Disaster Playground Production Week 2

Disaster Playground Production Week 2


Disaster Playground is a creative platform investigating the design of emergency procedures in the space programme, with world renowned space experts at NASA, the SETI Institute and an all star team of composers, writers and international collaborators.

Photography by Nick Ballon

Dear fellow habitant on earth,

This was a week, above the clouds.  We were on location at two Northern California Observatories.  On April 2nd the film crew and Director,Nelly Ben Hayoun, spent the day at Fremont Peak Observatory in Fremont Peak State Park, near San Juan Bautista, California.  Fremont Peak houses the Challenger Telescope.  Our big treat was a visit to the Lick Observatory on April 4th. A research arm of the University of California, it is a playground for UC astronomers as a state of the art facility.  Travelling 4200’ up Mount Hamilton, we were relieved that the weather held out for us.  Just two days before, the snow covered roads on the mountain. University of California, Santa Cruz and SETI Institute representatives provided guides.  

Our journey continued to the Southern California to interview and film our next round of experts on Asteroids, at the California Technical Institute (CalTech). We interviewed Dr. Don Yeomans, Steve Chesley and Peter Chodras, all contributing scientists at the NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.  Interviewing Dr. Don Yeomans, and Dr. Chodras we discussed the  Near Earth Objects Programme at NASA.

We learned, first hand from Dr. Steve Chesley, 2014 AA, about the first detected asteroid entering the Earth's atmosphere January 1. It appeared to astronomers, the morning of January 1, by the Catalina Sky Survey (CSS), operating near Tucson Arizona. We will visit CSS next week.

Our highlight of the week was our time spent with Astronaut Rusty Schweickart, famous for being the lunar pilot on Apollo 9 mission.  His interest in planetary defence gave us a very good picture of asteroid detectionmitigation and the geopolitical consequences.

Off to the Southwest; Albuquerque, New Mexico and Tucson, New Mexico—our next stop on our journey! We are looking forward to our visits to SANDIA National Labs and the Catalina Sky Survey Observatory.

P.S. We are delighted to announce that Nelly is now officially a member of the International Astronautical Federation, Space Outreach and Education committee.

Annette Rodrigues, Disaster Playground Project Manager and retired Payload Crew (Astronaut) Trainer.

Upcoming Talks / Exhibitions


8 May, 2014 Amsterdam

Future Fictions

October 5 – December 31, 2014, Z33, Hasselt, Belgium