Doughnut Rock

No, it’s not a new type of fast food, it’s a rock that mysteriously appeared on the Martian surface right in front of Opportunity. Lucky for me, I have a team of people looking our for me. The folks on the X92.9 morning show left me this voice mail.


This is what the rock looks like.

Mystery Rock

 

No one knows what it is, or what’s it’s doing there. The current theory is that it was kicked up, and we are seeing the side that’s not been exposed to the Martian atmosphere. That tells me that Mars it much more interesting that what the pictures show us. We won’t know for sure unless we go there and check. Even if it is deadly alien bacteria, it’s still really cool.

Mars Interviews Part 2

The interviews keep coming, and I’m more then happy to keep answering questions. I think I’m getting better. Hopefully there are people out there that hear what I have to say and become interested in science, engineering and planetary exploration.

Here’s a link to my x92.9 interview. It was recorded at 6AM and played back during people’s normal commute time.

Here’s the CBC interview I did in the studio! It was the first time I went somewhere to do the interview. I was in the booth, with the microphones and traffic lady and program directors and all sorts of things. It was a lot of fun, but very nerve racking. I’m sure I’ll get the hang of it by the time I make it to Mars.

After the interview, Doug gave away two copies of Mission:Mars that I brought in; hopefully two future Mars colonists are reading up on it now.

Mars Interviews Part 1

I spent a lovely weekend in Banff to celebrate my good friend Meghan‘s birthday. We had some laughs, some drinks and some skull pancakes. Everything you would want in a birthday. I was pretty tired on the drive home, and I had to work on Monday. I was looking forward to some serious downtime before I buttoned up my shirt for work. While I was bringing bags into my place, I got a call from CBC. They wanted to talk about Mars.

I love talking about Mars! Perfect! We had a chat, and he said he would call me back. I jumped in the shower because I was ski bum dirty. We spoke some more, and he said he was going to send a TV crew over to do an interview. I told him that I would put some pants on and clean my dished. My place really was a disaster; Christmas presents, dirty dishes, chocolates and laundry were everywhere. They gave in 30 mins to tidy up.

They were of course professionals. My mess was politely ignored and they cut the footage to make my stammering and wandering conversation less noticeable.

The news report went on TV well after my bed time. The website was up in the AM, and my office was quite excited find out they worked with a celebrity. Well, I emailed them all telling them how lucky they were to work with a celebrity. Same thing. Then I got a tweet from Global News, and they wanted to get some footage as well. The more coverage Mars gets, the better!

The really fun part was bringing the film crew into my office. Had to play it cool, of course. As if I get film crews all the time.

The crazy part, is that I’m news. I know that sounds obvious, but it’s not to me. I mean, I’m aware of all of this, it’s not news to me. I know what’s going on with Mars. When my name came up on my Google news feed, that was a strange feeling. I’m even a searchable tag on the Huffington Post now… all very surreal.

Mars One: Round Two

On December 30th, 2013 Mars One announced they had sent letters to the 1058 candidates that had moved on to Round 2 of their selection process. Since it was the holidays I had been ignoring my email to a large extent and learned the letters had been sent from the news. I have been chosen to move on to Round 2. I keep checking the email everytime I tell someone to make sure I read it correctly. I’ve made the shortlist of Martian Candidates.

I’ve been following Martian missions for years. I’ve been watching the aerospace industry with eager eyes and bookmarking US company job boards. Now, I feel like I have my foot in the door. I’ve got some momentum. It’s a good feeling. December 30th also happens to be my birthday; probably the best present I’ve ever gotten. 2014 is off to a great start.

In Red Mars, a novel by Kim Stanley Robinson, the first person on Mars and main character in the novel is born in 1982. While reading the novel, I remember tripping over that year, since that’s the year I was born. Human innovation is in the process of continually changing science fiction into science fact. The first person on Mars may well have been born in 1982.

Mars One Application: Zac Trolley from Meghan Westelmajer on Vimeo.

 

Mars One Application

This weekend I finished and uploaded my Application for the Mars One Mission. You can view it HERE

I think it turnout out great, I’m really happy with it. A big thanks to my film crew and friends. Now it’s time to cross my fingers and wait for the selection committee to realize how perfect I am for this position and send me to Mars.

 

Mars Missions

I’m a big fan of all things Mars. I love that planet, with it’s mythologies, geology, water, possible life and similarities to Earth. I’m very excited about the new missions being brought to life. These new generation companies are much better at getting media attention therefore the general public is aware of them. That in and of itself is a victory. People love a good story, and companies like MarsOne are tapping into that.

MarsOne is currently accepting applications for one way colonization trips to Mars. There is a lot of negative press about the mission. Some people scoff at the one way trip, some complain about the gap in technology and others don’t buy into their financing model. A one way trip makes economic sense, and for an adventurer like me, it’s a non-issue. This is a major leap in the evolution of the human race… It’s a potential fork in the road. A hundred generations of humans living on Mars will create a Martian Race. There are currently gaps in the technology and the money from franchising and TV isn’t the greatest, however they are making an effort and that’s fantastic.

No new inventions are needed to land humans on Mars. There might be delays, there might be cost overruns, there might even be failures, but it can be done. -Bas Lansdorp MarsOne CEO

I’ve applied for my position on the mission and I’m currently working on my application.

MSL

In a few weeks the Mars Science Laboratory will land on Sol-3 and begin its mission to search for life. Code named Curiosity; the rover was launched in November of 2011 and has been travelling through space for 8 months. Its mission is to search for life and investigate the Martian climate and geology for future manned missions to the planet.  This is incredibly exciting for a space geek like me who’s been dreaming of living on Mars for quite some time. Curiosity is quite a bit bigger than other rovers and equipped with instruments much more sensitive than other missions. Hopefully NASA will use it to confirm past findings from other missions.

What findings? Well, some people believe life was already found on Mars. You see, data is a funny thing; if you can’t read it properly, you see nothing but noise. As an example, the first exoplanet was discovered using a special technique, and when the data was looked over, it turns out we had recorded evidence of several planets; we just didn’t know what we were looking for.

Back to Viking and its life signs. Turns out, 1 out of 4 tests were positive for life. Now, I don’t know about you, but if I got a positive result on a medical test, I would damn sure check again. For whatever reason, we’ve waited 36 years to double check. The data was also tested based on what we understood of life at the time, and since then it’s grown. (I’m so punny). So, we have new criteria and better instruments. Let’s just hope they don’t land in the desert.

Speaking of landing, Mars has a lot of ground to cover. It has roughly the same land mass as earth. There are many places on earth you could land and have a hard time finding life. However, if I was a betting man I would check where there were signs of life. Again, for some reason we have ignored the giant clouds of methane that are in the Marian atmosphere. Being that methane is a by-product of life, I would think that would be a place to check.

I for one, will be awaiting details.