Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Special Visitors!

I was lucky to have my Mom and Dad come by recently, they looked over the balloon system I'm building and I hope were convinced of some of its safety features! Happy Father's Day, Dad!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Long Term Space Settlement

From a recent NASA report:

The recommendations set forth in the 2011 National Academy of Sciences Report, Recapturing a Future for Space Exploration: Life and Physical Sciences Research for a New Era call for reproductive and developmental biology research within and across generations. The workshop participants uniformly agreed that, prior to embarking on multigenerational studies, individual ‘milestones’ should be met for distinctive reproductive and developmental phases to ensure success across these life stages. As depicted in the ‘Roadmap to Multigenerational Studies’ an intermediary achievement will be a full mammalian life cycle in space, involving successful mating, pregnancy, birth, lactation, suckling, weaning, and postnatal development to adulthood. Work needs to be accomplished, starting now, in each of these areas, especially to close knowledge gaps presented on page 23 of this report. In addition to ground-based efforts, important project milestones could be achieved through a sequence of three validation flights that will also address the specific goals of: (1) Breeding, (2) Birth through Weaning, and (3) Multiple Generations. Multigenerational success is a repeating cycle of necessary milestones. The capstone of these efforts will be the first breeding, birth and development of purely spacegrown mammals opening the door to unique opportunities to investigate the role and influence of gravity on a complex organism, the rodent.

I'm using these excellent guidelines in addressing these structuring stages for long-term space settlement planners, but also adding the important cultural elements of development missing from most space biology studies (at present, that is understandable). This approach will introduce space planners to the world of biocultural evolution, as investigated by the academic field of anthropology. Diagram below is a draft for my book in production, "Principles of Space Anthropology".

Monday, June 13, 2016


My younger brother's abstract paintings are on display this month in Biarritz, France. Exciting and interesting works!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Rapid Pressure Suit Progress!

It's taken years, but this PM I sorted out one of the last main fabrication issues and am on the verge of starting to build the main and backup suits that I will actually fly to high altitudes! No time to explain, but it's all working and also this afternoon coordinated the glove/sleeve assembly with various balloon controls, including the blast valve. Second visit to FAA tomorrow AM, things moving quickly!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Books, Books, Books!

Just sent off the final edits to my Atlas of Human Prehistory! Samples are available at this site, where you can mouse over the 'files' control to bring up different samples. Four years' writing and illustrating and it feels great to have it off and in someone else's hands! Cover art for the preliminary edition has been set -- this will be changed for the next edition in 2017.

I've also just sent off final edits to my long-long-long project of the Iceland book, covering my adventures there, and the mind-boggling history of that strange land, spanning 2000-2004. This book will be in e- and hard-copy, published by Great Adventures Press in Los Angeles; the main outlet will be on Amazon. Below, one of many drawings for this book!

And, I am working on my forthcoming Principles of Space Anthropology, a graduate-level text for students of space planning. Below, a diagram I updated today regarding developmental biology and some implications of the altered gravity and chemical environments future populations will encounter in places such as Mars settlements.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Mind-Boggling Image of Comet 67-P

My jaw actually dropped when I first saw this stunning image of the 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko comet, as seen by the European Space Agency's Rosetta spacecraft. The white flecks are stars, drifting ice & snow grains, and long dashes are cosmic ray strikes on the imager. The image is not from on the surface, but from 20km as the spacecraft dashed by in one of many orbits of the comet. There's a lot to take in, and overall the image reminds me a lot of night diving, with my headlamp illuminating a million specks of debris, swirling like this in the water, and many nights in the Arctic, where wind flings ice crystals that flash and spark in moonlight!

Thursday, June 2, 2016

To Google's SciFoo Camp!

I'm awfully lucky to have been invited to Google's annual SciFoo camp at the Googleplex in Mountain View, CA this summer!

Permalink to announcement at Portland State University


May 2, 2016

Dr. Cameron Smith, Anthropology adjunct faculty, has been invited to the Google SciFoo event this summer. Each year, 250 thought leaders from the sciences and arts are invited to the free-form, three-day event at the Google campus in Mountain View, Calif. Smith was invited for his work in the reinvention of certain space exploration technologies and writings on human space settlement, featuring an anthropological and adaptive approach.

You can find some of my writings on the topic at my PSU Selected Works page.

You can hear about the reinvention of some space exploration technologies in my 2015 TEDx Portland talk.

Below, photo of current work developing a lightweight pressure suit / space suit helmet; you can follow that work with frequent short updates at my twitter account.

You can find out about the larger project at pacificspaceflight.com.