Ottawa native gears up for Comiccon

Andrew Rader isn’t exactly from Mars.

More than anything though, he wants to be.

The winner of Canada’s Greatest Know It All, the brain-busting Discovery channel series, says his life goal is to venture to the fourth planet from the Sun.

Rader is now vying for Mars One, a mission sending humans to Mars starting in 2023. They’ll stay for life.

“I would love to conduct experiments on Mars,” said Rader, a 34-year-old spacecraft engineer and Alta Vista native.

Then rock-climb.

And he’d probably Tweet and live blog from there, too, channeling astronaut Chris Hadfield, the first Canadian commander of an International Space Station spaceship.

“There’s almost no point to go into space, unless you’re going to publicize it and get people interested,” said Rader.

“We all get to live vicariously through Chris Hadfield. His pictures are just amazing and I really like that he’s really engaged in social media.”

It’s important to inspire others and “he’s a really good communicator, as well as a good scientist,” he said.

Recent video of Hadfield wringing out a towel got Rader fired up; playing with yo-yos in space would be interesting.

So would bubble experiments.

“You can make bubbles, within bubbles, within bubbles,” Rader said.

Rader currently lives in Boston, teaching at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and is returning home to give motivational lectures to teenagers at Hillcrest and Lisgar Collegiate.

“My mission in life is to convince people that science is important,” he said.

That’s not too cumbersome with the younger set.

“Little kids are naturally scientists, scientists asking questions and looking for answers,” said Rader.

“They learn, they absorb information, they ask questions, they test hypotheses.”

When people get older, “they become more skeptical and really shut off that inquisitive part because I guess maybe they’re tired of being told, ‘oh that’s a stupid question.’ But really, there’s not a lot of stupid questions,” he said.

Rader will be asking silly science-based questions at Comiccon, as part of a YouTube project he’s making, titled Who wants to be a Mega Trillionaire?

There is a prize: 100 billion Zimbabwe dollars.

“But it’s not worth anything … I can’t afford a real prize,” said Rader.

“I’m not trying to make fun of their money,” he added, noting it was the only legal tender he could find equalling one trillion bucks.

Twitter: @ottawasunkroche

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