Space Café Podcast

Paul Niel - Ditching Big Finance for adventure: Exploring Earth and Beyond

February 13, 2024 Markus Mooslechner, Paul Niel Season 1 Episode 100
Paul Niel - Ditching Big Finance for adventure: Exploring Earth and Beyond
Space Café Podcast
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Space Café Podcast
Paul Niel - Ditching Big Finance for adventure: Exploring Earth and Beyond
Feb 13, 2024 Season 1 Episode 100
Markus Mooslechner, Paul Niel

SpaceWatch.Global is pleased to present: The Space Café Podcast #100:  Ditching Big Finance for adventure: Exploring Earth and Beyond with Paul Niel  

Episode 100 features special guests:  Paul Niel

Join Markus for a compelling episode of the Space Café Podcast, where he embarks on a journey through the remarkable adventures of Paul Niel. Niel, an explorer and adventurer, delves into his experiences from unearthing ancient relics to embarking on space analog missions. This episode is a testament to the human spirit of exploration, whether scaling the highest peaks or simulating life on Mars. 

3 Memorable Quotes by Paul Niel:

1. "Exploration is not just about reaching new places; it's about expanding our understanding and pushing the limits of human potential."

2. "The beauty of our planet and the mystery of space are two sides of the same coin, each inspiring us to explore and discover."

3. "From the depths of oceanic caves to the possibility of life on Mars, every adventure enriches our perspective and knowledge of the world and beyond."

List of All Links or Names Shared: 

• Paul Niel Website: https://paulniel.com/

• The Loop - Documentary about an Adventure at the Doorstep: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=18w_JkXtR2A

• Project Avenger: https://www.project-avenger.com/

• Azores CAMoes Analog Mission: https://www.montanheiros.com/camoesproject/

• The Explorers Club: https://www.explorers.org/

 

Choice of Music for the Spotify Playlist for the Aspiring Astronaut

Groove Armada - At the River. A tune that reflects the contemplative and adventurous spirit of exploration. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-uztVX6QFQ


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Show Notes Transcript

SpaceWatch.Global is pleased to present: The Space Café Podcast #100:  Ditching Big Finance for adventure: Exploring Earth and Beyond with Paul Niel  

Episode 100 features special guests:  Paul Niel

Join Markus for a compelling episode of the Space Café Podcast, where he embarks on a journey through the remarkable adventures of Paul Niel. Niel, an explorer and adventurer, delves into his experiences from unearthing ancient relics to embarking on space analog missions. This episode is a testament to the human spirit of exploration, whether scaling the highest peaks or simulating life on Mars. 

3 Memorable Quotes by Paul Niel:

1. "Exploration is not just about reaching new places; it's about expanding our understanding and pushing the limits of human potential."

2. "The beauty of our planet and the mystery of space are two sides of the same coin, each inspiring us to explore and discover."

3. "From the depths of oceanic caves to the possibility of life on Mars, every adventure enriches our perspective and knowledge of the world and beyond."

List of All Links or Names Shared: 

• Paul Niel Website: https://paulniel.com/

• The Loop - Documentary about an Adventure at the Doorstep: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=18w_JkXtR2A

• Project Avenger: https://www.project-avenger.com/

• Azores CAMoes Analog Mission: https://www.montanheiros.com/camoesproject/

• The Explorers Club: https://www.explorers.org/

 

Choice of Music for the Spotify Playlist for the Aspiring Astronaut

Groove Armada - At the River. A tune that reflects the contemplative and adventurous spirit of exploration. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-uztVX6QFQ


Send us a Text Message.

You can find us on Spotify and Apple Podcast!

Please visit us at
SpaceWatch.Global, subscribe to our newsletters. Follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter!

[00:00:00] Markus: Hello, everyone. This is Space Cafe Podcast, and I'm Markus. 

[00:00:09] Space can feel dauntingly large and the topic left for massive international conglomerates and regulators. But then you hear about someone who decides to do something this cool. Massive kudos go out to one of our listeners whose comment in our last episode really stood out to me.

[00:00:38] It was about Egbert Edelbrock and his mission to aid humanity in safely procreating in space. I particularly appreciate this comment as it echoes a sentiment often overshadowed in a world dominated by the industry's heavyweights. Far from opposing the big names, I view them as the starships propelling space exploration, offering immense payload capacity and momentum for change.

[00:01:09] However, it's crucial not to overlook the payload and our ultimate destination. in the first place. Now let me introduce another someone who just decides to do something this cool, echoing our listener once more. Meet Paul Neil, a true adventurer and esteemed member of the Explorers Club, akin to legendary figures like Sir Edmund Hillary, Thor Heyerdahl, and Ernest Shackleton.

[00:01:42] Paul Neil, having scaled the tallest peaks on each continent and unearthed relics from dinosaurs to World War fighter jets, ventured beyond the realms of big finance in search of fulfillment. Now with his sights set on space exploration, we dive into his story in this captivating episode. Welcome, Paul Neil, to the show. Paul. 

[00:02:17] Thanks so much for taking the time to be on the show.

[00:02:20] Paul: It's a pleasure. Thank you. Thanks for having me.

[00:02:23] Markus: Paul, where are you based right now?

[00:02:26] Paul: Right now, I'm in Sintra, which is a beautiful village just outside Lisbon in Portugal.

[00:02:35] Markus: Portugal. Wonderful. I visited Portugal like, I don't know, 30 years ago and there was, that beauty about Portugal was there was no tourism yet. And, and you could get, go to all those fancy castles and, and stay overnight in castles. So that, that was really beautiful. To go to a country where there is no mass tourism yet.

[00:03:00] Paul: I'm sad to report that I think that

[00:03:03] situation has fundamentally changed. Um, and in particular in the place that I live.

[00:03:09] Um, so, tourism is here, I think, intense.

[00:03:16] Markus: Hmm.

[00:03:18] Paul: Sintra is a UNESCO World Heritage Area. There is four different areas that are considered, like, of particular beauty, castles and palaces. So, um, it's incredible the amount of tourists that are coming through. Now, having said that That tourism mostly considers coming here from, I think so, like 9. 30 in the morning till about 5 in the evening. And outside these times, it's a very sleepy, um, beautiful, ancient, historic place and, uh, it's great to live. And on your question in Portugal, I think there are still places out in the countryside where you still can experience the non mass tourism, like the Hidden Gems. But obviously Lisbon in particular, and Porto, and Portugal as a country has been now very high

[00:04:08] on the tourism focus list for the last decade, I think. So, uh, no. Sadly, I need to disappoint. No more Hidden Gems.

[00:04:19] Markus: Paul, what brings you to Portugal? 

