Happy Valentine’s Day!
Following our last post, which found us in Toronto, we headed over to Montreal to film at our own Canadian Space Agency. The CSA has been in the news a great deal lately with Chris Hadfield’s launch to the International Space Station in December. Paul was able to capture the launch celebration at the CSA with Jenny Chan, one of our associate producers. At the event, Paul met several key CSA personalities, and we thought it fitting to make a return journey to do some interviews at the CSA, and learn more about the role that Canada plays in the exploration of space.
So we are headed back on the road in a few days. Each time that we think Chasing has wrapped production, another amazing opportunity opens up. This is actually shaping up to be our most epic filming journey yet. Here is what we have lined up:
Starting in Toronto, I’m giving a speech at the University of Toronto International Development Conference (www.utoronto-idc.org) The conference is being hosted by the current cohort of the program I graduated from at U of T. It’s great to come back to the program because, in a sense, it is like coming full circle. I sometimes felt that I had given up on one dream (space) to embrace another (international aid) but now here I am years later combining both topics into one presentation. While in town, Paul and I will be connecting with Clara Mooney, a grade 2 student who was brought to our attention because of her passion for space. I hear she dressed up as Spock this past Halloween. Clara’s enthusiasm for all things geek reminded us of ourselves at that age and we are excited to connect with her.
Paul and I will be doing a radio interview on Local 840 Radio “Your Local Space Coast Connection” at 5:10 EST today. You can stream the broad cast here:
We just updated the site to include our “CAST” page that can be found here https://chasingatlantis.wordpress.com/the-cast/
The page gives a sampling of the interviews that we have conducted to date. Going through the list to see just how many incredible people we have had the pleasure of meeting was a great way to reflect on everything that has transpired since we left to go see Atlantis’ launch. When we first set out on the journey, I don’t think we realized just how many interviews we would end up conducting both formal as well as spontaneous. The whole project has been worth it for this experience alone; a chance to meet astronauts, actors, writers, engineers, inventors and dreamers.
This update to the site is part of an overhaul to the IndieGoGo campaign page to help us have the strongest last week as we possibly can! If you haven’t already seen our fundraising campaign through IndieGoGo, check us out at www.indiegogo.com/chasingatlantis
I just received our media accreditation from the Kennedy Space Center this morning. Atlantis’ final Roll-out to be put on display at the KSC is scheduled for this Friday November 2nd.
This is definitely a “full circle” moment for us as we head down to Florida once again to see Atlantis put to rest. In June of 2011, we made our first request to the KSC for media accreditation. It was too close to the Atlantis launch (one of the most anticipated in history) to get the passes the first time around. We conceived of Chasing just prior to June and larger media agencies scooped up the spotlight before hand. We left on a day’s notice for Atlantis’ move to the VAB that we captured last March. Again too late.
Our plane tickets to see Atlantis’ final roll-out this Friday, November 2nd were already booked before we had the passes we got this morning so I have been anxious about the trip not knowing if we would actually get access. This uncertainty echoed of our first journey to Florida in July of 2011 when we weren’t even sure if the launch was going to happen; Florida drenched in Summer rainfall. We also have much more of the vision for Chasing to show. Last time we were applying for media passes on good intentions and charm (not always a bad place to start. Certainly marketable qualities) but this time we have footage, interviews, stills, the improved site. With something more tangible to show our odds increased. However, this was one of those “who you know” situations as well. The incredible people we have been able to meet while filming Chasing as been a remarkable part of this journey as well as how we met all of them. Jim Kennedy we met through a damaged air conditioner in Paul’s PT Cruiser. Bodyshop owner happened to know him and mentioned it when Paul brought up the project in casual conversation at the dealership. Our latest connection to NASA public relations came through window writers. The day before we left on our first journey to Florida, I passed a toy store and thought it prudent to buy some window writers and decorate our car (with Mel’s and Paul’s assistance given my utter lack of artistic talent) with the web address and twitter feed. A month after returning, we were connected through twitter to a series of people who helped us climb the ladder until we had the direct contact information needed to submit our media accreditation. Not sure what the life lesson is from that. Shameless promotion? Colorful branding? I’d like to think it’s that the smallest opportunity can lead to incredible experiences if we let them.
