Wednesday, April 4, 2012

SpaceUp San Francisco!


I finally attended my first SpaceUp, and on my own home turf! Snoopy Dance!

The now infamous form of "SpaceUp Unconference" in the space enthusiast community, founded in San Diego by Chris Radcliffe, has blasted off in six cities. SpaceUp events are now planned in six more cities in both the US and Canada... and there are rumblings of planning a SpacepUp gathering in Europe, though a precise location has yet to be determined.

Find a SpaceUp Near You
I ran into some old friends, met some new friends, and mingled with pilots, astronomers, software engineers, inventors, writers, reporters, various other NASA worker bees, and all the eclectic fruit salad that *is* the joy of Silicon Valley! I continually cannot believe what stuff costs in California after such a long absence, but sometimes it truly is great to be home again.

Amazing local and national sponsors contributed to SpaceUp, including ThinkGeek, the SpaceFrontier Foundation (now hoping to attend their next conference in July, too!), Moon And Back, the American Institute of Aeronautics & Astronautics (AIAA) ... and of course, the NASA Kepler group at nearby Ames was good for some nifty swag bags.

Session Grid
There are no spectators at SpaceUp, only participants.
Put a topic on the Session Grid!

The large turnout was well-fed, well-read, and well-spread out into four "pods" or discussion rooms, where our lively talks were each broadcast live compliments of SpaceVidCast.

The Session Grid setup worked well for the large turnout, and in between bouts of enjoying the amazing catering services, we debated STEM concerns, CubeSats, planetary science, Mars research, Space Tourism, the NASA budget, space agencies of other nations, space payloads, Bloons, and the anticipated NASA Socials, which will take over for what was previously known as NASA Tweetups.

T minus 5 Talks
One of my favorite parts was the round of "T Minus 5" talks. These whirlwind presentations, conducted by many brave speakers, have a particular Ignite format used at all SpaceUps:
- 5 Minute Limit
- 20 Slides
- Rotating automatically every 15 seconds

After seeing the format, and the supportive nature of the crowd, I really want to create my own T-5 Talk for the next UNconference I attend!


When we had enough of intellectual pursuits and it was time to party -- well, all I can say is, it's great to have engineers around to build cocktail robots! Enter the CosmoBot...