[00:04:20] Paul: Yes, so I'm originally Austrian. I grew up, uh, in, uh, what we would consider the end of the world, but relatively remote in Austria. And, um, but I left my home country, um, in my last year of my studies and then, um, towards the globe by living in New York, London, spent a

[00:04:43] decade now in Hong Kong. And about Two years ago, I resettled with my family to Portugal, coming back home to, um, Europe and deciding that, um, my wife's Dutch and I couldn't decide to go to the Netherlands and she couldn't be convinced by myself to go back to Austria, so we need to be Define a neutral place, and Portugal it was.

[00:05:08] Well,

[00:05:11] Markus: So how long will you still stay? Because you seem to be like a globe trotting person. You feel that itch already?

[00:05:23] Paul: yes, there's always two sides to the coin. There's always places one wants to go, but with a family that is more difficult these

[00:05:29] days. But I'm, I remember coming to Hong Kong and saying I'm going to stay here for a year or two and I stayed. 11.

[00:05:37] Um, so I, I, I'm, I'm probably not the best person to make predictions about my future my future living situation.

[00:05:46] Markus: interesting. Paul, um, you, you're not only a wide, widely, And wildly traveled person. Um, you've seen quite a bit of places on earth that other people wouldn't usually see, like the big mountains. And when I'm talking about the big mountains, the very big ones, the um, Everest region and whatnot. So looking back on your life. What's the greatest adventure so far?

[00:06:23] Paul: Um, it's a very good question. Um,

[00:06:27] Markus: Maybe a family.

[00:06:28] Paul: huh, in terms of objectively, I will probably say being father fatherhood is probably the biggest adventure I could embark on.

[00:06:36] Um, but uh, in terms of. 

[00:06:39] Markus: like

[00:06:39] Paul: Adventure is defined as going somewhere in, in, in remote places. It's, it's difficult to decide because there is enormous variety on our planet in terms of, um, habitats, um, beauty, remoteness. I think one thing I learned is that, um, Adventure and wild places does not necessarily need to mean to be very, very far away from home. Um, I have over the last decade, um, also experienced really amazing adventures very close to home. And that have given sometimes a very unique angle on places that have, that I have already experienced so, so often.

[00:07:32] So it's, um, it's hard to define, uh, look, uh, this. This Valerie Mote place in this corner of Tibet is, is a fantastic place. Yes, it is. But so is that cliffside and hidden beach and sea cave that I found Less than a kilometer distance from my apartment in Hong Kong. So, um, it is, um, I find the beauty sometimes with these adventures that we're living in such a hectic world that we sometimes think we need to jump in an airplane very far away to, uh, find Um, truly remote and wild places and the the beauty is that even now living here in Portugal, I can have a fantastic, um, incredible wild adventure not far from, uh, from my house.

[00:08:27] Markus: adventure is ready wherever you go once you're ready for it. So adventure can be around around your corner. I mean, like Some rock climbers use buildings as their next challenge. So it doesn't really matter where you go. It's um, I like that. I really like that. What you, what you're saying right now. So it's don't run too far.

[00:08:52] Your next destination may just be around your corner.

[00:08:56] Paul: Exactly. I mean, I give you an example. Um, but five years ago, I did an expedition together with my wife. We both lived in Hong Kong together at that time. And all we did, we walked one day in the morning out of our front door of our apartment, took the elevator to the ground, walked the shortest line to the shoreline.

[00:09:17] And we lived at that time on Hong Kong Island. And once we hit the shore, all we did, um, we took a right turn and climbed. and hiked all along the shoreline of Hong Kong Island until we visit you. Head surrounded the whole island, and I think the distance is about 70 kilometers. Well, no, I'm not saying, no, it's probably more than that because it's like all these caves in and out, etc. And it didn't need any transport, it didn't need any airplane, etc. to go to a wild place. And I'll tell you the adventures we had. It took us six days and nights that we camped and stayed in Bivouac and, um, uh, uh, along the Along the shoreline were unique. We made a documentary out of it. We, we, we, uh, uh, fantastic photos.

[00:10:06] We sampled the water quality. We create actually some quite a lot of scientific reports out of it. But what I take away from that part was that, yes, all it took was Going out of the front door and taking a different corner, a different turn than I would have usually done if I go to work, maybe.

[00:10:28] Markus: I like that. Don't take a right, take a left. When, if you're always taking a right, this is, that's really, I, I sometimes, I sometimes play with that because when I'm commuting to my workplace, I'm, I'm also on autopilot, like most of the time. And sometimes I challenge myself to just not do what I'm intending to do and take a different route and, and surprise myself.

[00:10:54] So, um, it's a little game I think everyone can play. So, and you took it to the, to literal extreme. I like that. I really like that. Any takeaways from that? Is, is this something, um, that runs through your life to sometimes take the opposite direction of what your gut tells you to do?

[00:11:16] Paul: Um, I think the connecting line that probably runs through is definitely a curiosity to do something new. Um, for example, a rule, I cannot do a cycle ride around my neighborhood without at least having taken one road. Or at least one part of the track that I have not done before,

[00:11:37] because there needs to be something new, um, experience.

[00:11:41] I'm not sure how long I keep that up, uh,

[00:11:43] because eventually you run out of potential options. But, uh, I think the, there is the common thread that I, that I, that I have a passion for, um, discovery or going somewhere new or doing something new. And that's not just generally. Meant as geographically new, but there is also a passion to basically learn more about new areas or new new fields.

[00:12:10] And, um, that has in the past brought me in contact with incredible people and, um, allowed me to learn about a lot of new subjects and then using skills that have built up on other things and expedition exploration in, in in other fields. I,

[00:12:32] Markus: That means that any place can turn into an adventure, any place, so there is no excuse. It can be your sidewalk, can be your kitchen, can be anything. I think, um, if I understand you correct, it's It's all about letting go of routine. Routine is the killer and letting go of that opens new doors and new adventure, daily adventure.

[00:13:00] I

[00:13:04] Paul: I, I feel there is a place for routine and certain things need to be routine. And I'm obviously having run in expeditions. Sometimes it's very important that there is certain things that are scripted and, and predetermined. Um, and we obviously, um, uh, operate in, in certain routines, but I think it's very important that we keep our eyes open for some things where Uh, because we do all the time the same thing, we restrict ourselves to see new horizons, see new, new, things.

[00:13:34] And as I say, they can be, it's a very good, um, example you bring, your sidewalk. And I just observed my 80 year old daughter sometimes how she strives through the world and sees things that we may be, that me as an adult just doesn't see anymore because I have seen this already. All the time, so almost going through the world with a child's eyes.

[00:13:56] Markus: tell us a little bit about yourself because, uh, Uh, this is called the Space Cafe Podcast, so we should obviously talk about space. We haven't done so, but, so my friends out there, please bear with me. This is going to be a wild ride, as you may have imagined already. We're going to end up in space or with, uh, we're talking about space, but, uh, we need a little buildup here.

[00:14:19] Um, so Paul, um. Tell us a bit, a little bit about your journey from working in finance to becoming an adventurer and explorer. What, what happened in your life?

