Spaced Out in North Dallas

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Perhaps I missed this, but I had no idea that this weekend, "Dallas will be center of the world of space." And, no, not just because today marks the 30th anniversary of the release of Star Wars. (Thanks for the heads-up e-mail, fellas, but a certain almost-4-year-old reminded me of this landmark anniversary last night. Seriously.)

Over at the Hotel InterContinental on the Dallas Parkway they're hosting the the National Space Society's 2007 International Space Development Conference, featuring the likes of Buzz Aldrin, as well as several other NASA astronauts, researchers and developers; John Carmack, the co-creator of Doom and Quake who's been spending his own dough on privatizing space travel and will show off his Quad lunar lander vehicle; 20/20's Hugh Downs, who's chairman of the NSS Board of Governors; and a host of politicians and space-travel bigwigs. Theme sounds pretty cool too: "From Old Frontiers to New: Celebrating 50 years of Space Flight." Aw, but what about the final frontier?

So why's this thing in Dallas? Becaue of Anousheh Ansari and John Carmack, simple as that. "Dallas represents a nexus in the new 'Rocket Belt' as an intersection between new space ventures and the government vision to explore the solar system," George Whitesides, the executive director of the National Space Society, tells SPACE.COM. I am putting on my rocket belt this very instant; anyone seen my lightsaber? --Robert Wilonsky

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