Today started with hearing from Mark McCaughrean of the European Space Agency (ESA). He described several missions from both the past and the future of the ESA. I found his summary of the Rosetta mission particularly intriguing. As you may have heard, the probe, Rosetta, flew near a comet, then dropped a second probe, Philae, onto the comet. Although I’d gathered bits and pieces, hearing the full picture from someone with an inside view of the mission really brought it to life.
I enjoyed his talk so much that I stayed for 90 minutes after it (along with a dwindling group of others) to ask him further questions. Topics he discussed included LISA (a project to build a gravity wave detector in space) and other space agencies/corporations. He felt that Elon Musk built good hardware, but sells an “unrealistic dream” of living on mars. He also hated how Musk doesn’t appear to concern himself with problems like contaminating mars with human life, possibly destroying any native life.
Later that day, I competed in the LIYSF olympics. Each hall had a small team who competed in various relay races and contests (from a three-legged race to a planking contest). One of the more impressive moments was when another hall won the planking contest after ~5 minutes. We then pointed to one of our spectators, who had quietly been planning alongside the competitors. She managed to plank for 10 minutes, drawing massive cheers from all of Beitside (my hall). By the end of the olympics, Beitside won the strong majority of all of the athletic events, and also produced far louder and rowdier cheers than the other halls. Sometimes those Australians are good for something…
Finally, that night, we heard from Professor Semali Perera, a chemical engineer who works in nanotechnology. Although could not follow some of the Chemistry in the talk, I marvelled at how she could create such tiny structures such as filters and adsorbents.
Anyways, I need to sleep. My voice already feels sore from all of the shouting at the Olympics…but victory was worth it.