Saturday, March 20, 2010

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Dr. Frank Schowengerdt, Director of PISCES

On our first day of the conference, Dr. Frank Schowengerdt provided us with a half hour introduction and overview to PISCES. Dr. Schowengerdt is truly an exceptional individual and is the life blood of PISCES. We all had extensive conversations with him during our time in Hawaii and wish they could continue. I didn't have his PowerPoint to post along with the audio, but I found as many pertinent pictures that I could to enhance his talk and hope you listen to it all the way through regardless of the repetitive photo clips.

Here is his speech. It is 30 minutes long, but worth the listen:

Dr. Dan Brown, Interim Chancellor for Research at UH, Hilo

The final speech before Frank Schowengerdt's overview and accomplishments of PISCES was given by Dr. Dan Brown, the Interim Chancellor for Research at the University of Hawaii, Hilo. His perspective is interesting because he is an anthropologist and views the whole enterprise of colonizing the Moon or even Mars as more than just a fascinating project. Most importantly, he views PISCES as a place where multiple disciplines from the hard sciences and the social sciences and other fields will be able to collaborate together and enhance the development of the university. Dr. Fox provides an introduction to Dr. Brown and provides a nice overview of the development of the university as a whole.

Here the audio version of his talk:

Dr. Philip Castille, UH Hilo Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

After Dr. Tseng spoke, Dr. Philip Castille, UH Hilo Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs spoke for 2 minutes about the importance providing an educated citizenry for the state of Hawaii and the wider pacific region and how PISCES is the crown jewel of the way the university wants to marry high technology with the advancement of science and technology and professional position for Hawaii's citizens.

Here is his talk:

Dr. Rose Tseng: Chancellor at the Univeristy of Hawaii, Hilo for Research

I am very sorry to say that our recording of the Chancellor for Research at the University of Hawaii, Hilo, Dr. Rose Tseng, was not audible enough to post. She welcomed all the international guests and spoke on how the university has grown and evolved very quickly over the past ten years. In particular, the University of Hawaii aims to be interdisciplinary and wants to develop its engineering departments, so PISCES is highly regarded and valued for the potential it has to further these developments.

Dr. Robert Fox, Deputy Director of PISCES

It is annoying that when we upload a video that it doesn't show an image of the beginning, but instead shows a black screen. So, here is a picture of Dr. Robert Fox, who kicked off the PISCES conference.

Introduction to the 3rd annual PISCES meeting by Dr. Robert Fox

Deputy Director Dr. Robert Fox kicks off the PISCES 3rd annual meeting held at the Institute for Astronomy, University of Hawai'i at Hilo.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Mauna Kea Observatories

The second part of our tour on Feb. 18th involved taking a drive to the Mauna Kea observatories. Check out this link:

We didn't get to go inside to see any of the telescopes, but the view outside was amazing. I took three shorts videos that show the surrounding area. Remember, I had a bad cold during the trip, so my voice sounds a little off in the first video!

This one shows the telescope turning to get lined up for the next viewing.

Overall, we had a blast traveling to the top of Mauna Kea. The BLADT Team was exhausted from the day's adventures, but at least we had a day before to recover from jet lag and got some sleep before our tours. The students from Japan were not as lucky:

Students from Wisconsin, Japan, and Idaho at the top of the PISCES test site

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Videos Taken at the PISCES Test Site describing various experiments.

Sadly, we had just missed viewing important experiments performed by various agencies at the PISCES test site. This video shows the remains of the Canadians as they pack up their gear. PISCES has to have permits for all experiments performed and must take out everything they take in. Plus, they also remove invasive plants as much as possible.

This is a description of the types of experiments going on at the PISCES test site by Dr. Frank Schowengerdt. The PISCES Test Site consists of 40 Meters of fine volcanic ash.

After Dr. Schowengerdt spoke, his colleague Dr. Fox followed up with more information, explaining why the PISCES site is important as an analog test site for living on the Moon or even Mars.

The last significant speech at the PISCES Test Site was given by Chris Pestak, a Project Manager and Senior Marketing Manager with Battelle. He described their concept of a Thermal Wadi that could be used on the moon to begin building small blocks of infrastructure. Later on at the general meeting, I viewed an impressive hypothetical video showing the robots making the Thermal Wadi.

Preview of the PiSCES Test Site

Before we made it to the PISCES test site, we rested at a midway point to let our bodies adjust to the altitude and to have a bite to eat.

Here Dr. Fox described two reasons why they don't use land on top of Mauna Kea.

PISCES test site 1

After brief introductions at the University of Hawaii at Hilo Astonomy Center, we went off in large vans to visit the PISCES test site located in the foothills of Mauna Kea.

As we approached the PISCES site we are able to view the remains of a large testing initiative of teams from NASA and the German and Canadian space agencies (CSA).

Red suits are CSA, blue suits are NASA.

As stated from an article on PISCES, our visit just missed the active testing that had been taking place, "Here, they will test technology that will help astronauts live off the land, manufacture their own oxygen, and survive for long periods of time in space. Over a dozen projects will be involved, featuring rovers, lasers, drills, solar arrays and oxygen-making technology. There will also be training exercises in space medicine. College students from Hawai`i and Canada will support many of the tests." Read more:,1121450.shtml#ixzz0gDF5jmME

International students, space agencies and industry gather at PISCES to discuss, explore, and plan for new exploration and colonization systems.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Presentation was very well received!!

The PISCES 3rd annual meeting finished up last night and it was an incredible two day event. I have 20 GB of videos and films to go through and edit, but let me tell you that we have some incredible footage of the PISCES Lunar/Mars analog testing site and Mt. Mauna Kea's summit, which has 13 of the largest land based telescopes in the world.

And most importantly our presentation and concept was very well received by everyone at the meeting. Researchers were excited to let us know what we could do next to get it into the next phase of development.

Ironically, I have had a horrible head cold this whole trip! So, today we are going to rest in Kona and fly back tomorrow and will report in soon with our story.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Technical Issues Overcome

We have now just posted our presentation on the Lunar Seed Repository to this blog. Blogger does not automatically allow PowerPoint postings. So, what to do? We recommend SlideShare. It converts PowerPoint and posts to Blogger.

We are now headed to the field and hope to capture stunning video of geologic activity, i.e. lava tubes and volcanoes.


BLADT Presentation for the PISCES meeting

We have arrived in Hilo


We made it to Hilo and were greeted at the airport by Dr. Robert Fox, the Co-Director of PISCES. It was a warm greeting complete with a lei for all of us.

We are getting adjusted and have already overcome a technical difficulty of using Firefox with the local internet provider.

Our next step is to attach our presentation.