STARMUS BLOG _________________________________________________________________________________________________

Day 5 

2011-06-26

Final Day of Starmus

From Kathryn,

 

This week has been so EXCITING!I can't explain what it has been like to be here with all these people. I am looking forward to coming home, relaxing and getting some sleep though. I had alot of fun!

 

From Paul,

 

Day 5 began at noon with transportation to Magma Conference Centre. An amazing lunch, with a amazing setting, amazing people and great food. We sat ata table of 10 with two friends we made this week, Richard and Lara (he is from England and she from Lithuania) and Ken Hogonsworth ( a Scott who now lives here in Tenerife). The food was wonderfull with more choices then you could shake a stick at and the wine, well all week there was great wine with most every meal, and yes champange with breakfast each day!

 

The afternoon was a celebration of space flight, mostly that of Gagariun's flight some 50 years ago! Talks by Alexi Leonov, Victor Gorbatko, Bill Anders, Charile Duke, Jim Lovell and Neil Armstrong!

 

Day 4 

2011-06-25

Well here is a late update on Day 4, which was Thursday. Things have been very busy during Starmus!

 

Thursday started early with a full day tour to Mount Teide at 9am. The drive took us up to 2400m above sea level where we toured the observatories and stopped to look at some of the lava fields. At the observatory we toured 4 of the buldings and observed the sun with one of the solar telescopes.

 
By the time we got back we were too late to catch the 108 minute round table disucssion so we relaxed at the beach for a bit before venturing down into the tourist district were we found a nice resturant on the boardwalk. We spent the better part of the eveing sitting there watching the sunset while having some wonderful pizza. A nice evening were we actully were able to call ita night and bed down before midnight for the first time in 4 days. A well deserved rest Kathryn and a much needed one for us all as Friday was going to be a long day ahead.

 
Look for Friday's big update!
 

from clear, sunny and hot Tenerife, Clear skies!

 
 

Day 3

2011-06-24

Wow!

 

Day 3 has come and gone, it is now 12:50am and we just got back from the Gala Dinner but more about that in a minute.

 

Kathryn's day started with the 3 of us going on a whale watching cruise out of Playa de America's for about 3 hours. The cruise was on a beautiful twin hull catamaran. We first went out to a nearby fish farm where a handful of Bottlenose Dolphins were feeding. Nice but not what we really were looking for. After about 20mins beyond that strait out to see I noticed a fin off the port which I pointed out to the 2nd Offficer and we then turned to proceed to them. Not less then 5 pilot whales greeted us as we drifted along their path of travel. The closest coming up to rub the hull and linger long enough to spray us via blowing out his blow hole. Its pretty cool to see a rainbow in front of you from the spray of a whale and get wet from it! In the next two hours we would see some 24-30 pilot whales (we lost count) and anchor in a cove so that all could take a dip in the aqua marine water! Amazing!

 

Back for lunch at 1pm Starmus would again start with speakers at 3pm. This afternoon was one not anyone would want to miss! The first session had Bill Anders from Apollo 8 talking about the early space program up to Apollo 8. He is a excellent speaker, funny and full of surprises. Most amazing is how all of them joke around so much about each other during the talks! The interaction between both the american and russian space travellers is amazing to watch! Following Bill was Jim Lovell talking about Apollo 13. Hearing this story from the 1st person point of view is undescrible! Simply put, WOW. Jim had not one slide for his talk yet kept a full theatre on the edge of their seats wanting to hear more! Next up was Charlie Duke talking about Apollo 16 and the later missons of 14-17. Again, WOW.

 

Following these 3 talks was a coffee break and thanks to Kathryn's VIP status we are all allowed in the VIP break zone......I spent most of the break talking with Dorthy and Charlie Duke.

 

Following the break was the talk by Brian May, former Queen lead guitarist. His talk was, " What are we doing in space?" It was a very deep look at mankind, how we treat our world, ourselves, our race and if we should or should not even be thinking of taking who we are into space. Very deep talk and somber one.

 

The evening wrapped up with the before mentioned Gala Dinner. WOW! Wait till you see the photos! The dinner was held onsite at the Miador down near the cliffs of the resort. A wonderful 5 course meal, on a golf like green, over looking the ocean, temps in the mid 20s and about 120 people in attendance including all the speakers. We meet with Lesile Sage and his wife and during the pre meal drink time spent much of it talking with Kip Thorne(black holes), Adam Burrows (supernovae) and Michel Mayor (first to discover extrasolar planet)! The evening for us ended with Kathryn doing a photo opp for Garik, the organizer with Neil Armstrong!

 

It is now 1:15am and Kathryn is fallen asleep as I write this. Tomorrow is another busy day with a full day tour or Mt Teide and the observatory's on top of it.

 

Until then,

 

From still sunny and hot Tenerife, Clear skies!

 

Day 2

2011-06-23

Well this post is a day late but Starmus has kept all of us busy!

Tuesday started easy with th morning off so we took a taxi to the south airport to pick up our car rental for the rest of our stay. From the airport we made a few stops including a supermarket to get some snack food for the room. Most meals at Starmus are quite late which makes Kathryn (and us) wanting a later afternoon snack.

