The Mars One Mission

If you're connected to me on LinkedIn or following me on Twitter, you've probably noticed some updates about Mars One, a not-for-profit organization that plans to establish a permanent human settlement on Mars by 2023. So pretty much, the colonization of Mars, something that I've talked about or referenced to in nearly all of my Astronomy-related presentations, so it shouldn't be surprising that I'm promoting such a mission. 


But can it really be done?  

Well, I'm in no position to guarantee it to be successful, but I can guarantee you that I would be insane with joy once people set foot on Mars.  Bas Lansdorp, co-founder and CEO, as well as the rest of Mars One, seem to have a nice plan though. More importantly, that plan is actually being put into motion. So this isn't some kind of fun idea that's being tossed around by some random people online. In addition to being a born entrepreneur, Bas also has a Masters of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Twente. With that, along with the numerous qualified team members, advisers, and ambassadors of Mars One, it's also not some kind of business venture that just has a great business plan that "just needs the right science guys." 


While the plan involves the use of current technologies, as the need for a return trip is gone, future developments will definitely be incorporated as much as possible, depending of course on the suppliers as Mars One doesn't plan on manufacturing it themselves, another reason for me to accept the feasibility of the plan as there are numerous private suppliers like SpaceX that are quite capable, and experienced, with producing the equipment needed for the mission. 


Even with all of these, however, there are still doubts about it's feasibility, which I can understand as calling this a major project is a great understatement. Once again, as I'm not a scientist or engineer, I can't really defend that aspect. However, I can say that it is very possible to raise the $6 Billion in estimated costs for the mission with their business plan. 


One Way Astronaut 

 With the Astronaut application process well underway with over 100,000 applicants , it's hard to ignore what could possibly be going on the minds of the people who have applied. I've heard people say that they're suicidal, or that they're mentally unstable and shouldn't be allowed to participate at all. While I generally disagree with such statements, I can understand where they're coming from and I do share some of their concern regarding mental stability. I think Bas puts it perfectly though when he says, "We're not going to Mars to die. We're going to Mars to live." 


What Drives Me

Sometime late last year, I took a required course titled "Business, Government, and Society" taught by Hugh Judd.  I wasn't entirely interested in the course beforehand as I thought it was just going to be some pseudo-philosophy class with a business focus. It also didn't help that I was going to have to overload my classes the following quarter to the point that I would have to pay extra tuition fees. During the first class, he asked us to talk to the person next to us and say why we're there. I said something along the lines of, "I want to know why I have to take this class." However, as things progressed, it later developed into one of the best courses I've ever taken. 


While the course content was sparking my interest, one of his homework assignments which I don't think was a component of our grade, or at least a significant one, was the one that took up most of my time. In it, he asked as what our personal credo - what drives us and to do what we do - is. I've answered a lot of tough questions and problems up to that point, but I haven't been as stumped until then. While I didn't really spend hours sitting down and thinking about it, I did so every now and then such as while walking to class and work. I'm pretty sure that after working on it in my head for about two to three weeks I spent countless hours thinking about it. 


Paul Weller from The Jam, Ronnie Wood from The Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, and Roger Daltrey from The Who playing Get Back at the Royal Albert Hall on March 29, 2012. 

Paul Weller from The Jam, Ronnie Wood from The Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, and Roger Daltrey from The Who playing Get Back at the Royal Albert Hall on March 29, 2012. 

I played off a number of things in my head and wondered what really drove me. Was it logic? Was it doing the "right" thing? Or was it power? I wasn't really comfortable stating any of those and a number of others as I couldn't go over them beyond a few sentences. So I finally sat down and asked myself why I do things. Why do I push myself to do crazy things like overload on classes and take on three jobs? Why do I insist that spending a lot of money on the last ticket, to see Paul McCartney at the Royal Albert Hall, which ended up causing me to spend just about a pound a day on food for the next two months, was worth it? It certainly wasn't for bragging rights since most people don't really understand the things I do or criticize why I do certain things. If anything, some of the things I do make me look bad to others. 


