'Now that we have a map, let's start colonizing outer space' - expert
Only women willing to read maps invited
We want to see your moon
On the possible life front, Shostak pointed to a number of moons that are almost certainly covered by ice sheets many miles thick that could host frigid characters in liquid water far below the sheets. In addition, he noted NASA's recent discovery of what appear to be geysers spewing out liquid water from Saturn's moon Enceladus - a much more hospitable environment.
The search for life, however, will be just one part of the exploration story in the coming years. Humans may well set up shop in space stations or even plunk down on large asteroids.
"Our generation did the map, and the next generation will presumably embark on the next phase and that is colonization," Shostak said.
Of course, we now turn to the likes of Paul Allen and Richard Branson for colonization funding rather than making pitches to kings and queens.
Hoping to inspire a future generation of explorers, a group known as the Space World Foundation plans to create a new education center at the edge of the NASA Ames site.
NASA currently hosts a modest museum on the site – the former building of the Space Camp program. The Space World crew plans to take over the museum and the nearby public affairs office to build a $5m facility packed with exhibits on Ames, outer space and a huge, "immersive" theater.
One of the Space World Foundation backers is Greg Estes, the VP of marketing at SGI. The company plans to donate $1m of gear to power this theater. (We can't help but wonder when SGI will focus more on selling systems than giving them away.)
The Space World board also includes familiar tech names such as Gil Amelio, former Apple CEO, and Greg Papadopoulos, the CTO at Sun Microsystems. Titanic director James Cameron is also on the board, and we're hoping to gain some face time with him to push our idea for Itanic – The chip that no one loved. We envision Leo DiCaprio playing the role of Carly Fiorina in drag.
The Space World Foundation still needs about $4m to pull off this project by 2007 or 2008. If you can suffer through the unbelievably slow homepage - this could be the worst implementation of Flash known to earthlings - you can contact the group here and send some funds. With about $100m in hand, the Space World Foundation could set up shop in the massive Hangar One facility at Ames. So, keep that in mind when writing your check.