45 Years ago today we landed on the Moon for the very first time. The Apollo 11 team of Michael Collins, Neil Armstrong, and Buzz Aldrin took the first “Giant Leap for Mankind” (humankind) putting the first steps of humanity on a world beyond our own; a world characterized in the words of Buzz Aldrin by “Magnificent Desolation.”
There has been a lot of buzz (pun intended) about the 45th anniversary from screenings of the original landing to renewed debates about the moon landing hoax to an AMA by Buzz Aldrin on Reddit which you should check out. There has also been questions about why we have yet to return.
That is a good question. At the same time, we need to remember that since the late 60’s we have learned an incredible deal about space as we currently find ourselves in a Golden Age of Astronomy. We launched the Voyager Probes in the late 70’s which have just recently reached the edge of our solar system and crossed into inter-stellar space. The 80’s saw the dawn of the space shuttle program leaving the legacies of the International Space Station and Hubble Space Telescope. We got MIND BLOWING images in the 90’s from the Sojourner probe, part of the Mars Pathfinder Program when the Internet was first becoming ubiquitous. As a kid growing up in the 90’s where you could actually download images from Mars…amazing. I believe we actually crashed the NASA servers. We have since returned to Mars recently with Curiosity.
We’re heading to Polar Chill in Toronto this weekend and will be presenting at this year’s Constellation Awards
We have had an awesome time with the TCON Promotional Society, a non-profit group in Toronto that organizes a host of conventions and acts as a rally point for the Toronto Sci-Fi/Fantasy Community. We first connected with them in July of 2012 for Polaris 26. Polaris was the first event we ever screened any of Chasing Atlantis’ footage, interviewed a dalek, and learned how to sing Klingon Opera. TCON also helped us out by introducing us to Wil Wheaton which is where we secured our interview with him.
Last year, in June of 2013, TCON invited us back as presenters for the Constellation Awards, Canada’s awards for science fiction film and television. I believe that last year I said it was like the Oscars, but with pointed ears. We met some awesome people, including Trenna Keating of Defiance and Judith and Garfield Reeve-Stevens who have written several Trek novels and worked on Star Trek Enterprise. (They are also rebooting Captain Power…I wonder if my XT-7 jet will still work with this series. It’s totally still in my parents’ basement somewhere)
This past October of 2013, we were back in Toronto for TCON’s “Reversed Polarity”, a Doctor Who convention. Paul and I had a booth setup and ran a session that was basically “Everything I Need to Know I Learned from the Doctor” It was awesome.
This Summer, we are not only back to present at Constellations, but to hang out for the whole weekend of TCON’s “Polar Chill.” Polar Chill is a thoughtful diversion from the typical con. Chill is completely community based. Rather than a focus on big name actors and autograph lines, Polar Chill is rather about connecting with other fans. It is awesome to have an interaction with a favourite actor, writer or artist. But what really makes a convention memorable are the fans and community members in attendance. The fans are what creates the community that is like no other; accepting, open to an array of political ideas, views on technology, wildly creative, artistic, and who can turn a powered wheelchair into a dalek costume. That community motivates me when it comes to Chasing Atlantis as so many of you have inspired us so much and we want to be able to do the same for you; make something that you are all proud of.
We are really looking forward to connecting with you at Polar Chill and Constellations this weekend in Toronto. We’ll also have a camera out so be sure to come find us and tell us why you’re into what you’re into. ALSO, this year the Constellation Awards are going to be hosted by Rick Green (Commander Rick) from TVOntario’s classic science fiction news series “Prisoners of Gravity.” I LOVED Prisoners of Gravity when I was a kid. AND, I had always kinda hoped we would bump into Rick when making Chasing Atlantis. In fact, on several occasions, we streamed episodes of Prisoners from the TVO archive while on the road doing film shoots. Unfortunately, Prisoners of Gravity is no longer available to stream from TVO but you can find the odd episode online on YouTube. Prisoners of Gravity ran 5 seasons from 1989 to 1994. Arguably it was the precursor to any sci-fi blog/webcast/tv show you now watch.
If you’re in the area or coming into T-Dot for the event, here are all the deets!
Our Bill Nye vs Neill deGrasse Tyson vid has hit Imgur thanks to our friend and Chasing supporter, Siyavash Izadi.
In the first 5 hours of it being posted earlier today, it hit over 4000 views and about 150 likes. If it hits 300, it will go to Imgur’s front page! Help us make the front page by giving us a like!
Tonight is the last episode of Cosmos: A Space Time Odyssey.
Over the last 14 weeks, with host Neil deGrasse Tyson at the helm, we have been treated to a journey that has spanned the formation of the Universe itself, the heroes of the great scientific discoveries of our civilization, an understanding of the eons of Earth’s history spanning generations of extinction and rebirth, and wrestled with important issues facing us in the present such as climate change.
Rebooted by producer Seth MacFarlane, and Carl Sagan’s wife Ann Druyan, the series revisited themes of the original Cosmos, hosted by Sagan, for a new generation of viewers. I’ve been watching the series from week to week with the staff here at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver. The show has been truly inspiring; leaping beyond the scientific fact to studying the personal motivations and passions of the scientists who literally changed our lives, the dangers we face as a society belching carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, and the wonders of discovery that could still await us. Tyson hosts the show from the Starship Imagination that can travel through both time and space effectively making Tyson a kindof Doctor Who but hosting a science show and without a British accent. Point is that the show is amazing and if you haven’t watched the series you should definitely pick it up on Blu-Ray! Be sure to tune in to tonight’s episode at 9pm EST/PST
As a light-hearted send off to Cosmos, we are posting this clip from our interview with Bill Nye who fondly talks about his friend Neil deGrasse Tyson and a “fight to control the universe.” This is the first footage we’ve released of our interview with Bill.
Enjoy Cosmos and Keep Chasing!
This coming July 5th, the annual Constellation Awards: Canada’s Awards for Excellence in Science Fiction Film and Television will be hosted at the Holiday Inn: Toronto International Airport.
Not in the Toronto area? That’s okay because you can still participate by going online and voting for this year’s awards in categories such as Best Performances in a 2013 Science Fiction Television Episode, technical accomplishments in science fiction or film, best scripts, and overall outstanding Canadian contribution to science fiction. Were you amazed by Billie Piper’s portrayal of the “Bad Wolf” in Day of the Doctor? Were you in awe as Sandra Bullock plummeted to Earth in Gravity? Were you shocked when Trenna Keating “protected the greater good” in “The Bride Wore Black” in Defiance? If so, have your say by voting online
You can participate in the Constellation Award’s online voting system here: Part of the voting includes a $5 fee which helps to support the awards ceremony run by the TCON promotional society, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to celebrating Science Fiction and Fantasy.
In addition to voting, you can attend the award ceremony in person. We had an absolute blast at the the constellation awards last year…like literally some of the most fun we’ve ever had on our Chasing Atlantis adventure with the opportunity to meet up with like-minded fans and meet some of our heroes of Sci-Fi (Like Judy and Garfield Reeve-Stevens below)
I highly recommend that you go…and bring your awesome, geeky, nerdy, LARPY, Whoovian, Elvish, Trekkie, Cylon, friends too! Registration can be found here.
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!