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Podcast: Back to the Moon — and then to Mars?


UPS knows a thing or two about logistics. We fuel the movement of goods between every corner of the world, as our Smart Logistics Network helps us reimagine the role of the delivery provider in more than 220 countries and territories around the globe every day.

But what if you had to send goods — and people — to the Moon? Or even Mars?

Our guest on Longitudes Radio today has the answers to those questions, which are moving from the world of science fiction to the real world.

“The central mission of the Artemis program is landing American astronauts, including the first woman and the next man, on the Moon by 2024. NASA then wants to send astronauts to Mars.”

Mark Wiese, manager of the logistics element for NASA’s Gateway program, is at the center of the agency’s Artemis exploration efforts. The central mission of the Artemis program is landing American astronauts, including the first woman and the next man, on the Moon by 2024. Using those learnings, NASA then wants to send astronauts to Mars.

Wiese takes us behind the scenes of arguably the most ambitious project in NASA’s storied history, explaining the value of going back to the moon, the importance of exploring new frontiers and the most transcendent technologies at the research and development arm of the U.S. government.  

Bala Ganesh, Vice President of UPS’s Advanced Technology Group, joins the conversation to provide parallels between the logistics of space travel and logistics facilitating daily commerce on a global scale. Ganesh oversees efforts to apply cutting-edge technologies — including drones, artificial intelligence and robotics — to UPS’s Global Smart Logistics Network.

Ganesh, like Wiese, champions the power of big, audacious goals and highlights how the pursuit of moonshots informs UPS’s forward-looking strategies and technological developments. He provides an update on UPS’s latest drone advancements — UPS’s Flight Forward recently received approval to fly an unlimited number of drones with an unlimited number of operators — and breaks down why such innovations are disrupting the delivery of goods in the world of tomorrow.

“The challenge for NASA isn’t just getting astronauts to their final destination, it’s about keeping them there — and developing sustainable practices for future space travel.”

Unlike years past, the challenge for NASA isn’t just getting astronauts to their final destination, it’s about keeping them there — and developing sustainable practices for future space travel.

How exactly do you set up a supply chain for a mission of this scale? Why is the Moon so valuable as a test case for an eventual journey to Mars? And what are the biggest challenges to successful completion of the Artemis program?

Wiese sees a trip to Mars in the 2030s as “very attainable,” documenting NASA’s dramatic transformation from the days of the historic Apollo missions. On a lighter note, he makes predictions for when we truly reach warp speed and navigate wormholes. And what about photon torpedoes?

Finally, Wiese shares his personal story of how a “strong B student,” a kid who drew inspiration from Top Gun and science fiction movies, ultimately ended up at NASA.

As Wiese puts it: I had this push inside of me to try to do things that people thought I couldn’t do … if you can dream it, you can do it.      

Here’s to dreaming big — and doing big things.

Transcript: Back to the moon and then to mars

Show Open: 00:04 Show Open

James Rowe: 00:42 So Brian, you know here at UPS, we love logistics.

Brian Hughes: 00:45 I've heard that tagline before yeah

James Rowe: 00:46 We, we manage very complex challenges every day, but up until now, that's been on the planet earth. Okay?

Brian Hughes: 00:53 Do you have an announcement to make?

James Rowe: 00:55 No, actually, we've got somebody who, who's joining us today who's really taking it to next level logistics.

Brian Hughes: 01:02 So guys, we're talking about a literal moonshot today. We talk a lot about moonshots as this idea of diving into the unknown, being big, bold, audacious. Our guest today, Mark Wiese, is doing a literal moonshot. He's the manager of the logistics element for NASA's gateway program. He's also spearheading what they're calling their Artemis campaign. The mission for Artemis is to put both a man and woman back on the moon by 2024 and the cool thing, James, is the learnings from that mission could be used to send astronauts to Mars. So big moonshot.