[00:14:35] Paul: Well, as I mentioned already, I'm sometimes not very good in pre planning ahead with very long, with very long dated plans. I think I was interested in exploration and learning new things already as a, as a small boy. And I loved space. I remember reading, uh, uh, books on a very particular book, actually, about the Gemini program.

[00:15:02] Uh, um, I remember boring that from the library when I was 12. Clearly, way too complicated for me yet to read, but I just loved the, the pictures of the spaceships and how it all together. I could name the, uh, uh, the astronauts and, uh, uh, later the, uh, obviously the astronauts that walked on the moon. Um, but I obviously, I grew up in a family that, uh, my, my dad is a mountain guide and my mother, uh, is a ski instructor.

[00:15:32] We're both teachers, but they spent, the family was basically very much, um, um, spending time outdoors. Uh, things were about climbing a mountain, seeing a cave, doing something. It, it was very much driven outdoors and doing new things. So obviously mountains were clearly something I was. Drawn to, um, and that was something I came back to. And it's just in my journey started with doing a lot of, um, mountaineering when I was a kid, as a teenager, busy doing this with my, my parents together, and then completely stopping it. The sort of the, the teenage rebellion saying like, I don't want to do that. Now I need to find my own path. And I embarked on that.

[00:16:15] And my other passion was clearly for numbers and mathematics and very analytical mind. And I, I, I couldn't really make up what to study because I'm, I'm interested in a lot of things. And the one thing I learned is if you, when I, when I wanted to decide on my studies, I, as I couldn't decide what I did, I, uh, to, to focus on, I, Came across statistics, because apparently statistics studies everything a little bit and touches, you don't need to make a decision.

[00:16:46] You just basically learn everything a little bit. So, um, that's what I studied. And, um, it, it really was something I, I, I found myself and, um, the part where it's most, most interesting was I ended up in, in finance, which was an interesting learning journey for myself. I was surrounded by people that, Doing a lot of incredible thing.

[00:17:11] And it's very challenging. It's very intellectually challenging. Um, but I reached at one time also the horizon where I felt like, look, this is, I have learned what I wanted to, there is not more to, to add and parallel about the same time in my life, I rediscovered. My passion for mountains and as sometimes paths overlap, I, I got brought on this rather ridiculous idea to go and climb a mountain in, in Africa.

[00:17:41] And I joined it without very much training. I almost, uh, I almost didn't make it back. It's maybe a little bit overdramatic, but I was, my, my, my, my pride in having it, being able to achieve everything was seriously hurt by suffering really on this, on, um, on this trip. But what has been sort of what resurfaced was my passion for the outdoors.

[00:18:05] And that's what I started, um, pursuing more. And I realized very quickly that The passion in my sense doesn't come from like going necessarily to the goals or mountains that are really high label places, like, uh, uh, but they are, I'm very much drawn to places that are sort of a wide spec on the, on the map, um, newly, newly areas.

[00:18:35] And in mountaineering, there's obviously places, uh, mountains that have not been climbed before. And that became, became a passion and I sort of, to fast forward this, uh, came another change where I basically got in contact, not just with mountaineers, but on one of these expeditions with Um, scientists, they basically venture in, in places very remotely to obviously discover knowledge that goes beyond the pure geographic, um, sense, but basically by either, um, making new discovering, but testing new things. And I realized this is actually very interesting. Here I can combine my passion for going to new places with learning a lot of new things. And this was sort of the red line, um, since then using my knowledge that I have gained from previous expeditions, as you mentioned to some of these. the the highest places on the, on the planet or remotest places on the planet and my logistical knowledge to help scientists and experts in their fields to go there and discover new knowledge and that has allowed me to partake in, um, Expeditions that were focused on paleontology, on archaeology, and most recently also in various, uh, space related scientific discoveries.

[00:20:04] Markus: That's crazy. And then, um, there are so, so many, so many angles, so many tangents that, that you're taking. Yo, I already mentioned. In a discussion we had before, before that recording, that you at some point, you were looking or digging up a dinosaur or looking for a dinosaur, then you discovered an airplane from the Second World War.

[00:20:31] What is going on here?

[00:20:34] Paul: Um, so one thing I discovered, or one passion that I have, I have a passion for, obviously, exploration and going to remote places, and I have another passion that

[00:20:44] is related to technology. Um, there is a geeky

[00:20:48] side to me. I love, uh, I mean, with There's the geeky side of space, there's the geeky side of technology, of deep tech. And there is clearly an overlap of these two areas

[00:20:59] where you can bring technology in exploration. When we now look at explorers from the past, from a hundred years ago, on black and white photographs, how they moved to the jungle, um, for example, they went into remote places. Well, let's just take the, the first expeditions to Everest. When in the 1920s, the British went to expeditions to Everest, what did they use? They used to go there and they used the latest technology that became available. They used oxygen

[00:21:25] tanks with masks that they used to basically counter the problems they experienced with altitude. So we've always used latest technology, or to some extent, to go, uh, into the field. And why not now? Why can we not use latest technology? to basically revolutionize certain ways how we go into the field and this part has fascinated me. So I was fortunate enough to be part of an expedition in now six years ago that headed into the Gobi Desert. And the idea was to reconstruct the path of a, um, explorer in the 1920s, Roy Chapman Andrews, who is supposed to be the real life, uh, Um, Indiana Jones, and, uh,

[00:22:15] he, at, he, at that time, 100 years ago, went into the Gobi Desert with the latest technology that he could find, which was obviously at that time the automobile. So he took cars and

[00:22:25] drove with them into the into the desert. And when we prepared this expedition, the analogy was found, it's like, what is the, what is the equivalent now? What we can do? What is groundbreaking now? What we haven't discovered are used in technology to basically go. And search for dinosaur fossils. So, 100 years ago, uh, Roy Chapman Andrews, he found the first dinosaur eggs. He essentially set out to find, uh, he wanted to prove, his thesis was he wanted to prove that humans actually came from the Gobi desert, not from Africa or Homo sapiens. So, he said, what's the latest tech? And we found that, um, through some connection as it happens in life, we found this idea was born, can you use drones to search for, um, uh, fossils? Now, searching for fossils sounds very glamorous, but in reality, actually you go around, um, on the surface, on the sandy surface, and you look very. You train the eye to spot fossils which look slightly different than

[00:23:39] rocks, and you go there and

[00:23:41] be very concentrated to do that. Now this sounds very similar, like letting an algorithm run over a picture that you train, and if you now just find a high resolution image of the surface that you can film with a drone, you obviously could. Mechanically outsource and automatize the search of searching for fossils. And then you can take it even a spectrum further. And it's like, yeah, but the human eye can only search a certain spectrum of light. Uh, we can develop cameras that can, um, uh, find a much longer spectrum of light. So we use instead of just, um, normal light cameras, we use hyperspectral imaging. For the same task, can we maybe even find a higher granularity? And we put that in,

[00:24:31] in practice. Team I was, we, we, we flew the drone extensively. And in just two weeks we found, I think, um, 300 plus, 300 plus new fossil sites, and I think two, two or three new species. It's just incredible because in two weeks the team discovered so much work that probably the paleontologists that now need to dig out these fossils and put them to the lab are for years occupied. So, one technological breakthrough, the next

[00:24:59] bottleneck. So, that is, that also in essence is the, the fascination with, um, with bringing technology and exploration. Um, and this is basically what I'm trying to do with, uh, all the projects that I'm, that I'm involved in.

