...was held at NASA/Ames and the Marriott Hotel in Santa Clara on March 1-3, 2002. Our keynote speaker was Apollo astronaut Rusty Schweickart. The theme of Ames Day, organized by Seth Shostak of the SETI Institute and Michael Sims of NASA, was "The Search for Extraterrestrial Life -- Is the Cosmos Rife with Life?" The conference was dedicated to CONTACT board member Poul Anderson, writer, friend, gentleman and starfarer.

Please take a moment to look over our highlights and stellar cast last year.


Highlights of the program (See detailed schedule below):


Keynote Speaker: Apollo Astronaut Rusty Schweickart

Astronaut Rusty Schweickart set records on the Apollo 9 mission in 1969 by piloting the first manned flight of the lunar module in space and pioneering the portable life support backpack in an extended EVA. Rusty is the founder of the Association of Space Explorers, the international professional society of astronauts and cosmonauts. He has won numerous awards in appreciation of his service onworld and offworld.


Tribute to Poul Anderson

CONTACT 2002 was dedicated to Poul Anderson, one of the greatest SF writers of all time. A tribute by scientists, writers and artists celebrated his life and work. Speakers included Karen Anderson, Marvin Minsky, Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle and Vernor Vinge.


NASA Ames Day

Is the Universe Rife with Life? Search for Life in the Universe. Is biology an improbable accident, confined to a single, watery planet? Or could life be as common as chain motels, a regular happenstance on myriad worlds? Contact 2002 presented the latest news from the frontiers of astrobiology, space exploration, and SETI, and got you a little closer to the answer to these perennial, and profound questions. Major Subject Areas: What are the conditions on other worlds, how might life have arisen, and how could we find it? Organized by Seth Shostak of the SETI Institute and Michael Sims of NASA Ames, its speakers included SETI originator Frank Drake, Mars activist Bob Zubrin and exotic life explorer Penny Boston.



Student-programmed robots play ball. Join in. Botball is a national program where middle and high school students design, build and program autonomous robots (no remote-control) to play in that year's game. Details about the Botball program can be found at Join in the game and learn to design robots. Developer Dave Miller was head coach.


World Building Workshop

In honor of the event he created at CONTACT, we inaugurated the Poul Anderson World Building Workshop, headed by geologist and writer, Steve Gillett. Come and build a world.



Our national award winning simulation was demonstrating its operations on line. Students at colleges and university around the country built their colonies and interacted within a virtual future community in space. Originator Reed Riner was host. Visit a city in space, walk on the moon, talk to Martians.



High School students created two planets and aliens and then played out ET contact. Our COTI scenario was the basis for an educational curriculum developed by Oroville High. See here.


Old-fashioned COTI Open

Scientists and artists joined attendees in designing a world and lifeform, then simulated contact with future human society. See here.


Education for the Future

Latest techniques and programs for the next generation, innovative uses of imagination to teach science. Learn about virtual reality simulations of space communities, students building robots and designing star systems, virtual classes, colleges and webtanks. See here.


Art Galleries

Displays of works by noted artists organized by Joel Hagen.


.... plus symposia exploring the future of humanity.


CONTACT welcomes professionals, students and enthusiasts in the sciences, science fiction and the arts. Everyone's a participant! Limited registration provides opportunity for interaction. Come and be part of our 19th national gathering in an informal and synergistic atmosphere. This is the one you've been hearing about! For three days of hard work and hard play, join us ...

Karen Anderson, Carol Anderson, Lara Battles, Barry Blumberg, Bill Borucki, Penny Boston, Mike Buchanan, Chris Chyba, Bruce Damer, Bonnie DeVarco, Frank Drake, Gus Frederick, Rob Furey, Jim Funaro, Zann Gill, Steve Gillett, Joel Hagen, Al Harrison, Patrick McKercher, Michelle Merrill, Dave Miller, Marvin Minsky, Dave Moore, Chris McKay, Larry Niven, Gerald Nordley, Charles Ostman, Jerry Pournelle, Doug Raybeck, Reed Riner, Rusty Schweickart, Don Scott, Seth Shostak, Michael Sims, Dave Tamori, Elizabeth Vaiu, Vernor Vinge, Richard Zimmer, Bob Zubrin and Israel Zuckerman.