James Rowe: 01:36 Yeah, big time. And joining us for the discussion is Bala Ganesh, he's Vice President of UPS's Advanced Technology group. He looks into new technologies like drones, automation, robotics. He also has a PhD in Aerospace Engineering.

Brian Hughes: 01:50 Yeah, so he can talk the talk.

James Rowe: 01:52 That's right.

Brian Hughes: 01:52 Well let's get to it guys and if you'll excuse this indulgence, we have liftoff in 3, 2, 1.

Brian Hughes: 02:07 Mark, I want to start with a really simple question, but I think it's kind of at the core of everything that the agency is working on. Why go back to the moon?

Mark Wiese: 02:16 So we spent a lot of time learning how to live in space in the last couple of decades. So going back to the moon, the analogy I try to make, we're in the central Florida area and low earth orbit where space station is like a drive to Miami, you know a couple of hours in the car and you get to somewhere new. So that's where we've been operating for the past couple decades with space shuttle and space station. The moon is our closest neighbor to explore the rest of this solar system and it's a quarter of a million miles away. So it's an, you know, a huge leap to go from something that's a couple hundred miles away to a couple hundred thousand miles away. So that's why go out there. We've got to take that next step and learn what it does to the human body, learn by pushing the envelope and go into a environment and figure out how we can take those innovations and bring them back to earth and help set the stage for us to explore beyond.

Brian Hughes: 03:06 Could you take our listeners behind the scenes a little bit an undertaking like this? I can only imagine it's just a string of one decision after another. What is your day to day look like and how do you wrap your mind around all the tiny little decisions you have to make for this massive project?

Mark Wiese: 03:21 So it's, it's funny you kinda ride that roller coaster of thinking about things in a strategic sense and then also thinking about the details of how you're going to execute. And we're riding that up and down because we are not a political organization. We are the research and development leg of the government kind of pushing us beyond. So we've got to find that right sweet spot of explaining what we're doing. And you know, a lot of engineers want to go find the perfect solution and we've got to thread that needle of finding a way to make sure what we're doing hits the objectives that our country needs while also not getting too in the weeds right off the bat. Cause you're gonna encounter challenges all along the way.

James Rowe: 03:57 Just to get a, an idea of all that's really involved with project Artemis in particular. You get three totally new items here that, that you've developed for this trip alone. So you've got the space launch system, SLS, you've got Orion, which is the new pod, and you've got the gateway, which eventually will be the a lunar outpost there. So could you kind of unpack that for us?

Mark Wiese: 04:18 Sure, sure. So the space launch system, the SLS rocket that has been in development for about a decade now, this is our return to a a Saturn five class size heavy lift launch vehicle. Over the last two decades, NASA's investment in setting up a supply chain for low earth orbit has enabled commercial industry to, to really take hold of the smaller class launch vehicles to, to supply low earth orbit, whether it's all the satellites that go up and look at our planet or help drive communication across the world and our supply chain to the space station to bring consumables, food, water, clothing, science experiments up to our astronauts. So we have a really healthy fleet of commercial rockets available out there and NASA is pushing the technology to go even grander and bigger with this SLS rocket. So we're getting really close on that. We've tried to take technologies that we learned from the space shuttle, the external tank, the solid rocket boosters, really turn those, you know, and learn from those and grow those a little bit so we can have this big large class rocket again.

Mark Wiese: 05:21 Then on top of that the Orion capsule, so Orion is our spaceship to explore deep space. It's been designed also in development for probably the last decade, getting real close to being ready now. It's designed to tolerate the radiation environments of deep space and the space shuttle and the capsules then and some of the things we're working on for commercial crew to get to low earth orbit don't necessarily have all the protection to help protect a crew from the radiation environment. We'd go a little further away and that's what Orion does. So Ryan is then the crew transport spacecraft that's on top of that really heavy rocket. Then the gateway is that new lunar outpost, you know, that is our aggregation point to to grab the crew, to bring a human lander and connect the human lander to it to bring up our logistics supply and have all the supplies the crew needs, whether that's food, water or space suits to go down to the surface and then be able to let the crew transfer out of Orion into the gateway and then descend via human landing element down to the surface of the moon and come back.
Brian Hughes: 06:18 It's interesting when you hear this, it's a different scope for sure, but Bala, I thought I'd ask you when he talks about that engineering approach and that mindset for problem solving. Do you see any parallels to the type of work you're doing every day here for UPS?

