[Private Journal] End of Year Review

Hi everyone!
Many of you may not know, but for the last 5 years I’ve been keeping handwritten diaries & journals of my adventures – ranging from purely mundane “To Do” lists, right through to incredibly personal thoughts on life, the universe and everything. And over the last two weeks I’ve been reviewing all 7 books worth of journals I’ve kept since 2011: taking notes, photographing interesting entries and transcribing them ready to be published on Patreon.

It’s been pretty incredible reviewing just how much things have changed, realising things you thought you remembered one way actually happened in completely the reverse order, seeing foreshadowing of the end of relationships (even if I didn’t realise it when I was writing), and collating notes I’d written but forgotten that will certainly help in the years ahead. I’m just about to start reviewing my most recent journal (covering April 2016 to now) and while it’s obviously recent history I’m intrigued to see what ideas and gems of wisdom I came up with during the year but forgot in the rushed chaos this year brought.

As the journals are incredibly personal (and I have to spend a fair bit of time redacting people’s names before publishing them), I’ve restricted publishing so they’re only available to one of the higher level Patreon rewards. However as 2016 closes and I review all that’s happened these last 12 months, I wanted to share one small entry from the end of last year with all of you as a nice way of looking back. Reading it, the similarities between then and where I find myself now are pretty startling, but I’m excited because of two things:

  1. There is 1000x more clarity and less stress now at the end of 2016 than there was when this journal entry was written 12 months ago, and…
  2. After reviewing 5 years of journals, it’s pretty clear that even though things might get REALLY weird… as long as I keep writing, keep asking myself hard questions, and keep trying to act in the highest & best interests of all, things keep getting better and better ūüôā

Enjoy the journal entry, and if you want more the consider becoming a Patron!

All the best in 2017,
Josh

P.S. I love that my scribbling of¬†“Carl Sagan riding a velociraptor while Rick Sanchez rides a honey badger”¬†that became my left shoulder tattoo has bled through the last page ūüėČ

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Day 11, 092
19 December 2015

I wonder where I’ll be in a year. What I’ll be doing, who I’ll be with, and where I’m heading next. I wonder what I’ll have remembered of 2016 best. I wonder what I’ve thrown my energy into most, what has made the biggest difference in my life and in the world.

My best bet is to ask the same questions of myself for 2015 – what have been my favourite moments, what have been the highlights & lowlights. Who has influenced me the most, what have I learnt from each of them, and where have I grown most & least.

Probably best to put all this in the context of Altucher‚Äôs 4 steps: Health, Emotional, Mental & Spiritual. Some area have excelled, some have been refined, some feel like they‚Äôve slipped & some haven‚Äôt moved. There‚Äôs a lot of shit in the air at the moment, so the end of the year clarity you‚Äôd expect is being obstructed by the chaff being thrown out into the air. Meditation is a clear and easy way to stop your mind racing – to free yourself from the mind‚Äôs bullshit, it‚Äôs frantic list making & stress. It‚Äôs useful for working through all you‚Äôve set your heart on, but it‚Äôs also often excessive. Remember the Cult of Done – ideas that take more than a week to work on are unlikely to lead where you need to go. Form good habits and exploit opportunities, but let go of what feels like work. Some things you put off because you want to ‚Äúget it right‚ÄĚ or you think something is more important – either do it, or let it go. Don‚Äôt allow frivolous shit get in the way of your real priorities – focus on what is most important. Ask yourself if what you‚Äôre doing is more important than what you want to do. If you keep being pulled by something minor, ask why it feels so important. Is it just to ‚Äúcomplete‚ÄĚ something? What are you doing it for.

Right now you’re thinking about closing things out Рfinishing Demon Haunted World, finishing the pages in this book, using all the pages in your A4 book. To do those 3 things in the next 10 days will require concerted reading and writing РNOT typing. Not listening to more podcasts. The biggest one is writing Cosmic Nomad, which will require writing on the A4 book AND typing to Evernote. But you should be breaking this up with reading Demon Haunted World. Keep your other distractions to a minimum, develop those good mental habits; and the fitness, emotional & spiritual elements will follow.

