Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Willamette Week Pressure Suit Coverage

Mp> Photo: Natalie Behring

A new, short item in Portland's alternative newspaper, the Willamette Week. Thanks to reporter Nigel Jacquiss and photographer Natalie Behring; we did this just a few hours before I flew down to San Diego, and I just barely managed to get things ready the night before.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Break Time

A few days' break, visiting folks in California, and then in January move Pacific Spaceflight out of my apartment and across the river to a light industrial workshop; for 2014 the schedule is to manufacture two pressure garments, a training capsule and life-support system, and start using them in the regional rivers and lakes to begin developing a slew of procedures for water operations. See you on the other side of Christmas!

Saturday, December 14, 2013


"Some critics regard the changing theories of science as a sign of weakness in the whole scientific approach to nature. This criticism reflects a personal attitude. No one wishing to find absolutely certain answers to his questions about the world should be seeking them within the open-minded framework of science in the first place. The person in quest of certainty and finality should consider one of the numerous authoritarian dogmas available, some of which have come down to us unchnaged since the time of barbarism."

-- p.38 of Grant, V. 1966. The Origin of Adaptations. New York, Columbia University Press.

Thinking about evolution is a delicate thing. You become involved in multiple scales rather quickly, and these hold together so tenuously, in the human mind, that a slight disturbance scrambles the picture.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Pressure Suit Water Test 1

Though we had ice on our ropes and the temperature was nicely below freezing today, we got in the water and started to learn how to work with an inflated suit in the water. I built a crude raft to hold a SCUBA tank (feeding Ben Wilson breathing and pressurization gas) and that had some use, but we might not need it in future tests. Face-down, Ben felt fine. We believe we have a carbon-dioxide problem to sort out, and that is close to top priority now. All in all, though, a good day out, learning to work around and in water. Our partners, Copenhagen Suborbitals, are a maritime operation, launching and landing at sea, and the more time we have in the water, in any capacity, is good. Thanks to Bruce Mataya on the radio with Ben Wilson (in the suit), Washoe Magruder and Kit Macallister for shooting photos and video, and Project Director Nicholas Walleri, guiding us along.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Upcoming Presentations and New Radio Show

Recently accepted an invitation to do a talk for the Rose City Astronomers in 2014, regarding my book (Emigrating Beyond Earth: Human Adaptation and Space Colonization (Springer, 2012) and other writings on human space settlement (my fifth such talk in the past two years); what an honor, as it's one of the largest and most active astronomy clubs in the US. it'll be a big show at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. I am going to have time to craft a great presentation. I'm also doing a presentation on the project here at PSU, in the new year -- more on that later.

And recently a re-edit of the original Destination DIY radio show on the pressure suit project at 99% Invisible, a radio station in San Francisco.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Ray Bradbury, Again (as always!)

"Every time you take a step, even when you don't want to ... when it hurts, when it means you rub chins with death, or even if it means dying, that's good. Anything that moves ahead, wins. No chess game was ever won by the player who sat for a lifetime thinking over his next move."

-- Ray Bradbury