Bala Ganesh: 06:31 What we think about is also very similar just to say, let's set a big goal big, audacious kind of goal, that we want to go after and then let's get aligned with all the resources, external intel to try and push towards that goal. And then you have the high level goal and then you kind of pivot and change your direction as you go along. As you learn more, I'm sure they're doing it a thousand times more scale than I am, but at least we try to do it in our little, our little world.

James Rowe: 06:56 Mark, going back to the moon. 50 years later you're going to have the gateway, you're going to have a docking station, you're going to have lunar modules that connect to that eventually. Right? So describe the complexity that you have in something like that versus 50 years ago.

Mark Wiese: 07:11 So 50 years ago, you know, there was a lot going on politically in our world as there always is, but we made this push that was this grandiose goal that president Kennedy put out there. And when you look back and read some of the history, you realize, wow, we were really at the leading edge of being able to develop some technologies to make that happen. And now as we've spent this past couple of decades, learning what the space environment does to the human body, learning how to grow plants in space and learning how to live in space, taking the ability to 3D print things in space and find ways to launch less up to low earth orbit. And when you read some of that history, it's amazing to see how we pulled it off. We know a lot more now, so how this is a way for us to go back and be sustainable, take what we've learned and keep pushing that.

Brian Hughes: 07:57 So I think that's a great phrase. It's not just about getting there, but it's staying there. And then drawing lessons for sustainable practices. In terms of that sustainability, what are some of the things you guys are looking at? What are the main barriers to being able to stay there for as long a period as possible?

Mark Wiese: 08:15 So you've got to have the right systems to help make sure the habitable environment for the crew is okay. You know, making sure that they've got the right oxygen, we scrubbed the right carbon dioxide, you've got the right systems in place to feed the crew and get rid of trash and all of those logistics that come with that. So that's the piece that we're leading at Kennedy is to try to set up that supply chain. That's a big deal. You know, that first time they went, they took everything they needed and brought everything back they needed. You got to change that dynamic cause the crew's out there and they're going to live out there for, you know, 30 days, 60 days, maybe 90 days. So that, that's a big challenge to find that sweet spot of how much we have to prepare in those systems to be able to keep the environment what they need and to be able to turn those logistics around.

Bala Ganesh: 08:56 So Mark, it seems like this is a huge, uh, supply chain logistical problem. And so the question I have for you is, how do you guys think about it? Is the link to earth going to still stay or is it over time? Does the link go away and it becomes a self sustaining kind of model. How does it work?

Mark Wiese: 09:12 So that's a great question. From the start, the link to earth has got to stay and we've got to find a way to set that supply chain in place so that we've got a strong link to earth and the emergency situation of getting our crew back. It takes hours right now from space station, this will take days. So we have to have that ability to have that supply chain moving. But ultimately if we want us to explore beyond and get to Mars or go further, we've gotta be able to set up some of those logistics from in space resources. And that's what being at the moon for a long period of time will help us learn. We, you know, we've realized there's a lot of water, ice on the moon. If we can mine that and turn that into hydrogen and oxygen, we now have rocket fuel. We now have water for the crew to drink.

Mark Wiese: 09:53 You know, today we launch a lot of that stuff. We launch a lot of water for the crew and that's heavy and launch is a huge cost. So, if we can find a way to utilize the resources out there in space, that's a huge pivot point for us to keep exploring further.

James Rowe: 10:06 Yeah, I'm just trying to imagine the recycling process alone. You don't have the blue cans that you can drag to the curbside, right?