Forget the emails – they can ALL wait till January 4th. Read the book & write the show. GO!

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Space – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly [Mars One Update]

There’s been a mountain of recent updates on Mars One over the last few months, so I figured it’d be a a great opportunity to kick off the regular “Space” posts with a full-spectrum round-up of the good, bad and ugly of all that’s happened.

The Good

After a huge amount of initial support and media coverage Mars One has had a really hard time transitioning from a small space startup with an incredible idea into a functioning space company with revenue stable enough to take that incredible idea further. After limping along with a small team trying to make ends meet while encouraging top-end investors to finance a significant proportion of the whole project, the merchandise store and private investment have generated a steady baseline stream of income over the last 3 years and provided the financial evidence of the business plan smaller investors needed.

By splitting¬†Mars One into the not-for-profit “Mars One Foundation” (which will carry out the mission to Mars itself) ¬†and the for-profit “Mars One Ventures”, it’s now far easier for investors to both see the income being generated and to make the decision to invest to as long as they like, regardless of their personal interest or support for a mission to Mars. By making Mars One Ventures more attractive to investors who may not care if the mission succeeds or not (but want a clear and immediate return on investment) and sharing a percentage of the profits made with the not-for-profit Mars One Foundation,¬†they’ve significantly improved the chances of us successfully colonising Mars!

Those chances have only been improved further by an ‚ā¨87 million¬†takeover deal with Innovative Finance AG (aka InFin), where the two companies merged and InFin’s board and shareholders voted to renamed the company as “Mars One Ventures AG” to become Mars One’s for-profit arm. The biggest benefit of the InFin deal is that Mars One is now listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, significantly improving opportunities for international investment as they try to raise ‚ā¨10 million for initial funding. And it’s immediately¬†started to pay off: Mars One just¬†secured a ‚ā¨6 million investment from¬†World Stock & Bond Trade Limited based in Hong Kong!

At the same time Mars One’s continued to research and further develop the technologies that we’ll need to live¬†permanently on Mars. After a massive¬†hold-up waiting for confirmation of ITAR compliance, the design study into Mars One’s surface suits from Paragon Space Development Corporation was finally released! The “Mars One Surface Exploration Suit (SES) Conceptual Design Assessment” is precisely what Mars One needed, but a 40 page of engineering design study isn’t exactly everyone’s cup of tea. Luckily Oscar, Ryan and I were given access to the report before it was published publicly¬†so¬†we could put together an easy-to-read abstract with all the important details.

Among all of this we’ve also seen some really promising research on growing food in Martian soil¬†from a team¬†at¬†Wageningen University, as well as Elon Musk’s huge announcement about the Interplanetary Transport System at the 2016 International Astronautical Congress in Guadalajara – which I could watch in person thanks to everyone’s amazing generosity!

So all in all a pretty incredible year for Mars One and space exploration generally, right?

The Bad

To make that transition from a space startup into a functioning space business – securing the InFin deal, the stock exchange listing, the¬†‚ā¨6 million investment, ect – Mars One had to really look at both their finances and the existing business model, and at what would make them more attractive to mid-level investors (rather than just overly generous billionaires). One of the biggest concerns potential investors had was how aggressive & unforgiving the timeline was to get the first launched to Mars by 2026 – just 10 years to launch a demonstration mission, 2 rovers, 2 surface habitats & 6 additional landing capsules,¬†a transit habitat, and train 24 people to live the rest of their lives on Mars.

All of the candidates got news of the delay confidentially months before, but at the start of December Mars One publicly announced that we’ve¬†delayed the timeline by 5 years with the first crew now launching in 2031. Back in 2012 when Mars One had first said they’d put people on Mars by 2021 I thought it was ludicrous, but also knew that while it probably wasn’t reasonable there was no reason why it wasn’t possible, and wanting to live on Mars is a ludicrous goal¬†in the first place. So I was relieved when the first crew’s launch date was pushed back to 2026 – it meant Mars One was flexible while still making real & measurable progress¬†as time went on.

