© 2013 Aki Ikwe. All rights reserved

Mission in Guadalajara


At the beginning of August I received a call from the Mohawk Traditional Council in Kahnawake with information regarding our grandmother Moon, a letter was written by the Council:  “A CALL OUT TO THE UNITED NATIONS TO TAKE URGENT ACTION AGAINST THE ILLEGAL UNILATERAL ACTION OF THE UNITED STATES TO COLONIZE OUR GRANDMOTHER MOON”. 


Stuart Myiow Jr, Wolf Clan Representative, invited me to join the Longhouse on their quest and attend the “International Aeronautical Congress” in Guadalajara in September.  My first reaction was yes, of course just thinking that they want to do mining on our grandmother; how can I stand by, doing nothing while my grandmother is being raped.  Then back to reality, I have no money to go to Mexico, no passport, so little time. So I wished the people of the Long House a good trip and I told them, that on my side, I would raise awareness and help them in any way I can.


In the middle of August it was the Moondance and of course the best opportunity to share with many women what was going on with our grandmother.  Before the dance we (the grandmothers) always meet with the dance leader and organising committee; Abuela Ana from Costa Rica told me that she wanted to create something to raise money to help the grandmothers do the work they need to do but didn’t really know how to go about that.  So I explained to her that we need to create an organisation of some sort and together along with Abuela Malinali and grandmother Susan we founded the International Council of the Grandmothers of the Moondance.


During one of my daily teachings at the Moondance I shared the letter from the Longhouse and my concern about mining the Moon. The women decided that I was going to go to Mexico and so it started, they gave me donations and I raised some more after that and was able to cover some of my cost, there was no turning back and the “Mission in Guadalajara” would be the first mission of the International Council of the Grandmothers of the Moondance.


Everything happened so fast, Edith from the longhouse has family in Guadalajara so we have places to stay, I just received my new passport, bought my plane ticket and my ticket to the Congress and booked a few meeting at the convention. I am all set and on my way to the “International Astronautical Congress in Guadalajara” with hundreds of signatures and a letter that we wrote as the Grandmothers of the International Council of the Grandmothers of the Moondance. 


Sept 21st: I arrived in Guadalajara at 5h30 PM and a woman was standing at the gate holding a sign with my name on it, it was Edith’s aunty Irma.  She could speak very good English and we drove through lots of traffic and took us about 2 hrs to arrive at destination.  I would be staying at aunty Lucy’s place with Edith and her parents that drove from Mexico City to be with their daughter in Guadalajara. Marie-Claude and Ranenhahawi, Haha for short (Stuart Jr’s son) were staying at aunty Ilda. So the four of us were in Guadalajara and this would be our team as Stuart could not join us after all. The congress was starting on the 26th; so we had 4 days left before the convention which was plenty of time to prepare ourselves and like I shared with the others I intended to be productive every day.


Sept. 22nd & 23rd: Marie-Claude was not feeling very well when I arrived but the next day, around noon, we met at a coffee place where we could have internet access.  The group explained to me what had been done since their arrival as they had already been there for a few days and we sent a few emails and waited for answers to meet with elders for a circle and answers from the Space Generation Council as we were supposed to meet with the Space Generation Advisory Council sometime during this week, this is actually the reason why I came a few days ahead.  The people from the Long house had already met them on the 20th the day before I arrived, but no other contacts were made from them after that meeting, not such a productive day with no answer from our contacts. We have supper with Edith’s family in a restaurant close by; it was an early evening as we were all very tired and Marie-Claude was still not feeling all that good.


Sept 24th: It’s Saturday and we decide to take a cab and visit Guadalajara, go to the market and purchase a few things.  Guadalajara is a very big city, one of the biggest city in Mexico with 5.5 million persons.  It is where all the manufactures are and even though the streets are very dirty and the industrial pollution makes it hard to breath normally, the inside of every building is very clean and the people serving us are wearing mask over their mouth and gloves, everyone is very friendly and I am practicing my Spanish which is not very good, luckily Edith and Marie-Claude speak fluently and her aunts all speak a little English.  When we return to the Plaza Del Sol, our little shopping mall where our coffee house is and just across the street from where I am staying, we notice that there was an artisan market setting up for the week-end,


I told Edith that those are the people we want to talk to, this is when not speaking fluent Spanish became a big handicap for me as I could not speak with these people the way I wanted to, so we went on our way. We were invited to Ilda for supper that evening. She had invited her best friend who owns a vegetarian restaurant and she spoke very good English.  She will be my first contact and she was very interested by what I had to say and the Moon teachings, she told me that she has hundreds of contact and she would be happy to share with them so I told her that later this week I will be contacting her and sending her information to share.  I told Edith, Marie-Claude and Haha that today was a very productive day and that I was very happy with this new contact but tomorrow we need to approach the artisan at the Plaza Del Sol.


