It Takes a Village to Reinvent a Wheel

It Takes a Village to Reinvent a Wheel

When the Saturn Wheel project was born, the big audacious idea was to reinvent the wheel. That’s why we chose a giant gas planet with no solid surfaces on which to roll.

What we didn’t think about was that the term “reinvent the wheel” often implies a thankless, difficult, even overwhelming task. As in: “We don’t need to reinvent the wheel here.”

So we set out to design a vehicle that could travel through the outer atmosphere of Saturn, with all that it entailed: design, material, propulsion, navigation and more. Suddenly, the scope of the project was huge. Too huge.

Fortunately, a core pHacktory value is to recognize mistakes, accept them and learn from them. The team had an honest, open discussion about how to balance “big and audacious” with “realistic and achievable”. We decided to focus on one compelling challenge: how to navigate safely, without the benefit of GPS or visual cues, through a gaseous landscape where the only features are clouds and brutal storms full of hazardous ammonia crystals.
The team has been hard at work on this problem, and now we want your help!

On November 17, 2018, the Saturn Wheel team will hold a public charette in order to get your ideas and input.

A charette is like a mental sandbox for grown-ups; an intense session of collaboration and design. It’s a chance for us to consult with you — scientists, artists, citizens — and harness your collective wisdom. Creativity is king and no idea is out of bounds. We all get to play off each other’s ideas and see what brilliance emerges.

If you’ve ever dreamed of taking part in an epic space mission, this is your chance. If you’d like to be part of a community where mistakes are celebrated and solutions can come from anywhere, pHacktory is where you want to be.
Let’s reinvent the wheel together. In a good way.

Sign up here for the charette on Saturday, November 17th at 78 George Street in the Byward Market. Admission is free but spaces are limited.

Photo by Matt Artz on Unsplash

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