By Lisa Romero, BIO5 Institute
UA students have organized what looks to be one of the year's premier space conferences. They're hosting it at the Lunar and Planetary Lab.
Leading space industry entrepreneurs, an astronaut, a private citizen space traveler, a Congresswoman, distinguished astronomers and space scientists, NASA officials and a giant telescope mirror maker are among 25 featured speakers at the SpaceVision 2009 Conference to be held at the University of Arizona Nov. 12-15.
UA student members of SEDS, or Students for the Exploration and Development of Space, organized SpaceVision 2009 as the organization's 2009 national meeting.
Anyone can register and attend the conference for a registration fee. Registration can be made online at the SpaceVision Web site until Nov. 11 and at the conference registration desk in the Kuiper Space Sciences Building thereafter.
Registration costs $90 for the general public, $30 for students, and $70 for members of affiliate organizations that include the National Space Society, the American Astronomical Society and Space Frontier Foundation.
"What separates SEDS from other professional space societies is that ours is a 100-percent student-run organization," said Joshua Nelson, a recent UA graduate and president of the national organization, SEDS-USA.
The annual national SEDS conference is the largest fully student-run space conference in the nation. It is dedicated to facilitating networking between college students, professionals and the public, furthering the development of SEDS-USA, and fostering the exchange of ideas through professional speakers and workshops.
"We want the public to understand that there's more to space than NASA," said Kyle Stephens, conference organizer. Stephens, a junior majoring in optical sciences and engineering, is president of the 60-member UA chapter of SEDS. "Although NASA does play a large role in space exploration, the private space industry is doing a lot for space exploration and development that people don't often hear about."
Background on all scheduled speakers can be viewed online.
UA scientists who will present SpaceVision 2009 talks include Steward Observatory Mirror Lab director Roger Angel; distinguished professor of astronomy Chris Impey; astronomy professor Marcia Rieke, who is principal investigator for the Near Infrared Camera for NASA's James Webb Space Telescope, and HiRISE operations specialist Richard Leis.
Other conference speakers include space advocates, authors, consultants, investors, engineers and other professionals active nationally and internationally in commercial space development and travel.
SpaceVision 2009 also will feature workshops, a career fair, Flandrau planetarium shows, a star party, tours of the UA Steward Observatory Mirror Laboratory, a panel discussion of the recent Augustine Commission report, and a formal banquet.