In a stellar surprise today, my friend Jenn called into my office saying “Did you know Chasing Atlantis is on the StarTrek.com website today!?”
It took me a moment to realize what I was seeing. And there we are an article about Chasing and the awesome Trek family members that have been a part of our film including Rod Roddenberry, Wil Wheaton, and Michael Okuda! We have also spoken to Robert Picardo about his work at the Planetary Society.
The article splash image features our visit to interview Bill Nye at the Planetary Society.
What’s super awesome about the timing is that today marks my Grandfather’s 90th birthday and it was he who got me into space to begin with. He’s also mentioned by name in the article on Trek.com. Happy 90th, Dziadziu!
Facebook reminded us that it was 3 years ago today we were surprised by a phone call from Bill Nye The Science Guy which led to this amazing photo and an awesome interview for Chasing Atlantis.
I had finished a call with Bill’s agent thinking that there was no way this was going to actually happen. With the size of our team, budget, and Bill’s schedule I didn’t think we would be a serious consideration. I walked back inside, got lunch, sat down to eat, and the phone rang again. It was Bill’s agent’s number, but when I answered I heard ‘Matt. This is Bill.’ Here I am juggling salad at the Simon Fraser University dining hall getting a call from Bill Nye. He asked me about the film and, in that moment, I knew I had to give a legitimate “elevator pitch.” I recall saying something to the effect of ‘imagine that the science kids that you raised have now grown up and want to interview their science dad about the wonder of space and the retirement of the space shuttle.’ Silence for a moment. Then…’Sounds great. Let’s do it. Come down to California.’ Bill and I got to talking for a bit. We spoke about the Science Guy Show. I recalled parts of an episode about the circulatory system and he knew the exact episode number. I finished the call saying ‘Bill, talking to you is like a metaphysical experience’ to which he replied ‘No it’s not…it’s a physical experience.'” Of course he was right.
Our interview with Bill at The Planetary Society was amazing. After giving him a Chasing Atlantis themed bow tie (which he’s wearing in this photo) that we had custom printed he asked if we were hungry and if we wanted “Mars Cookies.” Bill explained that they were cookies that “replicated the surface colour and texture of Mars…but not the taste.” They were indeed the best planet cookies we ever had.
2015 was one of the most incredible years for our project. (I have been remiss in updating all of you. I will speak more about my absence at the end.) Each year that we have worked on the film, I look back and think “well…it can’t get any more amazing!” This past year, the film’s themes became clearer, we shot more incredible interviews in awesome settings (like the Enterprise), and I felt the most emotionally connected to the project than I ever have. We found our focus in 2015. When we first began Chasing Atlantis, the film was a story about going to see a space shuttle launch and understanding the shuttle’s technological legacy. Now, four years and change later, I see that the film is really a story about WHY I wanted to see a space shuttle launch. Outside the facility where Atlantis now resides is a quote by Carl Sagan “The Sky Calls to Us.” But how? Why do those shimmering lights in the night captivate us? This is what Chasing Atlantis has become for me; a journey to understand that call and to connect with those that hear it as well.
We are only a few hours away from a monumental experiment in space craft propulsion. Ever tried sailing on sunlight?
The Planetary Society is going to be launching their solar sail space craft LightSail in a matter of hours. LightSail is designed to deploy 32 square meters of 4.2 micron thick sails once in space. The sails literally catch solar “wind”; charged particles emanating from the Sun that will push LightSail through space. (It’s kinda like the “Explorers” episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine) Anyway, talk about green energy! (Or Yellow) What are the implications? Well according to the Planetary Society says
LightSail represents a major leap forward in the concept and technology of solar sailing. Through this program, we’re making it possible for other groups, including NASA, to utilize this innovative propulsion technique on CubeSats and other small spacecraft—opening the door to a huge variety of low-cost missions throughout the solar system.
As you might know, Bill Nye currently heads up the Planetary Society as CEO. We had the incredible opportunity to interview Bill during the production of Chasing Atlantis. You’ll get to see Bill talk more about space exploration once Chasing hits a film festival near you.
LightSail is currently running a Kickstarter Campaign that you can support for a chance at some amazing incentives ranging from LighSail merch, to cool gear like a Raspberry Pi rigged up to tell you when LightSail is travelling overhead, to lunch with Bill himself!
The main LightSail website can be found here where you can also watch the launch live at 10:45am EST today (May 20th). This launch will be a shakedown cruise to ensure LightSail survives orbital insertion and to test the sail deployment system. The test of the solar sails themselves will occur on the next launch scheduled for 2016.