I’m a physicist and engineer so I can see the technical challenges Mars One will face but also possible solutions – what I couldn’t clearly understand was how we’d pay for it. Being so early in the technology development phase I knew¬†mean’t times and costs would change, but besides the TV revenue and technology licensing it wasn’t exactly really clear to me how we could¬†raise the money to continue with selection, move on to training, or pay the contractors to develop the engineering solutions we needed. So¬†while the delay is technically BAD news,¬†I was genuinely overjoyed when I got news that¬†the first crew launch had been pushed back again to 2031 because the news came¬†bundled with Mars One’s revised business plan. It was the first time that the finance side of things truly made sense to me – the first time I could see a clear and reliably laid-out path forward.

The other “bad” news is that we¬†are definitely not alone in the race to Mars – the Interplanetary Transport System Elon Musk presented at the 2016 IAC¬†laid out a very clear and detailed plan for putting humans on Mars (optimistically) by 2024… even if Elon is giving them all a return ticket. There’s little doubt SpaceX is better financed than Mars One, that they are well and truly already in the rocket-building business, that Musk has a proven track-record of doing “the impossible” and he has repeatedly stated that SpaceX was started for the purpose of making humanity a dual-planet species.

Personally I’ve never cared about being first – like Musk my desire is to make our species a dual-planet one, and the best way I can support that is by putting my hand up to go.¬†So SpaceX’s goal of the first humans on Mars by 2024 doesn’t bother me because I just want SOMEONE to go – I can follow later if the opportunity is there.¬†What’s really interesting to me about SpaceX and the ITS announcement though is that Musk has also said that they¬†would not be training crews internally.

What a heap of folks don’t realise is that SpaceX want to build the trains and the tracks (the rocket that will take people to Mars) as well as the train stations (the Methalox refueling depots on Mars or beyond). But what they’re not going to be doing is training people up to be the conductors (the crew) – that would all be handled by a commercial crew provider… maybe say an organisation that’s planning to select and start training people in 2017 to live permanently on Mars?

The (very) Ugly

Which brings me to the last bit of news I find myself sharing a lot lately: YES! I’m still in the running and still talking about Mars One all the time!¬†After spending most of 2016 overseas¬†touring Cosmic Nomad, I’ve returned to Australia to find¬†no shortage of people asking if I’m “still going to Mars”. And since the US Presidential election a LOT more asking if they can come with me…

With Mars One securing the¬†‚ā¨6 million investment, I’m really excited to say that the next selection phase is going ahead in 2017! We’re not sure exactly¬†when¬†in 2017 (my suspicions are September), but the next¬†phase will start with the 100 remaining candidates getting together in one place forgroup testing. After a brutal 5 days of assessment to reduce the group down to around 40, the remaining candidates will work together in teams to face isolation challenges, followed by an individually grueling “Mars Settler Suitability Interview”. After the interviews just 18 to 36 of us will be offered full-time contracts Mars One, starting over a decade of training to prepare for life on Mars.

And for those of you who didn’t apply back in 2013 but also want to¬†start a new life on a different planet to Donald Drumpf, there is hope for you too: Mars One will be reopening for applications in early 2017!

It’s been a weird a wonderful ride so far, and whatever happens is sure to be life changing – I can’t wait to see what adventures Mars One brings in 2017!

Personal – “Waiting”

 

Hey everyone,
Here’s my first “personal” post, about my experience waiting to hear about my application to the Hi-SEAS mars mission analog in Hawaii. This month is going to be pretty full on as I try to write 4 articles (2 months worth) to get things started here and on my Patreon page at the same time.

Enjoy, and let me know in the comments what your experience has been with waiting for big life-changing events!

