Happy Earth Day!
To help celebrate, I decided to jump on the “Global Seflie” shuttle that is being promoted by NASA Today. NASA is hoping to create a mosaic of the Earth from the ground up rather than from space down with the participation of selfies from all across the globe in celebration of Earth Day.
I’m stoked about this campaign by NASA because I think it demonstrates a growing trend connecting space sciences with global and social awareness. My other website www.nobordersfromorbit.com uses space and science fiction to promote social change. As my formal education is in international development, I am always thrilled to bring both my interest in space and social change together and indeed I truly believe both fields inspire one another (which I spoke about recently at TEDxUTSC full video coming soon!) Apollo astronauts said that in going to the Moon, we discovered the Earth. Indeed, nobody had seen the world like Apollo saw it; a blue marble adrift in a giant black ocean. Certainly puts things in perspective.
Our knowledge of the Universe gives us a perspective that inspires us to treasure our tiny blue dot and remember that our world, and the life that it cradles, are fragile and precious. Let’s take care of it! And, on that note, to the Global Selfie I took. It started as a chalk drawing I did at Simon Fraser University Residence where I live and work. My drawing skills are not amazing, but I thought it would be fun to do something that could be captured from the roof of the building I live in. The idea is that you show where you are on Earth right now. I am standing generally in British Columbia (based on my semi-accurate chalk drawing ;) )
From the Roof
I encourage you to take your own Global Selfie today! Just remember to use the hashtag #globalselfie
On April 12th, 1961, Yuri Gagarin became the first human being to leave the confines of this planet’s gravity, and stepped into the cosmos.
April 12th now marks Yuri’s Night: The World Space Party. Under the banner of Yurisnight.net, events in celebration of this epic space anniversary are being hosted throughout the world in the month of April. At current count, there are over 194 events in 47 countries across 7 continents.
How do you know if there is an event near near you?
You can check out http://yurisnight.net/find-a-party/ to see if somebody is hosting a Yuri’s Night event in your area. They could range from movie screenings to up close encounters with a space craft.
Last year, Chasing Atlantis was celebrating Yuri’s Night in both Seattle and Toronto. I noted then that there were no events in Vancouver area where I’m based. This year, in partnership with Simon Fraser University we are hosting a screening of the movie HUBBLE, an IMAX film that documents the last Space Shuttle servicing mission to the International Space Station as well as the capabilities of this amazing space telescope.
If you’re in the Vancouver area, be sure to stop by Simon Fraser University Burnaby tomorrow at 5pm. The event is being held in Lecture Hall 3210
Alternatively, throughout the month you can organize YOUR OWN Yuri’s Night event. Just follow the link below, watch a cool video with LeVar Burton, and register your event to add it to the nearly 200 around the world!
Of his experience, Gagarin said:
“Circling the Earth in my orbital spaceship, I marveled at the beauty of our planet. People of the world, let us safeguard and enhance this beauty – not destroy it.”
Rock the Planet tomorrow!
Was inspired to make a meme today after I realized what bringing my Alienware to work looked like
Before we even knew that the night sky was filled we stars, we were already filling it with stories. Thousands of years ago, ancient civilizations were already creating constellations representing tragic heroes, hunters, animals, and other figures of myth and legend. Some of these constellations remain today, and have shown through history to have a common origin that spread through many cultures such as the Big Dipper and Orion the Hunter.
Humanity continues to use the night sky as a stage for stories; a giant canvas onto which we paint our hopes and dreams and adventures in the form of science fiction and space fantasy. What is it about space that is so alluring?
A quick update to let you know that I’m giving a talk at TEDx University of Toronto Scarborough this weekend. What’s the topic? SPAAAAACE! (of course). More specifically, the theme of this TEDx is “Converging Realities.” They are looking for speakers who could bridge two fields/concepts/ideas that might seem otherwise unrelated. In my other life, I help run a small non-profit organization called Esther’s Echo. In fact, my background is in International Development where I studied the field at the University of Toronto. In this talk, I will be sharing how space actually encourages my work for social justice, both at home and abroad, which inspired my other site No Borders from Orbit.
Below is a teaser of the talk. The conference is streaming live from www.tedxutsc.com. I’m up at 10AM EST this Saturday February 1st, but the talk will also be available later on YouTube and we’ll post it then as well!
It’s humanity’s first landing on the Moon in four decades! Check out the story below!