Mark Wiese: 10:12 Yeah. No, unfortunately they don't. And you're on right now on space station, you look at some of the pictures and it's amazing. It can look like my garage at times because there's so much stuff up there floating around. So, so that's the other piece that helps us. This helps us find a way to keep partnering with commercial industry and getting ideal solutions up there to automate and make things better in space. And then that technology then gets pushed down to earth, which is awesome.

Brian Hughes: 10:33 So Mark, why is it that the learnings from the moon are so valuable for potential exploration into Mars?

Mark Wiese: 10:40 There's a lot of psychology with a crew being on a mission for a long duration. And right now when you look at the orbital dynamics and the setup for a Mars mission, you know it's a six to nine month transit to get there, then you're going to stay there for a year, a year and a half to make sure the planet's align just right for your return trip home. And then another six or nine month return trip home. So you're, you're looking at this three year mission. On space station today, the longest we've had a crew up there is roughly a year and we're not doing anything on the surface, right? So the moon starts to set the stage for us to go a little longer practice you know, moving from that gateway, from a base camp down to the surface, practice doing it in different locations, practice getting back to our base camp, which will be our, our deep space spaceship when we're going to Mars and kind of live and learn on that, you know, changing where you're at and how to move around and how to get back. So the moon kinda is a great close neighbor for us to really learn about producing resources from where we're going to be for a long period of time.

James Rowe: 11:38 Yeah. So when you're on the surface of the moon, how many years do you think that you'll be studying that before the trip to Mars?

Mark Wiese: 11:45 For, for most of my career we've been talking about maybe the 2030s was the time when we'd get to Mars. And being a government agency, we definitely get support both sides of the spectrum politically, but everybody wants to put their spin on it. So sometimes we have to twist and turn and find that right path. And we talked earlier about setting these big audacious goals. Getting to the moon is the first time where we're really putting a lot of actions behind our words, which I think will help make getting to Mars in the 2030s very attainable because we'll have started to take concrete steps towards testing ourselves out and learning and driving our technology to the right level to be able to get us there.

James Rowe: 12:19 And, and you know when you're looking at going to eventually to Mars, what's the real purpose behind that? Is it to actually colonize it at some point?

Brian Hughes: 12:27 Before we got on, James said he wanted to move pretty soon.

James Rowe: 12:30 I'm ready, I'm ready. What is the eventual goal for that exploration?

Mark Wiese: 12:36 When you look back at the great migrations that took place in the other hemisphere and with Europe, if you look at the Polynesians and how they explored across the globe, we're always pushing to understand what else is out there and how we can better life from where we started from and that's what this represents. You read about the history from the astronauts that went out there in the 60s and the thing that really just lit up in their mind was when they looked back and they saw how beautiful our planet was and saw how precious our planet was and how different it was from everything else in the solar system. We have to understand how that was created. Mars is our closest neighbor to having an atmosphere and having potentially water on the surface. A long time ago. So we'd go to space and we explored to understand our own planet and keep pushing ourselves beyond so we can learn about the evolution of our solar system to make sure we protect what we have and ultimately find a place for us to go if we have the capabilities and technologies to keep expanding.

Brian Hughes: 13:29 So I'm curious, Bala, as we're hearing Mark talk about literal moonshots, everyday you get to play with some of the latest and best technologies here at UPS, whether it's drones or autonomous vehicles, all kinds of things. Can you talk about how this pursuit of moonshots actually informs what you do every day?

Bala Ganesh: 13:48 This is a huge inspiration for us, right? So every time we look at the kind of things that NASA does, that's like something that motivates us all the time. That's unbelievable. In our little way what we are trying to do is kind of replicate that same spirit, right? So if you're trying to say, okay, can, what can we do? What can we do to push the envelope? What can we do within this for now? Maybe later, uh, we'll, we'll move to Mars too. But what can we do to create that same spirit of, of trying to do something new that's never been done before. I look upon it as a huge inspiration and it's exciting for us to be following the footsteps of these folks.

