Mars, here we come.

With a lot of questions arising from the conclusion of the shuttle program (most of which concern the future of human piloted space exploration) it is encouraging to see the future that NASA plans for us space fans. NASA unveiled today the designs behind the new Space Launch System which will propel us beyond Earth’s orbit, and perhaps some day to Mars.


– Paul

Happy Star Trek Day

Hey Chasers!

Sorry that we’ve been off the air for so long. Paul and I returned safely from Sierra Leone where we collected nearly a TB of footage of Esther and her school for Esther’s Echo ( and I have also just finished a move out West to one of Canada’s prime sci-fi film locations, Vancouver!

Anyhow, we will be catching back up on Chasing Atlantis very soon. In the meantime, happy Star Trek Day. Star Trek first went to air on this day in 1966. To honor that show which inspired me to do crazy things like drive across the continent to make a documentary film about the last space shuttle, here is an article by one of Canada’s greats, science fiction author Robert J. Sawyer, on the impact that Star Trek has had through the decades. Enjoy



Headed to Africa

Hey Chasers,

Paul and I are off to Africa working on another project for Esther’s Echo ( Development is my field of study and I’m really excited about the opportunity get abroad and start the first community project for our organization. It’s been a few years in the making! Below is the IndieGoGo project profile for the trip if you’d like to learn more about it. We’ll be off the grid for a few weeks until we get back at which time we’ll be back at work on Chasing Atlantis.

Remember, from orbit, the world is bordlerless!


Henry Dlugosz’s 85th Birthday

Last week I was up in Thunder Bay for my Grandfather’s 85th birthday. Henry Dlugosz, my grandfather on my mother’s side who emigrated from Poland following the second world war, is more commonly referred to as Dziadziu by the grandchildren.

In some earlier posts I talked about my grandfather and how he inspired my love of space and of learning. It was at the cottage, 45 minutes outside of Thunder Bay at Shebandowan lake, that I learned about how vast the universe was. It’s been a few years since I was able to get up to the cottage. Getting back out there to celebrate my grandfather’s birthday so close following our return from Florida was an amazingly cathartic experience. In a sense the trip home was full circle. It was really out on the dock with Dziadziu that this trip south to see the shuttle first began. I was a kid and space was cool and neat. Now I’m an adult (sortof) and space is cool and neat, but I can rent cars and use cameras and have a valid passport.

Below are some shots I wanted to share:

Matthew and Dziadziu at Cottage

This is my grandfather and I at the cottage at Shebandowan celebrating his 85th Birthday.

This is the cottage itself. My grandfather constructed the cottage. Construction began in the late 1970’s

Here I am standing on the dock where most of my early star-gazing days were hosted

Above the tree line in the previous image, I’ve tried to point out where my grandfather had first revealed the Andromeda galaxy in the night sky. It was a fuzzy blob just above these trees (probably actually through the trees now as they are taller than they once were.) Of all the celestial objects we looked at back then, this memory stands out the clearest. I think it was because of the immense scales of size my grandfather was trying to convey at the time.



Follow Up Interviews, return of team, and the future

Hey Chasers,

It’s been over a week since the launch of Space Shuttle Atlantis. Following my return from Florida to catch the wedding, Paul remained in Florida to conduct a last-minute interview that we managed to grab with Story Musgrave! Story had a more controversial take on the end of the shuttle program than some of the other individuals that we spoke to. As we start going through all of the footage we will definitely start to post clips of the interview material. In general, Story was quite adamant that the space program has lost its focus and that without direction, we will not see the progress in space exploration that we have witnessed over the last several decades nor will we see anything built upon the legacy left by the space shuttle. Paul was also able to get several more interviews with former NASA employees and members of the Titusville community before returning to Canada last weekend.

As of mid last week, Rebecca and Chris returned from Florida. They were the only members of the team to actually make a return drive back from the Sunshine State. We are now all back in Canada with many stories to share of our trip. My thanks to all of you who kept up to date on the blog and decided to follow us on Twitter @chasingatlantis

But, we’re not finished yet! With all the footage we’ve acquired, we will begin to make video posts of the material we’ve collected to give you an idea of what shape the documentary will take. We’d also love to get some participation on the part of the community with the development of the documentary. We have some neat ideas that we will be pitching your way soon. Keep an eye out on the blog, Facebook and on Twitter!


Matthew &8-)

Liftoff! And Happily Ever After

Hey chasers!

Without me having to post you know by now that the final shuttle launch has been completed successfully. Beside me, thousands gathered on the shores of Titusville to bear witness; each grasping at this moment in history; an attempt to possess a moment in time and preserve it within a chalice of memories.

The countdown roared across the masses; a synchronized unity of peoples and nations observing units of determination stronger than gravity. 10…9…8 the engines fired. A billion eyes around the world gaze upon the first signs of ignition, a billowing plume of flame and smoke and past tragedy and future hopes and present dreams. 7…6…5…4…3…a jungle of tripod legs make their final adjustments around me…2…1…

Two surges of power unite across the waters. A wave of sonic distortion from millions of pounds of thrust collide with the inspiration of a million spectators. The combined energies hurdle a shuttle into orbit at thousands of miles per hour and a civilization into awe and questions of the future.

Atlantis’ launch was like experiencing an annotation of my life all in a single moment. Childhood dreams of crossing the atmospheric threshold, crushing disappointment of myopia, new found passion for global development and renewed passion for studying sciences all in a single thrust of emotions, memories and liquid hydrogen.

