The idle ramblings of a Jack of some trades, Master of none

On my daily crawl to work, if I am sitting and not reading, and happen to look out of the window just when train is pulling into Vauxhall station, I catch a glance of a rather nondescript building on which appear in metal letters - British Interplanetary Society. I am then filled with a sense of cosmononplusation, which is probably not a good thing when I should be filled with self-confidence and a-rarin' to tame the financial markets.

This, I am intrigued to learn, is the oldest organisation in the world dedicated to the exploration of space and the promotion of innovative technologies for the purpose. What puzzles me a bit is how recent it is - it is only seventy years old. Knowing the British, it is amazing that this was not established in Victorian times.

The boffins that congregated here are responsible for several innovative designs. Multistage rockets, rotating spacecraft to provide artificial gravity, and a navigation device that would cancel out the rotation to provide accurate direction and ranging. Arthur C. Clarke was one of the Chairmen of the society, and we all know of his invention of geosynchronous communication satellites.

Last year, BIS organised a symposium to address a number of space-age archaeological approaches. Relates to how Earth satellites can assist in locating archaeological sites and the theoretical possibilities relating to probes and landing sites becoming "future human space archaeology". Such matters of extraterrestrial investigation were covered:
  1. The Mounds of Cydonia: A Case Study for Planetary SETI
  2. SETI - Why The Radio Silence?
  3. Will ET Write or Radiate: Interstellar Messages in a Bottle
How this fits with space archaeology I have no clue, but the eggheads sure be fascinated by them pointy-eared bug-eyed aliens.


Leila said...

Hey! I would pass the very same building...and finally i decided to investigate further..i'm now writing my history thesis on the BIS!x

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