Wednesday, October 13, 2010

MIT Postdoc! IAC 2010 & Fall Highlights

The end of the Summer / beginning of the Fall brought high excitement and big news in my career. Just before leaving for Europe I was offered a Postdoc position with Professor Dava Newman at MIT (The Massachusetts Institute of Technology). I decided to make the announcement official at the 2010 IAC (International Astronautical Congress) in Prague, Czech Republic on my Plenary Panel (Plenary #5: Next Generation Visions For Space Operations - Available on YouTube).

The IAC panel was a great experience. The selection of the panel was based first on our 12seconds video submission (my submission - 12seconds is shutting down Oct 22) followed by our 3-minute YouTube video (my submission) answering specific questions about Space Operations. During the panel I mainly spoke of my Mars Society MDRS (Mars Desert Research Station) and FMARS (Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station) experiences. I even dropped a shout-out to Astronauts4Hire, a group I co-founded with the goal of setting standards and training the next generation of commercial astronauts. I even made all the Students and Young Professionals in the audience stand up, which was more half of the attendees of the plenary and ~1/4 of the entire conference, 825 out of 3431! Another BIG highlight from the 2010 IAC was that I was able to kick-start the Yuri's Night Golden Anniversary of Human Spacelfight video project. I was able to interview ESA's (European Space Agency) Director General Jean-Jacques Dordain, Bill Nye The Science Guy, and ISU's (International Space University) President Michael Simpson.

From left: William Gerstenmaier, Aria Iwasawa, Alex Karl, Brian Leathers, Tahir Merali, Lyn Wigbels, Alan DeLuna, Ryan Kobrick (me), Stacey Edgington, and Manfred Warhaut.
Before the IAC I was able to spend the week in Munich (München) with Ralf, Jan, Min and Hannah. There was this little event called Oktoberfest happening (200th year), but the highlight was hiking in Bavaria (Bayern) way above Neuschwanstein Castle for some spectacular views. This castle was said to have inspired Disney's castles at their theme parks around the world. It was an amazing hike up the mountain and we summited Branderschrofen (1879m) on the Tegelberg for a 1100m vertical gain, and 14.7km round trip. I recorded our intense expedition with my iPhone's GPS:

Low resolution photo I took with my iPhone of Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany

Pluto will always be a planet to me & a mouse's best friend.
Since the trip I've been busy. Jen and I were searching for an apartment (found!), selling stuff on Craigslist, and getting ready for the big move to Boston/Cambridge on Halloween. We are driving across the country to our new home, or it's probably more accurate to say, our next stop in our adventure together. I spent a few days in Florida with my parents to visit my grandmother Florence Kobrick, Disney for a few days, and then Toronto for a week.

There are over 1000 photos from exploring Bayern, Prague, Florida, Toronto and more to be taken from my last days in Colorado, but eventually I will get them on Facebook. It probably won't happen until after the big move to MIT. Jen will be exploring Peru for all of November so that might be when pictures will get posted. I'm looking forward to my late graduation (Aug. 7) / early birthday (Nov. 5) / pre-Halloween / moving party at Old Chicago's Sat Oct. 30th where we will be completing a World Beer Tour. That means we will have 110 beers from around the world and they will put our name on the Hall of Foam plaque as "Dr. Kobrick & Yuri's kNights". After the party we will explore Pearl St., which is famous for it's Halloween Saturday night festivities. What ever happened to Oct. 31st being the big night? I guess that's the "just for kids" version, similar to how Yuri's Night is "on or around" April 12th. Jen and I hit the road the next morning. Bad idea or brilliant idea?

My next post might be about the work that I'm involved with at MIT and life in Baaah-ston! Until then, if you crave more news, follow my brain-blurps on Twitter: RyInSpace.


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