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Posted on Friday, June 29, 2007

Wanna know what some smart people are thinking about a couple of relevant topics to humanity, e.g.:

Day One: Inner space: Transforming Ourselves
Longevity, Life Extension, Nanotech, Nanomedicine, Bionics, Biotech, SENS, Cryonics

Day Two: Meta space: Transforming Humanity
Environment, Global Warming, Sustainable Housing, Alternative Energy, AI, Robotics, Virtual Reality

Day Three: Outer space: Beyond the Planet
Future Humans, Colonizing Outer space, Space Tourism, Future Civilizations

Than this Transvision2007 get-together might be something worthwhile paying a visit. Being in Europe, its a bit to far for me to hop in, but I definitely look forward to some post-event DinnerTV videos at their site. I read here that Kurzweil is even planning to experience zero gravity in one of ZERO-G's airplanes...

Btw, running the risk of being cheesy, I think this photoshop job at their website is kinda funny as it reminds me of the many 'Second Life chat meeting' images that are currently circulating the web (like below one from an amazon webservice chat session). Why don't we all be seated next to a geostationary satellite's optical camera and let the Earth do the talkin'...;)




Posted on Friday, June 29, 2007

Here is a nice CNET article about the participatory exploration initiatives taking hold at Nasa Ames. Opening statement:

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.--NASA astronauts "twittering" from the moon?

It's not such a far-fetched idea, considering the space agency's current push to partner with Web 2.0 companies like Twitter and save itself from turning into a dinosaur in the Internet age. Some executives at the struggling NASA believe that if the agency can adopt Web technologies like Twitter--a social network for broadcasting thoughts online or via text message--then kids and the general public will be more connected to space exploration and inspired to learn about science.

"How can NASA become hip?" NASA CoLab Project Manager Robert Schingler asked here Tuesday at NASA's Ames Research Center. "For me, it's allowing other individuals (and companies) to participate in the program."

Where does that leave the robotic exploration? I hope these satellites will be keeping a blog anytime soon ;) (earlier post).

The ISS from the ground

Posted on Thursday, June 28, 2007


The Shuttle and ISS docked together as seen from 190 nautical miles (via NASA Watch)

Human-Machine-Nature interfaces

Posted on Monday, June 25, 2007


Quite some news recently about human-machine interfaces coming out. In particular the non-intrusive ones like this collaboration between Graz and University of London (check out this video ;). Not related, but OgleEarth is back at blogging, and he brings back some cool footage from ISDE5. Like he says, a possible hint at where things might be going with digital globes. Now what i'd like to see is a near real time vis of the Cluster data in one of these domes...magnetosphere storms as they happen...These four ESA satellites are up there now, so how difficult could that be?

Oh, and a quick note about an interesting conference coming up:

YES2 Given Green Light For Launch

Posted on Monday, June 25, 2007


More at ESA.

Participatory Exploration

Posted on Monday, June 25, 2007

Just in:

At the same time, while the US of A is betting on the Internet as a communication medium for space (wow, where on Earth did they get this idea?), ESA is catching up on its revolutionary introduction of...television...feels very '60, this article (May 2007!) about ESA's television services. Push instead of pull...from the looks of it, the Internet doesn't really seem to trickle down through the ESA bureaucracy...Television as a participatory medium: space exploration brought to you by ESA ;)

UGO news

Posted on Monday, June 25, 2007

Just published a couple of new posts over at my UGO Blog. Amongst them, this one about visualising the GE camera movement.



The shape Of The Online Universe

Posted on Sunday, June 24, 2007


More at Technology Review.

Space Exploration revisited

Posted on Sunday, June 17, 2007

'Nuff said (via BoingBoing).

DinnerTV: Richard Dawkins

Posted on Saturday, June 16, 2007

One of my best intellectual inspirations over last year or 2 is reading books by Richard Dawkins... The Selfish Gene, currently reading The Blind Watchmaker. Yesterday I discovered these two episodes of a documentary 'The Root of All Evil?' which he made for Channel4...excellent DinnerTV (I believe in the Celestial teapot). And this episode 'The Last Market' by Tegenlicht is also worth eating dinner with (in Dutch but large parts English and Indian spoken).

Google airplane & emergency response 2.0

Posted on Friday, June 15, 2007


  • Brownian Emotion brings the news of an idea put into practice by Google that has been floating around for a while: Google Maps/Earth in airliners. His idea to put cameras on the outside of the plane is an idea I have been thinking of pitching to Virgin once a few years ago. Pretty simple to do...and very cool to have! ;)
  • Here is a nice example of a webservice that could do with a "2GoogleEarth API"


Posted on Friday, June 15, 2007


Looking at Google Earth again, I wonder if there is a Google Analytics API? If you can build on Facebook via an API (ie. use its social network database), I am sure you can build on an API of a statistics system. And while we are at it, why not then combine the Google Analytics API with the Google Earth API into a direct Google Analytics2Earth API. Realtime GIS...The only thing to wait for then is some good Google online identity in our hands...(combining a video at OgleEarth with this hint to a Google Books2Earth API). Its funny how they use phones in The Matrix ;)



ISS & Time...

Posted on Friday, June 15, 2007


Wow....!! What a rant following a story about the ISS almost becoming a robotic (ie no-humans-to-take-care-of-it-in-space) spacecraft (via NASA Watch).

