Ready or Not

Okay, maybe that’s not the best title to introduce a site devoted to interplanetary exploration, but it is appropriate to the present condition of this blog. I’ve been trying to put off publishing anything until I have everything in order, but it occurred to me that that’s not really how a blog is supposed to work, right? Consider that a disclaimer that this is very much a work in progress, but so am I and that’s the point. The very purpose of this is to chronicle my efforts, education, growth, and challenges as I pursue what I consider to be the greatest endeavor in history: travelling to Mars!

Another disclaimer (there may be more than a few)- I am not a literary virtuoso. Hopefully my posts will become easier and more enjoyable to read as I get a little practice. What do I plan to write about? Well, first and foremost I plan to write about my plans to go to Mars and how they are evolving and progressing. This is also a journey of personal growth and transformation, so documenting my efforts will hopefully provide some accountability and motivation. More importantly, I hope that my story will inspire and motivate others to pursue their wild and crazy dreams!

I imagine that many people reading this might wonder what would possess me to want to go to Mars. Admittedly the first time that I really latched onto the idea I was genuinely concerned that I might be losing my mind! The genesis of the idea came from a report that I did in 2011 as part of my capstone project for my master’s degree at Embry-Riddle University. I was considering how our society’s progress in space exploration has stagnated as a result of attitudes toward safety, particularly in comparison to the early portion of the twentieth century during the infancy of aviation. Flying back in those days had an astronomical mortality rate, but the technology also advanced at an amazing pace because people were pushing the boundaries of what was possible in airplanes. The story of Charles Lindbergh‘s flight across the Atlantic ocean seemed especially relevant to the question of how we can expand our frontiers. At any rate, my treatment of the subject was entirely hypothetical. For one, I didn’t believe I had the background or training to pursue such an endeavor myself. Secondly, I felt that my obligations to my family would preclude such a monumental commitment.

For the better part of seven years the idea of going to Mars was shelved, sequestered to some dark corner of my mind, until in 2017 my wife, Hilary, got involved with a company called Life Leadership. Life is a direct sales company that teaches people how to get out of debt, develop leadership skills, and pursue their personal potential. That’s kind of underselling it, but that’s the Cliff’s Notes version. The full story is everything that follows because this program really transformed my life. I was pretty slow to drink the Kool-aid, but Hilary kept sharing what she was learning and recommended the various books that she was reading. One of the first ones that I read was a book called The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz. He encourages readers to consider something that they’ve been wanting to do but felt that they couldn’t. Then he recommends making a list of reasons why they can do that, and emphasizes the importance of really believing that it is possible. I also heard a talk from one of the Life Leadership speakers that urged people to find something that they can do better than anyone else. That repressed dream of Mars suddenly popped back into my mind, and much like Pandora’s box once it was out there was no putting a lid on it.

I still had a lot of concerns about family obligations, but one day I was talking to my amazing daughter Brynne about my aspirations and she got really excited. “You should totally do it!”, she exclaimed. I love all of my children, but Brynne has a special role as my muse. With those words I felt like I had been unleashed! Ever since that day it hasn’t really been a question of whether or not I could go to Mars, but just how to make it happen.

So that’s the great question: How do I make this happen? Like learning how to fly an airplane, I compare it to trying to eat a whale. You just have to start and take it one bite at a time. To start with, I began reading a lot more. I’ve been reading a variety of different topics (check out my book list for a sampling), with a lot of emphasis on self help books and biographies to develop the mindset of success. What I see as one of the most critical challenges is trying to learn a lot in a really short period of time. I’ve been using the online Khan Academy to brush up on some rusty Algebra skills, and plan to continue on with Trigonometry, Calculus and Physics so I can get a better understanding of orbital mechanics and other technical aspects of the project. I also feel like I need to learn more of Chemistry, Biology, and Geology (at a minimum). Mmmm, whale tastes so good!

So that’s the quick and dirty intro. I’ll delve into more detail in future posts, but for now I really want to thank you for checking out my blog! This project has really had an amazing impact on my life and I love being able to share my passion and enthusiasm with others. Please let me know if you have any questions or comments, and I’ll do my best to respond. Most importantly if you feel so inclined, please share this page with others. Spread the word: I’m going to Mars!

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