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Bonjourno from IAC + World Space Week

Happy World Space Week, and greetings from the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Naples, Italy! The GLXP European point-of-contact, Anita, and myself have spent the past week at the largest international space conference of the year. This year the conference attracted over 2000 delegates from around the world, making this venue THE place for learning about the latest and greatest in lunar spacecraft, science, and missions.

It should come as no surprise that a number of Google Lunar X PRIZE teams were here presenting their ideas and opportunities for payload space aboard their vehicles in a few years. In two sessions this week I also presented updates about the teams and the competition, along with several of the teams themselves. I had the pleasure of watching presentations by the Rocket City Space Pioneers (and students working with them), Team Italia, Penn State Lunar Lion Team, and students associated with Barcelona Moon. I also had the chance to meet with Selenokhod and many supporters of the Prize, including our former fearless leader, Will Pomerantz.

I have new information and a couple of infographics that I will share once I return to XPF headquarters, but for the time being I wanted to share an interesting quote from one of my lunar sessions this morning. In the midst of a (mostly) very technical conference, one presenter took a step back and reflected on profoundness of sending spacecraft out into the cosmos:

"It's clear to me that within the focus of the making progress of a mission to the Moon, there is little time to grasp the implications or resonances that hover around the carefully described scientific goals and mission statements that are ostensibly being adhered to. It is though, of pressing importance to do this, because what happens away from the planet becomes amplified... By going away from the Earth, the Moon spacecraft missions take on a relation to the whole Earth, they are unavoidably ambassadorial, and with that goes immense responsibility" -Joanna Griffin, Plymouth University. Just a little food for thought! 

In relation to World Space Week, the event was celebrated at IAC Thursday night in the form of a tweet up (#wswtweetup) hosted by Bill Nye (yes, the Science Guy) an ESA astronaut, and a cosmonaut. The room where the event took place was so full that I couldn't see the stage (that's a good sign!) so I resorted to following via twitter much like the outside world. If you are interested in finding out what events are happening near you, please visit www.worldspaceweek.org. There are 3000 events occurring in 97 nations, so chances are that there is something happening near you! This year should be a particularly memorable year for space week, as SpaceX plans to launch the Falcon 9 on Sunday and send a second Dragon to the International Space Station.  This week has certainly reinforced my thoughts that we live in a fascinating and exciting time for space exploration, in many ways. So much progress is being made -- particularly in the commercial sector, but also by space agencies old and new -- and I for one can't wait to see what we're capable of and where we'll go in the not-too-distant future.

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