Sept 25th: It’s Sunday and Edith is sick it is 13h30 and she is still in bed, now I need to tell you about the houses here, it is all barricaded and I cannot go outside unless Edith’s dad unlock the door, I am locked inside, first the door of the apt and the gate downstairs and the gate for the parking plus the barbwire all around the building... it is a very weird feeling, one that I really don’t like.... but I also understand that it is necessary for their own security and all the house are like that. So Edith woke up around 2h feeling better and we leave to have lunch with her family.  We are meeting in a very nice restaurant and I have a stuffed pepper with lentils it is delicious, we spend a nice afternoon and Edith seems to be feeling better.  After lunch we decide to go back to the plaza and meet with the artisans.  Wow great contacts with several people that are all very anxious to learn more about our grandmother... it’s another productive day after all.  All these new contacts only speak Spanish though, so Edith or Marie-Claude will be the ones contacting them.


Sept 26th: First day at the convention and Edith is still not feeling well so I go by myself and I meet Marie-Claude and Haha at the door. This place is very impressive, it is huge, I have never seen such a big convention center.  A few armed men are outside the doors and along the pathways that leads to the door; it’s a bit scary but all seems to be normal for around here.  I already had booked my ticket and while the others were getting theirs I picked-up my “welcome kit” and my ID card which says Francine Payer International Council of the Grandmothers of the Moondance, it is a great honor to be on this first mission of our council.  It is 8h AM and our day is beginning with a VIP tour of the congress. After a while we decided to walk away from the tour and connect with the people tending the booths. Some of these booths are huge like JAXA Japan Space Agency; besides the Mexican Space Agency who are the host I think Japan probably hold one of the largest space.   The first booth we visit is Dubai and I connect with the woman there, she tells us that their project is Mission to Mars she said that it is important to go to Mars to find out why life was instinct there and what can we learn to help the Earth; so I asked her what she thought  about mining the Moon and she answered “it’s stupid they should leave the Moon alone”, I was surprise of her answer because I thought everyone here would be working towards getting their hands on helium3, but I quickly learned that it wasn’t the case at all, so I decided to change my strategy and take a different approach. She pursued in saying that where she works many women hold very important positions like engineer and I can understand for a Muslim woman it would be something to be very proud of, I did not reply to that statement but I decided it was time for me to introduce myself and told her that we were here because we oppose to the mining of Grandmother Moon and I told her about women circle and the importance of raising awareness about this and sharing with other women and I asked her for her business card and she gladly gave it to me, so I gave her a copy of the letter from the Long House. I made sure that every morning I came by to say good morning and wished her a good day, I did that with all the women I met from different countries, I figured that when I send them an email they will remember me.


Our next encounter would be an astronaut from Equator, Ronnie Nader; this was an interesting meeting, he wanted his picture taken with me, he said he ‘s never had his picture taken with anyone from First Nation and I told him well that is good because I never had my picture taken with an astronaut, you will find the pictures enclosed with this report.  He began by telling us that the youth from Equator had made it to the Guinness Book of record for having been the youngest people in the space and I think he said something about the time they stayed up there was a record for their age. He then said he wanted to live on the Moon someday and he was ready to go. We asked him about mining on the Moon and he said it would be very stupid and this would never happen because it would not be economically beneficial and there is not enough helium 3 on the Moon because it is so volatile that it would cost more to harvest that mineral than what we could get out of it.  I said but they are talking about this mineral which apparently is worth billions of dollars and he said again “this is not going to happen, it is just like that person who claims he owns the Moon and is even selling land up there and people are crazy enough to buy in to it”, he added “it is all a big marketing strategy”. He also said that he had a decision making position with the UN and that he now had to go to an important meeting. So I wonder what his hidden agenda was? Was he telling the truth?


