The Everyday Astronaut will take you on a simulated trip to Mars today (May 4), just a few hours before NASA launches its latest mission toward the Red Planet.
Photographer Tim Dodd created the Everyday Astronaut persona after buying a used Russian spacesuit in an online auction in 2013. What started as a lark has become a long-running, elaborate art-and-education project that takes Dodd around the world — and now, onto your computer screen, in the new Facebook Watch series "Spacing Out with the Everyday Astronaut."
The series consists of five episodes, each of them 10 to 15 minutes long. The first one premieres today, and you can watch it on Space.com's Facebook page. (Space.com is a partner on the show, which is produced by Jupiter Entertainment and MadWest Content.)
In today's episode, Dodd rigs up a system in an attempt to experience Mars' lower gravitational pull here on Earth. You'll have to tune in to see how it goes. You can also ask Dodd all about the show in a Reddit AMA here from about 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. EDT (1700-2000 GMT).
"Basically, a dream of mine came true. We did something I've been wanting to do for years, via weather balloons," Dodd said of the first episode. "I think that's probably my favorite one; it'll be tough to top that one."
The episode's release coincides nicely with the launch of NASA's InSight Mars lander, which is scheduled for Saturday (May 5) at 7:05 a.m. EDT (1105 GMT) from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
If everything goes according to plan, InSight — which is short for "Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport" — will arrive at the Red Planet in late November. It will then begin a two-year prime mission to investigate Mars' interior structure, gathering data that should help researchers better understand how rocky planets form and evolve, NASA officials have said.
Visit Spacing Out with the Everyday Astronaut on Facebook for more series information.