Thursday, March 10, 2011

What's Busy Like?

Okay, so I don't get to post here as often as I'd like. That's just as well because I couldn't guarantee the quality of the posts if I posted more often. Here's what busy feels like in my world:

Day Job: NASA
Ignoring for the moment that the current Continuing Resolution is due to expire a week from tomorrow, I've got one proposal in work, two more in the queue, untold others waiting in the wings, all due between now and...

Free Time Job #1: ISDC
The International Space Development Conference is zooming along. Ten weeks out, and we're about 80% of the way through filling our programming tracks. Lots of cool speakers we're waiting to confirm, and some we already have (check the web site). Or, consider some of the following:
  • "Getting Things Done" Panel: Everything you always wanted to know about how space policy is made in Washington, featuring legislative, administration, and other people responsible for getting space issues and budgets signed into law.
  • Building Sustainable Support for Space: Overcoming Myths and Misconceptions: Is it possible to obtain long-term support for space activities? If so--how?
  • The Google Lunar X Prize: Teams from across the nation and around the world are competing for a $30 million prize to place a working lander on the Moon. Learn from the teams themselves what they are doing and how.
  • Workshop - "How Do I Get My Payload on the International Space Station?": This will be an A to Z tutorial on the process and paperwork needed to get science, academic, and commercial payloads onto ISS.
  • Military Space Track: What's happening in military space--on space-based surveillance to orbital debris and planetary defense? Learn from the officers making it happen.
  • Space Launch System Mission Planning: The US is on a course to build a heavy-lift launch vehicle. What is its status, and what will we do with it once we build it? Listen to and offer suggestions for this next-generation centerpiece of space exploration.
  • Earth and Planetary Science: Learn about the latest developments on Earth, the Sun, and other bodies in our solar system and how they could affect our future in space.
  • International Cooperation: How will the ISS expand in the coming decades as we work more closely with our international partners? What more needs to be done?
  • Space Based Solar Power Symposium: Learn the latest developments about SBSP--an energy technology that becomes ever-more relevant every time the price of gas increases!
  • Education and Outreach: In an ever-more-competitive marketplace of ideas, what can the space community do to engage young people and the general public in humanity's greatest adventure? What works? What doesn't? What hasn't been tried yet? That's what this track is all about.
  • Biotechnology and Space Biology: What do the discoveries of arsenic-based life tell us about life beyond Earth? What developments in biotechnology can help us live and work in space? Huntsville is home to the HudsonAlpha Biotechnology Institute, which will be sending speakers to ISDC to talk about the intersection between biotech and space tech.
  • Living in Space: How will people live and work in low-Earth orbit? On other worlds? What constraints will shape their lives? This track covers the cultural side of the future of space.
  • Book Fair and Author Discussions: Renowned space authors talk about their latest works and share their thoughts on the future of space--10 years or 100 years from now!
  • Governors Dinner and Gala: It's not often that you get to dine beneath an actual Saturn V--Huntsville has two! Join us at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center as we celebrate the latest achievements in space.
At least we can't be faulted for lacking ambition. The tracks are a mix of practicality and idealism, and that's about par for the course for the space business: big dreams, hard realities. Too bad I'll be running around with my hair on fire for five days: it should be a fun conference to attend.
Free Time Job #2: Science
The Science Cheerleaders will be appearing at a Women@NASA event next week in Washington. I can't attend due to lack of leave and funds, dagnabbit, but the SciCheers will no doubt do their usual fine, fun job of "bustin' down the stereotypes." I've been working paperwork and writing tasks behind the scenes, as is appropriate for the Cheer Operations Ninja. Goooo Science Cheerleaders!
And now I must sleep. I'm at least doing what I can to keep myself balanced and healthy: smacking golf balls, quitting caffeine for Lent, and getting eightish hours of sleep per night. There are worse ways to live. And, as my manager pointed out to me recently, "You hate being undersubscribed." True, that. More adventures ahead, folks. Stay tuned.

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