Not a lot to report over the past couple of days, but we have a URL to pass along.
Sunday we went to an all-morning plenary session given by the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) about future space developments. Speakers included Wes Huntress, George Morgenthaler, Ivan Bekey, and Bob Zubrin, among others -- Ed Stone was there too. The most interesting thing to report about that is that they admit to a growing appreciation of the uses of the various LaGrange points (the "L" in "L5"). For some time we've been using the Earth-Sun L1 point to place satellites that study the Sun. Now, they're planning to put a new space telescope at the Earth-Sun L2 point (further out from Earth, away from the Sun) and see that as a location for further development, and lunar planners are seriously considering a major facility at the Earth-Moon L1 point (between the Earth and Moon). Normally an object placed at that distance from Earth would have a faster orbital period than the Moon, but because of the Moon's presence it stays locked in synchrony with the Moon. It does require some stationkeeping to keep from wandering off, but much less than it would be to artificially keep an object in such an orbit normally. Anyway, it was vindication for O'Neill's early insights -- the "official" community is only now catching up with him.
Zubrin put the kabosh on the L1-L2 folks saying, "If you want to go to Mars, go to Mars." He had a lot to say about the value of the Mars analog test sites and all they've learned, even if they're not "exactly" Mars. We saw him at lunch afterwards and reinforced his message based on our Oregon Moonbase simulaion runs.
Sunday night Cheryl conducted her regular "Space Chat" on AOL, from our hotel room. People wanted to hear all about the WSC, and she had a pretty good session.
Monday and today I've stayed in our room, working on our paper. Cheryl went to the Grand Opening Ceremony Monday morning and attended talks about human factors in long-duration spaceflight, some of which was hard to understand due to thick Russian accents. They're the ones with the most experience with long-duration issues, thanks to MIR, among other things. English, by the way, is the "official" language of the WSC, luckily for us.
Cheryl also got in to the Exhibit Hall the moment it opened. Vast acreage devoted to aerospace displays. Some areas are little "villages" of related booths -- the various NASA centers were clustered in one area, each with their own booths and activities; a number of Europeans went together in a similar "village" in another section. She had a nice chat with a fellow at the SpaceDev booth, who had encouraging news about new business. She also raided the booths for a number of "freebies" which she carried away in two large NASA plastic bags. Lots of CD-ROMS, a 1 3/4 hour DVD about space solar power featuring Dr. Peter Glaser, and numerous pens, clips, lapel pins and other odds and ends plus a lot of literature.
Tonight we stay late at the conference center: it's "Poster Night" and we'll need to hang out with our poster to answer questions.
For a video of the Grand Opening Ceremony, with lots of "space stars" and a surprise appearance by Walter Cronkite, who received a standing ovation, see The Houston Chronicle website.
-- probably some other good stuff there as well. Check it out. I understand Space.com has regular WSC reports as well:
Still going strong,
Bryce and Cheryl