We decided to just go around all the booths on our 1st day and talk to as many people as possible and that is exactly what we did.  To my surprise 99% of the people we talked to, were against mining on the Moon or didn’t even know about it, actually most people said to just leave the Moon alone they seem to all be more interested in Mars.  I realized that this congress was about something else, it was more about space debris and Earth observation satellites.  Of course there was conference on the Moon Village and Moon Exploration but it seems to me like there were two different groups of people.  I need to mention here that a lot of the presenters were students or teachers.  So I made many contact on that day and connected with many women from different countries, I had the same talk with almost all of them, I would start by asking them if they thought the Moon was part of our ecosystem and some of them said no, until I talked about the oceans, the changing of seasons and our emotions; It is strange to realize that not all women, actually most women. don’t have a relationship with our grandmother and our mother, when I would say to them that “grandmother Moon is the beating heart of our mother and women are the extension of mother Earth and that Water is the blood of our mother, that same water that we carry as women” they would be speechless; most of them wanted to know more and even gave me their contact before I even had a chance to ask for it; at that point I knew that my mission was to gather women from across the world and create a worldwide circle of women so we can share these teachings, isn’t that the purpose of the Moondance? I think it is in a sense.


We also met with some interesting men, one in particular from Netherland who said he was an environmentalist before anything else and that he created a probe for spaceships so that hydrogen would not be used as it is so dangerous for the Earth, he said Nasa approved it but decided that they didn’t need it for now, he is the first one that talk to me about space debris and climate change and I thought wow I didn’t think I was going to hear words like climate change and environment in this congress.  He was also speechless when I gave him some teachings regarding our way of seeing things.  Then we spoke with Luc St-Pierre a Quebecois from Abitibi who works for United Nations, he was a big source of information, he gave us many names to contact and he talked to us about Ecosoc: UNITED NATIONS ECONOMIC and SOCIAL COUNCIL https://www.un.org/ecosoc/en/ and told us we should register to become members, it doesn’t give us a right to speak but it gives us the right to be invited to assemblies and take notes, it keeps us inform on different issues like Moon issues, First Nations issues or Women conditions issues, this is something I will be looking in to for the International Council of the Grandmothers of the Moondance then he told us to contact a man name Nicolas, (Marie-Claude has his coordinates) regarding any information or discussion we would have regarding the Moon Treaty.


We wanted to attend a workshop on that day but it was very cold in the rooms and Marie-Claude had no sweater so we just decided to keep walking around and meet more people.  The day ended with the opening ceremony, it was really great we had a beautiful Mexican Fiesta with everything that a fiesta includes, food, games and prizes, performances from several Mexican style dancers and lasso performances.  The highlight of my evening was this old man who had set up right beside our table, he did pottery all evening he never stopped pedaling and rolling his table.  He was making small water fountains, bird feeders and tree shaped glasses and it was a gift for whoever wanted something.  I decided to get up and watch him work closer (pictures attached) he was making something different and I couldn’t figure out what it was just yet, then it started to take shape and he only made one like that during the whole evening.  He made a turtle and it was for me, he gave it to me with a very humble look and I could tell he had lots of wisdom, Marie-Claude came to join me and she told him in Spanish “do you know that this grandmother is from the Turtle clan” and he just smiled and added a purple butterfly on the turtle’s head… what a nice gift….. We went back home around 9 PM, we walked a little ways and took a cab because the side street are not safe.


Sept 27th: Our day began at 8 AM and the full team was there Edith, Marie-Claude, Haha and I, today we attended conferences all day and here is an overview:


SPACE AND CLIMATE: How space agencies will contribute to the implementation and follow-up of the Paris Agreement during COP21?


The panelist:


Dr. Francisco Javier Mendieta Jimenez, General Director, Mexican Space Agency

Jan Woerner, General Director, European Space Agency (ESA)

Ellen Stofan, Chief Scientist, NASA

Roberto Battiston, President, Italian Space Agency

Naoki Okumura, President, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)

Pascale Ehrenfreund, Chair of Executive Board, German Aerospace Center (DLR)

S. Somanath, Director of liquid propulsion system centre, Indian Space Research Org. (ISRO)

Sergey Krivalev, Executive Director of Piloted Spaceflight (ROSCOSMOS)

Sylvain Laporte, President, Canadian Space Agency (CSA)


 Some of the issues that were discussed were how dirty the planet is, climate change is a global challenge, CO2 simulation must be done by everyone,  it is not enough to observe the Earth but we must act upon it, the sentinel mission  = guardian of the Earth. Space and climate: observation, monitoring, information, food, Water, Development and education.


