Hacking space: Materializing the immaterial "is what we do"


Over the weekend, I sat in today on a "hackerspace," a physical place reserved for experimenters to create new objects, to re-purpose old objects and to explore in code and circuits. As mentioned recently, "making" is resurgent today, and the event hosted by Kentucky Space encouraged these natural roboticists to think outside the atmosphere.

The IdeaFestival was a sponsor of the first annual hackerSPACE. Surprised?

Since the internationally popular spacecraft called the CubeSat - whose creator, incidentally, now teaches at Morehead State University in Kentucky - opened the door ten years ago to smaller organizations to do relatively inexpensive spaceflight, new ideas have flooded a practice traditionally dominated by national governments. And having started as a technology demonstration often derided as an inconsequential toy, the CubeSat, all of four inches on a side, has matured. NASA has launched its own biological experiments using the craft. Sophisticated science instruments about the size of a loaf of bread have been created for use aboard stacked CubeSats. Given the means and opportunity, makers do what they always do - surprise others with their inventiveness and vision.

Featured in this video, Marko Peljhan of the University of California, Santa Barbara works at the intersection of art and science as part of the Media Arts and Technology Program at that university, and is also very involved with the sensational and cross-disciplinary Allosphere, which I've mentioned in these pages from time to time. Needless to say, I'm pretty happy he decided to come, not simply because the graduate program at which he teaches has a small spaceflight component that made it a fit for a workshop devoted to new possibilities in spaceflight, but because, like hackers and makers everywhere, he works to materialize the immaterial.