Starlight

Habitat systems: Check.

Exploration suit condition: Good.

Compostable toilet instructions: Wait…what?

Picture yourself as a star…Molten. Massive. Hungry for power. Life is good. But eventually your thirst turns against you. And boom, destruction…When you picture yourself as this bright, magnificent object in the night sky you capture this gaze, this awe from others around you. Celebrity-like almost, as if the ground you walk on stamps your mark like a USDA prime cut label. Now some of these ‘followers’ can be new, in the background; others may be more familiar with your work. Your premise is somewhat aura-like with a tiniest hint of transparency. This star, in its younger stage, is motivated to grow and mature as any other ‘pre-teen’ star would. Duh.

When you get the opportunity to be in a simulated Mars mission, you prepare for it the best way you can, but there are some things out there you can’t predict or expect: the winning lottery numbers, what birthday you’ll finally get a full-size Optimus Prime, or when you’ll find that Charzard Pokemon card stolen when You were 10. The list is infinite, either individual or collective amongst a group, yet you do the best you can in putting all your ducks in a row before it’s ‘go’ time.

Let’s take the media coverage, which up until now has been a few articles online and an interview with the NYT. No big deal, but reporters eat this stuff up. Okay fine, this bubble-like habitat is unique and slightly nuts. Sure. Then there’s the whole eating-like-you-live-in-space gig. Interesting, I guess. But when those articles get published and those interviews broadcast, what you don’t expect is the shoes you now fill. I love kids aand am always finding ways to teach students about STEM since I was in high school. But there’s the part of being a “role model” that is almost like winning the spelling bee on the word “blowdryer”. The opportunity is there, you want to take it, but is it that easy?
“You’re a public figure, Josh. Kids now look up to you”…How does someone not help to think that’s the most amazing honor ever all at the same time you’re looking at these projects hanging in their classroom on subjects like quantum mechanics and biomedical engineering?!…

You’re that star now, a guiding light for generations today and in the future. Shine on, just don’t get too hungry.

Mission 5 crew visiting Hawaii Preparatory Academy, 1/16/17
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