Come join us at our next monthly meeting: May 12, 2018 – Biosphere 2 and Closed Ecological Systems

Join us on Saturday, May 12, 2018 at 6PM for our monthly NSS North Houston Space Society Meeting at Nathan’s house (9327 Swansea Bay Dr.; Spring, TX 77379).

6:00 – Gathering/Pizza
6:30 – Dr. Greg Stanley will present a talk entitled: “Biosphere 2 and Closed Ecological Systems:   Systems biology for sustainable life outside earth.” (details below)
7:30 – Open Discussion
7:45 – Space Exploration Jeopardy


Biosphere 2 and Closed Ecological Systems:   Systems biology for sustainable life outside earth.

Biosphere 2 was a unique experiment in a materially closed ecological system, intended as a prototype for sustainable space settlement.  When 8 “biospherians” were sealed in the 3.14 acre facility for 2 years starting in 1991, it was (and remains) the world’s largest and longest-running closed environment test.  The facility is still there and open to the public, although it is no longer sealed.  This talk is a retrospective on the experiment and the ideas behind it.
The speaker, Dr. Greg Stanley, was involved in the project as a consultant, mainly in 1989-1990, and was present at the first closure in 1991.  He led the work done by Gensym, providing computerized monitoring, control, and some simulation.


Dr. Greg Stanley creates, develops, and manages innovative technology.  He created computer applications for users as diverse as ExxonMobil, AT&T, the Japanese nuclear industry, and Motorola Iridium, for use in process automation and control, fault diagnosis, dynamic simulation, and network management.  He worked at Exxon in technical and management roles in process control, engineering, IT, artificial intelligence, and dynamic simulation.  He built products and managed product development at Gensym, the leading provider of real-time expert systems.  He helped product development for software and engineering companies such as SAT, BMC, SmartSignal, and Integration Objects. Technical specialties include chemical engineering, artificial intelligence, fault diagnosis, process control, dynamic simulation, network management, and data reconciliation, as well as product architecture to support these applications.  Greg has a PhD in Chemical Engineering from Northwestern University, and a BS in Chemical Engineering from Purdue University.  He has published over 25 technical papers.

More About the Biosphere 2 Project:

2018-April- Yuri Gagarin, Skylon, Space Exploration Jeopardy

We had a fantastic April 2018 meeting of the NSS North Houston Space Society.  We started out with a mixer activity.  Each person was handed a set of 12 cards all describing a space first.  The attendees had to exchange their cards with others to get a complete set.  The entire set was posted for reference. 

I gave a presentation on Yuri Gagarin since April 12 is Yuri’s night.  Yuri’s night is a celebration of April 12, 1961 when Yuri Gagarin achieved the feat of being the first man to circle the earth.  I tried to put the event into the context of world history.  World war 2 had just finished.  The cold war and the 3 world state of global politics, and the competition between the USSR and the West represented by the USA.  I ran through the list of firsts.  And it amazing how quickly we were making progress in space in the 50s and 60s.  (Take a look at the Time of the Space Race on Wikipedia).  Some of the high school students mentioned they were just talking about Sputnik in class.  And some of the older members relayed their memories from those days.  The radio announcements that would tell you when it was flying overhead and ham radio operators were able to hear the “beep….beep…” of Sputnik directly.  And apparently, the second stage was trailing behind it and was big enough to be spotted from earth.    We talked about the enthusiasm in space unto the moon landing when it sort of petered out.  One observation was that since the US did not claim the moon that a lot of people in the US thought what was the point.  I wonder where we would be if we did claim the moon and kept the fires of the space race going.

Doug gave a great presentation on Skylon and Sabre.  It was interesting to learn about the advances

and history with air-breathing rockets.    And the challenges of cooling the compressed air fast enough to keep the system working.

 We played “Space Exploration” jeopardy which was a big hit.  We had categories for “Space Firsts”, “Moonwalkers”, “Private Space Explorers” and “Yuri”.  We, of course, had pizza.    And I passed out an agenda with upcoming space events in the area.

Our next meeting is going to be the second Saturday in May (which is not our normal meeting day).  Be sure and join us on May 12, 2018.



Upcoming Events

Planned Falcon 9 SpaceX launches: 4/16 – TESS; 4/24 -Bangadbandhu-1; 5/10 (w/reused 1st stage): Iridium NEXT 6 (5x) / GRACE-FO (2X)


April meeting of the Clear Lake Area National Space Society & Moon Society Chapter – keep an eye on for details

April 12, 2018 6:30 PM – Burke Baker Planetarium – Houston Museum of Natural Science as part of the Houston Museum of Natural Science (HMNS) Distinguished Lecture Series Dr. David Kring presents “From the Earth to the Moon – What Does It Take?” This evening’s presentation will celebrate the launch of the first human in space, the flight of Yuri Gagarin on this day in 1961. Dr.


David Kring will recount the history of human travel to the Moon and discuss our future travel. What will it take to return to the Moon? Kring will address the interfaces between science, exploration and operations that are required to ensure our nation’s return to the Moon maximizes productivity while enhancing safety and efficiencies during robotic and crew operations.  Dr. David A. Kring is the head of the Center for Lunar Science and Exploration at the Lunar and Planetary Institute. Dr. Kring is instrumental in academic-industry-NASA joint projects working on robotic lunar lander and rover systems that can be deployed anywhere on the lunar surface –


April 19, 2018 (7-8:15PM) (Space Center Houston) – Thought Leader Series: ESA Director General Johann-Dietrich Woerner – How are NASA and the European Space Agency working together? Learn all about this partnership and more at the next installment of Space Center Houston’s Thought Leader Series featuring ESA Director General –

April 19, 2018 (Reception: 6:30PM; Lecture: 7PM) (Rice University – Keck Hall – 100) “Inside the Bubble: Earthly Lessons from Life in a Martian Analog” – Brian Ramos, NASA Johnson Space Center, HI-SEAS (Hawaiʻi Space Exploration Analog and Simulation) mission crewmember –


May 4, 2018 – (Novice: 7PM; General Meeting: 8PM – University of Houston) – Houston Astronomical Society – Monthly meeting

May 12, 2018 (6-8PM) – Monthly NSS North Houston Space Society meeting (Will be the second Saturday in May) (9327 Swansea Bay Dr. Spring, TX 77379) –

May 24-27, 2018 (Los Angeles, CA) – National Space Society (NSS) 


International Space Development Conference (ISDC)

May 25-27, 2018 (George R. Brown Convention Center, Houston, TX) – Comicpalooza – NASA usually has a big presence, and we might do a panel on the High School Astronaut program –