NASA formed an Earth Science committee and they will meet in 2018 with their recommendations. The human causes are of course the industries and deforestation,


The Italian Space Agency is developing a program with Israel and it should be ready by 2020, Italy is a very sensitive area to climate change, he mentioned that space is always about frontier and monitoring from space can provide essential information but that information needs to be share with the public and we all must work together.


The German talked about measuring methane and combining Earth observation from the Earth and from space in future mission using Merlin and Tandem L (see slide show).  They are doing research about the reduction of fuel consumption and less greenhouse fuel reduction via technologies for more efficient aircrafts and more efficient procedures in air traffic management and they are studying various and promising alternative fuels: replacing fossil fuel with environment friendly synthetic hydrocarbons and analysing solar-thermal system (solar fuel) + analysing electric system (power-to-fuel). 

They are developping technologies to reduce emissions, observe greenhouse gases, perform climate system research and provide data for policy advice.  DLR gave a climate change conference with UNOOSA/UN SPIDER in April 2016 it was their contribution to COP21.


Mr. Somanath from India says he is collecting data for Earth observation on climate change.  They have several Earth observation satellite and they observe the atmosphere, land and ocean.  They have a big program on climate change on Earth and in Space and they also have a carbon cycle study going on right now.


And last but not least our own space agency president Sylvain Laporte, the worst presentation of the whole congress I am sure. We all know that when it comes to environment and climate change, Canada is last and even contributes largely to global warming.  Well after listening to people trying to find solutions to global warming and presenting several positive ideas, this man comes up and said in Canada we are proud to announce that the biggest ship is now ready to be at sea and start transporting goods, isn’t that the most idiotic thing you ever heard, I am serious this is exactly what he said, we are talking about space at an aeronautical congress and this guy is talking about a ship not a spaceship but a seaship, those same ship that melts the ice faster, the same ships that accelerates global warming.  You can just imagine I was so mad and wanted so much to talk to him, but he disappeared quickly after the presentation and I never saw him the rest of the week even at the CSA booth.


This was a plenary so no time for questions, I wish because I was very upset and ready to comment to the presenters, first of all they were talking about climate change and yet everyone had a plastic disposable Water bottle in front of them and then of course that idiot from Canada.  Well maybe I should just send him a letter or pay him a visit, not sure yet what I will do but I do not think I should let it go.




Jan Woerner from the ESA (European Space Agency): the Moon is part of the expedition to Mars that is why we need a Moon village and he said “do not underestimate words”.  This man was in every conferences I attended


Andrew Barton from Google Enterprise said “we have contest, why would people spend money just to win a prize... because of the profit potential” over one hundred million dollars is spent www.lunar.xprize.org/xprizejudge

There is 20 million dollars for the first privately funded team to land on the Moon, move 500 meters and broadcast back HD video (Mooncast).  The purpose is to incentivize space entrepreneurs to create a new era of affordable access to the Moon and beyond.  Canada has one team called Plan B. Attempts to achieve this will be in 2017 sometimes....


Dr Ashimoto from JAXA: Japan is planning a try out in 2020, NASA provide the robot solar cell tower required for sunlight. We are going to the Moon for scientific interest and knowledge for future exploration using geophysical observation to know internal structure and Moon surface environment for long-term sunshine (solar energy)


Dr. Molina from Leonardo Airborne & Space System from Italy, plans are also for 2020, building a Lunar Lander drill (2m) and a Lunar sampling tool, they are still in testing mode.


Korea Aerospace Research Institute want to launch a robotic Lunar Lander in 2020, but it is just a projection as the Korean gov’t hasn’t approved the project as of September 2016 and the contract with NASA has to be sign before the end of this year, but they are staying optimist. The institute must prove economical interest for the gov’t to approve.






This was probably the best conference I attended, it confirmed that these companies have many departments, and some of them are actually concern about global warming, the first speaker was:


Tomas Hrozensky from Slovak Republic with the Space Generation Advisory Council, his objective is to create a bridge between the people, int’l relationship human kind base – multi-cultural... He said it is ridiculous to explore space for the best of all and people’s enthusiasm is not there as much as in the 60’s... he also spoke about communication and outreach.