We will be keeping you posted over the next few days on our latest Florida expedition to Chase Atlantis one last time. Be sure to join us on WordPress, Facebook, Twitter and our newsletter! Also keep an eye out for our impending IndieGoGo campaign to help complete the film that will be posted by the end of the week with a new trailer! So stoked!
43 years ago yesterday, on July 20th of 1969, humanity set foot for the first time on another world.
1 year ago today, July 21st, Atlantis’ mission, STS135, came to a close with the Shuttle’s safe return to Earth and subsequent finale of the Shuttle Program.
During our presentation at Fantasy and Sci-Fi Convention Polaris in Toronto earlier this month, we had the opportunity to meet several individuals who recalled being woken up by their parents in the early hours of the morning to watch as Neil Armstrong stepped off of the Lunar Lander. This moment in history would go on to be known when the whole world “looked up.” As we talked about Chasing Atlantis, the conversations at Polaris shifted to an expression of disappointment. Since Apollo, we have yet to visit other worlds. After watching the Moon Landing at age 10, one audience member relayed, it seemed reasonable that over 40 years later we’d have planted foot prints on other planets, asteroids, or moons at least within our own solar system.
At the Kennedy Space Center it is clear that the Apollo era is still dominant in how NASA brands itself. One of the largest displays is a Saturn V rocket. Tour guides, many of whom are retired NASA staff who worked during Apollo, recall how NASA’s share of the American GDP was close to 5% during the Space Race. NASA’s budget is now 1/10th that figure. Why? Some would argue politics. The Space Race was about beating the Russians to the Moon. When that was accomplished, there was no further impetus for pouring tax dollars into missions beyond the confines of Low Earth Orbit.
What’s next? Asteroid Mining with Planetary Resources? Mars? Whatever the mission, its success will demand public engagement. Lack of public support for NASA was what many of our interviewees cited as a reason why public funding has waned considerably. Why fund something if it won’t bring in votes? So the debate continues surrounding private entrepreneurship and whether the private entry into space exploration, with the advent of companies like Space X, and Planetary Resources, and space tourism companies such as Virgin Galactic, will bring a new push against the final frontier. Public engagement was a key focus of our documentary. We were excited to connect with both the Apollo generation as well as the current generation of sci-fi and space enthusiasts at Polaris to talk about shuttle; an icon that we realized was not as well recognized by today’s youth as by the previous generation. Perhaps that lack of resonance is partly due to the stagnation of space exploration over the last decades; something we continue to explore in our interviews.
Looking ahead, I am personally hopeful for a future where the next 4 decades see more giant leaps for humankind. The journey outward is about more than the curiosity of what’s beyond our planet, but also seeking a better understanding of ourselves in the process.
Metro’s Race for Space continues, and with the addition of a celebrity, there is stiffer competition than before. In an effort to inspire some more votes to get into orbit and to give a 3 minute overview of this website, I put together this short spoken word. I had performed it at SFU a few weeks ago and it was suggested that I record it. Wanted to get it up before April 5th when the competition closes, but after that, I think I’ll do a more elaborate version of it.
Here is the link to the video http://youtu.be/rmNmy1YDuoo
We stand at just around 23,500 votes thus far! Let’s see how far we can push it before April 5th. Thanks again to all of you for your support!
Here is the competition link: http://metroinspace.com/ca/view/ct94
Only a day and a half in and I’ve already grabbed 3400 votes for my entry in Metro Newspaper’s Race for Space Competition. Thanks to everybody who’s been voting for the support. Here’s the current strategy.
The top voter is still a ways off from where we’re at. However, we have moved to 30th place out of approx 2000 entries. Not too shabby. The goal is to get into the top ten meaning we’ll have to hit about 15 000 ish votes. It can be done! Still averaging about 50-100 votes per hour presently. And there are surges here and there as well. Once we get to the top ten, we end up closer to the front page meaning it is easier for people on the interwebs to see the post!
So keep those votes coming by going to the link: http://metroinspace.com/ca/view/ct94 and remember that you can vote up to ten times a day every day from now until the contest closes on April 5th!
I found this post on George Stroumboulopoulos’ blog on CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.) George is one of our favorite evening show hosts and focuses his interactions with the most amazing and interesting artists, scientists and social activists. On today’s post, George highlighted an interactive program that helps one navigate the scales of our Universe from the quantum tiny to the Astronomically Huge. There is now a more interactive version of the first Scale of the Universe program that went viral.
Strombo’s post is below along with the direct link to the interactive scale program