If you are in the Toronto area, you can check out the last weekend of the Canadian National Exhibition where Chasing Atlantis has its own display.
The CNE is an annual fair leading up the Canadian Labour day weekend that hosts about 1.5 million people each year at Toronto’s Exhibition Place. It is Canada’s largest annual fair which began in 1879 largely to promote agriculture and technology in Canada. The exhibits are accompanied by amusement park attractions, a band shell concert space with big name tickets and an air show.
Last year, we were contacted by the CNE’s Candice McCavitt to host a display as part of the CNE’s theme of looking toward the future. This year, one of the exhibits is centered on pop culture. We are featuring footage with Bill Nye the Science Guy, Ann Lemay of the video game series Mass Effect, and Canadian Astronaut Chris Hadfield. If you’re passing through, be sure to check out the Pop Culture display. If you find us, post a photo of the display on our Facebook Page or send us a tweet to @chasingatlantis
Thanks once again to Candice McCavitt for inviting us to be a part of the CNE two years running!
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!
We are back from the US! We had an absolutely amazing time and I will be updating the blog to our epic journey that brought us from LA with Bill Nye to the Full Fuselage Shuttle Trainer in Seattle to Space Camp in Huntsville Alabama and then back to LA to meet up with the creators of Star Trek’s LCARS themselves, Michael and Denise Okuda. as well as Kevin Grazier of Battlestar Galactica and the crew of SpaceVidCast
In the meantime, be sure to tune into the Geek Hard show tomorrow where Paul will be on the show talking everything Chasing Atlantis including our exhibit at the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto. You can check out Geek Hard at http://geekhardshow.com/ The show streams today (August 16th) live at 7pm EST at www.realityradio101.com !
We did it! BILL NYE!
Mind Blown! We literally just got back from our interview with Bill at the Planetary Society. First off, it was amazing to visit the society, a legacy of the great Carl Sagan. But then, to meet a childhood hero who continues to be a passionate advocate for education, action against climate change, and the mission to answer the questions of our origins in the universe…again, mind blowing.
Bill spoke a great deal with us about science education and science as key to understanding and improving the world around us. However, he also spoke about the importance of curiosity, imagination and passion and how these values need to play a part in your life regardless of your vocation…so even in the lives of filmmakers!
As part of the “Ask Bill Nye” post that we made a few days ago, we got some really insightful questions sent in. To those of you who posted questions on the website, in tweets, or posted on the FB page, THANK YOU! We were stoked to know that you were out there helping us to brainstorm ideas for this amazing opportunity. We definitely managed to get some of these questions into the interview and we will be posting clips of those answers soon! Stay tuned! In the meantime…
SCIENCE RULES!! BILL!! BILL!! BILL!!
Oh, one more thing!! Note the Chasing Atlantis Bowtie on Bill! In our panic to get one made last minute, we actually had 3 come through. Our Tie contributors were Vancouver based Belvedere Ties (Featured in this Photo), Beau Ties Ltd in Vermont (a regular provider of ties for Bill (Thanks Liz!), and by my colleague Brandy Steele at Simon Fraser University. Bill received all 3 ties as a gift and said that they were all very awesome. Also, thanks to Spoonflower for getting us the Chasing Atlantis fabric, from which all the ties were made, in time for the trip!)
Paul and I just landed last night in Los Angeles. We have a pretty exciting lineup of interviews and visits setup on this trip. Seems that each time we think production is coming to a close, another incredible opportunity arises. On our last North America Tour, we started in Montreal and ended in Vancouver while visiting the Canadian Space Agency, the Kennedy Space Center, I Dream of Space, Planetary Resources, and finally interviews at Simon Fraser University with particle physicist and amateur astronomy Howard Trottier.
This time around we are beginning in LA with Bill Nye tomorrow (very excited about this) at the Planetary Society, heading to the Seattle Museum of Flight to grab footage of their shuttle trainer that was used to actually prepare future astronauts, then spending 3 days at Space Camp in Huntsville Alabama to meet Astronaut Abby, and finally returning to LA to meetup with the team at SpaceVidCast. More interviews to follow in Montreal in September.
Remember! We have an amazing opportunity posted for you to contribute to our line up of questions for Bill Nye tomorrow (July 25th) ! Follow this link to ASK BILL NYE A QUESTION
Stay tuned for more updates on North America Tour 2! We’ll keep posting in the next few days as we travel!