Stefano Ferretti ESA space policy officer, he said “we live on a spaceship call Earth” his presentation was called “Future Space Technologies for sustainability on Earth” He started by saying we must treat resources with respect and establish a better recycle system.

The picture on his power point presentation was a circle divided in 4 like a medicine wheel, the four directions were: inform, inspire, educate and innovate.  I thought this was really interesting. He stated that future challenges are: animal, air, water, inhabitants, nutrition, shelter, energy, technology and waste which will be discuss in the UN 2030 agenda and Space 4.0 again these were in a circle.  I mention this because usually presentations are in squares and people are just not use to work in circle, maybe there is still hope that maybe they are starting to realize certain things.  These people are so disconnected; they are like in another world.  They are talking about issues like if they just realize all these problems that we have been facing for many many years. But I was happy to see that they finally open their eyes and maybe even their heart. His presentation was very interesting.


Isabelle Duveaux-Béchon, Head Global Challenges and Partnerships Coordination Office with ESA.  I researched this woman after the congress as I could not find her coordinates anywhere and I really wanted to connect with her, you really should Google her name, and it is very impressive.  I really liked the things she talked about regarding global challenges, she presented sustainable goals for the whole world, and she said that space activities can support these goals but not solve them.  She talked about merging space and Earth activities.  She talked about refugee camps and grey Water systems being tested in the Antarctica she called it distress at sea.  She talked about climate change and migration.  I took a picture of all her power point and it will be part of the congress power point that I am preparing.


Arturo Serrano from the Mexican Space Agency, his presentation was about how space technology helps them in remote area. Dr Amanda Gomez wants to meet people to create, they rely on people that really knows what they’re doing; when people don’t participate it can’t be call development. They have a project in Tabasco, indigenous people living there are contracting a disease call chagas, and it is believed to be cause by the Water.  Remote sensing images have been very useful to detect possible risk areas. 


Edith had a press pass so she went to a press conference with Haha that was open to press only with Johann-Dietrich, Director General European Space.


In the evening we attended the young professional networking event and we met a few interesting people,  The talk just before the networking began was on Space 4.0 which is “Global challenge/climate change” the membership is 20 from the US, Norway and Switzerland, cooperative state is Canada and cooperation agreement with several country like Bulgary, Cypress etc... Later on we met with Tomas Hrozensky from Slovak Republic with the Space Generation Advisory Council that had done a presentation earlier today and we told him how much we liked his talk. We left shortly after 8h, we had put in our 12 hours and we were all tired.


Sept 28th: I am by myself today the people from the long house were going back home today. I arrived at the convention centre around 8 AM and my first plenary was presented by NASA:


Living for a whole year on ISS (International Space Station): Early results and lessons learned


Started by Russian in the 60’s, this is a continuation, in 2012 it became a joint research program.  They are doing studies on twin brothers (blood work, MRI, cognitive, journaling etc..) and with Miklaïd. These people volunteered for these missions. Miklaïd was one of the panelist and the astronaut that lived on the ISS for 1 yr. He was asked why he volunteered and he said 1st by curiosity and for future exploration. His recovery time from his first mission which was 140 days on ISS was very hard but his 2nd time was much easier, months vs weeks.  He said he had many close calls with foreign object and that was very scary.  There are permanent changes in his eyesight and the probable cause is that the carbon dioxide is much higher and because of radiation.  There is a cranial pressure that flattens the eyeball. He needed to use a machine daily to regulate the liquid in his body because of the blood flow in the head.  One thing that the specialist said, who was also a panelist, is that they know for sure that it doesn’t cause pathological brain damage.

Someone from the crowd asked if they are thinking of using artificial gravity the doctor said that it was not such a good idea because there is no benefit and they are still doing more animal testing.


The doctor also said that the results from the 1 yr mission are not all in and won’t be done until September 2017 and that there would not be any more 1 yr mission until they receive all the results.  He also said that they have to get together with Russia and develop new protocols like body suits, gym equipment etc....  There is a need for many more 1 yr mission before they would go to Mars because on Mars it would be isolation.


A representative from China was also there and he said that they are not there yet and far away from having a space station but one day they will catch up.


