Under the Banyan Tree
Walking through Waikiki, it is difficult finding interesting forms of life. Elephants and Komodo dragons live in the Honolulu Zoo, but they are not natives. Exploring a banyan tree's roots is like a child's dream. It is easy to see why many cultures consider banyans magical. In Hinduism the banyan represents eternal life. It is part of Indonesia's coat of arms--one tree with many roots. In the Philippines banyans are said to house dwarves and magical creatures--perhaps that is how Yoda got started. Even Robinson Crusoe made his home on a banyan tree.
As we have seen in a Redwood Cathedral, growing outward toward Space is as natural as an expanding Universe. From today's Honolulu Advertiser: The legislature passed Senate Bill 907, authorising funds for a state Space office. Already our Big Island has telescopes and volcanoes powered by a Black Hole First priority is a Pacific International Space Centre for Exploration. PISCES would have analog sites similiar to those operated by the Mars Society.
Despite its reputation as a green tropical paradise, Hawaii has many terrains resembling the Moon or Mars. To see those, you must get out of Waikiki! Our basaltic soil is extremely similiar to another planet, even the red colour. PISCES would be a place where astronauts and their equipment could be tested and trained. The first PISCES conference will be November 7-10 in Hilo. The Naniloa resort sits among the many trees of "Banyan Alley." Before that starts, I hope to be testing gear on Hawaii.
Rocketplane Kistler has made noises about staging Space tourism out of Hawaii. We already have the tourists. Wandering in Waikiki today one sees advertisements for helicopter, sail, whale, scuba, snuba and submarine tours. Adding spaceflight to the resort menu would not be a big stretch. Imagine calling the concierge for a trip into Space!
At the Chelsea Flower Show, a Gold Medal for Best Show Garden was won by this Mars garden. Designer Sarah Eberle intended it for a dome on Mars, with red rocks from Scotland. 600 Days With Bradstone is the result of 8 years of thought, consultations with ESA experts and a final 2 weeks of 15-hour days. "I tell my daughters never to stop dreaming," Eberle says, "because sometimes your dreams really do come true."