[00:25:18] Markus: Fascinating. What about that aeroplane?

[00:25:22] Paul: Yeah, the aeroplane was, um, was an interesting story. I, I was, um, I was researching World War II history in, in, in China, and in particular in Hong Kong where I lived at that time. And I came across some amateur, some researchers that, um, amateur historians that were going out into the field with the metal detectors, um, every weekend to, um, rediscovering of that sites that the jungle has, has taken in the past. And, um, they had stumbled above some wreckage site that just didn't

[00:25:59] fit into the time period. And they couldn't make out what that was. And we get in the archives and then suddenly started to crystallize. Oh, this could be, actually, it could be an American airplane. Uh,

[00:26:11] but we, which is obviously interesting geopolitically because an American airplane these days on Chinese soil opens another kind of can of, um,

[00:26:19] A can of worms and, um, makes it very, um, Very easy to basically, I learned my lesson in geopolitics on that, on

[00:26:27] that trip. But the hardest part was that in order to excavate the permitting process required a physical person. to be present. A physical expert on that particular plane, which was an archaeologist out of the United States. And we

[00:26:46] had everything ready to go for the project by November 2019. And then just when the archaeologists wanted to fly over, the protests in Hong Kong erupted, and we had to postpone because no insurance wanted to take That, and so we decided in November 2019 to delay the project by six months.

[00:27:05] And then we all know what happened in March, April, 2020, um, the world closed down and the city that probably closed down the most of all was, um, Hong Kong. Because at one stage we had to sit for three weeks in solitary confinement in a hotel room to basically go into the city. So it was basically impossible to get the expert for the plane into the city.

[00:27:31] So what's the solution? And basically it's a solution that we borrowed from, partially from space, partially from expert industries, where we now are able, if we don't have physical presence in a certain space, we literally just We can recreate spaces virtually. I mean, the whole time period obviously coincided with the metaverse craziness, um, around the, the

[00:28:00] globe. And at one stage we just decided, what if we, instead of physically getting these archaeologists in to help us dig out the plain, what if we just rebuild everything digitally? What if we scan the parts, uh, create virtual models, upload them, and, um, have the experts, um, use VR goggles and, and analyze the, uh, the, the

[00:28:24] parts and, and, and, and it's a workflow that's basically used these days, um, on, which, which actually has used in various professional industry, in particular during COVID also in the, in the, in the pandemic, and, uh, it worked flawlessly. Actually, the time difference worked very much in the favor, because there's a 12 hour time difference, so by the time we

[00:28:49] had finished all our scanning, we uploaded it, the experts were, um, uh, checking out the models, gave us all the input by the time we woke up and went back out into the field, uh, we had already all the comments, so we had like a 24 hour workflow.

[00:29:03] And the takeaway, I think that's very interesting, is that in the future, we don't necessarily need all these huge expert teams somewhere to go to. We can just virtually pull much more knowledge already with us. And I think this is valid for projects, obviously, as we go to remote corners on the planet. Um, all you need is probably like a satellite dish that gives you an

[00:29:28] internet connection. Um, and you can somebody

[00:29:30] there and even more so, um, uh, in space.

[00:29:36] Markus: Fantastic. So what, where was the plane from? What's, what's, what's the, the answer to the question, into the big question you initially had.

[00:29:45] Paul: Um, the plane indeed turned out to be a U. S. Navy torpedo, uh, bomber that crashed, um, on the 16th of January, 1945 in, um, in the jungle in Hong Kong. Basically the only, um, air raid. That was launched by the U. S. Navy in Hong Kong, um, and we could determine the exact, um, members of the crew. And I think for me, what, what was the most personal touching moment was that we could even get in touch with the personal, with the, um, uh, family of the crew members, the surviving

[00:30:20] family. And they actually wrote us letters that they never really learned where the deceased serviceman basically died.

[00:30:31] And that basically sort of gives a closure on the whole chapter and the story. And it's sort of this personal story which actually made it very personal. Like it made it very touching for me, for me too. Besides, obviously, all the adventurous part, but there is obviously some, uh, element that really touches people's lives.

[00:30:57] Markus: Fantastic. Fantastic. Um, Paul, we, we got in touch, you and I, through an analog mission you did, uh, not long ago. An analog mission, uh, meaning a simulation of a future Mars mission, that is. Um, so can you talk a little bit about that? What, what you did, what it was?

[00:31:21] Paul: Mm hmm,

[00:31:22] Markus: How you got into that? I mean, like you, you just dug up a, a second world war aeroplane after discovering a bunch of dinosaur remnants.

[00:31:35] And now you're, we're moving into space into simulating our next, our next big journey. So, um, take us along on that ride.

[00:31:45] Paul: Yeah, um, very gratefully. Um. So, I, with my move to Portugal, I was looking very much to trying to get an understanding. What is this, the new country, new surroundings, new network. And, um, similar like I'm, we had in, with this airplane, I wanted to do something also for the, um, uh, locally. And I was particularly fascinated by the, by the ESORs. And, um, I had a common friend from Hong Kong who, um, was an explorer, a mountaineer and did a course in. In space, uh, space sides and participated on several analog, uh, space missions. And I was brainstorming with him. Is there something possible with, um, to then to, to, um, um, something space related? I was, it was a new topic.

[00:32:43] Some a, a new area I wanted to get up to date. And as I started digging in, I learned that actually, I'm just trying to duplicate efforts that are already actually being done. There is already a team in Portugal, um, in place, some amazing people that already were working on putting, um, uh, a, uh, to make an analog mission reality and we connected. And that was, it was like when you meet with. To some extent, soulmates, people that think very similar. And I had the pleasure to meet, um, uh, Dr. Anna Pires, who, uh, is a geologist at, um, uh, uh, the Institute in Porto, uh, in JSTEC, Robotics Institute. And, um, she was working on a project to, uh, put, um, to create a permanent, uh, space analog space habitat, the research habitat in the Azores, which the Azores is an island chain that belongs to Portugal. in the middle of the Atlantic. And it has this very unique geological features of, um,

[00:33:51] uh, obviously a volcanic. They, they, uh, they were, um, came out of the Atlantic, uh, surface through, uh, volcanic eruptions and was this idea to create a research place. And over discussion, we ideated that probably the best thing is to run a proof of concept and put a mission crew together. And, um, put it in, um, put it into action. And I think actually when we discussed this, I wasn't 100 percent clear whether I'm actually part, I don't think I really voice it, but somehow I was included on the roster. And of course it's an opportunity not to say, um, um,

[00:34:30] uh, no to. And I think what

[00:34:33] was the most fascinating element for me. was that we were seven people that were part of this analog mission that were in, in the simulation. And I was the only non scientist. And I think

[00:34:46] that gave a very unique, for me, it was very unique because I had all these experts that in their fields doing the experiments and I'm here, the layman. Um, I, my function on the mission was, uh, to be responsible for logistics and communications.

