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TEDx ISU Speakers Unite Art And Science For ‘Open Source Space’

A crowd of around 500 - leaders from the Space industry, participants of the International Space University program, or ISU, personnel from Florida Tech, NASA and other local Space Companies, as well as the general public - gathered this summer at the Gleason Center for the Performing Arts, on Campus at Florida Tech. The audience came to hear from speakers at the first TEDx event resulting from collaboration between the ISU, NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, and the Florida Institute of Technology.

One well-known space professional in attendance of the event was Captain Winston Scott, USN-Ret. Scott, who has logged over 24 days in space and completed three space walks, said he was quite impressed with the presenters. He added that, being an astronaut and a musician, he particularly enjoyed the presentation by Dr. Sarah Jane Pell, about the link between science and art.

As an independent artist, commercial diver and explorer, Pell’s contribution to the event was a look at “Using the ocean as a space analog environment.”

She does so by studying the aesthetics of life support and the human limits underwater.

“I try and experiment and play with what it feels like to be floating and falling; to be confined or to have a limited breathing space … that fragile, kind of human space, which is really similar to other explorers in extreme spaces like astronauts in outer space,” She explained.

Along with Pell, speakers at the TEDx ISU themed ‘Open Source Space’ included a medical doctor and a blues musician, as well as engineers and scientists.

Another key presentation was a group of tiny, musical flying robots, seen in this video:

Brian Weedon, of the Secure World Foundation, spoke about open source space in the context of increasing information availability to make space endeavors safer and more sustainable.

He also talked about improving tracking of orbital debris. According to Weedon, this debris is a result of humanity’s activities in space, and is presenting an increasing risk to orbiting satellites.

He added: “Space is pretty big – talking trillions and trillions of square kilometers – but the stuff is concentrated in some certain regions. And it’s all a predictive statistical game to figure it out. Are two things going to collide?”

Weedon said it’s not always easy to decipher which country put which object into space, and transparency is important as it can ease conflicts between global governments.

TED is an acronym for Technology, Entertainment and Design. During TEDx ISU, leaders from the Space Community aimed to address how the power of ideas and sharing of ideas in Technology, Entertainment and Design influences and inspires their work in Space. Innovation and sharing of ideas and information were reoccurring concepts in the talks.

“If we can share our tools; if we can share our language and our knowledge, new things are possible and we might solve new paradigms,” Added Pell.