The Star Spot

Feature Guest: Wayne Ellis

The weekend of November 14 to 16 in Ottawa the Canadian Space Society will be hosting their annual space summit, with keynote speakers including the President of the Canadian Space Agency, the associate administrator for the Human Exploration and Operations Directorate at NASA, and leading members of the aerospace industry, the Ministry of Defense, and the world of space journalism. The earlybird pricing for the summit ends september 30 so visit as soon as possible for information.

The theme of the summit this year is Canada’s space economy. Wayne Ellis, President of the Canadian Space Society, joins Justin Trottier at The Star Spot to argue that when we think of the space economy of any nation, we should be thinking well beyond just the business of space. Making the general argument for why we should support space exploration is the primary mandate of the world’s many non-profit space advocacy organizations. Wayne explains what drives space exploration enthusiasts and how organized advocacy groups fit into a national and even international space program.

Current in Space

In today’s Current in Space, Victoria reports on how one private space company is aiming to get people into space by reducing costs through spacesuits constructed from items purchased at local hardware stores. And from sources of destruction to the seeds of life, Benjamin tells us why comets are now seen as the potential origin of life’s building blocks.

About Wayne Ellis

Wayne Ellis is chief consultant for aerospace and defence analysis at AppSpace Solutions Inc. and served as space instructor at the canadian forces school of aerospace studies. Wayne specializes in canadian space and defense activities and currently serves as President of the Canadian Space Society.

Direct download: Ep37-WayneEllis.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00pm EDT

Feature Guest: Martin Laforest

Martin Laforest joins Justin Trottier at The Star Spot to discuss the fascinating, complex and bizarre world of the quantum. After describing the Institute for Quantum Computing and the uniqueness of its home, the University of Waterloo and the technological industrial hub of Waterloo, Ontario, the two explore quantum information, cryptography, and the often counter-intuitive theoretical underpinnings of these technological breakthroughs.

Justin then goes through his list of fanciful “science meets science fiction” topics, ranging from quantum teleportation and replication to what possible effect it would have on SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) if aliens have moved on to using quantum encoded signals in their communication.

Finally Laforest comments on how we can harness a topic like quantum computing - which has excited public interest but is inherently complicated - to drum up interest in science.

Current in Space

As a special treat, given that we missed our last regularly scheduled episode, we’ve included an expanded Current in Space segment featuring:

* Jessica sharing new evidence that shows we might all be martians after all
* Benjamin describing new studies which are making us rethink our conception of a bone dry moon
* Denise expaining how iron could get into necklace beads thousands of years before the iron age (hint: it came from outer space!)
* Justin discussing how our supermassive central black hole offers the galaxy's least hospitable neighborhood for a recently discovered pulsar
* Julia telling us how crowfounding can get a space start-up off the ground (literally when you’re talking about a $1.5 million kickstarter-funded public space telescope project!)

About Martin Laforest

Martin Laforest is Senior Manager for Scientific Outreach at the Institute for Quantum Computing at the University of Waterloo, where he networks with government, industry and academia on behalf of the university and its quantum computing programs. He leads the Undergraduate School on Experimental Quantum Information Processing and the Quantum Cryptography School for Young Students. A mathematics and physics graduate from McGill university, Laforest is a passionate proponent of science communication and recently presented at TEDx Waterloo 2013

Direct download: Ep36-MartinLaforest.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00pm EDT