[00:35:05] It's clearly a field that brought in from my, my previous expertise, but I felt more, I'm the, the helper and the support on all the, uh, on all the experiments that were run. And for me personally, it was a fascinating and unique journey of, um, of knowledge and learning. So the whole mission was. The mission was called, um, Azores Kamois, uh, Cave Analog Mission, um, uh, Ocean, Sea, and Space. And, uh, It happened in November of last year, uh, where the seven of us were living in situ, in simulation, uh, in a lava tube on the island of Tessera. And the objective was to simulate a lunar, so a moon habitat, um, and do, uh, a range of experiments. And the experiments were going in the direction of, uh, geology, uh, geophysics. Astrobiology, um, Psychology, Human Factors. So it was a very broad

[00:36:13] spectrum, uh, which also reflected the, the knowledge of the, um, scientists and experts that were present. We had geologists, we had astrobiologists, we had, um, uh, psychologists that were, um, within, uh, um, uh, as part of the team. And obviously show, and the general hypothesis was, is, Can this cave, um, work as a future habitat for scientists all over the world?

[00:36:43] Similar like other analog habitats that are in, uh, in, um, that are used in the United States or also, um, uh, in already in Hawaii, uh, in, in, in

[00:36:55] Europe. And that, it was obviously very fascinating to, To learn and be present there. And, um, I think there's a few takeaways I took away is how, how, how much we still have to learn, or how little do we, well, how little do we know how, and how many gaps we still need to add to our knowledge. Whether this is on a psychological way, how we act as, as, as teams in, in extreme situation where it is in, uh, uh, um, in, in the other fields of science. And I think that's the fascinating thing. When people ask me sometimes, oh, well, you go and explore, is there still something to explore? And I'm saying like, look, it's just. It's just the beginning of the journey. And, um, the, the Azores Camoish mission was, I think, a real success, especially, it was also, definitely for me, it was a success personally, to be part of a fantastic team, um, that, that clearly drove with the mission to, um, to make. Signs of new discoveries happen, um, here in Portugal,

[00:38:15] Markus: mm So many questions. Um, I'm, I'm, I'm, I'm tempted to say or to propose. Because you said there's so much you had to learn, the team had to learn, I'm tempted to say that there's so much we have to relearn as Westerners, because that's knowledge we forgot and we already had, uh, in former times when we were there.

[00:38:44] Anyway. Not yet that the technological civilization that we are now remote from nature, um, separated from nature. So do you think that in earlier times, maybe people would have looked at you and go like, Hey, that's my home. What are you worrying about? That's my cave. Um, so stop it, my friend. Let me show you how, how life in the cave is, or what life in the cave is,

[00:39:17] Paul: dark,

[00:39:18] Markus: am I going too far?

[00:39:20] What? What, what do you, how do, how do you think about this?

[00:39:25] Paul: I think. So to answer your question, I feel we definitely need to bring a certain humbleness towards the way what we do. Um, and we approach, um, discovery or knowledge finding, and I feel I'm always positive and impressed when I work. With experts in the field, where this humbleness is by and large there, this awe of nature and how, how, how few things we actually know or have a deep understanding about, but when we then take it into our general, um, I would say it sometimes gets lost in our general world when we everyday talk about it. When everything seems to be clear, we all, the default answer, our default mode says like we know what's happening and we're not approaching

[00:40:29] it as. Actually, what we're sure about is that we don't know how certain things work. And now let's figure out how, um,

[00:40:38] how to, how to fill in the gaps. It's more like basically I feel the philosophical way of approaching it. And I think this was what was eye opening also speaking with the scientists and the researchers in the team is, um, I had one conversation, I think one day about. You know, the whole idea of traveling to Mars and how this would be and like me, the layman is like, Oh, well, are we going there in the next decade? And I think then the conversations with to like, okay, but we know very little about yet the radiation and the long term radiation impact that was that. And if you look at some of the, the few astronauts, the small sample sizes that we have. Um, of humans that have traveled further than our orbit on Earth. Um, how, how busy is that? And that's obviously sample size. It's something I understand as a statistician, but I'm obviously speaking now about a material that's not, I'm not an expert in the field of, um, uh, of human impact on radiation in space. But that's just as a fact

[00:41:47] that for me was eye opening, just like, oh yeah, really, there is things that we as humans still need to figure out how it is for long term space.

[00:41:54] But yes, we can maybe be able to build a rocket, but can we supply people on other planets? And, um, um, I think on that, on a side note, I just want to thank you, uh, actually you for a conversation with me beforehand, where you basically Suggested to me a TV series you recently watched, For All Mankind. And, um,

[00:42:15] I have to say it has cost me about three days of last week because I had to watch the first two seasons in one go because it was just fascinating and amazing.

[00:42:24] Markus: it's fantastic, isn't 

[00:42:25] Paul: it? is incredible, Yeah,

[00:42:26] So, just as a, um, um,

[00:42:29] paraphrase that. 

[00:42:30] Markus: glad, you liked it.

[00:42:32] Paul: But, um, to come back to the philosophy angle, I think What I love is as explorers or discover, um, like as an explorer, I love to approach things with a certain humbleness with the thing as a blank slate. And I love to work

[00:42:47] with experts in fields that don't know, that have a much deeper understanding on certain things because it gives me also the humbleness to come there and say, look, actually, I, I know very little about things. And please, I just want to, I want to learn and want to try to build some sort of add to my, to my piece of understanding. And that has been driven me on the various discoveries and efforts and things that I've been undertaking. And yes, I think in general, the way we live, we certainly could take with a, uh, Certain awe in nature on how we, um, uh, um, uh, approach things and maybe sometimes be more realistic of what we actually really know out there.

[00:43:40] Markus: So if I understand you correct you, your philosophy may be going into a direction where you're intentionally looking to not be the smartest person in the room, Ideally, because you then can learn. From your team, from the others, once you're not the smartest person in the room.

[00:44:06] Paul: I, I would, I would say so, yes, that's for me on these, on these, these teams that we, that I'm putting together and I'm working on a few. New approach, of course, once you open Pandora's box and, uh, you have ideas about certain things, you, uh, um, there's, there's, there's, there's other topics and new things that come around and, um, I love to be with people that That, that I can learn from that can add something that, that give me some, some, um, new input.

[00:44:42] Markus: Tell me, Paul, what was life like in that, in that lava tube? Um, but, uh, also focusing now putting yourself into the mindset of a Future Lunar Explorer, Mars Explorer, going into that same lava tube, but just on a different celestial body. So what was that life like? What were the challenges? What do you think about trying it out up there on the moon?