Brian Hughes: 14:21 And for listeners who might not be as familiar as James and I, can you talk about a couple of the projects that you think are most exciting that the Advanced Technology group is working on right now?

Bala Ganesh: 14:31 Sure. Uh, there's a variety of things we're working on. We've been doing a lot with drones and or unmanned aerial vehicles. We are really excited about that because we feel like there's an opportunity to improve patients and their lives by making movements of, uh, healthcare specimens, et cetera, really fast, right? So we are actually changing an order of magnitude of what time it takes to move things from one place to the other. The second project I think I can talk about is related to, uh, how we're thinking about optimizing what we do with the our network, right? So, Mark talked about the complexity of moving logistics from here to moon and to Mars. While that itself is complex, there is a huge complexity of moving things all over the world and figuring out the most efficient and optimal way to move things from one place to the other is something that we're spending a lot of time thinking about. And it's really, really exciting.

James Rowe: 15:20 And you know, one of the things that comes to mind though in the complexity of making this happen and Mark, this is a question for you, is that you have groups that are working together on the same project, right? So it's Artemis, we want to get to the moon, but you have competing areas. So you have propulsion, you have thermodynamics, uh, to heat shields, all that kind of stuff. How do you coordinate on that massive level? All of these groups that are working together, but they're apart.

Mark Wiese: 15:49 So much of making that systems engineering solution happen is driven by our culture. We work really hard to make sure we have a culture that listens to each other, that takes diverse opinions into play. We embrace the reasoning and the history behind why a thermal engineer or an electrical engineer or propulsion specialist is pushing one technology versus another. And then we have to find a way to pull all that together and find the optimal solution. And that's no different than what we all deal with in our everyday lives. Right? Those, those diverse opinions are so important for us to drive an optimal solution. And you've got to have a culture that's willing to listen and accept all that. So, so we deal a lot with that because everybody has an expertise area and they spend a career honing in the state of the art for their expertise. But when you pull them all together, you've got to find the right balance.

Bala Ganesh: 16:37 Yeah, I think that's great. Mark. Uh, from my perspective, I think what you said is absolutely right because what I see is the most interesting and cool ideas come in the intersection of disciplines and, and opinions and thoughts. So the more orthogonal diverse opinions you can get on the table get in the same room and talking and intersecting with each other is when these interesting insights pop right out.

Brian Hughes: 17:00 In a sense then there's almost this crowdsource end of innovation. I wonder too, Mark, how, how much do you guys rely on, you know, whether it's logistics insight from dare I say a UPS or organization like that? How often and frequently are you looking for, um, the best ideas from, you know, people outside the agency to complement what you're already doing?

Mark Wiese: 17:21 So we try hard to, to pull away from our day jobs, you know, on an annual basis, you know, pull together groups of teams and kind of go off and think about the life cycle of our project, where we're at and bring in another company that's doing similar things but maybe in a different field. And we'd take a lot of pride in trying to do that. And usually, I mean, we're very lucky at NASA, we have a very recognizable brand and when we call and ask people to come be a part of a discussion that we want to have to stretch our minds, usually it's a very easy convince to get them to come help us out cause we can share. So NASA's embraced a lot of commercial industry and how do we partner with the commercial providers both in aerospace and outside? So, so it's definitely a part of what we're doing. What's lucky for you and it's just part of your mission is that it's easy to connect with the American people every day and the people of the world every day as the technologies you push, whether it's a drone or something else of how that's going to benefit them. And that's our biggest challenge at times, is to make sure we can connect that benefit to the American people. And the biggest benefit we have is the inspiration we provide. So the youth of the world and, and to make those moonshots part of our culture, just push ourselves to be the best we can be.

Brian Hughes: 18:29 I wonder too, you were talking generally earlier about all the things that you guys have at your disposal now that you know the famous Apollo missions of years past didn't have, could you highlight maybe the one or two most influential technological developments that have really been a game changer in terms of scope for something like this?

