Thumbs Up for Space Up San Francisco
You want to talk about space, do ya? You want the inside track from people involved in the industry but you want to pick their brains and learn from them on a personal level? You want to do these things and you haven't heard of Space Up? Here, I'll fix all of these problems at once.
This weekend I packed up my luxurious and roomy Scion TC and embarked on a trek from Los Angeles to the far off and mystical land of San Francisco... or rather, "The City". My mission? To head over to Space Up and do... uhhh... space stuff. You see, Space Up is affectionately (or officially) known as an "un-conference" which means there is no scheduled agenda or atmosphere of stifling subject matter that could potentially keep you from the knowledge you seek. The whole premise is to generate "hallway conversations" in isolated half hour platforms called "pods" where, perhaps, one person would kick off the conversation and the rest of the room can just chime in. Somehow, this works beautifully as it allows industry regulars and enthusiastic new comers to toss their ideas into the fray and refine their perspective from multiple points of view and introduce new concepts you may have otherwise been unaware of.
The best part about the whole affair is the obvious passion behind the subject matter. If someone doesn't know, they have a desire to. People come to Space Up to share what they know and learn more about what they are personally interested in, industry and casuals alike. Roger Hunter, Mission Manager of the Kepler project for NASA, made a special appearance and talked about some of their findings, including some images that had never previously been seen outside of the walls of NASA. In the tiny section of the sky in which Kepler focuses, they have found a staggering amount of new planets, new star system interactions and are discovering new phenomena every single day! I learned that this weekend! It was awesome! Not every pod is so formal, however. I also sat in a pod about what it would take to actually start Starfleet Academy, will interstellar travel happen in the next 100 years, and space tattoos (blog coming soon).
The Google Lunar X PRIZE also had 3 teams represented (Phoenicia, Synergy Moon, and Frednet) to talk about the development of their teams in the competition, and a few con-goers started topics on how to crowd source a space related prize of their own. Everyone gets involved in the mix and if you don't know something, you can start a pod to find out from people that do.
Oh, and robots! Space Up is also a bit of an exhibition floor for anything related to the scene that people care to show off. There were rovers rolling around the floor, pipe cleaner rocket ships, and of course, a robot bartender. If you haven't found a hobby, this is the place to meet people who can get you passionate about theirs and possibly inspire you to become more active in the space community in some way. There is generally a large representation of the Space Tweep Society there who can show you the way to connect online with everyone and jump on board the social media payload. Instant space crew. Heck, we all bonded so much we went to see the location of Starfleet Academy from Star Trek that overlooks the Golden Gate Bridge after the event... in the middle of the night. SEE!?
Ok. Maybe not.
Check out the Space Up website to find out when space up will be in a town near you, or find out how to start your own. Yeah, you can do that.
@leozombie and @glxp
P.S. This happened.