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Skeptics in the Pub II: Earth-Orbiting Debris — A Threat to Our Infrastructure
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
6:30 PM

Stag’s Head Pub
2128 Portsmouth St, Houston, TX

Join us for a fabulous second installment of Skeptics in the Pub for April!

Hey, we all love the pub, and for April’s second SitP meetup, Don Kessler, NASA’s Senior Scientist for Orbital Debris Research (Retired) has agreed to be our guest speaker. Don will share with us his expertise on Earth-orbiting debris, and discuss how that debris can be a threat to our infrastructure.

In the past 50 years, the use of space has become an integral part of our infrastructure. At the same time, we have managed to contaminate the space environment to the extent that it is now a long-term threat to the services that we have become dependent upon. Don will illustrate for us how it got to be a problem and what our options are for dealing with it.

About Don Kessler:

Don Kessler retired from NASA in 1996 as NASA’s Senior Scientist for Orbital Debris Research. During his career, he published numerous technical papers on the subject and has continued to consult with NASA and other organizations. He has received a number of awards for his work. However, he may be recognized by the general public for the “Kessler Syndrome”, a term propagated by the popular press to describe his 1978 publication, which predicted the increasing orbital debris environment from collisions that is being observed today. Recent activities include serving as chairman of the 2011 National Research Council committee evaluating NASA’s meteoroid and orbital debris programs and supporting the educational IMAX film Space Junk 3D, now playing at various museums around the world.


This meetup, like our regular monthly Skeptics in the Pub meetup, will take place at the Stag’s Head Pub.

If two SitP meetups in April is too much for you, don’t worry. In May we will resume the single SitP meetup schedule.

Add it to your calendar.

The Skinny on the Digs

The Stag’s Head Pub is located in the old Sheperd Plaza. It’s a traditional style pub with a decent selection of beverages and reasonably priced food, with laquered hardwood everywhere you look.

But more importantly, the Stag’s Head features a private room called The Oak Room that allows us to avoid any undue bar noise, and to have a good setting for conversation and any guest speakers we may have.

Now here’s the important part: The manager usually charges a fee to book the Oak Room, but I explained that our group does not have a budget, and so would most likely not be able to pay the room fee. I assured her, however, that our group is good about ordering drinks and lots of food. We don’t just use up space for nothing. And I told her that we could put 20 or more people in the room each month, most of whom would do some kind of business with the bar. And she was kind enough to wave the room fee with the understanding that our business would still make it worth her while.

So, we need to strive for two things to keep this venue at no cost to us:

Put butts in the seats, as they say — We need to have a good showing of members. Tell all your friends, bring a family member, invite a co-worker, anything. But let’s get the word out, and get as many people to attend as possible.
Enjoy the fare offered by the Stag’s Head Pub — Have a few beers. Order some appetizers and a sandwhich, whatever strikes your fancy. No reason to empty your wallet, but let’s show Stag’s Head a little financial love. Keep them happy and they will keep us happy.
Other Important Information

The regular scheduled Skeptics in the Pub meetups take place on the 4th Tuesday night of each month. Note the standing meetup posted here. This is a special event, given Don Kessler’s travel schedule.

Driving Tips and Directions

The Stag’s Head Pub is in the old Sheperd Plaza, easily accessible from US Highway 59. From Highway 59, take the Sheperd/Greenbriar exit, and go north on Sheperd. Turn left on Portsmouth, and after a block, you will see the stag’s head mounted on the building to your left. You have arrived.

Upon leaving, you can exit Sheperd Plaza onto Greenbriar and turn left on Greenbriar to link up with 59.

If you are heading south on 59, turn right at the Greenbriar/59 intersection, and enter the freeway immediately.

If you are heading north on 59, TURN RIGHT at the Greenbriar/59 intersection, stay on the access road toward Kirby Drive. Make a U-turn at Kirby, and enter the freeway to head north.

Hope to see you all there!

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