Saturday, August 25, 2012

Summer Vacation Part-1

The summer is nearly over, but it was fun while it lasted. Most of my time was busy with work, writing, and working on the Gold Rush film project. But I was able to sneak away for a couple of extracurricular activities.

In the beginning of August, I was fortunate to attend Planetfest 2012, and watch as the Mars Science Laboratory successfully landed on Mars. It was pretty exciting to be with a crowd of about 2000 people all on the edge of their seats, waiting to see what would happen. Scientists from NASA were on stage, giving an ongoing commentary of the events as they unfolded. Everybody was thrilled to see a successful landing.

Planetfest had a lot of displays, including full size models of the Space-X's Dragon capsule  and Xcor's space-plane:

Other than the Curiosity landing, I thought the most interesting presentation was by Mars Society President Robert Zubrin. I got an autographed copy of his book The Case for Mars: The Plan to Settle the Red Planet and Why We Must
 In it, he lays out a very detailed, thoughtful, and I think quite possible roadmap for human Mars exploration in the very near future. If you liked the How To Build A Spaceship tutorials, you will love this book :) It has all the juicy details of delta-vee, specific impulse, rocket equations, mass ratio etc. But much more than the geeky stuff, it is an easy to read and very enjoyable book.

If you want to explore Mars right now, check out the Mars Society website, where you can volunteer to take part in their Mars Desert Research Station, which is a real-life scientific simulation of a habitat on Mars.

In Part-2 we'll go from Mars, back to Earth, then out to the stars :)

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