Second day of ESOF 2012 takes place in Dublin

Thursday 12 July 2012 19.42
ESOF 2012 takes place in the Dublin Convention Centre until Sunday
ESOF 2012 takes place in the Dublin Convention Centre until Sunday

The second day of the Euroscience Open Forum 2012 event has finished Dublin.

James Watson and Peter Doherty - two Nobel laureates - and former President Mary Robinson were some of the more high-profile figures who delivered speeches to delegates today.

Meanwhile NASA's administrator, Maj Gen Charles F Bolden Jr, gave the final keynote of the day, discussing the future of space exploration.

Tomorrow, Brian Greene will speak to delegates about the state of String Theory.

Read an overview of Prof Peter Doherty and Maj Gen Charles F Bolden Jr's keynote addresses below:

As it happened - Charles F Bolden Jr's keynote address:

1904 The cameras being used on Curiosity will give a greater level of detail than has ever been seen before.

Bolden says they were developed by a company run by film director James Cameron.

1901 NASA has been tasked with landing humans on Mars by 2030.

Bolden says a critical step in that process is the upcoming Curiosity rover landing - due to reach Mars early next month.

He describes the intricate method being used to land the rover on the surface of the planet.

1859 A manned mission to Mars is a priority for NASA, specifically because it has been made one by US President Barack Obama.

Bolden says money is an issue, however, along with a number of other issues such as how safe it would be for humans to go there.

Robotics and international collaboration will be required to make a trip to Mars viable.

1858 NASA are working on a 'National Space Transportation Policy', which will ensure there is a framework for people travelling into space.

The UN is also working on a Code of Conduct for space travel, which will try to ensure people are not abusing the opportunity to travel in space.

1855 Bolden gives an example of a UFO that he encountered on one space trip.

In the end it turned out to be a large piece of ice, which was formed by the oxygen and hydrogen propellant used at take-off.

1854 Bolden says UFOs exist - in the sense that there are always sightings of flying objects that cannot be identified.

However he says NASA has not been able to verify any stories of extraterrestrial vehicles landing on Earth.

1853 There are strict requirements in place for any shuttle that is going to interact with the ISS.

Bolden said it took some time for the recent 'Dragon' shuttle, made by private company SpaceX, to meet those requirements. 

1852 NASA does not build its own rockets, by and large, says Bolden.

They are developed by private, American companies.

1851 NASA is going to do everything it can to make its launch facilities available and attractive to anyone who wants to use it.

He says commercial companies have a hard road ahead in turning their plans into a reality.

1848 Should a dangerous asteroid be found to be heading towards Earth, the next challenge is how to deflect it.

He said in many cases it would just require pushing an asteroid off its track by a few kilometers. He said the ISS often has to move slightly to avoid objects in space.

1846 Bolden says the biggest challenge is to find asteroids.

NASA has been tasked with landing a craft on an asteroid in the near future, which he says is a very difficult thing to do.

The size, orbit and consistency of the asteroid are all factors when it comes to landing a craft there, he says.

1845 Bolden has been asked about planetary defence - namely how to detect dangerous asteroids and ensure they do not hit Earth.

1844 NASA recently met with five African space agencies. Bolden says many would be surprised at how much space-related work is being done in that region.

1841 Bolden also says NASA have a strong relationship with its European equivalent, ESA.

1840 Bolden says he hopes normal people will soon be able to afford to go to the edge of Earth.

Commercial space travel will also make it easier for more scientists to undertake experiments in space.

1838 A question asks what Bolden thinks Europe should do in the area of space, and how he thinks private developments - like commercial space travel or asteroid mining - will develop.

He says NASA is excited by the prospect of commercial enterprises as it will help them to do their job.

1836 A delegate asks if they are worried about China and India over-taking NASA.

Bolden says they welcome progress made by these countries and NASA has agreements to work with them.

1834 Bolden is asked if NASA's future reliance on private companies will take the focus away from science and make space exploration more profit-orientated.

Bolden says he is not concerned and as NASA is the number one customer it will be able to choose not to work with companies only interested in profit.

