Before the congress was over I had to leave for Amsterdam, missing with my great regret the press conference with Buzz Aldrin, a tribute to Neil Armstrong. Will I ever get the chance to meet Buzz Aldrin again? I hope so! My plan to travel to Beijing next year for the 64th International Astronautical Congress has started, I’ll see you there!
Report from the 63rd International Astronautical Congress in Naples
9 oktober 2012 door 5 Reacties
OPTICKS. After the IAC opening ceremony, featuring performances and short films screening, paying a tribute to Italian engineer Luigi Napolitano, former president of the International Astronautical Federation, the marathon from one lecture room to the next started. People from all around the world attended, it was amazing seeing so many nationalities all gathered together under the umbrella of Astronautics. Due to the busy schedule, it was necessary selecting the areas of interest out of the many featured in the programme. My choice went for the SETI and Society symposium. ‘Seeking intelligence far beyond our own’ was the encouraging title of the opening presentation by current SETI director, Prof. Seth Shostak. What I find especially interesting about people working for SETI, apart from their cutting edge philosophy, is the sense of humour that pervades their work and the truly including approach to Science. Many of the lectures during this panel examined the rather difficult task of receiving a radio signal from outer space that might point to extraterrestrial intelligence. Until now none of these signals has been received, nevertheless SETI keeps searching, knowing that, should this happen, humankind needs to be prepared. Especially interesting was the presentation by Prof. Douglas Vakoch, Director of Interstellar Message Composition (what a nice job!). Dr. Vakoch is especially interested in the history and future use of interstellar message transmission, during his lecture he provided some great insights into the history of communication with a possible extraterrestrial life. After the inspiring SETI symposium we all went to the restaurant and enjoyed the company of people who made the history of SETI, radio astronomers, astrophysicists and people with a passion for space. Prof. Michael Garrett, the director of ASTRON, was also there. A SETI programme in The Netherlands in a near future? Let’s hope so, a far reaching scientific programme cannot avoid anymore asking the biggest questions. On the following day I attended the ‘Space as an Artistic Medium’ session, where my presentation took place. International artists and designers showcased their work, I was proud to be part of such a great group! Dr. Yvonne Clearwater, a former NASA designer, made a very interesting presentation about the past, present and future of NASA Art programme. Space Architecture, Space and Music were only some of the fascinating topics connecting Art and Space culture. During my last day at IAC I took some time to wander around the many stalls filled with information and exhibits about current technological research on satellites and space. A cheerful toast with nice wines accompanied thorough conversations on science and business. I stopped by the Dutch Space booth and took some pictures of their products, talking with a gentleman who noticed my enthusiastic admiration for the stereoscopic camera display. He explained that the camera has been engineered in Holland and is used by astronauts on board of the ISS to make 3D recordings. Some 3D films were shown at the Dutch Space booth, I wore some special glasses and enjoyed the feeling of being part of the ISS crew.Just got back from the overwhelming 63rd International Astronautical Congress in Naples, it was truly an experience and would recommend it to anybody with a passion for flight, space travel and the future. During the five days symposium the outside world seems to disappear in the technology of flight wonderland. The programme is so intense that on your way back you will need a couple of days to make sense of all you have learned and seen during the congress. First of all it is an amazing opportunity for networking and meeting likeminded people, no matter which area of space flight you work in, whether engineering, SETI or culture. The congress is nomadic, it is held every year in a different town and next year it will be hosted in Beijing. On my way back to The Netherlands, I had tens of cards from new contacts and friends and many new projects in mind. I participated in the congress as an artist with a passion for radio astronomy and cosmic art, I also made a presentation about my collaboration with the CAMRAS team of radio amateurs at Dwingeloo radio telescope for a project called