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Mars, Star Wars, and Katapult Engineering

The race to Mars. Who's in?

The big players in the race to Mars all state that sometime in the 2020’s we will see an Earthling step out on Mars for the first time.

Mars One, the group from the Netherlands plan on sending volunteers on a one way trip in hopes to colonize the red planet claiming to colonize by 2026 or by 2027 (It takes a while to get there) despite changing their plans a couple times.

SpaceX, championed by CEO Elon Musk is also claiming the year 2026 as his target to land a human on Mars. This is probably not a coincidence, since Mars One is betting on Musk because as of now they will need his rocket to get there.

NASA is also in this race, although it seems they are taking a bit more conservative route and estimating it will take them until the 2030’s to have a manned Mars attempt.

Either way, in the next 15 years we should see some significant leaps and bounds in technological advances in the field of space travel in hopes to win the race to put a human on Mars.

The big question I know you are all asking yourselves, where is Katapult on this timeline? Well, we don’t know yet. We aren’t signing people up to volunteer, we aren’t doing a round of funding in order to build a space shuttle or begin prototyping a biosphere like housing solution. But, we are trying to grow up a generation who will carry us into the next frontier that lies a mere 62 miles above us. We are building a team that is passionate about technology and passionate about people.

We believe that there are many parallel technologies that Martians will need in order to survive that we can find right here on Earth. How do you garden on a planet like Mars? How do you survive dust storms that last a month? How do you stay fit?

Before we explore these questions, let me answer ones I get from family and friends who are intrigued by our quest. The question I get the most, is “why work so hard to live on Mars? Why don’t we just fix the planet we do have that’s way easier to live on?” That’s a fantastic question.

We need to absolutely work on fixing the problems we have on this planet. And Katapult hopes to be of help along the way, but the pursuit of Mars will help us develop the technological advances needed to help with life here on Earth. So, while fixing the Earth should be our primary goal and plan A. If by achieving Plan A. we also get ourselves halfway to plan B. that's a super win. Nobody knows yet the actual implications of life on Mars will be like. We have lots of good data and evidence that it's not a friendly planet, nor will it sustain life anytime soon. So, we need to keep in mind that we have a perfectly good planet here, it's just that time is not on our side, and we need to rapidly develop the technologies necessary to give our planet a chance. This is our home, it will always be our home, but we are currently doing a lot of bad things to it and if we don't stop, Earth could end up just like Mars. But, we should not journey to Mars out of fear, we should journey to Mars for the sake of human development on Earth and the amazing achievements that will come from this journey. Just as we look back at that pivotal time in our history when we first landed a human on the moon, we will be able to look back at that pivotal time we landed a human on Mars.

It's like the first time you watch Star Wars. It's a story that takes you away and inspires you to dream big and fight for something. And the good part is that it's true! All of it. So while we may not know exactly how we will solve gardening or epic dust storms or retaining muscle on Mars, we do know that there is another planet out there that we can observe closely and is in our reach that with a bit of help and creativity we could for the first time in our known human history live and sustain life on another planet, and that's a very very big deal.

In conclusion, if you haven't been living under a rock, you have already seen that the new Star Wars trailer was recently released for Episode VII The Force Awakens. Yes, go and watch it if you haven’t yet, it’s beautiful and amazing and looks like J.J. Abrams is doing everything right just like he did with Star Trek. So in honor of the Star Wars news I will end this blogpost in an applicable Star Wars fashion.

Here are three quotes that we can apply in our daily lives.

“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” We need to not let fear take over or fuel (Fill in the blank_______ ) “Our pursuit to Mars”...”Parenting our children” etc...Master Yoda said that. So true.

Also, without goals, without something to reach for, who will we become? What will we achieve? “Always remember, your focus determines your reality.”- Qui-Gon Jinnsaid that to young Anakin who we know turned to the dark side and became Darth Vader, however, when I hear that, I think, if we focus on where we want to go it makes our path as a company defined in the way that we take on new opportunities and bring on new awesome people to build awesome things.

And lastly a quote I should put above my desk here at the office, “Do. Or do not. There is no try”-again, wise words from master Yoda. Going out and giving it the old college try is simply not good enough. I am not a task oriented person, but when I commit to things that matter to people and a relationship hinges on that task, it becomes important to me, and I do it. So figure out what works for you, and do do do! Look for our second episode from the #25Y2M blog coming out in the next two weeks, and don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel. If you missed our first episode go watch it here:

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