Feeds

Esther '1st lady of internet' Dyson appointed NASA advisor

'I'm dying to get into space but can't afford it'

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Famed techbiz journo and investor Esther Dyson has been named as chairperson of a new "Technology and Innovation Committee" formed to help advise the senior management of NASA.

The space agency has announced a "restructuring" of its Advisory Council, featuring four new committees looking into "key areas of importance to the agency's future" - namely Commercial Space, Education and Public Outreach, Information Technology Infrastructure, and Technology 'n' Innovation.

"I consider the NASA Advisory Council to be an extremely important external advisory group, one that is uniquely capable to advise me and the entire NASA senior leadership team on some of the important decisions our agency will face in the coming months and years," said NASA chief, ex-combat pilot, former shuttle astronaut and US Marine general Charles Bolden.

"I am confident that this new structure will serve as an effective forum to stimulate meaningful advice to me and the rest of NASA’s leadership."

In the Technology and Innovation slot NASA has chosen Esther Dyson, daughter of the famous physicist Freeman Dyson and dubbed by some the "first lady of the internet".

After an economics degree at Harvard, Dyson - apparently having been turned down for a job at Variety - worked as a fact-checker and then techbiz scribe at Forbes magazine. Later she ran a paid newsletter, Release 1.0, thought influential in the days of Bubble 1.0, and wrote weighty tomes on techno-visionary and libertarian topics. She was also "peripherally involved" in running ICANN at one point.

Dyson's personal fortune was also built on stock investments, for instance early buys in del.icio.us and Flickr which were then sold on to Yahoo! at advantageous prices.

An enthusiast in the areas of aviation and space, Dyson now has shares in companies such as XCOR Aerospace and Icon Aircraft. She also has holdings in Space Adventures, the firm which arranges for the very wealthy to visit the International Space Station aboard Russian rockets, and recently spent months in Russia training as understudy to Charles Simonyi. However, Simonyi made his trip into orbit as planned, and Dyson returned to the States saying she remains "eager to go into space as soon as I can figure out how (to finance it!)".

A proper Space Adventures ticket like Simonyi's costs somewhat north of $20m. Dyson has told the BBC she has "no idea how much" she's worth, but we can take it her pile isn't such as to mean she can spare $25m with any ease.

Apart from private space startups - a sector which some believe is in line for a massive windfall if NASA decides or gets told it should privatise most of its space launch activities - Dyson owns stakes in more ordinary internet/tech companies. Examples include the for-profit charity giving service Wellgood LLC, Home DNA test firm 23andMe ("your risk analysed for 119 diseases... your ancestry in amazing detail") cloud email organiser service Boxbe, etc etc.

Certainly one would expect that NASA Administrator Bolden, with his boring engineering and science degrees, test-pilot's ticket, four missions in space, experience of command at high rank and chestful of medals will have much to learn from Ms Dyson. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
MARS NEEDS WOMEN, claims NASA pseudo 'naut: They eat less
'Some might find this idea offensive' boffin admits
SECRET U.S. 'SPACE WARPLANE' set to return from SPY MISSION
Robot minishuttle X-37B returns after almost 2 years in orbit
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
You can crunch it all you like, but the answer is NOT always in the data
Hear that, 'data journalists'? Our analytics prof holds forth
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
America's super-secret X-37B plane returns to Earth after nearly TWO YEARS aloft
674 days in space for US Air Force's mystery orbital vehicle
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.