Thursday, July 29, 2010

Off to Switzerland - Sustainability Conference

Needless to say I'm pretty excited about my upcoming trip to Caux, Switzerland to attend and speak at the Initiatives of Change conference, Leading Change for a Sustainable World. As the days draw closer to my actual departure, I'm thinking about my lecture, what I'm saying, and how awesome this trip is going to be. Okay, so the last part isn't exactly a factor of the conference objective, but come's SWITZERLAND! :)

One of the many things I love about space exploration and development is that it forces us to conquer challenges that simply are not a factor in everyday life on Earth. We must rise to a new level just to maintain the basics of life in space, and this leads us to the invention of technologies that make such a life possible. Sustainability is by far one of the most paramount goals of space exploration. Without it, we could not survive there.

Sustainability is a factor in many aspects of space exploration, such as energy, air supply, food, water, and more. As we know, space is unlike any other environment. It's not like there's a 7-11 down the road to do a quick resupply, nor can you do flyover cargo drops like Arctic missions can do, or like our military does in remote locations. Space is just a wee bit more challenging than that, so your living conditions must be as sustainable and robust as possible.

And as I mentioned, it's because of those conditions that we end up inventing technologies that inherently benefit life on Earth. If you can create sustainable clean energy systems in space, you can apply that to Earth. If you can create sustainable food production facilities in space (like for a Moon Base), then you can do so on Earth. There are many sustainable, long lasting solution options to satisfy humanity while maintaining a solid respect for the environment, and those solutions are technically driven.

The human brain, with its imagination and its innovative capabilities, is an amazing bio-computer, and the people who have used it for positive gain have given us the ability to live amazing lives on this Earth while simultaneously maintaining the positive natural environment we all need to survive long term on this planet. If we do not adapt and use our innovation to this end, we will bring about the systematic self destruction of the human species. The planet will move on, but we won't.

As the late, great George Carlin said, "The planet has been through a lot worse than us. Been through all kinds of things worse than us. Been through earthquakes, volcanoes, plate tectonics, continental drift, solar flares, sun spots, magnetic storms, the magnetic reversal of the poles…hundreds of thousands of years of bombardment by comets and asteroids and meteors, worldwide floods, tidal waves, worldwide fires, erosion, cosmic rays, recurring ice ages…And we think some plastic bags, and some aluminum cans are going to make a difference? The planet…the planet…the planet isn’t going anywhere. WE ARE!"

I don't know about you, but I'd like to stick around, so let's do the right thing and make sustainability a paramount issue and technological advancement as the tool to implement it.

Friday, July 16, 2010!!!

More fun by Congress regarding the space program.

It sounds kind of good, but I'll breathe a sigh of relief once it's officially signed. We all know Congress has the ability to muck up a good compromise.

Plus, with all these letters out there promoting one way or the other, like from Astronauts who are okay with Commercial Space transport, it's hard to gauge where the final stop on this train will leave us.

P.S. Hope you got the Pigs in Space reference. :) You have to laugh every now and then, no?

Monday, July 12, 2010

Lutetia the Lovely

Some things are just too cool for words. In such cases, I'm glad we have missions in space to bring back these awesome pictures. Congratulations ESA for Rosetta and these stunning pictures. I look forward to future amazing visuals.