseudo-modular system for long-term space settlement. The 247-page report is available here: settlement.arc.nasa.gov/Contest/Results/2015/areeves_Freyr.pdf.

This year’s competition received 994 entries from 3,007 students sponsored by 380 teachers. Entries came from 21 countries: Bulgaria, Canada, China, Czech Republic, India, Ireland, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Montenegro, Nepal, Pakistan, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Romania, Serbia, Sri Lanka, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, and Uruguay.

ISDC is the yearly conference of the National Space Society, a non-profit organization that has hosted the gathering since 1982. The event brings together leading managers, engineers, scientists, educators, and business people from civilian, military, commercial, entrepreneurial, and grassroots advocacy space sectors. The Canadian Space Commerce Association is hosting ISDC 2015.

Online registration is currently open with a variety of options, from single-day registration passes to full conference registration with meals. Discounts are provided for youth, full-time students, seniors, and members of the National Space Society and its affiliates. This year, local Toronto and Ontario residents also receive a substantial discount.

“We would like to invite local attendees interested in space to the annual conference of the world’s premier space public interest group,” stated Aggie Kobrin, the conference organizer and NSS board member. “Kids today are somewhat lacking in inspiration to pursue STEM fields and this conference is making giant strides to solve this problem.”

For more information, visit ISDC2015.nss.org

Renowned Astronauts & Space Experts On-Board for 2015 International Space Development Conference® in Toronto

Moon Walker Buzz Aldrin leads stellar list of guest speakers

The 34th annual International Space Development Conference® (ISDC® 2015) is set for May 20-24, 2015 at the downtown Hyatt Regency in Toronto, Canada. The event is this year’s best opportunity to meet and learn from leaders on the cutting edge of concepts shaping the future of life on Earth and in space.

ISDC® is the yearly conference of the National Space Society, a nonprofit organization that has hosted the gathering since 1982. The Canadian Space Commerce Association is hosting ISDC® 2015. The International Space Development Conference® is unique in bringing together members of the general public with space activists, scientists, engineers, educators, astronauts, aerospace industry leaders, and government officials for one purpose: to explore humanity’s future in space.

An exciting array of distinguished guest speakers is set to share their experiences and insights with conference attendees, led by Apollo 11 astronaut and ShareSpace Foundation founder Buzz Aldrin. The second man to walk on the Moon, Aldrin also serves on the National Space Society’s Board of Governors.

A still-growing list of featured speakers at ISDC® 2015 includes:

  • Christopher J. Ferguson, former NASA astronaut and veteran of three space shuttle missions.
  • Marc Garneau, Member of the Canadian Parliament and the first Canadian Astronaut in space.
  • Lori Garver, General Manager of the Air Line Pilots Association and former NASA Deputy Administrator.
  • Li Ming, Vice President of the China Academy of Space Technology.
  • Geoff Notkin, world-renowned meteorite expert and star of TV’s Meteorite Men.
  • George Whitesides, CEO of Virgin Galactic, a U.S. commercial spaceflight company.

ISDC speakers

I'm Going

National Space Society Awards Physicist Kip Thorne Its Mass Media Space Pioneer Award

The National Space Society announces that physicist Dr. Kip Thorne is the recipient of its 2015 Space Pioneer Award for Mass Media. This award will be presented at the National Space Society’s 2015 International Space Development Conference (http://isdc.nss.org/2015/). This will be the 34th ISDC and will be held in Toronto, Canada, at the Hyatt Regency Toronto (downtown). The conference will run from May 20-24, 2015.

About the Space Pioneer Award

NSS Space Pioneer AwardThe Space Pioneer Award consists of a silvery pewter Moon globe cast by the Baker Art Foundry in Placerville, California, from a sculpture originally created by Don Davis, the well-known space and astronomical artist. The globe, as shown at left, which represents multiple space mission destinations and goals, sits freely on a brass support with a wooden base and brass plaque, which are created by Michael Hall’s Studio Foundry of Driftwood, TX. NSS has several different categories under which the award is presented each year, starting in 1988.

About Dr. Kip Thorne

Kip ThorneDr. Thorne has had a very long and distinguished career as a physicist, Caltech physics professor, and author. Physics is the bedrock of space science, and what he has taught is vital to professionals working in the space community. Dr. Throne co-authored the landmark physics textbook Gravitation. He held the position of the Feynman Professor of Theoretical Physics at Caltech from 1991 to 2009, when he left the position to work outside of the university. His work in Interstellar is one of the results. Dr. Thorne is good friends with world-famous physicist Stephen Hawking, prior recipient of the National Space Society’s prestigious Heinlein Award.

ISDC Space and Media Track: Ted Schilowitz

By Candice Nunez, NSS ISDC Reporter, courtesy QGITS

Innovator and futurist Ted Schilowitz is founding team member & first employee of Red Camera Co and consultant for digital cinema technology company Barco and 20th Century Fox. Ted is speaking at the Space and Media Track at the ISDC National Space Conference along with a list of scheduled speakers in segments encompassing movies & television, social media, art & books, games, simulations, news, filming in space, classroom, and music. QGITS  (an online publication for STEM students) was excited to hear what Ted Schilowitz had to say about his Friday talk “The Future Is Immersion.”

QGITS: How did you earn the title futurist-consigliere?