I have yet to fully appreciate the impact this week trip across the continent to Florida with my Chasing Atlantis friends has had on me. But I look forward to reviewing the hours of footage, dozens of interviews, and personal reflection that we documented through Virgina, Pennsylvania and finally Florida to discover exactly what I’ve learned.

I now sit at a different union of energies, that of a bride and groom. One of my closest friends and fellow Co-Founder of Esther’s Echo, Stephen Tracy, became a husband only a few hours ago married to his new wife, Sheralyn. The same grace that has shone upon us during our chase of Atlantis ensuring our safe travels and connections with amazing individuals across the US brought me home and in time for the wedding (with a nail biting twenty minutes before “I do.”) As the sun sets on the lakes of Muskoka, North of Toronto, and wedding celebrations continue into the night, Steve and Sheralyn’s union remind me why I embarked for the Cape to begin with; connection. Connection with others to find a common sense of hope, inspiration, and create even bigger dreams together.


Space View Park

We have spent the night in Titusville in a parking lot. We would’ve all been sleeping in the car but for some amazing staff of the local visitor centre who lent us a tent.

Thousands are gathered on the shore and we have been talking to people from all across the world who have come out to see this historic event many of whom have been up most of the night to grab the best location they can.

As of right now the launch is still go! Praying the weather holds!


Titusville… T minus 0?

It’s late, so I will keep it short. Today was jam-packed. Matthew and I checked out of our Motel 6 in Palm Bay and headed back to the Kennedy Space Centre with one goal: to get on the general tour that brings us to the shuttle observation tower. It was interesting. I would like to say awesome, however they had yet to move the rotating service structure, which meant that it obscured our view. We were able to make out the tips of the rocket boosters and fuel.

The rest of the day was spent chasing other tour items, including sitting in the captain’s chair of the original USS Enterprise NCC-1701, and experiencing the Apollo/Saturn V Centre. This was the most amazing part at KSC. We stepped into the past and experienced a recreation of the Apollo 8 mission where NASA first sent astronauts to circle the moon. Oh, yeah, and I got to stand underneath a Saturn V rocket.

After a long day at KSC, we booked it to Titusville, found parking for both cars (it only cost us $70) and proceeded to the US Space Walk of Fame. Here we interviewed Lee Starrick, former Fireman at the Kennedy Centre, and volunteer at the museum. We originally discussed only a 20 minute interview, however he generously poured out story after story. We came back with over an hours worth of material. We will write more specifically on Lee in a later post.

Finally, I would like to quickly comment on the hospitality of Titusville. Today has been an exhausting day. Between 7am and 11pm, Matthew and I were constantly on the go. Between the 2 of us, we only ate 4 granola bars and an apple. When we were finished interviewing Lee, I wandered around the downtown looking for a dry place where we could put up our feet. It had been raining most of the day, the air was humid and sticky, and we were wet. We also needed a power supply to charge our batteries and transfer our footage to our laptop and backup drives. I felt like giving up. I was wet, hungry, and a little cranky. I just needed a break. I called my wife, Stephanie, and realized I was starting to complain. We spent a few minutes in prayer, said our good nights, and I was back otn my way. Not more than 2 minutes after hanging up did I stumble upon the hospitality of Titusville’s visitors center. Walking in, they saw I was a bit lost and after hearing about our crazy journey, the documentary, and our lack of resources/accommodations they stepped into action. We were told we could stay at the visitors centre (from which I am now writing). They gave us pillows and blankets, access to wi-fi, an electrical outlet for all our video needs, and access to washrooms (yes no more porta potties). Sue Anne, even when home and lent us a 3 person tent to set up in the parking lot. We are absolutely astounded by the kindness of our new friends, and I can’t help but think that I had only stumbled upon them after a few minutes in prayer with my wife.

There is so much more to say, so many details that I would love to share but I have already stayed up too late. It’s 4 am, Atlantis is being fueled, and we’re all waiting to see if the weather permits her to fly.

– Paul






Out of This World Interview

Middle of our tour at the Kennedy Space Center Yesterday, I received a call from the Canadian Space Agency letting us know that we had secured an interview with Canadian Astronaut/Future ISS Commander Chris Hadfield. I was ecstatic but worried. We were on a tour bus in the middle of the Cape and unable to get out early. With a limited window of opportunity, there was potential to miss the interview slot.

As soon as the bus pulled into the Visitor Center we were out of the KSC and headed toward the interview location. The Space Agency was incredibly accommodating allowing us some extra time for lighting setup expertly assembled by Paul.

Commander Hadfield, gave us a large chunk of his time and we were able to talk to him about the end of the shuttle program, future missions to space, and why it is important for individuals and for a society to take the kind of risks that astronauts do to further our understanding of the Universe and our own planet as well. A huge thanks to Commander Hadfield. We are incredibly grateful for your time. We were also able to rock out with Chris following the interview at an Irish Pub in Cocoa beach. Chris also happens to be an accomplish guitar player/singer!

We are off again today to the Kennedy Space Center as our time there was cut short yesterday. Hoping to get at least one closer view of the shuttle before takeoff. Right now, weather is not looking good, and there is a strong possibility that we may miss the launch. Only a 30% chance of “go” at this point.

-Matthew &8-)