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The next PAS meeting is Friday October 13, 2017

7:30 pm, Room 5015, Foothill College

"On Becoming a Spacefaring Society" by Ejner Fulsang of NASA and the SETI Institute

If we ever hope to become a true spacefaring society, we must wean ourselves away from chemical rockets. The premise will be proven through an examination of Tsiolkovsky’s Rocket Equation, where it will become apparent that adding fuel achieves diminishing returns, but increasing exhaust gas velocity offers rapid transits to Mars, the outer planets, and eventually the nearby stars. There is an upper limit to the exhaust gas velocity of chemical rockets. To improve on this we must revisit nuclear thermal rockets, and eventual fusion rockets, and finally antimatter rockets. Each of these technologies is feasible although considerable engineering and infrastructure development remains to be done. This technological evolution will be presented in my series of hard SciFi novels in the “Galactican Series”. This lecture will be delivered at the high school physics level. Signed copies of each of Ejner's two SciFi novels, “SpaceCorp” and “CisLuna” will be availasble for purchase.

Ejner Fulsang has been a tech writer for NASA and SETI for the last ten years. His specialty is helping scientists write proposals for space missions. It’s been quite an education, covering topics like spacecraft, instruments, mission design launch vehicles, and hazards of space. He is particularly intrigued by the possibility of life on other planets and moons, especially the notion of a second genesis where life comes from chemical, not biological origins.

Next Speaker in November -- please check back for details.


 Location: Foothill College room 5015, next to Parking Lot 5
Bring $3 for a parking permit



The Peninsula Astronomical Society is a group of some 200 Bay Area astronomy enthusiasts of all ages and backgrounds. Some members are professionally trained in astronomy, others are just starting and have never looked through a telescope before. One thing that we all have in common is an interest in the sky.

The PAS holds meetings on the second Friday of each month at 7:30 pm on the campus of Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA (between San Jose and Palo Alto).  The meetings are usually held in Room 5015, next to Parking Lot 5 (see map). Each meeting features a speaker (or speakers) bringing us up to date on different topics in astronomy. The public is welcome to attend these meetings; there is no charge to attend.  Note, however, that there is a $3 charge for parking - visitor parking permits are available from the machines in the parking lots.  Please do not park in spaces marked "Staff" - you will be ticketed!

As part of its commitment to bringing astronomy to the public, the Peninsula Astronomical Society operates the Foothill College Observatory (click here for more information). The Observatory is staffed by members of the society who volunteer to conduct the regularly scheduled public programs.

In addition to operating the Foothill Observatory, the PAS has its own observatory in the nearby Santa Cruz Mountains. This location has AC power and room for members to set up their own telescopes at our monthly star parties. This site is also the home of the society's 12" telescope, available for member use after a checkout.

For informaton about membership in the PAS, click here.



PAS Logo clothing and other cool items are available at Cafe Press - click on the T-shirt:

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