Thursday, February 28, 2013

10 Years Ago Today: My 1st X PRIZE day with Peter Diamandis ended with meeting Loretta (Hidalgo) & George Whitesides and Buzz Aldrin!

10 years ago today was my and Talmon Firestone’s first working day with +Peter H. Diamandis at the +X PRIZE Foundation (Santa Monica, CA) as part of our International Space University (ISU) MSS internship (Module 4 of 5). After a solid brainstorming day about our MSS thesis projects, Peter took us to a deli in Westwood LA. It was some sort of space gathering, I can’t recall which group, but it was the day I met the spacey couple +Loretta Whitesides (Hidalgo) and +George Whitesides (now married with two kids). Sitting across the table from me they jumped right into recruiting me for +Yuri's Night LA 2003. Since Yuri’s Night was only 2 years old, I didn't know about the event yet, but I was instantly sold after the phrase “World Space Party” was casually mentioned. The other #10YearsAgoToday event coming up will be the anniversary of my first Yuri’s Night (LA) meeting, March 5th 2003. 2013 will be my 11th year working on Yuri’s Night and in addition to my Executive Director / BoD role, I'm helping run events along the Space Coast: 

The conversation was great and all of a sudden there was a buzz in the air, actually it literally sounded like ”it’s Buzz”; “Buzz…” Moonwalker Buzz Aldrin strutted into the deli and joined our group. He sat down next to me. Eeeee! As many of you already know, I’m a lunatic. I look up at the Moon all the time and dream of exploring the oceans (Mare) and highlands. I wasn't completely celebrity/hero shocked, but able to attempt a conversation. We both had the matzo ball soup by coincidence, and I think our conversation was about complaining about its quality. No one makes soup better than Bubie! Since that lunar encounter I have had several opportunities to meet and work with Buzz and Peter including MIT’s 150th Exploration Symposium that I helped run with Prof. Dava Newman during my Postdoc at the Man-Vehicle Laboratory. It was from that moment forward that I felt like the Forrest Gump of the space industry with all the amazing people I kept meeting and events I attended. Hopefully there are plenty more exciting memories and photos ahead! 

The most import moral of this rambling story, photos are worth a million words and I’m thankful my iPhone has enough resolution to snap candidate photos now, 10 years after this magic moment. 


From left to right: Me (Ryan Kobrick), Peter Diamandis, Buzz Aldrin, and Talmon Firestone
[Photographer was either Loretta or George Whitesides]


  1. Great photo, Ryan! Looking forward to the group shots you take from the moon, hopefully with a Hasselblad.

    1. Ha ha, thanks! I will take photos with a pin hole camera if it means I get to go to the Moon! I need to get Go Pro or Nikon to sponsor me so that I have the right tools for each adventure. I'll be underwater again soon, and my setup is so-so, but it will do the job.

  2. That was a great night Ryan. I remember before going that night, Peter asking us: "Would you guys like to meet Buzz?" Maybe you weren't in the room at the time and it was only me he was talking to but I tell that story to this day. ;)


    1. Talmon I must have been in a different room, because I was very surprised when he showed up. Great times in CA... PAR-KING!