LAWRENCE — Two University of Kansas student organizations are helping craft a new style of conference that will delve into a variety of space exploration topics.
The SpaceUp Kansas Unconference will be April 29 at the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center in Hutchinson. Organizer and KU doctoral student Tristan Moody explained that an “unconference” is a style of highly flexible gathering that strives to avoid some of the undesirable characteristics of a traditional conference, such as high registration fees, dated topics or sponsored presentations.
Students from the KU chapters of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and Students for the Exploration and Development of Space are working with the Kansas Cosmosphere to build interest in SpaceUp Kansas and are expected to participate.
“SpaceUp offers a unique opportunity for everyone who has an interest in space exploration to meet and share with others who share their passion,” Moody said. “These events have met with great success over the past two years in cities such as Houston, San Diego and Washington, D.C., and we are really excited to be able to create such an event here in Kansas. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist or engineer to get something out of SpaceUp Kansas – all you need is a passion for space.”
Everyone who attends a SpaceUp event is encouraged to give a talk, moderate a panel or start a discussion. Sessions are proposed and scheduled on the day they are given, however topics are expected to cover a variety of space-related ideas that may range from rocket engines, to STEM education and more. Teachers and students of all grade levels are encouraged to come and take part in the activities.
Astronaut Steven Hawley, a professor of physics and astronomy at KU, will talk at the event.
SpaceUp Kansas will be noon to 5 p.m. April 29 at the education center of the Kansas Cosmosphere, 1100 N. Plum, Hutchinson. The unconference will include three breakout rooms for simultaneous sessions and topics will be decided upon the day of the event. In addition, there will be T-minus-5 talks during the final hour of the event. These rapid-fire presentations give speakers five minutes to share 20 slides on a topic.
The grassroots event organizers are still accepting sponsorships for the unconference, which will help with a variety of financial goals, such as keep registration fees low, cover the cost of live streaming of the event and help pay for supplies.
The Smithsonian-affiliated Kansas Cosmosphere & Space Center houses the largest collection of space artifacts outside the Smithsonian’s National Air & Space Museum in Washington, D.C. It also houses the largest collection of Soviet space artifacts outside of Moscow. The internationally acclaimed Cosmosphere astronaut camps have been conducted for children and adults of all ages for more than 25 years.
Learn more about the Kansas Cosmosphere online.