Real World: Mars Edition

Recently for a class that I have we had to develop a transmedia campaign. Now you’re probably thinking, what the sam hell is a transmedia campaign? Essentially it is a story that is designed to involve the viewer/participant whatever you want to call yourself. You become a part of the story as an active participant. Sometimes these campaigns can be to raise money for a charity, such as this or more often than not, simply raise awareness of a pre-existing story such as the Why So Serious? campaign for The Dark Knight.

Watch the video:
Why So Serious? A Marketing Transmedia Campaign… di Transmedialab

Some stories are too big, even for the big screen. But, Wikipedia might explain it to you better.

Sounds crazy, right? But as Oscar Levant said, “There’s a fine line between genius and insanity.” Now it might not seem so insane to create an alternate reality game for Batman obsessed men to have an excuse to wear joker makeup and escape their mundane lives for a second. But, what about raising money to go to Mars? This article talks all about Mars One‘s new lottery mission to Mars. Well, it’s not really a lottery. More like American Idol meets The Real World meets Another Earth. Only no one comes back.

Artist drawing of Mars One

Many things run through your mind as you learn more and more about this crazy idea. Who would want to apply? There’s a great line from Another Earth where she explains her reasoning for why she should be chosen to go on the crazy space mission to another earth. The movie is obviously a little different than this mission, because she does come back to Earth at the end of the movie… but it’s a good start for thinking about the type of people who would go on this mission (it’s also one of my favorite movies). This is the quote from her entry video which wins her a ticket to the other Earth:

“When early explorers first set out West across the Atlantic, most people thought the world was flat. Most people thought if you sailed far enough West, you would drop off a plane into nothing. Those vessels sailing out into the unknown, they weren’t carrying noblemen or aristocrats, artists or merchants. They were crewed by people living on the edge of life: the madmen, orphans, ex-convicts, outcasts like myself. As a felon, I’m an unlikely candidate for most things. But perhaps not for this. Perhaps I am the most likely.”

People made jokes on the comments to the article such as “can’t wait to see who hooks up first!” Because how successful can a trip to Mars be when the astronauts are picked based on popular vote, and not just popular vote of anyone. Popular vote of the reality tv watching audience… I don’t know many real scientists or people who would probably have the authority to make these sort of decisions in other circumstances that watch reality television. Also what rational person is going to think this is real? It’s going to take a lot of convincing to convince people that this is not just a money-scam. I still wouldn’t be surprised if this is all some sort of April Fool’s joke a few days late.

The Conspiracy For Good was an example that sometimes a little fantasy and storytelling can actually do what it says it’s going to do. They actually did build a library after the whole “conspiracy” was over. But building a library and sending real humans to Mars for the rest of their lives are quite far apart on the spectrum of believability and do-able-ness. After all, I did develop an entire zombie story game as a hypothetical transmedia campaign to raise money for organ printing technology, and if I was serious about it, who says Mars One isn’t either? I suppose only time will tell. And if not, I’m sure the application videos will provide for some serious entertainment and food for the ever growing internet meme culture. I can already imagine all the feels I’m going to have if this really does become a television show though. But there are only so many things you can do in a bubble. They also have yet to completely solve the sleeping issue. I can’t live without a good night’s sleep, so definitely not the life for me! Would you go?

Forget Atlantis, here’s a real lost city

Everyone loves a good legendary lost city. Oodles of movies, stories, attractions and even hotels are named after the famed lost city of Atlantis. I have a personal bond with the Disney movie dedicated to Atlantis and this weird Mole character. Since my name is Mollie some people shorten it to Mol, which is correctly pronounced like mall but of course all my really nice friends pronounce it as MOLE. Real attractive, no? No.

Mole from Disney’s Atlantis in all his shining glory. Looks just like me, right?

That short personal connection aside.. imagine my excitement when I first heard about a REAL lost city that was found using remote sensing and space imaging. The city of Ubar is believed to be located deep under the sands of the Sahara desert. I first heard about it at a lecture by my astronomy professor and former astronaut, Linda Godwin, last spring. I was intrigued and awestruck. They found this city using images taken from space and “thermatic mappers” which gather information in different light spectrums, thus providing us with imaging and views that we could not normally see with our own limited eyesight.

PBS has this great interactive site with a pictures, articles and interviews explaining the whole process for people to easier understand.

These archaeologists are out there doing works of fiction. They are doing what all these fables and movies said they would. Unfortunately, I’m pretty sure that none of the archaeologists and scientists working on the Ubar site actually look or act like like Mole from the movie, much to my disappointment.

When asked what their favorite Disney movie is most girls might respond with a tale of love and royalty such as Cinderella or Tangled, but my favorite was always Atlantis. And now it’s as if Atlantis is REAL. I love it when things that sound like myths actually turn out to be plausible and all of this is happening because of what science has to offer. All it takes is a little curiosity and the right tools (brought to you courtesy of NASA).

Atlantis isn’t the only Disney movie to become a reality either, a group of scientists also made a house fly, just like in the movie UP.

The scientific world sure is a wonder. What movie do you want to see be made into a reality next?

I wonder if my room is a black hole


With all the new technology out there now, nothing is simple. Most cameras don’t use AA batteries anymore. Some of them have these fabulous rechargeable batteries that save you money! Sounds awesome right? Not in my opinion. If you’re anything like me, you lose everything, and so having to keep track of this one charger is impossible. Last night I was scouring my room for my charger and I found myself thinking, “I literally cannot find anything in this black hole.”

Matter rotating around a black hole

A lot of us say things like that without really knowing what they mean. Recently I read an article in Astronomy magazine, “Hungriest black holes thwart star growth”. Black holes have always fascinated me (as I’m sure many others) because we can’t know much about them because of their properties. All we know is that they are super massive, thousands of times more massive than regular stars (which are already incomprehensibly massive compared even to the fattest of elephants).

These black holes suck in so much material which stunts star growth. They have very strong gravitational pulls which means these holes absorb all matter within their grasp. Once matter has “entered” the black hole so to speak, it cannot escape. Not even light is fast enough to escape, which is really just the gloomiest thing…not just metaphorically but physically, too. Since there’s no material left surrounding the black hole, there is nothing to gather together to create a star, to create life, to create light, TO CREATE HAPPINESS. Well, you get my point. If this was the only definition, my room would most certainly be a black hole because it definitely sucks in everything that I need and prevents me from growing as a student by distracting me from my studies (and at it’s current state of messiness I’m sure light can’t even escape, either).

Many people are turning against funding for NASA because they think that it is too much of a money-suck. Some also think the Mars rover is a waste of time and resources. To that all I have to say is: if they cancel funding for NASA how will I procrastinate doing my homework by uploading pictures from the weekend if I can’t understand the logic behind cleaning my room so it doesn’t turn into a black hole and stunt my growth as a student and it keeps all the light and therefore happiness out?

So to take the shortest path possible…funding for NASA = LIGHT & HAPPINESS.

I’m pretty sure if you asked anyone if they considered landing on the moon to be one of the most significant accomplishments of the past century they would say yes. And who made that happen? NASA.

So honestly, unless you’re a happiness hater, why wouldn’t you support NASA?