WASHINGTON -- Hundreds of students and teachers from the United States and countries across the globe will converge in Toronto this month for the National Space Society's (NSS) 34th annual International Space Development Conference® (ISDC®) to celebrate and engage people in the goal of space settlement. The event is set for May 20-24, 2015 at the downtown Hyatt Regency in Toronto, Canada.
Students attending the conference, grades 6-12, will be sharing their imaginative ideas about how people will be living and working in space. They are attending the conference as a result of their participation in this year's Space Settlement Design Contest, co-sponsored by the National Space Society and NASA Ames Research Center. The contest challenges students to design a space settlement, which must realistically address concerns such as atmosphere, food, gravity, radiation shielding, energy production, and recreation for human space colonists.
Students at last year's ISDC were filmed and appeared in the movie Interstellar's companion series The Science of Interstellar. (Video clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LScM0-pAiNU) Students this year will meet Interstellar's science adviser and world renowned physicist Kip Thorne, who will be receiving this year's prestigious NSS Space Pioneer Award for Mass Media.
"The students attending the ISDC are so passionate and excited to be there to share their ideas and projects. There is so much to learn from them, their cultures, and creative insights," said Lynne F. Zielinski, NSS vice president of public affairs and chair of NSS' education and outreach committee. "We are always dazzled by their insightful and futuristic designs. Their enthusiasm is infectious and gives us all hope that we will soon be living and working in space ourselves. These students are the ones to take us there."
Each year, NSS invites contest participants to attend the organization's ISDC®. Throughout the conference, students will provide oral presentations about their space settlement designs, along with colorful artwork related to the contest. The NSS-NASA Ames Space Settlement Design Competition's Grand Prize winner, Alexander C. Reeves of Ann Arbor, Michigan, will receive the $5,000 NSS Bruce M. Clark, Jr. Memorial Scholarship.
Alexander and his teacher, Dr. Deano Smith from Greenhills School, will be in attendance at ISDC. Reeves created The Freyr Project, an orbital settlement that provides a home and societal structure for 20,000 individuals and is designed to be part of a pseudo-modular system for long-term space settlement. The 247-page report is available here: http://settlement.arc.nasa.gov/Contest/Results/2015/areeves_Freyr.pdf.
This year's competition received 994 entries from 3,007 students sponsored by 380 teachers. Entries came from 21 countries: Bulgaria, Canada, China, Czech Republic, India, Ireland, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Montenegro, Nepal, Pakistan, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Romania, Serbia, Sri Lanka, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, and Uruguay.
ISDC® is the yearly conference of the National Space Society, a non-profit organization that has hosted the gathering since 1982. The event brings together leading managers, engineers, scientists, educators, and business people from civilian, military, commercial, entrepreneurial, and grassroots advocacy space sectors. The Canadian Space Commerce Association is hosting ISDC® 2015.
Online registration is currently open with a variety of options, from single-day registration passes to full conference registration with meals. Discounts are provided for youth, full-time students, seniors, and members of NASA Federal Credit Union and the National Space Society and its affiliates. This year, local Toronto and Ontario residents also receive a substantial discount.
"We would like to invite local attendees interested in space to the annual conference of the world's premier space public interest group," stated Aggie Kobrin, the conference organizer and NSS board member. "Kids today are somewhat lacking in inspiration to pursue STEM fields and this conference is making giant strides to solve this problem."