It is 9h45 and I go to a presentation which was the most boring for me, it was Earth Observation Sensors and Technology,  I stayed there for a little while and then just went to the next.  So this is what I got out of this session. They were showing blueprints design of satellite, then it goes to the market for sale...... Next....


Small Earth Observation Mission


Maritime watch from ESA: “together we make the sea safer & traffic safer” project to have 3 satellites by next year.

The automatic identification system (AIS) is a collaborating tool for surveillance of the maritime traffic, allowing collision avoidance among the vessels as well as surveillance of the traffic close to the coast.  AIS is mandatory by International Maritime Organization for seafaring ships (above 300 gross tons, passenger ships etc..) The system is based on periodic transmission of messages reporting information about the vessel.  Terrestrial systems can track ships approx. 40-80 nm of coastline, but not on open seas. Ship traffic is global and has global impacts.  Users request AIS data out of sight of coastlines for Maritime safety and search and rescue support.  ESA’s telecom and research program supports development of micro-satellites to enable higher performance. It will provide reliable and high quality information to the maritime users.

There was many presentations from students mostly technical, student projects with hope that someday someone would be interested in their project and could be launch.


Luncheon meeting  The 3G diversity


This was great I didn’t know what to expect, I arrive in that hall to find a beautiful setting, a five course meal provided with this presentation (I should of booked luncheon meeting every day lol). I sat at an empty table and hoped to meet more new people who would join me... So 7 people sat with me all from the US... what were the chances ha! ha!


The 3G stands for Geography, Generation, Gender.  Samantha Cristoforretti is an astronaut and she said when she came back on Earth “ I noticed how beautiful the Earth is”.


Jan Woerner from ESA was the keynote speaker on Geography: Benefits: flexibility and problem solving – creativity and innovation, knowledge sharing, motivation, decreased conflicts, perception, bridging crises, willingness to break silosé


Kay Sears vice-president SSC/LMC was the keynote speaker on Gender: she mentioned that women are

under-represented in research field in all domain across the world.  As an example when you image an engineer on Google you will only see men with hard hat and it’s not at all what it’s all about. There are three African women that made a difference in the space world, they wrote a book that will soon be published. Need to find women who serve as ambassadress across the world. We need to connect with other women, when people from across the world are brought together, they bring different ideas and that is what diversity is all about. Isn’t that what my mission was all about, gathering as many women as possible from across the world.


Dana Newman from NASA was the keynote speaker on Generation:  It is very challenging all across the world, diversity=excellence.  At NASA 23% of engineer are female and 28% of scientist are women. Empower the youth to lead a campaign with modular training.  They need a sense of belonging. Everyone has a good idea which is where 80% of innovation comes from.


Then I met a young metis woman from Winnipeg, she was presented an achievement award from the Space Generation Council.  We talked for a little while but she was in demand for pictures and I had to go to my next presentation but she gave me her coordinates in Winnipeg.


My next choice, was to attend the interactive symposium on space debris, it was in the main hall and presenters had 15 minutes to present their findings followed by a 10 minutes for questions and discussions... it was ok but not very well organised. I watched a few presentations and spoke with a young girl from Italy, she was very concern with space debris and she gave me her coordinates to discuss Grandmother Moon at a later time.



At 4 Pm I attended Disruptive Space Technology


This was in the big hall and the place was full, I can understand why and I was happy that I had selected this conference out of many.


This conference was really about raising awareness regarding the small satellites in space. David Korsmayer, Director of Engineering with NASA, Ames Research Center said that one of the problems is the box. The manufacturer doesn’t want to take any risk, so they just put the satellite in a cubic box, to build a satellite in a box it would cost approx. $10,000 compare to 10 million dollars.  Schools and low budget enterprise would use these cubes for small Earth mission (short term observation for specific project).  So the problem is “how do we get those cubes out of space” these boxes are causing lots of disruption in space and they are becoming a danger for all (planes, other satellites, spacecraft, comets etc...


Martin Sweeting, group executive chairman, Surrey Satellite Technology said that small satellites control satellite traffic since 1980


Robbie Schingler, Co-founder and chief Strategy Officer with Planet, this man used to build spacecraft for NASA and he really sounded like he knew what he was talking about.  He started his own company trying to find a solution to space debris. He said “enough is enough” he is very concern about satellite building and Earth observation for small mission, especially from students; he mentioned that the rules for sending these things into space should be reviewed, he said actually there are no rules really.  I didn’t take more notes from him because my pen ran out of ink.  I intend to research his company Planet and see what this man is really about.


