About

shapeimage_2My name is Ben Wright McGee.  Born in the Rockies and raised in Sin City, I’m a chronically-optimistic geoscientist who’s spent his life chasing the stars.

This blog is a record of my quest to “get off the rock,” as I like to say, along with a healthy streak of science outreach covering relevant news and topics.

Unlike so many of my peers with similar aspirations, I decided to chance charting a completely errant (by traditional standards) course toward space; I’m playing the calculated odds that, ultimately, the orbit-less-traveled might just be the one that pays off…

With an eye toward picking up where humanity’s one-and-only field planetary geologist left off on the Moon in 1972, I left academia after earning my Bachelor’s degree in 2005 in a effort to hone the field skills I’m gambling will be most necessary of a future career scientist-astronaut, (or as I like to refer to it, an “astrowright“).

Since then, I’ve worked professionally as a geologist, hydrologist, environmental scientist, radiological engineer, author, emergency responder, adjunct college instructor, and even ended up in a stint here-and-there as a host for popular science TV projects.

2007: Analyzing active hydrothermal spring properties, Dugway Proving Grounds, Utah.

Analyzing active hydrothermal spring properties, Dugway Proving Grounds, Utah.

Having literally and metaphorically scuffed up my field boots in the harshest, most alien scientific environments that industry had to offer me, (adventuring across glaciers, racing over desert lakebeds, forging up the sides of freezing mountain streams, plunging into jungles, or diving into radioactive craters to collect data, which earned me the recent honor of being a National Fellow of the Explorers Club), I jumped back into academia part-time in 2010 to tackle a Masters in Space Studies with an emphasis in nuclear thermal rocketry.

In 2011, I founded Astrowright Spaceflight Consulting LLC, a commercial spaceflight support services firm, expanded it in 2012 to include GammaSonic Instruments – a nuclear laboratory, and in 2014 I joined Bigelow Aerospace as a Lead Scientist in the Crew Systems group for the groundbreaking B330 spacecraft.

Now, when I’m not helping design spaceflight systems, I moonlight as a freelance jazz musician, an occasional TV host on Travel Channel, and I enjoy writing thriller science fiction adventures.

I’ve a knack for connecting dots that haven’t yet been connected, and as a pathological scientist, my published research interests are varied.  These include exotic sediment transport processes in nature, intersections of archaeology and space science, intersections of nuclear engineering and geology, and finding viable reinterpretations of astrophysics models – particularly as they relate to what I suspect might be an incomplete understanding of the fundamental nature of time.

So, feel free to stop by and read for a spell, or contact me if you’d like.  My email server’s door, as it were, is always open.

For the interested, my personal website (with more contact info) can be found here, and my Twitter feed is here.  A blog series I kept on the National Geographic Channel’s website relating to a TV project I was involved with can be found here, and a separate blog with my thoughts as a scientist on politics (reader warned!) can be found here.

Above all, thanks for reading/visiting, and no matter what your passions, Semper Exploro!Always Explore!

Snagging geohydrologic data from an old military MX well in central Nevada.

Snagging geohydrologic data from an old military MX well in central Nevada.

[NOTE: All views expressed are my own and do not reflect the views or endorsement of any business entities with which I am affiliated!]

11 responses

22 04 2010
alexstevenw

Hey, thanks for the comment. I like your site. I am a long time space fanatic and love anything to do with recognizing our position in this universe. Here is a link to a series of pictures that seem to fit on your site.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1267182/Nasas-space-shuttle-Discovery-soars-crystal-clear-Caribbean-long-journey-home.html

Anyway I intend to check back so keep up the good work. Cheers.

5 05 2010
astrowright

Alex,

Thanks for reading, and I appreciate the support! Hopefully I’ll have posts up to keep your interest. =)

Cool links, too – thanks for passing them along!

`Ben

22 04 2010
4 12 2010
Brad White

Hey Ben, I really enjoy your blog. I still have you listed under “friends” on my blog – and I embedded a like to your Richard Branson post on my latest entry.
http://whitethreads.wordpress.com/2010/12/03/comfort-kills/
The link is at “flights into space.”
Keep up the great work. I can’t wait to read the first blog you write while orbiting.

12 12 2010
astrowright

Brad,
Thanks so much for reading and for the references / link on your post about Branson! I’ve gotten much mileage out of the F9 shirt of late (for obvious reasons), and I wanted to thank you for something a while back – it was as a result of reading your blog that gave me the idea to wear the shirt that sparked an impromptu conversation with Buzz Aldrin… So, thanks for opening my mind to the potential impact of a shirt! Thanks again for your support – I hope to get to orbit sooner rather than later – and in the meantime I’ll try to keep interesting posts coming. =)

Cheers,
Ben

6 07 2011
mayadulac

Hi Ben

Thanks for popping over to the blog. Your work sounds interesting, particularly the planetary science-archaeology crossover.

Oh, and if you get that time machine working, do let me know – I have a long list of times I’d love to visit!

Maya

6 11 2011
northrimhiker

OK, I just checked your site and you are DEFINITELY a person I want to know! Right now I am reading “Physics of the Future” by Michio Kaku.

18 03 2014
Chris Gutzman

I just wanted to say that I used your design for the Antimatter warning symbol on a series of real and imaginary warning signs I am making. It’s just for fun, I am experimenting with Inkscape and it’s an amusing way to learn by finding projects that force you to use the software in new ways.

I took artistic license and modified it slightly, but it’s essentially yours. I only posted it on Facebook where my friends can see it, but I have credited you. If you would rather I not, let me know and I will take it down.

Thanks and have a good one out there.

18 03 2014
astrowright

Chris,

Thanks so much for letting me know! I’d be quite interested in seeing what you did with the concept, and I appreciate the credit. I’ll even blog about your having used it along with your version if you’re amenable to it. Let me know at your convenience, and good to hear from you.

Cheers,
Ben

19 03 2014
Chris Gutzman

Certainly. If you’d like to see my (limited talent attempt) version of it, I will post it on DeviantArt for your convenience.

http://aliensquid.deviantart.com/art/Warning-Sign-Antimatter-441441852

I will probably post a series of Warning Signs there, some mundane some amusing and some futuristic. They’re amusing to do, I find.

19 03 2014
Chris Gutzman

I made a warning label as well, in your chosen colours of red and black. Also found here, for your convenience.

http://aliensquid.deviantart.com/art/Antimatter-Warning-Label-441475085

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