[00:45:19] Paul: So my first answer to that would be that, uh, life was way more busy than I imagined it. Um, and I think

[00:45:32] Markus: So it's not boring.

[00:45:33] Paul: there's no boring, there's always something to

[00:45:35] do. And there's obviously the tasks, which are the scientific tasks and experiments. And then there is the mundane, the errands, the things that have been done to basically make life happening. Now to put the analogy to another celestial body, we were there for seven days in a habitat that was very much, uh, uh, erected with, with a fallback that were like a That was very close. Like the, if, if our mission control was not that far away, if I look a team, a future team on the, um, on the moon or on Mars would need to spend a disproportionate amount of just making the habitat work and happening. And we notice from, um, uh, these permanent research station, like the Antarctic bases, for example,

[00:46:30] where during Antarctic winter. When obviously supply is very limited and a significant amount is just of time, of man hours that I basically be there, just basically allocated to have the, uh, have, uh, um, have the station ready.

[00:46:50] And I guess it's, it's the same for the ISS. Now

[00:46:54] living there, I mean, I would love to basically spend some time on a, on a moon, uh, on a moon research

[00:47:01] station, um, or on the Mars. I think, uh, it will be very interesting how you cope with the long term living in a, in a cave and the human elements that brings with there. I, I was very often while I basically was on this, uh, on the, on the missions, um, reminded I had the, uh, the bad luck of needing to spend, um, time in, uh, in this. hotel room confinement during the

[00:47:36] pandemic in Hong Kong, and I spent once two weeks in 15 square meter hotel room with not being even able to open the door or the window. And it, it is interesting insofar that we as humans, I think the best way to Overcome these kind of challenging situations to be busy, to be occupied, to have a very strict time schedule. And I think the, the moment we, we have time and leisure, et cetera, or like, Ness at our hand where it basically becomes this, um, um, uh, this isolation. I think one of the, I had once the pleasure to have, um, dinner or sit on the same table at a dinner with Charlie Duke from Apollo 16. And I, I asked him like, obviously the obvious question, like how is it to walk around on the moon

[00:48:41] Markus: Hmm. Hmm.

[00:48:42] Paul: I think what what he answered was actually. It was, it was obviously great. It was an amazing mission, but it was the experience to be so far away from home.

[00:48:55] You're literally, uh, looking back on earth, realizing the distance that it basically, um, would take in the, um, isolation. So to close the loop on how our mission corresponds to where we are on the, on the moon. I think from a pure rational perspective, caves are a great location for a habitat when we come on the moon, given you obviously have your, most of the structure already built and there's all these, um, um, uh, the simplifications we can have to erect. I think the challenge is going to be, we still are humans that want to see where we come from, the view to earth. So just living in a cave is probably not going to just cut it. It's going to be, we, we need to be on the surface. We need to be, see the sun in a way, eventually. Um, for our moods, we know that that is important to, um, uh, to regulate us. Um, but having said that I would love to actually, well, no, let me get that back. Take that back. I, I'm not sure I want to spend like six months living in a cave permanently. So, um, I'm too much, uh, curious of basically going to new places and busy spending them in place for the entire time.

[00:50:27] Markus: We just learned that there was a new, there's a new record holder for a very long stay on the ISS. And that's now more than 800 days. So I think that's quite an achievement, but I think, I mean, like seriously. It can't get any more boring. I think, um, if you're confined to such a place, I mean, like, I don't know about you, but I think once, once you've seen the internal parts of ISS and what it looks like, maybe after three months, but I mean, like seriously, 800 something days, that's, that's incredible.

[00:51:10] You need to. You need to have the proper mindset and I think you also need to be, you need to engage yourself with something. I guess that these people, of course, um, they have a very strict schedule up there and there's lots of things to do. But I don't know. Um, I think it's necessary to find the right people for such adventures, just like finding the right people for your adventures.

[00:51:42] Not every person would want to go to Everest or Skyrim. Or the seven summits or whatnot. So I think selecting people for those space missions is also not only a physical thing, but also a psychological thing. You need to be ready to be very lonely now and then or be secluded. So the question to you then would be, would you go to the moon or to Mars?

[00:52:15] Would you say yes? Considering the fact that you're Traveling for a very, very long time. I don't know. What is it? Seven months to go there, to get there to Mars. And then you have to spend some time. You'd go. I don't know. Would you go?

[00:52:31] Paul: So. If you would have asked me a while ago, I would have said, yes, would I love to go to Mars and just go on Olympus Mons and be

[00:52:41] the first guy to basically climb up on the highest mountain on the, in, um,

[00:52:47] in the solar system.

[00:52:48] Um, yes, of course. I'm not sure. I'm not seeing maybe a little bit more nuanced. I could see the moon. I think that's a reasonable journey. That's not too, too far. Um, I, I probably see Mars probably something more for a different generation by the time we are, um, uh, we are, we are going. And yes, uh, I fully agree with you in the points. I probably, you need to be a very specific person in the mindset of, of being in that small space that is probably still will be by the time we'll, you know, So the first, um, uh, space travels will go to, um, to Mars. So, um, to answer your question, yes, I would love to go to space. Um, would I necessarily need to go and want to go to travel to Mars? I'm not so sure. I think the time, the time would be just, the time commitment would be just too long. And I still feel there's so many amazing places and adventures to be had on our planet Earth that, uh, I'm happily shed the first seeds to Mars to somebody else.

[00:54:12] Markus: What's your family saying about all this? Um, you're, you being an explorer, an adventurer. When you, when you told your, your family that you're going into a lava tube as a father, as a husband. Then maybe, I don't know what, what's coming up next for you. So how does, how is that for you

[00:54:31] Paul: Um,

[00:54:32] Markus: and your family?

[00:54:34] Paul: so other than my, my wife probably being happy that I'm for one week away in a cave, no, it's like, no, I think, um, I think the, my wife, of course, knows by now that I have a habit to fall into a rabbit hole and get very interested and

[00:54:54] passionate about something. I think with a family, you're always in these. In this conflict, how much time are you present, how much time are you aware? As I see my daughter growing older, this is also a conflict that's harder and harder on me. And for me to decide, is this really something I want to spend my time on? But at the same time, it's also good quality criteria. Because I say, is this really what I want to Do, and it's not like, is this week, two weeks, three weeks that I spent away from, from a family, um, something that's worth it, worth it for me, worth it in, in, in general, I think two things that obviously have happened that with family, my, uh, appetite for risk probably has, uh, has gone down and, um, uh, that, that is obviously, uh, one fact and the second one for sure.

[00:55:53] Um, Um, the time away that I find, um, that I find that, that I want, um, uh, to commit to my adventures as opposed to,

[00:56:04] um, 

[00:56:05] Markus: Hmm. Hmm. 

