SpaceUp London 9-10 June 2018

4 July 2018

This year’s SpaceUp ‘Unconference’, as it styled itself, took place at the Strand Campus of King’s College London 9-10 June 2018.

SpaceUp London 2018

The emphasis this year was on business opportunities in space exploration, and their implication.

Joshua Greenslade, from Imperial College, kicked off by drawing the attention of the audience to opportunities that might arise from mining asteroids such as Anteros (Amun 3554) which contains $8 trillion worth of platinum, and also military possibilities. There have been projects to de-orbit asteroids and put them in orbit round the moon. A 75m rock, if de-orbited down to earth, would impact with an energy equivalent to 100 Megaton bomb, and would be very difficult to stop. The UN Outer Space treaty of 1967 forbids anything of the sort, but is it really enforceable?

Kevin Nolan, from the Institute of Technology, Tallaght, in Dublin, talked about the challenges that stem from trying to analyse the vast amounts of data being produced by telescopes, satellites and space probes. Databases can contain Exabytes (1018) of information He suggested that the solution might be to use artificially intelligent based data mining and unsupervised machine learning to extract useful information.

Ian Crawford from Birkbeck argued why we should build a moon village. He said it would rehearse expertise for going to Mars and beyond, would allow astronomy from the dark side, particularly beneficial for 21cm hydrogen line and long wavelength radio telescope studies and provide commercial manufacturing opportunities in extremely hard vacuum conditions.

There were also presentations by Surrey Satellites, about their 100kg satellites with 1m resolution cameras, and by companies such as Open Cosmos,

SpaceUp London 2018

The most fun part of the event, on the second day, was the workshop, where teams addressed the challenge of landing on and designing habitats for a hypothetical plant, 150°C on the sun side, and -150°C on the shade side, with one pole in the sun and one in the shade and a 100 hour day.

A large proportion of the participants showed interest in the work of the Institute of Physics and the freebies went down very well.  

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