Space Development Conference 2018

I spent Memorial Day weekend in Los Angeles attending the International Space Development Conference and walking, walking, walking…. I was recognized for my Jim Baen Short Story Award placement along with first place winner Stephen Lawson, met renowned scientists Freeman Dyson and Frank Drake (of Dyson sphere and Drake Equation fame), and met actor-cum-space entrepreneur Harry Hamlin and philanthropist and space promoter Rod Roddenberry.

I also met Bob Zubrin, promoter of the Mars Direct architecture for Mars exploration (nicely illustrated in The Martian) and very likely the word’s preeminent experts in space nuclear propulsion, inertial space launch, and space debris mitigation (more on these later). I had dinner and talked shop at the famed Billingley’s restaurant, saw Space Shuttle Endeavor with Nebula Award winner, Bill Ledbetter. I think Bill may have teared up a little when he saw the tool marks in the section of the shuttle External Tank on display.

I also toured the storied Griffith Observatory and the historic, and pivotal Mt. Wilson observatory. Thanks to Ranger Alex, I was given access to the 100 inch Hooker telescope at which Edwin Hubble proved that the universe extends beyond our galaxy and that it is expanding. I even got to see the bottom of the mirror with its century old bubbles in the glass. It was a fantastic, geekery-packed trip, for which I must humbly thank Baen Books and the National Space Society.