Mars Madness

By Keith Kocinski 10.05.2015 blog

Over the last several months I have traveled everywhere from New York’s Long Island to The Jet Propulsion Lab in California to the cold but beautiful Devon Island in the Canadian Arctic. One thing I learned is that many people are serious about sending humans to the Red Planet! Everyone has their own reason for going. For some it’s a search for life outside of our planet, for others it is to do research on the Martian surface, and for others it is our back up in case something happens to Earth.

Space travel like this may seem crazy to some but exploring is a natural part of human history. We’ve always been on the move. If it wasn’t for brave explorers understanding the risks but still showing the courage to move forward the United States may have not existed. It also took many brave explorers surviving disease, attacks, and the elements to travel across the uncharted United States during the Lewis and Clark Expedition in the early 1800’s in search of the West Coast.

My journey to put this series together wasn’t as dangerous as a mission to Mars or early expedition across North America. I started off my journey visiting one of the new age explores, Laurel Kaye in Long Island, New York with my good friend and cameraman Ronnie. Laurel is one of the final 100 people in line for the Mars One project, a non-profit organization with a goal of sending 24 humans to the Red Planet starting in 2027 as the first Martian colonists. Laurel may be one of those people. That’s if the project actually happens and there are quite a few skeptics. It was cool getting to sit down with Laurel and see her enthusiasm for this project and  for exploring a new frontier. I can’t imagine never seeing my family again and leaving the Earth behind for good. It doesn’t seem to bother Laurel much. She is poised to go and be the first person to step foot on Mars.

Next, I went with a larger crew to check out the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California. Here we got to check out a replica of the current Mars Opportunity Rover and see how it moves on Mars. The Mars version has snapped some amazing photos of the Martian surface but I have to admit the thing moves pretty slowly. It moves about 1 centimeter per second. That’s about .1 miles per hour. Pretty much snail pace!

We also checked out some new technology developed to help humans get to Mars and survive on arrival. You will see more of this in the series so I don’t want to give away much more.

I then traveled to Houston, Texas with the awesome Arielle Hixson to check out the Johnson Space Center. The place referred to in movies as, “Houston we have a problem!” Here I got to test space food and get in a space workout on machines designed for the astronauts at the International Space Station. It was an exciting but exhausting shoot.

The final location we visited for the shoot was Devon Island in the Canadian Arctic. It is the home of the Haughton-Mars Project Research Station on the largest uninhabited island in the world.  The camp is stationed on the edge of a huge 14-mile wide impact crater. Devon Island is known as Mars on Earth because of its dry, windy, cold and barren landscape. I stayed here with a crew of 4 other people for around 6 days. It was an amazing experience and a place that really did look like the surface of the Red Planet.

One thing I learned is that right now NASA is probably the most likely candidate to actually send humans to Mars and it looks like it will happen about 20 to 30 years from now. Some experts say it is the dawn of a new age of space exploration. Imagine this: In the future most people to travel to space just like we travel in cars or planes every day. What if a typical family vacation will be spending a week at a space resort? Or will interstellar travel be something humans use to explore vast regions of the solar system, galaxy and universe? Some of these ideas may be decades or centuries away from actually happening. But for now asteroids, the moon and Mars are on most people’s radars.

Shadow on the Mars-like landscape
Shadow on the Mars-like landscape

Shadow on the Mars-like landscape

Haughton-Mars Project, Devon Island, Canadian Arctic
Haughton-Mars Project, Devon Island, Canadian Arctic

Haughton-Mars Project, Devon Island, Canadian Arctic

Testing a space suit on Devon Island
Testing a space suit on Devon Island

Testing a space suit on Devon Island

To infinity and beyond!
To infinity and beyond!

To infinity and beyond!

It may be Earth, but it surely looks like Mars here
It may be Earth, but it surely looks like Mars here

It may be Earth, but it surely looks like Mars here

What a great day checking out some cool space stuff at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, Calif.
What a great day checking out some cool space stuff at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, Calif.

What a great day checking out some cool space stuff at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, Calif.

This is the habitat at Johnson Space Center, where crews stay in isolation for weeks to simulate life on a deep-space mission.
This is the habitat at Johnson Space Center, where crews stay in isolation for weeks to simulate life on a deep-space mission.

This is the habitat at Johnson Space Center, where crews stay in isolation for weeks to simulate life on a deep-space mission.

 

comments

  1. edgar morlaes

    cool

  2. leah kingsbury

    Preaty cool that they found water on mars

  3. bianca

    if we could live on mars that would be cool and crazy .

  4. katie

    If there is water there has to be oxygen because water is made from 2 hydrogen and 1 oxygen and that makes more scene to go and live there

  5. Brandon1999

    It would be a HUGE step in humanity if we went to the red planet. If there is liquid water on the planet then maybe we could use the water to grow Earth planets and maybe be able to put a little community on the planet.

    • Katie B.

      I think they should take a whole family so u don’t have to miss any one

    • leah kingsbury

      I also think that they should experiment on the water on mars and see if i would make plants .

    • Gunner H.

      I agree that this would be a huge leap in human kind and also for the technology used for this expedition

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