Summary of January 4, 2020 Meeting – Lunar Gateway – John Diiorio

We started the meeting by looking at where we are right now. What is the alignment of the planets. shows the configuration of the solar system at this point in time. It is good for us to develop an intuitive sense of the solar system that we wish to go explore and expand to.

The orbits of Jupiter and Saturn are much, much bigger than the orbits of mars and the earth. Also, right now, Saturn and Jupiter are behind the sun and are not visible. in another 3-4 months, it will be possible to see them at night as the earth moves over to the same side of the sun. And in about 6 months time they will be visible high overhead at night as they are in complete opposition.

The moon is only half lit up at night. Right near the terminator (where the light changes to dark) the shadows of the craters helps to see the relative heights.

We used to have only an earth central view of the universe. And since we all live here, this view still resonates with us. But we must keep in mind that this is a very limiting and inaccurate view of the solar system.

This meeting was our third Januar meeting. Our first meeting was January 6, 2018.

And we have many things in store for 2020 including:

We the looked at some recent space news. How many launches since our last meeting on December 14, 2019?


For the year China (34) had the most launches, and with the inclusion of RocketLabs (6), the US (21 + 6) came in second, followed by Russia (25).

And we reflected that there are 1822 days till the end of 2024. This is when NASA will put the first woman and the next man on the moon as part of the Artemis program. Jim Bridenstine, the NASA Administrator, and Doug Loverro, the Associate Administrator of Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate are both strongly committed to making it happen. Vice President Mike Pence said that if the current contractors are not up to it, then lets get contractors who can. It was great to see this update from Jim Bridenstine on New Years day:

Then John Diiorio went through the details of the Lunar Gateway.

After John’s presentation, we talked about the 2020 Space Communicators program. This gives an opportunity for each of us to contribute to the meeting by giving three speeches. Participants that successfully do this in 2020 will receive a personalized trophy to commemorate their efforts.

We are going to have 2 workshops between the next meeting to help people with their speeches. Feel free to stop by even if you are not giving a speech to encourage and help others.

Loosely structured meeting to help you with your speeches.  We can help you come up with ideas, create an outline, review your speech and offer feedback, help you put together a PowerPoint presentation, give you a chance to practice. 

Monday, January 13, 2020 – 7PM – 9PM – Barbara Bush Library

Monday, January 27, 2020 – 7PM – 9PM – Barbara Bush Library

Barbara Brown was visiting for the first time and she won the drawing for the space shuttle mug.

Gil won the drawing for the Falcon Heavy landing poster.

After the meeting people stuck around for informal conversations.

Our next meeting is February 1, 2020 at 2PM at Barbara Bush Library. We will be having a group discussion into the question “Why explore space”. We will be basing the discussion the second part of Robert Zubrin’s Book “The Case for Space”.

See you there!

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