That's when I realized that it was never really about others. The reason why I did everything was in front of me all along - to create great memories. I spend a good amount of my time each day just reflecting about what I've done, how far I've come, and just generally the great things that have happened in my life. I took a while for me to realize that this was what was driving me. I wanted to create more and more great things to look back on and more accomplishments to be proud of. 

1939 Remington "Remy" Rand Steele  

1939 Remington "Remy" Rand Steele  

Afterwards, it was pretty easy to write up the entire essay. And in true fashion, I did it on my newly-acquired 1939 Remington Rand typewriter, the first time I've ever done an actual piece of homework on one. (I accidentally turned in something that I thought was homework but really wasn't, so it doesn't really count) While I don't really remember what grade I got on it or if there even was one, not that it really matters, it's probably going to be the only one that I'll be sure to remember for the rest of my life. 

Why Am I Doing This? What Am I Doing Differently?

Well, this isn't the first time I've had a website. Aside from the sites which were required to be made for school, this is my third website. The first two fizzled out a few years after I started them due to a lack of interest on my part, and, sadly, a lack of a steady audience. Maybe third time's the charm?

A New World

I can still remember my first site back in about 2001 - a single-page site which had nothing more than a guestbook. I unfortunately can't remember where I got such a site, but I do remember the URL being extremely long and filled with random letters, signs, and numbers thrown in. As a third grader, it felt pretty awesome having my own website. Sure it wasn't much, but it was much more than any of my friends had. While it probably wasn't even really a site, it was for nine-year-old Travin. And for his sake, I'll continue calling it that.

It was quite interesting having a website at that age. I don't really remember what I wrote about, but it was probably about some of the video games I was playing at the time and Neopets. Unfortunately, nine year old Travin didn't really understand that he only had a guestbook plugin installed and that there probably was some blogging plugin he could have had instead. But he was pretty happy churning out short and random blurbs about his daily life.

 As for reaching out and finding people to check my site? I simply wrote down the long URL on numerous torn sheets of paper to hand out to my friends and anyone who was willing to lend me their ears, or rather, eyes. Unfortunately, most of them didn't bother typing all of that into their browser, but I don't blame them! After a few years of just having random people I met online check out my guestbook, I decided to call it quits. They weren't really the kind of people I was looking for.

The Web Strikes Back

Sometime around my freshman year, I started my second website. I don't recall where it was hosted, but I do remember getting a free redirect from Dot TK. With the shortened URL of (don't go there as someone else owns it now and it redirects you to a dangerous site), it was much easier to ask people to go visit it. And, as expected, I had a much bigger audience than my first site. 

Being quite the religious Catholic at the time, most of the topics I covered revolved around that. Other content included my opinions on recent events and other things  circulating around the web. So I guess you could say that it was really more of a blog rather than a site.  But for thirteen-year-old Travin's sake, I'll continue calling it a site.

I can't really explain why I stopped working on it though. Maybe it was because I joined Facebook and preferred to write shorter blurbs instead of long articles? Or perhaps it was because no one really brought up what I wrote about when they saw me? I usually remember things like these, but all I remember is that I just stopped at one point and never really looked back.

Return of the Blogger

Now that I have a much better idea of what the difference is between a blog and a website (or at least, I think I do), I'll finally admit that this indeed is a blog. I hope to soon add things to make this more of a website rather than just a blog though.  Perhaps throw in a portfolio section as well as having a professional blog? I'll let future Travin decide on that. So I guess you could say that what I'm doing differently is being more flexible and open to changes.

So, Why?

Honestly, it's because I'm tired of Google asking "Did you mean Travis Keith?" whenever anyone looks up my name and because I've always wanted an email. But hopefully, as things start going forward, there'll be better reasons for me to keep this up.