Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Heinlein Centennial - Peter Diamandis at Gala Event

Peter Diamandis had another, shorter talk at the Heinlein Centennial Gala Reception. I would say that there were several hundred people in attendance for this first talk, and probably 2 or 3 hundred more for this one, which was just a part of a series of short talks, movies, songs, and awards, often involving famous space or SF personalities.

Peter sees Heinlein's writing as a business plan or guide. (Space Prizes note: Well ... as long as you pick the right books ... there are some activities in some of Heinlein's books that wouldn't go over too well in today's business world ...) Peter considers "The Man Who Sold the Moon" to still be a relevant plan. His personal goal is to get to the Moon and greet NASA a few years later. (There were cheers from the audience at this. Actually I think lots of NASA people would cheer if this happened too). NASA had 10 great years, and then waited for it to happen again. It was an amazing series of events, and it won't happen that way again. Now we have entrepreneurs with enough money to make things happen. Ten people now can work with the computing power of all of NASA in the 1960's.

Ray Kurzweil is now at the X PRIZE Foundation. At this point Peter showed a slide showing Moore's "Law". He plans to have Kurzweil do prizes to accelerate things so we can see this kind of progress. He expects space travel, longevity, and similiar advances just as depicted in Heinlein's books.

What are the drivers for exploration? Fear (eg: Sputnik, asteroid impacts)? Curiousity (eg: Mars Rovers)? Here's a measure of the relative strength of these 2 drivers: compare the DOD and the NASA budgets. Another powerful driver is Wealth (eg: asteroid mining).