We survived! We successfully made it back to Canada, but not first before making three stops along the West Coast.
We left Florida following our interviews with Ryan Kobrick and John Horan in Florida. During that post we talked about struggles with getting into the new Atlantis Facility. That unfortunately didn’t pan out. We did get amazing footage right under the wing of Atlantis during her roll out but we thought it would be cool to see Atlantis all shrink wrapped and getting prepped for public display this Summer. Alas, NASA was touchy to have Atlantis filmed in such a state and we had no choice but to respect their wishes on that one. Nonetheless, some incredible adventures still awaited us on our next stop: San Francisco
Our one day drive-by of San Francisco was to connect with Reuben Metcalf of I Dream of Space. We spent the morning and part of the afternoon with Reuben talking about the era of “New Space” characterized by new private enterprises into the space sector such as Virgin Galactic and Space X. One of the features of New Space is space tourism and Reuben’s project is aimed at helping the average space enthusiast become a tourist in the reaches beyond our atmosphere. We conducted Reuben’s interview in an amazing work space in San Francisco designed for start up companies and organizations to interact together. It is essentially a giant open-concept workspace designed for collaboration and…synergy.
After San Fran it was off to Seattle to connect with Chris Voorhees and Chris Lewicki of asteroid mining company Planetary Resources. Both Chris and Chris have experience working with NASA as part of the Mars rovers projects. Chris Lewicki was Flight Director for the rovers Spirit and Opportunity, and the Surface Mission Manager for Phoenix while Chris Voorhees served as Chief Engineer for mechanical assembly, integration and testing for Curiosity’s Mars Science Laboratory. Speaking with both Chris’ was absolutely fascinating in that we were able to discuss what it was like to look up at Mars and know that something you worked on was actually up there on it. And, of course, we explored the amazing prospect of heading into the asteroid belt and mining precious minerals, as well as water, out in space. On a side note, Planetary Resources has a classic stand-up 1979 Asteroids arcade machine. I challenged Chris Voorhees to what they call at PR “Blind Asteroids” where you play a round on the machine with your eyes closed. I’ll leave it to the film’s release (or special features) to let you in on who won 😉
Finally we headed back across the border to Vancouver where we met up with professor of Astronomy and Particle Physics, Howard Trottier of Simon Fraser University. Howard is a legend among his students for his passion for space. Even students with little interest in astronomy prior to Howard’s class relayed to us how he simply made the heavens “come alive” for them. We shot one of Howard’s classes which include a viewing of the night sky in a rare clear Vancouver evening. The interview itself was conducted in a store I know well, the Vancouver Telescope Store, where my own scope came from. Given Howard’s incredible astrophotography work, the store made the perfect setting to talk about space. Many of our other interviews have focused on space exploration, and sci-fi fandom, we wanted to talk to Howard about space itself; what’s up there, how big is it, why is it so fascinating, and how does our knowledge of space affect our view on life here on Earth?
Our sincerest gratitude to Kristina Anderson of the Koshka Foundation for helping to make the Planetary Resources interview possible, to Nick Seiflow at Vancouver Telescope Centre for letting us the space as a venue, and finally a HUGE thanks once again to those of you who contributed to the IndieGoGo campaign. You made the Chasing Atlantis North America Tour possible!
That wraps our Chasing Atlantis North America tour. We have a few more exciting interviews coming up AND if you are going to be at ComicCon in Toronto this weekend be sure to look out for us filming on the convention floor covering the event and doing interviews! If you’re interested in SPAAAACE be sure to talk to us. You could end up in our credits and the film itself!