[00:56:08] Paul: be away from family. I mean, I read up on this, uh, the cosmonaut we were just talking about too is supposed to breach the 1000 days on the ISS and he has a family and he basically says coming back after a year and a half in space and just learning that he's. This kid basically, um, grew up and I think probably learned to cycle and you're not, um, you're not, uh, you're, you're not present. And, um, this is something, I mean, this has always been, if you look a hundred years ago, people went on expeditions into the, to the South Pole or into the African jungles and they were gone for two, three years.

[00:56:44] And the family basically was there and that conflict is always ever, ever present. I think it gets sometimes. It's harder by the connectedness, the virtual connectedness that we, what we,

[00:56:56] have, because it creates some side of closeness that, that is not the same as being physically close. So I think this is something that I know from friends that have spent winters in, um, In stations in the, uh, in the, uh, in the South Pole, how difficult it gets if people start spending half the time on social media and just being present or trying to live a life that you basically cannot physically live. Yeah, because you're just

[00:57:27] not, you're just not there. That basically probably applies for the family. I think one step that I have taken 

[00:57:33] Markus: What 

[00:57:34] Paul: is that I feel also now having done a lot of things, a lot of different things, clearly having still a passion to do that. I want to also share my knowledge and that passion much more without maybe. Going for long periods into the field, but sharing it just with explorers and ventures out there. I have just set up the Explorers Club Portugal chapter, which is basically the The Portugal's subsidiary of the U. S. based organization, the Explorers Club. And here we really try to build a community of scientists, of explorers, adventurers, some of them really new in the career, some of them very seasoned, across very different topics.

[00:58:19] It is, um, archaeology, paleontology, marine oceanography, space. And bring people together and share the knowledge and help a younger generation facilitate discoveries, field research, etc. And my big passion, as I shared this earlier, is obviously in multidisciplinary research. Exactly as we did in the cave.

[00:58:41] Bring scientists of different fields together to come up with new ideas. Bring experts in different areas together. People in VR with archaeology and like some data scientists and who knows what's coming out of the box. And I think that is a field I clearly want to focus forward, going here and sharing this with with people that want to go out in the field for way longer times than I that I want to commit and help facilitate new research and discoveries for the coming years.

[00:59:19] Markus: it take to become a member of the Explorers Club?

[00:59:24] Paul: Be curious. Um, I think the, so the Explorers Club, um, has a relatively selective process to become members. There's a members committee. You need to supply a CV and showcase that you have interest and have undertaken, uh, exploration. Um, but it's a relatively wide field. I think coming back to our

[00:59:48] first question, it's not really just geographical exploration.

[00:59:51] Of course, if you have, if you have flown to space, you probably qualify

[00:59:55] very easily. But, um, here in Portugal, we have storytellers, we have photographers, we have, um,

[01:00:02] we have, um, analog astronauts, we have, um, I'm a very strong believer in going out and including Young people, kids, uh, teenagers in, when we uncovered the plane, we were lucky to partner with local scout groups and include teenagers to

[01:00:23] help, uh, uncovering, um, a plane and I tell you what, um, a teenager that

[01:00:28] basically, uh, does archaeology hands on, they will never forget.

[01:00:32] It's the same thing,

[01:00:34] um, you tell kids about space and you go in and we were lucky enough that, um, uh, the, the, the husband of, uh, uh, one of the crew members, uh, of, uh, Azores Kamoish worked at, uh, works at JPL and he, uh, came, uh, to the Azores and he brought the wheels. Uh, or the test wheels of, uh, the latest Mars rover. along.

[01:01:02] And we brought that into a school afterwards. And I mean, you just should see the eyes of the kids when they

[01:01:08] hold this wheel in their hand. It's like, look, this is exactly the same kind of wheel that's now going, uh, driving around on Mars and like, ah, and then you start talking about what's possible.

[01:01:20] I mean, that's the generation we need. We need to motivate, we need to keep passionate, they will start dreaming, they will be the people driving these, uh, uh, these missions and the next discoveries. And I think that's, um, that's clearly something I also wanna, to the extent I can, help and, uh, move, uh, move forward and share my knowledge and experiences.

[01:01:43] Markus: I think this is the grand challenge of our time. Um, what you just mentioned, how can people support you, uh, in this?

[01:01:53] Paul: I think the best way to support is that we all stay curious and if we don't have the time to go out in the field, help partner. I mean, there's so many opportunities to help and support discoveries, um, along. I mean, a lot of research and projects these days can be done as citizen scientists. So many things we can include. Um, uh, uh, missions that can, um, uh, that can be done. Um, it's some of these projects I'm trying to do now here on the ground is involve you have the expert, but how can we build bigger, bigger outreach? And the one thing, of course, with that's in particular in Portugal that I realize, um, that people, uh, scientists come to me.

[01:02:44] It's like, yeah, I just don't know how to finance it, how to fund it, how to, um,

[01:02:49] um, how to, uh, to partner. And it's. It's sometimes not really even, it's not large sums, I mean, also for analog research, we're not talking about large sums that make some of those research projects happening. So, there's so many ways one can engage and participate. And, um, even if it's just telling, telling the stories and sharing, um, uh, videos and, and, and, and knowledge. So yes, get, for everybody who wants to get involved, there's numerous ways and all ways and all age groups to basically be, um, be involved in reaching out, uh, and. Uh, I think, um, we're just entering a fantastic new age of discovery.

[01:03:41] Markus: Hmm. Um, I feel like with the conversation we're having, I feel like we're a little torn between two worlds. On the one end, you were telling us in the very beginning that the sidewalk is your next adventure, um, maybe, or your kitchen or whatever. At the same time, we are. Increasingly getting ever more interested in space and space exploration, space industry is a huge thing.

[01:04:16] So what is going on here is, are we running away from something on earth as humans, um, running away from our problems and put, building up. like sentry or gravitational pull outward, um, to become potentially interplanetary? Or is this just the next stage in being explorers 2. 0 or 3. 0? What is going on?

[01:04:54] Paul: I, okay, let me qualify my answer here. I think they're not necessarily totally apart. This going on the sidewalk and going into space. I think in a, there is obviously multiple motivations we have to go to space. Increasingly, there's obviously one strand that now propagates, we need to go to space to become a multi planetary species, and that's basically a, a, a,

[01:05:22] a, a, a, To save ourselves 

[01:05:25] Markus: backup 

[01:05:26] Paul: a

[01:05:26] backup copy. I think I'm probably see the world a little bit more pragmatic. I see that, um, our journey to space and the passion that we have to go there motivates us to work on a lot of technologies. And a lot of technological progress that basically will also help us here in space. I think as a, as a pure rationalist, calculating it through, going and building a new civilization on Mars. cannot be a solution to address climate change or issues that we're facing here on the planet. But if it motivates people to pour, um, money and research into technology, and I think we have seen this on and on again, that obviously a lot of technology that we have developed for space has helped us, in particular, here on the planet.