The program for Tuseday did not have much for Kathryn till the evening so she and her mom spent a better part of the afternoon by one of the several pools at the resort. Dad however took in talks by Jack Szostak ( The Orgin of Life on Earth), Richard Dawkins (Exobiology and Religion) and Kip Thorne (Black Holes). All were amazing speakers, topics and made you think and shake your head both from what you learned and what you tried to understand. To sum it up I was picking my jaw up off the floor many times and I think my head was hurting trying to comprehend some of the facts, numbers and theories.

The evening was the Star Party on Mount Teide at 2200m above sea level! The 1 hour ride up was amazing traveling through several climate zones including a pine forest. The scenery was amazing from vistas looking off over the ocean to the lunar like landscapes of lave flows, fields and plant life that looks like it should be from another planet. Observing was done with a few telescopes and the sky was beautiful.

A late night again with us returning to our room at 12:30am! Kathryn will need a nap on Wednesday.

From yet another sunny and hot day in Tenerife, Clear skies!
 

Day 1

2011-06-22

Starmus officially began today with the opening ceremony held in the afternoon in which Kathryn did her part in announcing Starmus officially opened! She did an amazing job in stating how honoured she is to be here, thanking Garik Israelian and Starmus for inviting her and then pronouncing Starmus Officially open to a round of thunderous applause! The Starmus Panel said a few words, of which Alexie Lenov was amazing! We cannot wait to hear him speak.

 

Following Kathryn we listened to speakers, Jill Tarter (SETI), Michel Mayor (first to discover Extra Solar Planets) and Buzz Aldrin. All were amazing speakers and the topics kept you wanting more.

 

The evening was wrapped up late but at 9pm we still had the VIP dinner to attend. An amazing meal in a unique setting in a Banana plantation. We sat at a table with some Spaniards who are organisers of Starmus. Kathryn’s and Dad’s highlight of the night was when Jill Tarter stopped Kathryn to speak to her, saying that she saw Kathryn on you tube and thought her story was amazing! They went on to discuss Kathryn’s search and her future and Jill asked if Kathryn has only done optical work so far and if she has any interest in Radio or X-ray work. With a rush to get us back on a bus Jill said we shall speak again this week when we have more time.

 

The late night meant a 1am bedtime so today’s update is a little late as we are doing this after breakfast on Tuesday. Today we have some spare time this morning but this afternoon there are more talks including one by Richard Dawkins and then tonight the Star Party on Mount Tide at 2000m above sea level under very clear dark skies!

 

From sunny and hot Tenerife, Clear skies!

 

Arrived at Starmus

2011-06-21

Well we arrived this evening at 7pm local time after 23 hrs of travel. We checked in, saw Buzz Aldrin at checkin, took a small tour of the grounds and are now going for a refreshing dip in the empty pool and then off to bed for rest!

 

Kathryn slept ok during travel and is excited as we all are.

 

Look for a more extensive update monday night after the events begin!

 

On Our Way!

2011-06-20

Well it is now 7:45pm EDT and we are now setting in the Toronto airport waiting for our connection to Madrid.

 

 

Kathryn really enjoyed her first flying experience on a Boeing 767 from Halifax to Toronto. Kathryn says, "It is really cool to be able to watch TV and listen to music on my own screen!" She did not enjoy the approach very much as her ears took a long time to readjust to the airpressure but once on the ground all was fine.

 

Now in the airport we had some supper and found our next gate in another terminal. Kathryn was most impressed by the moving sidewalks as she calls them and traveled on about a dozen of them. Remember this is from a child who grew up in Fredericton where there are no escalators let alone a flat people mover. A big deal to those from a small town.

 

T-1 Day to go to Starmus

2011-06-19

We are packed and ready to go! Kathryn is getting excited and nervous about the big trip. This will be the first time she has flown since she was 3 months old!

 

Tomorrow we will depart for Nova Scotia as Kathryn's sibling's will be staying at the grandparents during our trip. We will spend tomorrow night there and will be at the airport mid afternoon on saturday to depart for out flight to Toronto. Late evening we will depart on our overnight flight to Madrid, Spain and finally on Sunday our last hop will be down to Tenerife.

 

Thank you for all the well wishes on here, facebook and by email as well as all the supporters in the last few months.

 

Clear skies! Kathryn, Susan and Paul

Welcome and Thankyou

2011-06-02

Welcome to our Starmus Travel Blog. This is one way to keep you the many family, friends and groups who helped make this event/trip happen for Kathryn informed about the trip. We will try to post a brief report daily from our trip as to what Kathryn has done, places she has gone and the people she has met.

 

We want to thank everyone who helped us in some way or another. Starting with David Lane for providing Supernova Search data and supporting a budding childs interest in the sky, it is what started all this after all. Garik Israelian at Starumus for the invitation to Kathryn for her attendance at Starmus and the support of Starmus. The RASC, RASC New Brunswick Centre, RASC Halfiax Centre and Saint John Astronomny Club for their support of her trip as well as the many friends and family who have also supported her!

 

Thank you all!