Mars Generation’s Astronaut Abby Says Getting To Mars Is Priority
Elon Musk wants to be the first to take us to Mars. I want to design the first buildings on Mars, and Abigail Harrison wants to be the first astronaut to take Elon’s reusable space Ferrari’s to Mars and live there.
So I decided to interview her. Because she’s cool. Her nickname is Astronaut Abby, she’s part of The Mars Generation (there’s a documentary on Netflix of the same name), and she runs a show, currently on YouTube, called Ask Abby, where she explains cool things and answers interesting questions (“Do Astronauts Need To Know Klingon?”). This is my favorite episode: https://youtu.be/tgalKXq7A0A, because it relates to agriculture, and therefore the things she and her guest talk about would potentially affect the ecosystem if Mars were ever terraformed. She also has a TEDx talk: https://youtu.be/FvvVPyVCKRI
Astronaut Abby is a smart young woman (although older than I am), and I was honored to talk to her:
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1. When I watched the totally awesome The Mars Generation documentary on Netflix a few days ago, one thing wasn’t clear to me. On your Instagram, it says you’re a founder of the Mars Generation in your bio. How exactly was The Mars Generation founded? Is “The Mars Generation” simply a name for a certain generation of Space Camp campers?
The Mars Generation is a 501c3 nonprofit that runs many programs. One is a space camp scholarship program. The Mars Generation movie is a title of a movie about generation Z, the generation slated to go to Mars. It does not just refer to space camp. It just uses space camp as a backdrop. The movie is separate from our nonprofit.
2. So you want to live on Mars one day. Hopefully. Every Mars nerd has a personal reason why Mars is cool. Why are the risks worth it, for you?
I want to go to Mars to explore and bring back what I can, for us to study on Earth. Hopefully my work (along with others) would lead to someday setting up colonies on Mars. The risks are worth it if it furthers science and helps humankind.
3. Let’s say you can bring a few personal items with you to Mars when you move there. Like, a small lamp, or a succulent, or a family memento. (Yes, I know that that would increase the weight on the ship and therefore the cost of your flight, but just bear with me and pretend that won’t happen.) What would be your Martian keepsakes?
I would bring my favorite books and photos of my family and friends.
4. Where on Mars would you want to live? Mars is like Earth, it’s not all the same, and every location has a little special something. I assume you’ve memorized very spot on the Martian map, soooo, where would you like the colony you live in to be?
I do not plan to live on Mars long-term. We first need to get astronauts to Mars, to explore the planet and learn about it. I do not anticipate in my lifetime we will colonize Mars. We have a lot of work to do before this will happen.
5. Do you have another, quieter passion? Other than space and Mars? Like baking, or stamp collecting, for instance?
I am a dancer, I play violin, I bake, and do many other things. I believe in being well-rounded.
6. What are a few of your favorite books? They can be space-related, or no. (I hear you like Harry Potter?)
I love Harry Potter and Lord of The Rings.
7. I’m sort of branching off of my favorite episode of Ask Abby, with your guest and friend Morgan Irons – what plants do you want grown on Mars? (I’m thinking coffee plants, the Torch Lily – it would certainly look cool, the chocolate plant…)
I don’t have an answer to this. Whatever plants we decide can grow will be what we grow.
8. Is terraforming Mars a priority for you? Or do you care more about getting there first?
No, terraforming Mars is not a priority for me. Getting to Mars is priority.
9. Who’s the coolest person you’ve ever met on your journey so far? Who do you want to meet in the future?
I can’t answer this. I have been lucky to meet so many amazing people. My favorite meetings are with passionate students who have big dreams and are willing to share them with me.
10. Lastly, do you have any advice for smaller, younger yous all around the world?
Try everything you can in school, and pick your path of studies as you get older based on what excites you and you are passionate about. This will lead to an amazing life. Dream big, and talk about those dreams!
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Astronaut Abby is on Instagram at @astronautabbyofficial and Twitter at @AstronautAbby. This is the link to the non-profit: http://www.themarsgeneration.org
It was wonderful to talk with her.