[01:06:21] I mean, a lot of technologies that we now combine with space. Let's just say all the satellite technology, all the,

[01:06:27] um, I just recently had a conversation with a, um, uh, with an entrepreneur that sends these CubeSats for methane detection into space. There's a lot of technologies

[01:06:39] that space has helped us. Basically to accelerate or help us in technologies for, um, for our, for, for the planet. So, um, at the same time, of course, space is sort of the ultimate frontier in terms of where we can go. If you say we have achieved distances and we have climbed the highest mountains on earth. Well, you need to probably go to Olympus Mons to basically, um,

[01:07:09] um, venture, uh, uh, venture further. So I think, um, the same way Mount Everest is an amazing mountain and basically is a passion for people to pick up climbing and going into, into, uh, uh, into the outdoors and motivates. I think the, this idea, we're going to the moon, we're going to Mars. Motivates people to work on space, to human space flight, to basically make,

[01:07:39] uh, um, uh, uh, things happen.

[01:07:42] And we need these, I think we sometimes need these strong aspirational goals. That we basically can, um, uh, rally behind to basically, uh, motivate us as humans. I mean, I know myself, if I don't

[01:07:59] have a goal, a specific wide goal, then usually

[01:08:02] it's, it's very hard to move things. And once there is these things, I really want to motivate myself for it.

[01:08:08] And somehow it can indeed move mountains. Um, but I think with, with all these, we should, we shouldn't forget that where we come from, there's Earth in the end

[01:08:20] of the, this is our spaceship that we need to keep fit for, uh,

[01:08:24] the, for, for, for the journey. That's why I also feel I was also particularly drawn to analog space. Missions because in the end of the day we are conducting research that's useful for space with similar things for space, but it, there is a great spinoff for knowledge that we can also use on earth.

[01:08:48] I mean, I'm pretty sure the geological research that was undertaken during the analog space mission, uh, uh, space mission in the Azures is as useful on earth as it will be for, um, uh, space. Um.

[01:09:05] Markus: mm

[01:09:06] Paul: And, and B, it's, it's just really, I think space is just as a kid, it's like, I'm fascinated. I go to a school, I talk about space. It is just eye opening. There's just something as a curious

[01:09:25] species that we are, that we are drawn to what is above us in this black, uh, black sky dotted with, uh, with

[01:09:32] stars that we want to know and do we want to understand.

[01:09:35] And here we coming back to the. The journey of knowledge, I mean, a lot of things are still connected that we, that we don't know. And fantastically, we have like, um, great research, great focus. And so many things we will not know by the time, um, We are around and the next generation can pick that

[01:09:57] up and we'll work on the next challenges.

[01:10:01] Markus: You speak Portuguese.

[01:10:04] Paul: Well, I have to truthfully answer that I sadly don't speak yet more than thank you and the, the few words of, um,

[01:10:12] Markus: So if you're, if you're presenting, uh, in schools, as you mentioned, um, in, in Portugal, you would do it in English.

[01:10:18] Paul: I would do it, I would do it in English. My, um,

[01:10:21] my daughter is in, is in English school. So I have been,

[01:10:24] uh, being there. What, uh, on that note, I obviously want to, um, I came across is that, uh, Portugal actually has a very interesting science education program, uh, that pools knowledge from very, like, pools knowledge together.

[01:10:43] And we worked with Azores Camoes very close with that program, um, where they basically create tie ins with, uh, with schools where, um, I don't know, 30, 40 schools were able to do webinars with us while we were in our lava tube and they could learn actively as we're doing experiments. They saw me flying the drone in the, in the cave.

[01:11:06] And, um, I feel this is the

[01:11:08] impressions that basically, um, kids take away. And I think this is part of the program. In terms of when our partners are going forward with this mission to communicate. Discovery of knowledge and how we

[01:11:22] basically think going forward.

[01:11:25] Markus: Fantastic. Paul, um, you answered, already answered my next question and the next question is, would you go to Mars? You already said yes. So considering, um, you have an upcoming journey to Mars, it's going to be a long journey as we all know. It's going to be boring, um, to get there. What's the one tune you wouldn't want to miss?

[01:11:50] Which piece of music? Would you not want to miss, to bring on that journey? And we have a playlist for the aspiring space traveler set up on Spotify. So your contribution will be added to that list. So tell us what's, what's your tune?

[01:12:09] Paul: that is, um, um, that is a tricky question. Um, now, because my, my daughter is a big Madonna fan. So I have for the last month, uh, primarily Madonna tunes on my, my head, but it cannot be that because. I'm alone by myself in a space capsule, and I'm doing a school drive. Um, so, I think it will be a dune from Groover Mater. And,

[01:12:40] um, um, um, by the beach. I think that's what I would,

[01:12:49] uh, what I would add. So,

[01:12:53] Markus: be it. Um, wonderful. We'll, we'll add that to the playlist. And, um, one last question, uh, Paul, is there, is Portugal. A good place to have coffee?

[01:13:08] Paul: um, I cannot answer you the question because I don't drink coffee. So, I

[01:13:22] Markus: coffee does to, to the body. Sometimes an espresso energizes your, your body and your mind. So my question to you, as this is called the Space Cafe Podcast, um, Why don't you share an Espresso for the Mind with us now?

[01:13:40] You can pick whatever kind of topic. Um, an Espresso for the Mind, meaning Something that you think could be invigorating, inspiring for audiences. A shot of inspiration, so to say.

[01:14:03] Paul: would argue, or I would send out there the thought, I told before the story about how we could let experts partake on an expedition with virtual reality be present, and we recently Obviously last week the Apple Vision Pro went on sale and is a sort of a new renewed push with virtual reality and spending time in virtual universes. At the same time, we talked here a lot about space and going really far away. Um, what I want to What I want to ask or leave the question a little bit is how much of space travel or travel or exploration discovery will the everyday person, a generation from now, 20 years from now, do in the armchair? And how much of Mars travel will actually just happen by the alternative virtual universe that we wanna, there will be? Maybe it's sometimes interesting to think what virtual universe we will populate rather than the

[01:15:23] Markus: Wonderful. Fantastic. Paul, Neil, this was incredible. Thank you so much for taking the time and being on the show. Thank you.

[01:15:30] Paul: Thank you, Markus. It was a pleasure.

[01:15:32] Markus: The idea of finding adventure right at your doorstep really resonates with me. So, let's cast aside any excuses about lack of time, money, or whatever might be holding back your adventurous spirit.

[01:15:53] Remember, even the most mundane activities can transform into an adventure when viewed from a different perspective. I'd love to hear about your doorstep adventures. Why not share them with me on LinkedIn? Speaking of adventure, this podcast has been a thrilling journey. It's hard to believe but 

[01:16:16] this is our 100th episode. If you had told me three years ago that we'd be still going strong, I might not have believed you. So, a heartfelt thank you to all of you, my friends, for your loyalty and interest. Your support is the lifeblood of this show.

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