Why I Am SO Excited for SpaceUp DC August 23, 2010Posted by craftlass in space.
Tags: events, travel
I had intended to continue my launch story, but there’s an event happening in DC this coming weekend that has taken up most of my brain (well, the parts that aren’t writing music). It’s called SpaceUp and it’s billed as an unconference. A lot of people have been asking what that means and I can’t say I’m 100% sure myself but trying to answer people’s questions about it seems to be clarifying it in my own mind.
We’ve all been to conferences, right? They tend to be pretty dictatorial, with strict schedules and often a real lack of fun. Often, you have to prove your worthiness to attend by some sort of professional status. Speakers are chosen well in advance and very few get the opportunity to be one of them. (Also, how many conferences encourage you to show up in your pajamas? No, seriously, they are giving out a prize for the best ones!)
This is why SpaceUp is different. Anyone can go and you can participate on any level you want. A passion for space is the only requirement. A lot of cool people, from NASA teams like the fantastic SDO group to even a lowly musician like me will be doing presentations. The agenda is set by the participants, not the organizers, and they are using a wiki anyone can edit to plan the whole thing.
Like all of the great things in life, it is exactly what you make of it. Quite literally.
Let’s face it. The thing about space, whether you are talking about astronomy or human space flight, is it needs more than the professionals to get involved. NASA and even the commercial space industry need citizen support or the bills won’t get paid. Amateur astronomers are essential to the professionals, discoveries are often made by amateurs because there is a whole lot of space to cover and not enough professionals or observatories to watch it all.
To top it all off, scientists and creative people generally think quite differently and the best way to come up with great ideas is to bring these perspectives together. Unfortunately, opportunities to do so are fairly rare and that’s why I see SpaceUp as filling a very important void.
Sound interesting? Want to join me? Buy a ticket now, they won’t be sold at the door. All ages, professions, and personalities are more than welcome! I happen to know many of the participants and you would be joining a wonderful group of enthusiasts.
Details: From 9am-5pm on Friday and Saturday August 27-28, at Funger Hall Auditorium at George Washington University. See website for more.