I am making this blog post because I wanted to let everybody know that this weekend I am leaving San Diego for good.
I have been working on a move for some time, with the hope of pursuing some other ventures and saving money from what is a very expensive region to live in.
I applied to be a remote scientist for NASA/SpaceX. Their program includes evaluating introverts and their ability to withstand hyper-isolation, much deeper than the sort of social distance we are currently doing.
As part of the mission to put future Astronauts at the Moon and Mars, they are looking for the right personality type. My type, which included an extreme predisposition for introversion, was selected as one of the four first cases.
Where I Am Headed – Incommunicado For A Year
Each person will be placed at an extreme remote island throughout the world, with supplies, gear, and instructions. All supplies are designed to last a year. We have been tasked with taking those supplies and finding ways to make them last 2 years while maintaining an adequate caloric diet.
The idea is to foster ingenuity that may be needed during a venture into deep space. We will replicate text-based contact with the Johnson or Marshall Space Centers which will purposely take 30-60 minutes.
I have already been trained for Earth-based survival and I am proud to announce I will be living at Bouvet Island, the most remote island on planet Earth. I will have no ability to communicate outside of Space Command, so for me, it will be “Houston (or Huntsville), we have a problem.” I won’t even have a camera to use. All I will have is some equipment that captures only X-ray and infrared radiation.
Leaving This Planet, and More
I got the best appointment which leaves me the most isolated. This is because my personality assessment put me at the front of the line to go to Mars. Those with less introverted personalities will likely step foot on the Moon.
While not announced yet, Elon Musk is also hoping to extend the mission to visit Triton. This is dynamic atmospheric moon of Saturn. I have already been through some atmospheric testing. This was designed to combat the oppressive air pressure and oxidation from long-term ammonia exposure. I will also need to build an internal nitrogen-rich environment in their Triton-built tent apparatus. I am glad to have some time off from having to drive continually to their Bolsa Chica facility for this unpaid training.
So on that note, I wish everybody the best. I won’t be seeing you anytime soon, if ever. Maybe you’ll get a text message from me from space, 30-60 minutes after I send it.
While I didn’t get a chance to say goodbye to everybody, goodbye San Diego, I hope my children’s grandchildren can someday afford to live there.
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T.M. Schultze is a San Diego-based photographer, traveller, and writer. He writes, photographs, and draws things of the outdoors that have inspired humans for thousands of years. He co-authored the Photographer’s Guide to Joshua Tree Park which can be purchased here.