Time machine

Posted on Thursday, June 14, 2007


Ok, so he sucked...But what is it with these space metaphors in the computer domain...? Anytime soon, we'll have to say goodbye to the notion of 'cyberspace'...will this also do away with our notion of 'outer space'...?

10 years ago, I believed it was possible to mediate the reality of outer space through cyberspace, but nowadays, I have come to understand the Internet as a medium way to strong to let it be used for something as 'mundane' as 'mediating outer space': outer space as a mental picture will just be swooped up by our comprehension of what it is to be inside 'the cloud'...I'll be sure to store my backup files on the dark side of the Moon, shielded away from the interference of Earth-originating radiation...


Posted on Thursday, June 14, 2007

Slightly off topic, but an interesting discussion is taking place about the realism of NewSpace. For more, read the post and comments at this blog. Here is an interesting excerpt of a comment by original post author David S.F. Portree:

Part of my caution about NewSpace is based on my belief that it threatens to distract from serious space exploration. It could reinforce in people the notion that space is supposed to generate tangible, direct, monetary profits, when in fact it can’t really do that. I don’t want people to come to believe that, if space exploration doesn’t make money, then it’s not worth doing.

I’ve talked with NewSpace people who say exactly that. Not top-level investors, but people on the periphery, like Keith. One person with whom I discussed all this told me that life on Mars didn’t matter unless it could generate profits. He mentioned selling martian life as food on Earth.

:) pretty much to the point...

Just in: Astrium goes into space tourism

Posted on Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Update: More at NASAwatch, including a sleak video with a silly tune.

Thinking about the advances it will help to develop leading to point-to-point transportation, it makes sense. But EADS Astrium...? Here is a quote from the BBC story:

"It will be amazing. You'll actually be outside the Earth's atmosphere; you'll be able to see Earth as a spherical object and everything else around you will be black. There must be millions of people who have dreamt about this since they were little kids,; he told the BBC.

EADS Astrium says its space jet project is likely to cost a billion euros to develop. It will be looking for financial and industrial partners over the next year. It says that if development work starts in 2008, the first commercial flights could be made in 2012.

"The development of a new vehicle able to operate in altitudes between aircraft (20km) and below satellites (200km) could well be a precursor for rapid transport, point-to-point vehicles, or quick access to space," Astrium said in a statement.

"Its development will contribute to maintaining and even enhancing European competencies in core technologies for space transportation."

Hop aboard LCROSS

Posted on Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Following up on Pete Worden's talk through Second Life linked to below, here are two KQED videos I found (1, 2) which shed some light on the LCROSS mission to be launched October next year. According to Pete's remarks in the presentation, this is the mission which should allow people to virtually fly along to the Moon.

The first video is an animation which details the complete mission scenario, including the LRO mission scenario to be launched in parallel with the LCROSS spacecraft. What's interesting about the LCROSS mission scenario on first sight is that it includes an 80-day period in which it orbits the Earth at Moon's distance in order to synchronise its impact point on the Lunar surface at minimum fuel cost. Turns out this is very much the same as a mission I once worked on called LunarSat which used a Weak Stability Boundary orbit to do more or less the same (except for impacting). Would be cool to have the camera beaming down a continuous stream of Earth looking images during this period (like EarthViews was designed to do for LunarSat).

Taking Pete's talk into consideration, I am sure they are working on that right now, which makes me wonder through what interface they are planning to show these images? Seems to me a virtual globe like Google Earth is perfectly suited for this. You'd get something of a 'photosynth' of the Earth through robotic satellite means ;)

The occasional 'space related' art post

Posted on Tuesday, June 12, 2007


There hasn't been much ado about space art space related(!) art on this blog since the publishing of the ISS Cultural Utilisation policy recommendations back in early spring 2006. ESA is still in the works on the topic, and unofficially all kinds of stuff is happening, but out in the open, its quiet...very quiet...untill I was reminded by a collegue over at Delta-Utec about this space art project at the TU Delft. Not sure what to make of it, but nevertheless nice to see the meme is still catching on. And while we're at it, Jeremy Hight (of locative media art fame) just published a new article about immersive sight. Inspiring stuff!

SimonPete Raymaker and other 2nd Life news

Posted on Monday, June 11, 2007

Coming back to Amsterdam after a long-deserved couple of days holiday at the beach in Knokke (.kmz), here is a brief overview of some interesting stories (IMHO):

  • NASA Ames Director Pete Worden presents to the International Space Development Conference via Second Life. Now here is a retired US General who definitely gets it ;) A lot of interesting stuff is originating from Ames since he became center director (e.g. Google NASA partnership, NASA CoLab, Yuri's night @ Ames), and listening to this talk I am sure there is lots more coming!

  • Following the Second Life meme, this is one of the most intruiging pieces of Second Life coverage I have seen sofar. Its the established political scene in Sweden getting introduced to a 21st century technology, including the cutting of a digital ribbon (well, sort of...;) OgleEarth has (a lot) more on the story (he was the cameraman).

  • Something I noticed myself a week or so ago, and after reading this post, was reminded about it again: the stars seem to be moving in Google Earth. Is this the start of something new?

The future is process, not a destination
Bruce Sterling

Everything is ultimately becoming information technology
Ray Kurzweil

Data is the Intel inside
Tim O'Reilly

There is only one machine and the web is its OS
Kevin Kelly

The medium is the message
Marshall McLuhan