Looking forward to working and playing together,

Jim Funaro







Is the Universe Rife with Life? (NASA Ames)


Morning moderator: Chris McKay, NASA Ames

9:10 Barry Blumberg - What is Life? Will we recognize life when we find it?

10:00 Penny Boston - Writing the Field Guide to Unknown Organisms: Earth, Mars, and Beyond

10:45 Chris Chyba - Life Around Giant Planets

Afternoon moderator: Seth Shostak, SETI Institute

12:45 Seth Shostak - Far Out Life: If the universe is rife with life, where is it?

1:00 Bill Borucki - Looking for other Earths: Can we find and recognize worlds with life?

1:45 Frank Drake - Looking for Life Amongst the Stars: Can we find thinking beings afar?

2:30 Robert Zubrin - Panspermia: Transfer of life between worlds

3:15 Al Harrison - Social implications of failure to find non-Earth life

3:35 Jim Funaro - Social implications of the discovery of non-Earth life

3:55 Joel Hagen - Epilogue


Art Show, all day in the Macon Room: Roger Arno's Space Art


7:30-9:00 Banquet & Keynote (Marriott Hotel: Grand Ballroom)

Rusty Schweickart



All Plenary Sessions in SantaBarbara/Newport Beach Rooms


9:00-10:40 Plenary: Education for the Future (Don Scott)

Reed Riner - SolSys

Carol Anderson - COTI HI at Oroville

Rob Furey - The Orrery Project, George Mason U

Pat McKercher - Virtual College at UCSC

Richard Zimmer - Sonoma State Mars Colony

Elizabeth Vaiu - Worldbuilding on the Web

Dave Miller - Botball

Gus Frederick - ET Agriculture in Education

Zann Gill - Educational Webtanks


10:45-12:00 Activities

SolSys - Tweaking the Scenario (Plenary Room)

Worldbuilding Workshop - Steve Gillett (Prospector A)

Worldbuilding on the Web -Demo (Portland)

Educational Webtanks -Demo (Portland)

Botball - Programming (Salon B)

The Orrery Project - Demo (Salon B)

Sonoma State Mars Colony - Demo (Salon B)

COTI Open Recruiting Center (Salon C)


1:00-2:00 Plenary: Contact Made! In Cyberspace! (Bruce Damer & Bonnie DeVarco)

The Contact Consortium guides you through live online visits to its new virtual worlds...


2:00-3:15 Activities

CONTACT Consortium (Plenary Room)

Worldbuilding Workshop - Steve Gillett (Prospector A)

SolSys - Demo (Portland)

Virtual College at UCSC (Portland)

COTI HI (Salon A) & COTI Open (Salon C)

Botball - Demo (Salon B)

ET Agriculture in Education (Salon B)

G. D. Nordley - Extrasolar Planetary Systems (Salon B)


3:15-4:45 Plenary: Life in the Universe (Jim Funaro)

David Moore - Lost in Time and Lost in Space

Doug Raybeck - Contact Possibilities: Congenial, Competitive Or Conflictual?

Seth Shostak - When the Heck Will SETI Succeed?


5:00- 5:15 Plenary:COTI Open - Progress Report


5:15-5:30 Plenary: COT HI - Progress Report


8:00-9:30 Plenary: Tribute to Poul

Introduction - Joel Hagen and Jim Funaro

Karen Anderson

Marvin Minsky

Larry Niven

Jerry Pournelle

Vernor Vinge




10:30-12:00 Plenary: Communication in Contact (Jim Funaro)

Michelle Merrill - Extraspecific Communication And Ape Intelligence

Lara Battles - Galactic As A 2nd Language, And How It Got That Way...

Charles Ostman - The Communication of "Presence", as Co-occupants of an N-Dimensional Quantum Universe


1:30-3:00 Plenary: COTI HI meets COTI Open (Israel Zuckerman)



Go Home


"CONTACT: Cultures of the Imagination" is a nonprofit scientific and educational corporation.

© 1997,1998,1999,2000,2001,2002 CONTACT: Cultures of the Imagination, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

: Cultures of the Imagination" is a nonprofit scientific and educational corporation.

© 1997,1998,1999,2000,2001,2002 CONTACT: Cultures of the Imagination, Inc. All Rights Reserved.