I’ve been to 37 countries, 49 U.S. States and most of Canada.

A lot of the places I’ve been have been transitory. Some of them have been semi-permanent. I can tell when I live in a semi-permanent place when:

  1. I get my mail there.
  2. I pull up weeds and get my fingernails dirty.
  3. I plant stuff and it grows.
  4. Sometimes, but not always, I get a paycheck from there.
  5. My phone number is the same area code.
  6. I’m with a woman.
  7. I have a motorcycle that I drive around and come back to.
  8. My bills are mailed there.

That’s how I know. BTW, I’m in a semi-permanent place. After this I think I’ll move to an oceanless state called Missouri.

Andy Weir’s “The Martian” provides a template for what a realistic mission to Mars could be like, yet most science news I hear about actual proposed missions appear to be just a big Apollo. Don’t we have to do it in Weir’s way to succeed?

No. Andy Weir’s “The Martian” was science fiction. It was a possibility, but not a reality at present. Don’t confuse science fiction with reality.

We shouldn’t go to Mars (in my opinion) but we are going anyway. That being said, we have to wait and see how it plays out in reality, not in sci-fi.

How did life on Earth begin? How was it formed?

We don’t know. Some people think we know, but a real scientist will agree with my first sentence.

The theory, still unproven, is that life evolves from dead matter. We’re still searching for life on other planets to prove this wet-dream of scientists, but still we have no proof of concept – just a concept – to the chagrin of science. We are frankly disappointed we haven’t found life elsewhere than Earth.

Evolution starts with creation of stars that create elements like the ones we have on Earth. We think when conditions are right that the chemicals develop amino acids (this is proven), which are the basic building blocks of life.

From there, eventually by combination and permutation it develops into something that could be called life.

Again it’s not proven but widely accepted. We don’t know for sure, hence my first sentence.