Blog Archives

Remembering One of Our Most Incredible Interviews: Bill Nye

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.

nye-and-team

Bill Nye (Centre) with the Chasing team of Paul Muzzin (Right) and Matt Cimone (Left)

ThunderCon

ThunderCon Banner

Hey Chasers,

Today (Sunday Oct 25th) Is ThunderCon! ThunderCon is a first ever comic convention being hosted in Thunder Bay, Ontario Canada…our home town!

We will have a booth open all day on the convention floor at the Valhalla Inn where the convention is being hosted. And I’ll be giving a talk in the “Cantina” at from 4pm to 5:30pm

Thunder Bay is where my geek began. During the 80’s and 90’s, geek culture was not nearly as prolific. To see a convention in my home town is amazing and my congratulations to all the event coordinators. To have Chasing Atlantis invited to present is such an honour. I spent the evening yesterday walking past houses of friends who have since moved away remembering long D&D and video game sessions. I write this blog post from my old room where I spent evenings watching NEW Star Trek episodes, Sojourner’s landing on Mars, and Discovery Channel documentaries about the Space Shuttle. Now we’re back with an opportunity to meet a rallied geek community in my home town showing off interviews we’ve done with those who created Trek and built the probes that went to Mars, and flew the Shuttle. I am at once humbled and proud.

If you’re at ThunderCon this weekend, please be sure to visit our booth and check out our talk at 4pm!

http://thundercon.org/

Keep Chasing!

-Matthew

The Dance of our Celestial Neighbours

Hey Chasers!

This past weekend we had front row seats to a conjunction of the Moon, Mars, and Venus; our three closest celestial neighbors.

One of the advantages of my day job working on campus at Simon Fraser University is having a roof access key to the residence dorm towers. It made for a great view of the conjunction especially as it approached the horizon. Here is a collection of some of my favorite shots from this past Friday and Saturday. By Saturday, the Moon had moved away from Mars and Venus in the sky, but it still made for a spectacular view. The shots were taken with 24mm, 50mm, and 300mm lenses on my DSLR. The last photo of the Moon and Mars was through my 80mm telescope at 600mm focal length also using my DSLR.

SPAAACE!

Moon at upper left with Mars and Venus in Centre over Vancouver Saturday Feb 21 2015

Moon at upper left with Mars and Venus in Centre over Vancouver Saturday Feb 21 2015

Moon, Mars, and Venus in order from highest to lowest against the Vancouver Skyline

Moon, Mars, and Venus in order from highest to lowest against the Vancouver Skyline

Fiery Crescent Moon Over Vancouver

Fiery Crescent Moon Over Vancouver

Moon and Venus over Vancouver

Moon and Venus over Vancouver

Crescent Moon with Mars as the faint point at upper left

Crescent Moon with Mars as the faint point at upper right

45 Years Later, The Cosmos Makes a Giant Leap Toward Us…

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.

Get this on an Awesome T-Shirt from I F$%#ing Love Science

Click to Get this on an Awesome T-Shirt from I F$%#ing Love Science

 

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.

Read the rest of this entry

It’s Official! Mars Did Have A Habitable Environment!

In a press conference today, An announcement was made that the Mars Curiosity Rover has discovered that Mars once supported a habitable environment. Very cool news as that means that, at one time, life could have existed on the Red Planet.

Now there has been confusion over the announcement. Not to add to this confusion, the rover has NOT discovered life itself either in the past or present, but rather the rover has confirmed that the planet supported conditions that could’ve given rise to life.

The news is particularly exciting to us as during our recent North America Tour, we were able to sit down with Chris Voorhees of Planetary Resources who served as Chief Engineer for mechanical assembly, integration and testing of the Mars Science Laboratory that makes up the Curiosity Rover. It’s very cool to think that we will be able to share with you the insights of somebody who has helped to make this discovery possible!

Check the link above for the article on www.space.com about the Mars discovery!

curiosity-rover-lead

-Keep Chasing

-Matt &8-)

Watch Curiosity Launch Live!

http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/index.html

Curiosity Prepares for Journey to Mars

Largest vehicle we are planning on sending to the Red Planet yet. Curiosity’s revolutionary landing system may be the step we need to one day have somebody from our own Blue Planet settle on Mars. Rather than the rover being couched in an airbag deployed shell which looses energy gradually by bouncing across the Martian surface on landing, curiosity will have retro rockets that essentially suspend the unit above the surface until deployed at a safe velocity. Curiosity is simply too large to land with the traditional inflate and bounce system. 

Our own Globe and Mail puts it even more eloquently ;). Check out the article below:

 

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/technology/science/curiosity-set-for-ambitious-mission-to-mars-the-red-planet/article2248372/