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News – Tabula Rasa

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tabula rasa (ňąt√¶bj äl…ô ňąr…Ďňźs…ô)
1. Latin: a scraped tablet (one from which the writing has been erased)
2. an opportunity for a fresh start; clean slate

Hi everyone, Josh Richards here and firstly welcome to joshrichards.space! For those of you not sure what this is all about, a bit of background. In early 2008 I started writing comedy, initially on a mediocre-looking blogspot site with a mixture of poorly thought-out rants with an excess of memes and general weirdness. But it was a springboard for me into the world of comedy and first performing standup later that year.

As I gained more confidence writing and performing comedy, the blogspot site evolved into a hosted domain¬†of my own: themightyginge.com*. The Mighty Ginge ran for over 7 years, and while it fell into disrepair during different chaotic periods of my life, it was always something I could always return, to even when things got really weird…

keith
Between exorcising demons with Keith The Anger Management Koala and discovering the Mars One project, something shifted in 2012 for me though. Over the next few years whatever was fueling the angry and frustrated kid that performed comedy mostly as a safety vent started to give way to something far more driven and focused: an overwhelming determination to help humanity become a dual-planet species.mars-one-spaceship
As I’ve progressed through Mars One’s selection process the last 4 years – filtered through¬†over 200,000 expressions of interest to now being one of the 100 candidates shortlisted worldwide – I’ve had to ask harder and harder questions about¬†why this is important and how I’ll represent myself and the mission. My comedy shows quickly evolved into a combination of comedy storytelling with a space science communication core. Meanwhile much of my writing¬†started to¬†focus more on my travels around the world working in the space industry, as well as speaking to kids and adults about being a candidate for a one-way mission to Mars.
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With my hosting renewal due in June, I decided it was time to move on¬†to a new domain name and let themightyginge.com die. I’d backed-up the site¬†in case I wanted to¬†repost some of my old content on¬†this site, but I wondered whether I wanted the old posts anyway: they were from another time in my life, and I genuinely cringed at a lot of what I’d written pre-2012. A glitch in the backup’s configuration file jumbling¬†the old posts forced my hand, and I decided joshrichards.space would be tabula rasa – a fresh start with a clean slate.

Of course it’s not a¬†completely fresh start though, because you’ll still get the smartass cheek I’ve always written with. But this new site gives me the emotional freedom to write from a broader perspective: a better blend of the serious and the irreverent, like in-depth ethical discussions coupled with ridiculous pug¬†memes.¬†pug-carpet

You’ll also get the exact same claims of this site being “regularly updated” like I¬†made on the Mighty Ginge too¬†– the difference now¬†is I’ll actually do it, because if I don’t I’ll be hearing about it from the people¬†paying me to write!¬†I’ve often asked how people can support what I’m doing and if I’ve written a book, so I’ve started a Patreon page where folks can support both me and my writing.
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Ultimately I want to be writing & talking about what life is like living on the surface of Mars, and the best way I can¬†make that happen is to not only apply to go, but to also write and speak to kids about why it’s important for our whole species to explore space. And the best way people can support that is by becoming a patron.¬†For anything between $1 to $100 a month supporters get early and exclusive access to my articles about space science, engineering, psychology; insights into my personal journey towards living the rest of my life on Mars; early access to book drafts and signed copies when they’re¬†published; entries from the hand-written journals I’ve maintained since applying to Mars One; and even a monthly skype call for a chat with you, your business or your students!

I’m really excited about the prospect of writing about space and my personal experience trying to get to it, so while things ramp up here have a look around both my Patreon page and this new and shiny¬†website too.¬†You can see¬†all the media I’ve done as¬†a Mars One candidate on the Media page, as well as my on-going challenge to complete Richard Horne’s “101 Things To Do Before You Die”. There’s a full run-down on my science communication work, school and corporate speaking, as well as links to watch my standup comedy shows. Finally, you can find all the ways to support what I’m doing on the support page, or get in touch through the contact form.

All my social media on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram is staying the same though, but rest assured there’s a whole new raft of adventures just around the corner. So thanks for sticking¬†with me – it only gets better from here!

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* Please don’t look up themightyginge.com –¬†part of me died when I saw it’s now bizarrely been turned into an installment loan site for people who can’t get credit in Florida.¬†