Ted Schilowitz: It comes from the radical nature of my career, I’m one of the founding members and 1st employee of a movie camera company called Red Digital Cinema. Red has become very much a force in the motion picture world and it’s been a main stream tool for making movies. When I started, it was just me and Jim Jannard putting it all together and then it blew up into something significant. My title early on was “Leader of the Rebellion.” That was kind of an interesting moniker to establish in what we were doing by being very radical and very disruptive in a space that was right for disruption. Years later once the rebellion was well in hand, I had to change the business card title and it just said “insert title here” that just drove the press crazy. I retired from Red about 9 months ago, it was a very short lived retirement because one of my friends who is one of the studio heads at Fox, who used the Red camera quite a bit, essentially asked me to help look around the next corner of technology and all the things it means from a storytelling stand point. We had to come up with a title that would reflect that and not be some sort of business title. So the studio said that I was here to look at the future so we should call you “futurist” and you’re here to be our “consigliere” to the future and advise us. Since I was bold enough to stand up in meetings, have the courage and say what I think, that’s why the studio wanted me there, so they put on my business card “futurist-consigliere” which of course gives everybody a little chuckle, it’s nothing more than that, it’s just funny.

QGITS: Your Friday presentation talk at the ISDC conference is on “The Future is Immersion.” Can you talk a little bit about that?

Ted Schilowitz: I am talking about the learning and the exploration of forms, functions and how it relates to the field of motion pictures entertainment and what that means and how it’s changing. Also what’s important and what’s around the next corner. I am involved in a number of these efforts and what I believed is the next generation of cinema which is a project called “Escape” which I am doing with a company called Barco, the worldwide leader in cinema projection. We have created an experience extending the vision of cinema around you. I have another fun and interesting title at Barco called “CinemaVangelist.” I also have a very high interest in virtual reality which is an extension of this visual experience to have a personalized vision of the future with a headset on you. So my talk covers pieces and parts of that and an understanding of form, function and a future.

QGITS: What were your thoughts when asked to be a part of the ISDC Conference Space & Media Track added this year?

Ted Schilotwitz: I’m thrilled to be a part of it, I am a huge space fan. I grew up in central Florida so I am a child of the space generation and have been enamored with it since I was a little kid. I track this stuff, I know a lot about it, I love the excitement and the exploration of it. I was thrilled when asked to be a part of the conference in some fashion to talk about my vision of the future and how it relates to entertainment and storytelling. I love to meet all the other people that are speaking and talking. They have wonderful things to say and stories that get me all excited about space all over again.

ISDC NASA Lunar Exploration Sub-Track: Dave Dunlop

By Candice Nunez, NSS ISDC Reporter, courtesy QGITS

Dave Dunlop is the presenting and managing Track Chair of the Lunar Sub-Track during the NASA Exploration session. Dave has been part of the International Committee of the National Space Society in partner with other organizations that share the same vision of a future in which the free enterprise human economy expands to include settlements on the Moon and elsewhere. QGITS  (an online publication for STEM students) had the pleasure in speaking with Dave Dunlop about the panelists presenting on the Lunar Sub-Track.

QGITS: Last year’s lunar track was about lunar lava tube exploration on the Moon, will there be any talks about them again this year?

Dave DunlopDave Dunlop: This year we are having a number of presentations involving the Google Lunar XPRIZE competition. We are getting updates about the Google Lunar XPRIZE (GLXP) competition and their recent Milestone awards to several teams from Dr. Andrew Barton, Chief Technology Officer of the GLXP. He will be presenting at the Lunar Track, Friday May 16th, in the afternoon. Google Lunar XPRIZE teams that are also presenting at ISDC conference are: Moon Express, Penn State Lunar Lions, and Team Synergy Moon.

Although we devoted an entire day of our two day lunar track last year to lava tubes this year we have a more diverse range of topics and presentations. Last year we talked about lava tubes on the Moon but there are also a number pits on the Mars shield volcanos that would seem to be evidence of underlying lava tubes there as well. Astrobotic is another GLXP team that is planning a future lunar lava tube mission. This continues to be a hot topic for exploration. To get something into the lunar lava tube is something that has never been tried before – it’s quite challenging. I hope they can pull that off.

QGITS: What will you be speaking about at this year’s Lunar Sub-Track 2014?

Dave Dunlop: I am giving a talk on the International Lunar Geophysical Campaign. We are trying to do is to stimulate international interest in sending more small affordable science missions to the Moon. At present only three countries have managed to soft land on the Moon. If you look at a number of missions that are being planned over the next 10 years, there’s quite a few. What I have counted amount about 24 missions in development right now. Mostly those come from major spacefaring powers like China, India, Japan, Canada and Russia. If you look at these missions, there only 8 countries out of the major G-20 economies. Why aren’t there more lunar missions coming from G-20 countries? Our campaign is trying to encourage the number of these affordable Lunar CubeSat scale missions and more nations to be engaged.

We hope for example that some of the GLXP teams that have not had the ability to raise enough capital or adequate time to meet the GLXP deadline can repurpose their efforts and subsequently find both national as well as private sponsors for lunar science missions. NASA’s Solar System Exploration Research Virtual network has a number of international nodes and I understand that some additional nations are also joining that network. Perhaps there can be some collaborative project that these initiatives can mutually develop. We could see a new paradigm of small scale affordable science missions undertaken by more countries than ever before as a result.