At SETIcon 2012: Planetary Spit-Swapping, Dark Energy As a Singularity and Other Bizarro Space Science

by Rebecca Boyle

I’m huddled outside the Hyatt hotel entrance, shivering with a notepad in hand and half listening to the pop music coming from “Christia and Derick’s wedding reception,” when Erika Dunning breaks the news. “The International Space Station is passing overhead in four minutes,” she says, reading her NASA iPhone app. “Thirty degrees above northwest, 66 degrees max elevation.”

Heads turn, and we all gather around the only telescope at this parking lot star party. “This will be a good view,” Erika assures her fellow SETIcon attendees. She’s 12 years old. A couple minutes later, the hodgepodge group of science fiction fans, aspirational rocket scientists and self-affirmed space nerds all stare skyward, watching as the unmistakably steady and surprisingly bright ISS sails over the hotel. A small cheer rises. “Sweet!” says Nick Orenstein, 29, capturing the moment pretty much perfectly. “I’ve never seen this before.”

Read the entire story from Popular Science