Mark Wiese: 18:48 We talk about it a lot in the office. The information sharing that we can do today, I can't imagine working in those times when everything was face to face or a phone call. We have some people that are still around amazingly enough that had worked, you know, that are kind of right at the edge of their career and had had a chance to touch some of the Apollo program on the very tail end and the perfection that was there in communication. Right. And whether it was a typed up memo or a picture, a photograph that got taken to show a schedule that had been on a huge wall. That is a, a huge innovation, the pipeline of, of how we can communicate, how we can turn systems engineering problems into model based electronic systems. So that we can tweak something on one end and see what effect it does on the other end. That is the huge turn that has opened the door for us to make us, to enable us to do things faster, quicker, more collaboratively.

Bala Ganesh: 19:42 I thought it was interesting that out of all the technological changes he talks about, one that actually connects human beings better and makes them look better together. I thought that was pretty insightful that apart from all that stuff, it's finally how do you get people to work together better?

Mark Wiese: 19:57 Yeah, definitely. And then that in turn becomes the applicability of something for us on earth. You know, the computing power of the modules that went down in the landers that went down to the surface of the moon in the 60s I mean, we dwarf that technology now in the power of our hand. And then when you look at the data that we get on orbit from satellites, that helps farming, that helps transportation, you know, to be able to track all these ships and see how things are lining up in a port that is very applicable to, to you guys' every day. You know, that those changes of how the things we do play back to the American public and the public of the world to make our life more efficient, make our lives better, to connect people and to help us solve problems that everyone touches is really the drive. And, and you know, the ambition that that comes out of all this.

Brian Hughes: 20:43 Well, I'm glad you brought that up because this isn't news to you, but one of the most common critiques is people look at the price tag and they say, you know, we have all these problems here. Can we really afford to go to space and why should we? But what you're saying is that's not really the right prism to look at it through because so much of the innovations and the learnings actually come back down here in the end.

Mark Wiese: 21:09 Yes, yes. And, and we, we have to do a better job of explaining that to the American public. But when you're on the cutting edge of making that technology happen, sometimes it's, you know, years later when it all finally full circle comes back around. We spend a lot of time inspiring youth and inspiring on our moonshot and our big goals, but it is just as important to connect it back. You know I made that comment earlier. We are the research and development leg of the federal government. Our budget of the entire U S federal budget is less than one half of 1% and I'm sure any company out there today is, you know, I don't know what the percentage is UPS spends on research and development, but it's a small percentage but you do it because of the gains are far outweigh that.

Bala Ganesh: 21:43 From our side at least, one of the big things that we focus on apart from just the technical aspects is telling a story, right? It's not just used important for internally within the company or our company, but also outside to let people know what we working on. How do you make sure that there's alignment of messaging that goes with when you tell your story?

Mark Wiese: 22:02 I think the branding of the Artemis mission is brilliant. So it is driving everything we do to make sure that, and it's helping us all stay in alignment with what is the vision and what is the goal. Sometimes that's a fine line we've got to walk through. Social media for the last, you know, decade has been very delicate, but we're seeing a turn of the corner of that where we're trying to use social media more to help get the message out. When we have launches out here, there's a whole team of people that that really engages in the, we get first time launch viewers out here. And the way they amplify our message on social media is amazing. So we're trying to find ways to take advantage of all the outlets that exist today to tell our story, cause it's very important.

Brian Hughes: 22:43 So Mark, as you speak to the power of communication and why it's so valuable, what you're telling me is my a degree in newspapers was not a bad bet after all.

Mark Wiese: 22:53 No, not at all. And that's the, again, you got to teach that next generation how important that was.

Brian Hughes: 22:59 Wow. I hope my mom and dad listened to that.

James Rowe: 23:02 That's good. Hey, I wanted to do a quick lightning round here. I'm going to throw out a couple of things and you tell me how close we are to making these a reality. Okay.

Mark Wiese: 23:10 Okay.

James Rowe: 23:11 Okay. Warp speed.

Mark Wiese: 23:12 Ah, five decades.

James Rowe: 23:14 That five, five decades.