This is the last “Back-Blog” post to catch up on the adventures of our second large North America filming tour that ended this past Fall. We had thought we had wrapped up our shoot following interviews with Kevin Grazier of “Gravity” and “Battlestar Galactica”, and Cariann and Benjamin Higginbotham of SpaceVidCast. However, on our last evening in Los Angeles, Paul and I received an e-mail that Michael Okuda, graphic art designer on Star Trek: The Next Generation, Voyager, and Deep Space 9, might be available. (That news really cheered me up as later that evening I beat up the rental car but still had the interview to look forward to)
As Chasing Atlantis explores the connection that myself, those around me, and the space community at large have with space itself, we inevitably visit our love of science-fiction that inspired our initial interest in space. Star Trek also has a very tangible connection to the actual space program. Many of the astronauts and engineers we interviewed cited Star Trek as the reason why they went into space sciences. As a kid, I had a copy of the Star Trek: The Next Generation Technical Manual in my room. It was easily the book I picked up most often. It’s burgundy cover was folded and creased with sci-fi love and hours of wanting to remember every detail that I could about the design, look, and feel of the USS Enterprise both inside and out. The book detailed the technical aspects of the ship’s systems such as shields, phasers, and warp drive. It was also filled with insightful and humorous anecdotes from the cast and crew of the show. That book helped make Trek seem that much more real. (I also might have memorized exactly how many times the speed of light you were traveling at every warp factor).
In a few hours, India will launch its Mangalyaan space craft to Mars from Sriharikota. If the mission is successful, in 11 months India will join only 3 other countries/space agencies that have sent a probe on the Red Planet after the US, Russia and the European Space Agency.
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has indicated that the mission objectives are the studying of the Martian surface and atmosphere by the orbiting probe’s instruments. The probe will also look for clues to unlock the history of Mars’ atmosphere thought to be once far more substantial but lost into the void of space.
This certainly will be a historic moment for India, but the launch is significant in terms of recognizing our planet’s increasing efforts to reach our solar system neighbour. Specifically, the launch is being called an escalation of a growing space race between India, China, Japan and South Korea.
The TCON Promotional Society is hosting Reversed Polarity this weekend! This is the same group of folk who had us out for Polaris 26 in July of 2012, and the Constellation Awards this past Summer. We are hosting two panels at the show called Allons-Y Filmmaking. We are examining how values such as courage, sacrifice, exploration and companionship that are celebrated in Doctor Who helped us in the creation of Chasing Atlantis. The Doctor always focuses on the journey rather than the destination and keeping the journey in mind over a fixed end point is certainly necessary in the creation of a documentary. I guess, in a sense, Doctor Who is really a travel documentary of sorts.
If you’re in the Toronto area, you should really check out the convention. Reversed Polarity is essentially a relaunched Polaris with a Doctor Who focus. I didn’t get into the DW reboot when it first launched in 2005. I did recall watching the 4th Doctor portrayed by Tom Baker in syndication on TV Ontario with my grandmother when she looked after me some evenings.
I mentioned briefly at the end of the previous post that our interview with Gravity’s Science Advisor Kevin Grazier was shot at the studios of HD Video Podcast SpaceVidCast.
SpaceVidCast is hosted by husband and wife team, Benjamin and Cariann Higginbotham. The show’s mission is to “get all of planet Earth excited about space flight and living amongst the stars.”
Ben and Cariann are in incredible force for space outreach and we were privileged to be able to interview them. We were completely blown away by what they have accomplished with the show. Ben and Cariann eat, sleep and breathe space. They produce, edit, and host the show in addition to working within the space industry itself. They have incredible insight into the space technology currently in development and the political and economic arena of our current space exploration efforts.
Ben and Cariann are true examples of the show’s tagline “For the space geek in all of us.” They were the first interviewees we met whose variety of geeky T-shirts rivaled our own. Ben greeted us in the parking lot for their apartment building wearing a set of pair of Google Glass(es) where we were introduced to the team’s studio which they designed themselves. From there the team introduces the show’s viewers, through 45 minute monthly programs, and 5 minute “SpacePods”, to a range of topics from launch coverage and updates to the feasibility of initiatives like Mars ONE, promoting cool space-based Kickstarters like Planetary Resources’ ARKYD Telescope or upcoming video game Lacuna Passage, and debates on Science Fiction vs Science Fact. The team also posts videos from out-of-studio adventures to space craft launches as well as from space-related conferences and events.