Something really different, really helpful, and potentially important was started Tuesday evening.
Several months ago, I moved. My mom, and my step-father were as healthy as they were going to get, and I finally felt like I could leave them on their own, again. I set up shop in Tacoma, WA. I felt it was reasonably close to both of my folks, and to Seattle, Vancouver and Portland – where my team is.
Naturally, my landlord looked into me, my background, and our project, before renting to me. Turns out, her brother is very interested in what we’re doing. Over time, he’s become more and more curious, and Tuesday, he decide to get involved. Normally, this is no big deal, folks join the team all the time. But this was different.
1) He’s Columbian. His English is terrible – he only moved to this country three months ago – and my Spanish was worse. He brought his daughter to the meeting, to translate for us. Turns out, he’s a mechanical engineer, interested in robotics, with a background in mining and large-scale food (ice cream!) manufacturing. He’s semi-retired after selling his business, and was looking for something interesting to do.
2) This project has been primarily an “English-language” project. By that, I mean that it is run by Americans, Canadians, Australians and folks from Great Britain. Of course, there are lots and lots and lots of folks from different locations (Japan, Europe, India etc.,) – but the core that links us is that we all use English.
3) What made this different was Jorge’s interest in taking this project – specifically the Lunar rovers – back to Columbia, and to the rest of Latin America. He wants to begin working with universities and government programs to develop the specialty skills needed to design, build, and test Lunar rovers that can scan, dig, transport and cooperate with each other.
I have no idea where this might lead… nowhere… or somewhere vitally important?
But I figured I’d turn to you, and ask if any of you have an interest in helping? Are you a native Spanish (or Portuguese!) speaker? Are you willing to help translate documents? Brainstorm? Open doors?
The rovers, anchor station, spike and other equipment that will operate on the lunar surface is a very poorly understood element of this project. In a very real sense, this is a brand-new sub-element of the overall program. These rovers that my friends from Columbia will begin developing will be extraordinarily challenging. If you’d like to help, send me a message, and I will forward it along to Jorge.
This new team is in its infancy, so let’s incubate it, and help it to grow.
I’m personally very excited by this. I have been ranting for several years about how our team is “old white guys”; that we needed to diversity if we were going to succeed in moving humanity to the stars.
This is, perhaps, the smallest first step.
Take care, mjl