Brian Hughes: 23:16 That's not a bad,

James Rowe: 23:17 That feels ambitious, but.

Brian Hughes: 23:19 We'll still be around. I'll still be around.

James Rowe: 23:20 I guess it's technically impossible though. You can't really achieve light speed, so maybe it's something else, but, okay, worm holes? We're going to navigate those soon?

Mark Wiese: 23:29 Yeah, I don't, I think we're a couple of hundred years from figuring all that out.

James Rowe: 23:33 Yeah. Okay. Um, maybe closer photon torpedoes?

James Rowe: 23:36 Huh, I don't know. Yeah. Maybe you're a couple of decades.

James Rowe: 23:40 Okay. Uh, last one here. Uh, spaceship shields. Okay. As we're navigating through an asteroid belt, are we going to ever get to the point where we can kind of bounce some of those off the spacecraft?

Mark Wiese: 23:52 Yeah. I think we're much closer to being able to do things like that.

James Rowe: 23:56 Okay. That's impressive.

Brian Hughes: 23:57 There we go.

James Rowe: 23:58 Yeah.

Brian Hughes: 23:59 And Mark, I'm curious, was it always your dream to work at NASA? You talked about earlier how there's so many people, uh, there from, you know, decades ago. I would imagine the turnover rate, uh, isn't that high there because uh, for a lot of people it's kind of one of those destination jobs. What was it like for you?

Mark Wiese: 24:16 I'm glad you asked this and I appreciate you asking it. So I was born and raised in New York about an hour north of the city. My father was a state trooper up there, actually have an aunt that was a driver for UPS. I grew up across the river from West Point Military Academy and definitely drew a lot of inspiration from, from seeing, you know, military aircraft flying overhead. Being near West Point, you'd see a lot of C-5s and real heavy, you know, logistical transport aircraft. And then I got inspired as a kid by the movie Top Gun. So seeing something as amazing as a fighter jet, right, and seeing the capabilities of what that could do, that definitely inspired me. And as well as all the science fiction movies I watched, you know, I think I had this push inside of me to go try to do things that people thought I couldn't do. Chose aerospace engineering, found a school in Florida that that matched and went down there and pursued it and never thought NASA was an option for me. You know, I grew up a strong B student, graduated college with a 3.000001 and assumed that if you wanted to work for NASA you were the smartest of the smart. I, I stumbled upon a a class my senior year being, you know, within 50 miles of the Kennedy space center. Got to take a class that was up here, collaboration from a couple different universities and that kind of opened the door and opened my eyes to, this is actually maybe closer to than I thought and was able to land a job after college at the Johnson Space Center in Houston and, and kind of blew my mind at what the potential was. So the message is again and we say this to our kids every day. If you can dream it, you can do it and you just got to put your mind to it and work hard and those dreams have to inspire us. You know that science fiction into science fact is a reality if you go put the work in. So I pinch myself every day that I'm working at NASA and to be able to help us get back to the moon. It's a very emotional thing that I am so excited about and so proud of.

Brian Hughes: 26:09 When we have you back on next time we'll make sure to do two things. We'll talk about the Top Gun sequel right, and then you can tell us where the aliens actually are.

Mark Wiese: 26:19 That's awesome. I would love to and I'm very much looking forward to the Top Gun sequel.

Brian Hughes: 26:23 Got it. Well Mark, thank you so much for joining us. This was a blast. We really enjoyed it.

Mark Wiese: 26:27 I really appreciate you having us and my Kennedy team here outside the booth will yell at me if I don't give a shout out to the Rocket Ranch podcast that is based here at Kennedy space center. So another great listen for those interested.

James Rowe: 26:38 Definitely, definitely will check it out ourselves.

Brian Hughes: 26:41 If you like what you heard today, check us out iTunes, Stitcher, or right on our website at ups.com.

James Rowe: 26:47 Yeah, and after you've signed up for the podcast, please drop us a review. We'd love to hear from you.

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