This is what I found about Planet: founded in 2010 by a team of ex-NASA scientist.  Planet is driven by a mission to image the entire Earth, every day and make global change visible and accessible to all for action.  Their latest mission was aids flood response in New South Wales in Australia. Planet provided date that allowed for this very rapid production of the flood map.  This just happened last month and you can find all the details on www.planet.com


Because I didn’t want to walk the streets by myself at night I left about this conference it was around 6h PM


Sept 29th Well because I am going home today this will be a short day at the convention, one conference and a walk around to make sure I didn’t miss anyone on my list and saying my goodbye to all the women I met, this is important part of this mission is to create a worldwide circle to raise awareness everywhere in the world.


I started my day at 8h and visited the student room that we hadn’t really spent much time there, I  met up with the people from Mexican University and the same people that spoke about Tabasco and chagas disease.  They showed me the pictures from their satellite and I could see the oil in their rivers, it was really amazing.  I have those pictures and I will try to provide an album with this document along with a power point that I prepared from the pictures of slide from several presentation. Today the presentation that I picked was:


Space Debris Removal Issues


It began at 9h45 this conference was presented by students/ professors from several University and Space Engineering Center (SEC), their project is still just a project trying to find a solution to pick up the 29,000 debris in space. Each presenter had a question or comment period after their presentation.  I will not give you details on all the presenters as there were many and some of them were very scientific presentations with only equations showing their project.


E Space (SEC from Lausanne) said that they are developing a reliable system for “Cleanspace One”, they are projecting a flight test at the International Space Station in 2018 they say that if the test is successful the “Cleanspace One” would be ready to operate by 2020.  The objectives of this project are to:

  1. Increase the awareness and responsibility in regard to orbital problem in the world and educate aerospace students

  2. Develop and test the technologies required for a rendez-vous with an uncooperative object in space


Question/comment:  (someone made this comment I would assume an engineer or professor)

“Make sure your device doesn’t cause more debris because it happened in the past, so please check your system thoroughly before doing your flight test.”


I have to tell you about this 22yr old young man from China, his presentation was just equations, no pictures, just formulas, he is working on how to avoid collision and he said that his project is still just equation and he is not even close to building anything to remove debris yet.  I mean it was like looking at one of Einstein theory board and it was way over my head.


Next was from a University in Russia, you will find all the slides of this young presenter on the power point presentation and the reason for that is because the information is very important to raise awareness.  This young man which I do not know the name because he showed us a power point presentation prepared by his professor that had died a few weeks before the congress.  This young man began by saying that they were very much aware that Russia are a huge contributor to debris in space which he said was way too many and they are taking full responsibility for this mess.  He said that their goal is to clean this up.  “It is time to develop efficient methods to clean, turning a weapon into a debris collector.  We could help clean up the space elsewhere not only within our space.  Our goal is to clean up within the next few years, it is a very though challenge.  On his presentation you will find many statistics and date of debris collisions. Here is one of them:

1960..... 2000 debris

2010..... 16,000 debris

2016..... 29,000 debris


He also mentioned about a major collision between China and France not too long ago.


Question/comment: someone identified himself as being from the Russian Space Agency and made this very important comment: “Just want to set the record straight, Russia is not the only one responsible for this mess, the USA, NASA and the CIA have a big role to play in this and they also have to take responsibility.


I will go right away to the last presenter who was sitting right behind me all morning, her name was Professor Inna Sharp from the dept. Of Mechanical Engineering McGill University in Montreal.  The name of her presentation was:

“Energy and Momentum Considerations in the Development Dynamics of Nets for Active Space Debris Removal”

She began by answering some of the questions that the young Chinese presenter could not answer, and she was very knowledgeable and understood all of his equations. Then she said that this was a very important issue, it was of “National importance issue”.  Her theory is to use nets to remove the debris; she explained that their project is well on the way and should be ready for testing very shortly.  The contact person for Mc Gill is Eleonora.botta@mail.mcgill.ca


Just before I left the congress I decided to go back to the Students space as I had not seen anyone from the Canadian Space Agency and still wanted to talk to this man that talked on the first presentation I attended, I still wanted to tell him what I thought of his so call presentation. 


