Heading to D.C. with Pete Worden? Swing over to NASA Ames first with SSI

October 29, 2023

Author: Smith

This week Dr. Peter Worden, United States Air Force Brigadier-General (retired), Director of NASA’s Ames Research Center at Moffett Field (retired 2015), Executive Director of Project Starshot, and many other more-than-a-human-lifetime achievements, will be welcoming the dedicated to the 2nd Beyond Earth Symposium at the American University Washington School of Government in D.C..


In the office, a long-time worker jokingly said “At this time of year? I hope Pete’s taking his Vitamin C!” When asked why, they explained that Dr. Worden was to host the pre-start meeting of the Space Studies Institute Space Manufacturing 14 gathering at NASA Ames around halloween time and he was under the weather (but luckily Esther Dyson was there to step up and do the cat-herding).

If you’re heading to D.C., worry not, Dr. Worden was fine the very next day for his introduction of Dr. Craig Venter’s special session on Synthetic Genomics. He’s a trooper.

In any case, the reminder of the “anniversary” got us to thinking.

Back in 2010, SSI recorded the Space Manufacturing 14 sessions at NASA Ames. Those were not days like now where instant streaming is a high quality no-brainer, so the taping was done only for internal documentation, not for “show-biz.” But after the fact there were a few good friends who could not make the event and so SSI assembled the recordings, technical warts and all, and put them out on the YouTube of the day: UStream.

There are some versions of those releases out there, but UStream quality was pretty low by today’s standards and the technology for recording off of UStream dropped the video and audio quality even more. So they were, and are, findable but you have to squint to see and put your ear right on the speakers to hear. We thought it sure would be nice if we could do something to bring the recordings up to watchable and listenable standards.

As it happened, an on-going methodical organization of the massive Space Studies Institute archives by three SSI Associates in their spare time had just a few weeks back found the original tapes and original edits. HQ video, audio not so great but fixable to listenable (in this recording there was a microphone cable short that caused a buzz we could not remove completely without affecting the voices, but it does fade over time and watching on a computer sounds better than on a phone).

Brass tacks time: People who have been ‘doing space’ for a while know that many, perhaps most, old space meetings have either not stood the test of real-time or are a bit embarrassing as out of style suits say the same ‘Ignore The Details, Next Year We’ll All Be ON The Moon!’ stuff that new folks are still hearing for their first times here in 2023.

But. Then there are the special sessions. Like this one.

Introduced by Space Studies Institute Director Dr. Lee Valentine, managed by Esther Dyson (too much history, look her up), this is a deceptively casual, often fascinating panel discussion.

At the table:

Professor Mike A’Hearn (University of Maryland, Department of Astronomy)

Dr. Greg Baiden (Chairman, President of Penguin Automated Systems and founder of MoonRise, Inc. Space Mining)

Mark Sonter (Asteroid Enterprises Pty Ltd)

Professor John Lewis (Space Studies Institute Senior Advisor, University of Arizona Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, author of fundamental – and readable – books on asteroidal materials)

Jeff Greason (CEO XCOR Aerospace and Augustine Commission on Human Spaceflight)

and Dr. Paul Spudis (USGS/NASA Planetary Geologist, Presidential Advisor, Chandrayaan-1 radar lead, popular and technical author… much more history, look him up).

With our best wishes to Dr. Worden for this week’s symposium to also have some sessions that will still be interesting/noteworthy/timelessly-profound 13 years later, SSI is very proud to re-present: “Moon, Mars, Asteroids: Where to go First for Resources” recorded at the Space Studies Institute Space Manufacturing 14 Conference at the NASA Ames Research Center, Mountain View, California, October 29th, 2010.

Best to all who do the work, from SSI.

Papers, presentations and more from SSI SM14 are available in the Conferences section of SSI.org.

Will more videos be coming? The Space Studies Institute is a 501(c)(3) non-profit not funded at the whim of flighty billionaires who see space as just a private competition, but by individual citizens of all levels of means who continuously care for opening the High Frontier to everyone. SSI is currently all-volunteer, so all decisions come down to Time and Money (mostly Money). If you feel personally that “Using the material and energy resources of space to improve the Human condition on Earth” is worthwhile work, we invite you to prove it with pride at https://ssi.org/join/ .

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