Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Star Fleet Academy Coming Soon

I am a die hard member of SEDS, so it's time to name drop. I have partied with Peter Diamandis. I have had dinner with Bob Richards, which was in fact just back in November. Not the kind of dinner where I was 12 tables away mind you, but at the same table, one chair separated. We passed the butter.

So, I was extremely happy to read today that the Singularity University (SU) has started in the United States, backed by NASA. The article is here...


As the article states, "The Singularity University (SU) plans to offer a nine-week graduate studies program, as well as three-day chief executive officer-level and 10-day management-level programs, starting in June. It will be located at the NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif."

Basically, the classes cover
space and physical sciences; policy, law and ethics; finance and entrepreneurship; and more. What does this have to do with Peter and Bob? They are some of the ones instrumental in making this happen. As with the ISU (International Space University), located in Strausburg, France, this marks the next step in fordging a college of higher learning that is solely focused on the advancement of the human species into space.

I'm a Star Wars geek through and through, but I welcome an institution that is modeled after Star Trek's Starfleet Academy. This country should be the host of such an institution and I am beyond ecstatic about the emergence of the SU.

GO SU!!!


Oberon said...

....i invite you to join globalove think tank.

Douglas said...

Oberon - Is it a space exploration or related think tank? Where is it based?

Louise Ryan said...

Ok Douglas i have just been over and had a look at this page (can i assume you are there using the psuedo-name Mastersith? rofl)

Ok yes it rocks and is a brilliant idea, but you know what get's on my nerves? I can't go! I am a 31 yr old mother of 2 in the UK with no formal higher education. Although i know bits and peices i don't know enough, and as much as i can learn and study myself (and as you may or may not of guessed, i have lol) I still have no way of getting the type of educational qualifications needed to access something like this. (and you may have also noticed my grammer and spelling suck!)

Anyway my point is why couldn't we have podcasts of these lectures? (i hope you are Mastersith or i'm making these arguments to the wrong person) It would be an easy and accessible way of people just like me, wanting to know more and desperate to learn, having a go. An ideal i think starfleet academy would of approved of?

Monsal Varga said...

I agree with you on the high value and interest of these initiatives. It is very important to start working as soon as possible preparing the right people with the right skills so the future won't catrch us off guard.

What I truly mean is based on a great novel (a trilogy, as a matter of fact): Red Mars, Blue Mars, Green Mars. In a time where space activities tend more and more to be commercial and industrial in it's nature (rather than scientific or mere nation-pride) we will inevitably be facing a situation where human colonies will bring up some questions regarding autonomy/independency from earth (and I do mean political autonomy and/or independency). That's one of the themes (sociological implications) that I like best to think about.
And this ISU - now also in the USA - can realy help start paving the way to prepare people to deal later on with biiiggg issues.

Just think that in any future Mars colony, the second or third generation being born there won't be able to deal with earth gravity, same as saying that they won't be coming to pay grandpa a visit... never.
The social and legal implications of this...

Douglas said...

Louise - Yes, I am MasterSith. :)

And although I understand your argument about trying to make the ISU and SU an "everybody" university, I do somewhat disagree. Here's why...

Not everyone is qualified. I could teach myself Law, but that doesn't make me a lawyer. I'd still have to get a formal education and pass the Bar Exam to prove my worth.

For science and engineering (or college in general), it's not just about the knowledge you get out of books, but also for developing a certain way of thinking and analyzing data and information. Labs, group work, projects, etc. all matter significantly. No amount of self learning gives you that.

Also, and I believe this to be the most important reason, making this a Grad Level school ensures that the people attending have a definite level of commitment, because they've already gone through 4 years of school and completed it. They have their degree, which to me shows more about their ability to finish, than what they've learned.

Monsal - I completely agree, but I do think Mars people can visit Earth if they chose too. They'd have to do a special exercise program to bulk themselves back up to tolerate 1g, but it's possible. I figure a 6 month program could enable them to deal with 1g just fine, especially since Mars is not zero g, but just 1/3. Zero g is what really screws you up. lol.

As far as political autonomy and secession from Earth, that's a definite as far as I'm concerned. Any Moon or Mars base, colony, or "city" would be its own entity once it become self sufficient. There's no way any Earth based country will hold sway over it, unless that colony is dependent on Earth resources and need those ties to survive.

However, once those ties are broken, all bets are off. The Moon or Mars civilization could tell Momma Earth to go screw, and there's nothing anyone could really do about it.

Oberon said...