SpaceFest Report #2

Contributed by
Aug 18, 2007

Oh cripes, am I tired.

I got a nice night's sleep, the first in a week or so. So that was cool. There's a Starbucks in the hotel, so I got (barely) decent coffee, and a chocolate muffin that had perhaps 37 ounces of oil in it, but was yummy. I made my way to the conference, and I missed a talk I wanted to see, but was able to get into Seth Shostak's talk. Seth is an old friend, and astronomer who works on SETI (and who does the Are We Alone radio show on which I do the Brains on Vacation segment), and he gave a talk on when we'll detect aliens for the first time (summary: about 20 years from now if they exist, and his numbers are pretty convincing). Seth is an excellent speaker, and if you need a speaker for an event you should contact him. He was really funny, and had the audience laughing quite a bit.

My Moon hoax talk was at 12:30, and there were a couple of tech glitches but nothing major (I've had major before, so anything short of that is good). It went well, though a little long (shocker) and the audience clearly had fun. They were Apollo fans! So they were a great group. I went to the exhibit hall to sign copies of my (increasingly aged) book, and got lots of questions which is always fun.

At the other end of the exhibit hall were the astronauts! So I went over and mostly just listened to them talk to their fans, and I must say, it was very cool. These are great guys who did incredible things, and the stories are fantastic. I chatted with Rusty Schweickart (Apollo 9) about preventing asteroids from hitting the Earth, a topic he is an expert on. I was surprised to learn that moving some asteroids out of the way can be very easy -- Apophis, which may hit us in 2036, can be moved out of harm's way by adding millimeters per hour to its velocity! That can be achieved practically by blowing on it. I will definitely be reading (and writing) more on this.

I also chatted briefly with lots of others: Jack Lousma, Walt Cunningham, Charlie Duke again, Ed Mitchell (Ed literally kicked Bart Sibrel out of his house, bless his heart). I hung out by Buzz Aldrin's table and listened to him regale Carolyn Porco with stories about a novel he wrote, and we were eating it up.

I hooked up with some folks for dinner, and then afterwards spent about two hours at the hotel bar swapping stories.

It was fun. I mean, it was fun. I miss being able to do this! It's been a while.

The best part: I have all day tomorrow, and part of Sunday here too. Cool. And even better: in two weeks I'm going on a cruise with James Randi and some skeptics to Alaska (you'd better believe I'll be posting about that while it happens, too).

I have some fun pix, but I'm too tired to work on them now. Beddiebye time for me. I'll post them tomorrow when I get a chance.

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