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The Engineer

The Life and Times of Donald F. Simmons

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The weekend was the 2005 Canadian Space Summit, primarily organized by the Canadian Space Society and the University of Toronto Astronomy and Space Exploration Society, an annual get-together of space groups and enthusiasts.

In the past its been a fairly small event, but thanks to a lot of new blood this year was certainly the most successful ever. Friday night was billed as a job fair, with quite a few university students showing up, and a lot of good (short) presentations from all over the science and engineering community on space-related topics and possible career paths, including science writing (with Dan Felk, author of the quite good Universe on a T-shirt).

Saturday we had several presentations, such as Canadian astronaut Ken Mooney on "Crew Health: Unanswered Questions" with a lot of good stuff on what happens to a human in space, including the physiological aspects which tend to get overlooked. Case in point: the diaries of the MIR astronauts, which continually harp on how depressed they are all the time.

In the afternoon there was four brainstorming sessions, with us, the participatants, being rotated between them every 40 minutes, on "Space Advocacy in Canada", "Space Tourism", "Special Projects" (i.e. anything people were actually working on), and what I think is currently the most important of them, "Effective Networking". There was actually a lot of small groups in Canada working on incredibly neat stuff )like the Columbiad gun-launch system) but not a lot of communication between them, or even knowledge of each other's existence.

One of the things the CSS is trying to evolve towards is becoming a central clearing-house of all the domestic space groups both to help them help each other, and to let the general public know that all this is going on. It's not as sexy as actually building rockets, but I do think it's a very important step. I'm hoping that in the next year or two to get more involved in making that happen (after I disentangle myself from more of my Anime North duties, there's only so much I can do at a time).

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I wish you much success, it would be nice to have another gathering in Toronto of interest to SF fans that was not powered by media and/or appealed to older SF fans like myself.

Keep an eye on the CSS and ASX websites (in the original post). There's going to be a bunch of other events upcoming, including an evening at Convocation Hall in early 2006.

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