1833 The floor has now been opened up for questions.

1832 NASA's vision is "to reach for new heights and reveal the unknown" says Bolden.

1831 NASA currently has 535 international agreements, conducting ground and space-based experiments.

1830 Ultimately space exploration is about expanding our knowledge and improving people's lives.

1829 The 'Curiosity' rover is on schedule to land on Mars by August, says Bolden.

1828 Information is still "flowing in by the terabyte" from Hubble and other space telescopes.

1826 In 2016 NASA hopes to launch a cryogenic demo, while it is also working on deep space navigation and communication systems.

1825 By 2017 NASA is planning to rely on commercial companies for certain functions in space travel.

1823 The International Space Station is a vital component in all future space exploration, says Bolden.

1820 The picture taken of the Earth by Apollo 8 changed people's perspective forever and, in Bolden's opinion, formed the basis of the modern environmental movement.

1819 Achievements in space over the last 50 years would not have been possible without international cooperation, says Bolden.

1818 "Science and technology have been synonymous with human progress", says Bolden.

1817 Bolden says smart investments in science and technology is key to improving the global economy.

1815 Dr Gallagher says Maj Gen Bolden was responsible for putting the Hubble Telescope into space.

1814 Dr Peter Gallagher from the Astrophysics Research Group in Dublin's Trinity College is introducing Maj Gen Charles F Bolden Jr to delegates.



As it happened - Prof Peter Doherty's keynote address:

1557 Prof Doherty ends his address by saying how important bats are to immunology research, in answer to a question from the floor.

1555 Prof Doherty says a lot of work is being done in monitoring pigs for future flu mutations.

He said it was important people take the flu vaccine whenever they can to help combat any outbreak.

1552 Producing a truly effective flu vaccine costs money.

The question is whether big pharmaceutical companies are willing to invest in it as they already make a lot from existing flu vaccines, says Doherty.

1551 To tackle influenza scientists need to make the immune system work better than it naturally does.

1550 It is estimated that over 1/2 million people died as a result of the H1N1 outbreak.

1549 Hospitals had to handle an influx of healthy people worried about being infected, which Doherty says is a real problem with pandemic outbreaks.

1548 Older people were often not impacted by H1N1 because they had antibodies from the influenza outbreak in the 1930s.

1546 The recent H1N1 was caused by two pig viruses - one from Asia and one from America - combining into something that spread very well in humans.

1540 The best vaccine is probably one that allows people to get "a little bit infected" before it halts the virus's progress.

1535 So-called 'Killer' T cells are what attack viruses in people's systems by killing the cell they have infected.

Scientists are trying to manipulate these to work against different types of cancer, though they are having mixed results at present.

1534 Increasing problem of people not being immunised - or immunising their children - because they see it as an imposition and something that will not impact them, says Doherty.

There have been examples of children carrying measles and causing outbreaks in parts of developing countries because of this.

1531 The problem with HIV/AIDS - and influenza - is that once it gets into the system it mutates and cannot be removed.

1527 The word 'immunity' comes from a Roman term meaning 'exempt', which was used to describe veteran soldiers who did not have to pay tax.

1525 Societal organisation is the reason why many influenza outbreaks have originated in Asia, though in future they are likely to come from elsewhere.

1522 It took many years to identify the post-WWI influenza outbreak but months to identify SARS.

"Everything is moving at an incredible pace", says Doherty.

1520 Aeroplanes accelerate the spread of influenza because they spread infected people, though being on a plane does not necessarily increase your likelihood of getting infected.

1518 The number of people dying as a result of AIDS infection is dropping, says Doherty. The question is whether countries will be able to afford the measures required to continue this.

1516 Once people are immunised against a strain of influenza they tend to remain so for the rest of their lives.

1514 People carrying the influenza virus often feel well enough to travel and interact with others, making it easy for the disease to spread. 

1512 Influenza is a big problem and it is one of the most likely diseases to become a pandemic virus, says Doherty.

1510 Once SARS was understood it "was very easily treated". 800 died from the dieases, which Doherty says is comparable to the impact of influenza.

1508 It took three months for the international scientific community to figure out SARS says Doherty.

1505 The recent movie 'Contagion' paints a fairly accurate picture of what a pandemic outbreak would look like, says Doherty.

1504 Prof Doherty says it is still unclear what makes an infection spread suddenly.

1500 Prof O'Farrelly says Prof Doherty's work is vital in discovering new ways to tackle disease and infection.

1457 Nobel Laureate Peter Doherty is being introduced to delegates by Prof Cliona O'Farrelly from the School of Biochemistry and Immunology, Trinity College Dublin.

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