Monday, April 19, 2010

National Space Symposium

Last week I flew out to Colorado Springs for the 26th National Space Symposium (NSS). The symposium is put on by the non-profit that I work for. Thousands of people from all areas of the space industry attend. It has amazing speakers and panels during the day, and lots of fun networking events in the evening.

My job last year at NSS was to take notes during the speakers and panels, write up summaries, and get them posted on the web. This year, to get the information out faster, we decided to post information directly on Twitter. Having never really used twitter before (I have an account, but have only 'tweeted' about 20 times ever), it was a bit daunting. However, I think it ended up being pretty useful for people. I found that I'm a pretty prolific tweeter. In fact, twitter actually cut me off at one point - there was a really interesting panel with lots of Q&A and back and forth among panelists, and I tweeted so much so quickly trying to capture the exchange that twitter told me I'd hit my limit and I'd have to try back in a few hours. Yikes. In any case, I got positive feedback from people on the tweeting, so at least I know others enjoyed it. It made it possible for people at home, or people who stepped out for a moment to understand what was going on. (If you want to follow the Space Foundation twitter account - the username to follow is just SpaceFoundation.)

The conference itself was very good, as it is every year. On Monday I attended the Cyber 1.0 event, also as the official tweeter. At one point, a speaker was talking about the decision not to allow USBs on military computers (since they can spread viruses, malware, etc.) The speaker was arguing that we have to find ways to make technology safe, not just ban it. He provided my favorite quote of the day: "Self-denial of service is not the future of cyber warfare."

There was a great panel about the future of NASA that included the NASA associate administrator, as well as people from commercial industry, the FAA, academics and others. The back and forth on the issues, benefits, and challenges with NASA's new direction was really interesting. (This is the panel where twitter had to cut me off.)

There was also a really interesting panel that included the directors of the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) over the past 50 years or so. In fact, since the existence of the NRO was only declassified relatively recently, some of them were the head of the office when no one even knew it existed. My friend, Jaisha, was a master moderator on the last day, when this panel was given.

There were lots of really good and interesting events - I always feel like I learn a lot over the course of the week.

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