This was my report from the actual presentation that I attended; now here are my personal observations:


I did not have any expectations because I didn’t really know what this congress was all about except for the fact that it was called the International Astronautical Congress .  I thought it was going to be more about spacecraft and helium3 and I never imagined it would be so big.  65 exhibitors from around the world, more than 60 different presentations to choose from every day with sometimes 10 presenters per events that is over 600 presenters per day.  You can find the program online at www.iac2016.org/


I do believe that there is a big marketing strategy around helium 3 and the Moon village and I do not believe that it will happen in 2017, first of all from all the statements and presentations that I listened to I deducted that they are not ready, financially and technically.  I think Google Enterprize has a lot to do with this; if you read their contest rules properly you will see that the requirements is to land on the Moon, move 500 meters and presenting a mooncast(which you will find the requirements on my power point presentation.  The prize is over 60 million dollars, you would think that every country would jump on this but only 2 entered and they didn’t do anything yet.


I also truly believe that Grandmother Moon will know how to take care of herself but I also think that we must join forces and send all our love to our grandmother on a daily basis, I truly believe this, I truly believe that we have the power within us to change the world.  I think grandmother Moon will feel the love of all her grand-daughters and that she will react and won’t let anyone land on her back to harm her. (see what happened to SpaceX)


I think that nothing will happen for a few more years and that give us time to raise more awareness and stop this



One thing I really learned a lot about is Earth Observation Satellite and when I heard about space debris, that became my priority, because  this is very serious and need our immediate attention; but it could also be to our advantage for now as travelling into space will be very minimal because it is too dangerous for major collision.  We always have to look at the positive side of things.


I also think that Earth observation satellite could be a good thing, if only they would all work together and shift their way of thinking; they must think of our grandmother Moon as being part of our eco-system, they must learn to live with the Earth and not live on the Earth. I would like to see us working together, like a few people said during their presentation, the Earth observers from the Earth and the Earth observers from space must join and work together and share information.  Because if the findings are not share how will this help our mother and our grandmother.  So yes Earth observation satellite could be good but right now there is abuse of our space, right now people need to know about all the space debris and yes Earth observation satellite are a big part of that mess.


I am also very concern about security because the space is wide open and knows no borders and we know that Russia is right above us, so is Korea, Japan, Israel and China just to name a few, so that is something else to think about.


Hidden agenda?  I am sure there were lots of hidden agenda, that is to be expected from NASA, ESA JAXA and many more.  Of course they will not tell us everything.  But as far as Helium3 is concern, I need to do some more research and not believe everything I read on the internet. I somewhat believe Ronnie Nader, the astronaut, when he said that a lot of all this is a big marketing strategy, from who, well Google of course.   I am not saying that it is not part of the plan but I do not think they are ready.  They are talking about a Moon village.  Of course that village is for machines and gas station to help with the mission on Mars.  But I do not think that it is for tomorrow.... it will cost millions of dollars to build a Moon Village but on the other hand, ESA is not to be trusted and they really want this. I do have mix feelings about the whole thing, part of me doesn’t trust anyone and part of me think that a lot of people at that convention made a lot of sense, part of me also want to believe that there is hope.


So again we need to trust our grandmother and our mother.  An elder once told me, when they poured the grey Water into the St-Laurence River, she said, offer your tobacco and send love to the people doing this as they do not know what they are doing and do not worry, the Water knows what to do, she has been taking care of herself for thousands of years.  We just need to continue educating and doing our ceremonies, she just needs to know that we love her. 


I am very happy that I went on that mission, I am more aware about space issues as before my trip.  I met lots of people and I believe than now we need to go to phase 2 of the mission and that is to create a worldwide circle of women, raise awareness, keep our ears and our eyes open to future plans of NASA and ESA, get more signatures and meet with the UN to make sure that this doesn’t happen.


There is a need for awareness, it is and will always be about education and protecting our grandmother and our mother as best as we can.


Thank you for your continuing support


PS: I will be translating this document in French, sorry for the delay.  If anyone has the time to translate this into Spanish that would be greatly appreciated.... just let me know so that it doesn’t get done more than once. 

Yours comments are always welcome!


Chi migwetch! Muchas gracias, Merci! Thank you!


Grandmother Francine

Aki Songideye Ikwe, Chi Kokum, Anishanabe Kwe

On Unceded Algonquin Territory