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Windycon Science Fiction Convention 2019

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Northern Storm on Jupiter, a 36 by 24 inch framed original digital painting

Tomorrow I head out for the Windycon 2019 Science Fiction Convention to set up for the convention’s art show. One of the artworks that I’ll have in the art show is Northern Storm on Jupiter (shown above). I’ll also be participating in the convention’s programming. I’ll be giving two presentations, moderating a panel discussion, and serving as a panelist on two other panels.

The first of the two presentations I’ll be giving is Planet Earth as Art: The View From Space in which I use images primarily from the Landsat 8 remote sensing satellite to present Earth as a work of art. In fact doing this presentation has inspired me to undertake a book project. You can learn more about the forthcoming book at Planet Earth as Art – The Book. I also would encourage you to sign up for the associated newsletter.

The other presentation I’ll be giving is The Future of Human Space Exploration which is a rather wide ranging talk about various aspects of space development, commercial space, and space policy. I’ll be giving this presentation as both the President of the Chicago Society for Space Studies and as a National Space Society Space Ambassador.

In terms of panels, I’ll be moderating the panel Commercial Asteroid Mining whose title is self-explanatory. By coincidence a few weeks ago I found myself sharing a banquet table with a former employee of Planetary Resources – which led to an interesting discussion. The dinner was a part of the American Astronomical Society’s Division of Planetary Science meeting. For the AAS to call this a meeting is somewhat misleading since it is held in a convention center, is a week long, features a number of exhibitors, and has a lot of presentations.

I’ll also be on the Talking Tesla panel which is not about Nikola Telsa the electrical engineer nor about the electric car that is now orbiting the Sun. This panel will be talking about Elon Musk and his various activities. While I’m not qualified to talk about the man, though I did get to meet him years ago when SpaceX was a new company, I have followed the progress of SpaceX as well as Musk’s views on artificial intelligence.

Lastly there is the panel We Spy in Peace? in which we are asked to speculate on the question of "Is there life elsewhere in the universe?" and more provocatively "Do we have the right to spy on them?". Freedom of the airwaves clearly dictates that the answer must be yes. What do you think?

So if you’re reading this and find yourself at Windycon this weekend, I’d love to have you attend one of my presentations or panels. Or track me down and bend my ear a while. And don’t forget to check out the art I’ll have in the con’s art show.

I’ll leave you with this thought from film producer Ridley Scott (Blade Runner 2049, The Martian, Prometheus, etc.): "In science fiction, we’re always searching for new frontiers. We’re drawn to the unknown." And Windycon will certainly have its fair share of exploring the unknown.

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