I was invited to speak on the closing panel about NASA and science fiction at East Tennessee State University’s (ETSU) first ETSUcon. The talk was held on April 27, 2013 in Johnson City, Tennessee. I jumped at the opportunity to unofficially talk about the cool projects I’ve been working on the past few years. The panel was moderated by convention chairman Fred Poag and included Holly Griffith and Tate Srey. Holly is a former Space Shuttle and International Space Station flight controller, Tate designs data visualization platforms, and I do community management and data visualization. Our panel spoke frankly about what we are passionate about and how science fiction has influenced our work with the space agency. The talk covered everything from Space Shuttle launches to Terminator hands. I managed to record the discussion on my iPad, enjoy:
The overwhelming interest from the crowd was on life throughout the solar system, the development of technologies based on science fiction, and how to get involved with NASA. The panel pointed the audience to Enceladus, the “The Future by NASA“, Zooniverse, and the International Space Apps Challenge. It would have been useful to have a planetary scientist on the panel, I’ll consider dragging one along if we are invited to the second annual ETSUcon.
The reception was overwhelmingly positive at ETSU. The audience included cosplayers, teachers, and conservationists. It seems to me the best way to communicate what NASA is doing and has done is to reach directly into these communities of interest and have scientists and engineers attend these types of events more often. The eclectic crowd contributed awesome questions during the Q&A and I felt our passions were matched by the audience’s interest to learn.