I apologize for not having written earlier, but I have, for the last four days, had very little time and even less energy (I’m slightly ill). At present, however, I feel considerably better, and I’ve a night before me. I will therefore update you!
Thursday began extremely interestingly – we were given a lecture on nanotechnology by Padraig Moloney, holder of an Aerospace Engineering Bachelor’s degree from M.I.T. His speech prompted me to immediately consider the following questions:
- Would it be holistically useful to create some form of carbon dioxide and oxygen exchange mechanism for long-duration spaceflight? Specifically, I had a “nanowall” in mind – some form of solid composed of nanotubes that would permit specific gases entrance and would conveniently expel others.
- Could one utilize carbon nanotubes to readily make cancer-resistant additions to the surface areas of cells and thus increase their nutrient intakes?
- Which hypothetical alternative biochemistry seems to be the most likely to exist? Would it simply be one in which the molecules exhibit differing chirality?
Friday arrived, and with it a tour of the Ad Astra Rocket Company and Excalibur Almaz. The former is a company which seeks to further develop plasma rocket propulsion technology; it is headed [and was founded] by Dr. Franklin Chang-Diaz. It is currently, for example, working on VASIMR – the Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket. Excalibur Almaz, on the other hand, is a private spaceflight company which is geared at enabling orbital space tourism. Both were fascinating visits.
We then participated in a simulated mission at the Houston Museum of Natural Science; whilst we did quite well, the project was extremely difficult to coordinate.
Saturday was particularly compelling, too, as we managed to gain access to an A.R.I.S.S. link – this means, basically, that we were permitted to radio with those on board the International Space Station. This was a fascinating opportunity to pose questions. The day concluded with something moderately less interesting – a soccer game as played by the Houston Dynamo.
Sunday was a day that has been dubbed “The Culture Fair”. Each student was asked to create some form of culturally applicable food, and to perform a talent. I attempted poutine, a classic Québécois dish; the entirety of the Canadian delegation engaged in a merry round of singing that was more comedic than particularly compelling. All of the food was delicious; we also exchanged small cultural gifts, all of which were intriguing.
Finally, we’ve Monday; this was basically a lecture-saturated day that also included some opportunities to work on our projects.
Today is another day! Good night!