Forest Gibson: "Going Far Beyond Your Normal Reach"

Dec 31, 2012

When NASA launched the Curiosity Rover to Mars earlier this year, Forest Gibson found himself remembering his childhood. Like a lot of kids, Forest dreamed of being an astronaut. He imagined exploring space while launching model rockets outside his Yakima home.

The Curiosity Rover, in Spacecraft Assembly Facility at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, before its launch.
Credit Photo courtesy NASA

Gibson: "And obviously it's not going into orbit or anything, but it was still this kind of awe of making something that's going far beyond your normal reach."

Forest never made it into space. But the Curiosity Rover launch inspired him and some friends to make a video about it. The video's called 'We're NASA And We Know It'. And it went viral, traveling to places Forest never expected. In Seattle, Dave Beck has the story.

In the video, Forest Gibson’s friends dress up as NASA flight controllers and scientists. Traditionally very serious. But here they’re dancing and singing and geeking out over the technical details of the mission. They even explore the technical details of the mission. There’s a shot of NASA workers passing peanuts around, which they always do for good luck.

After it was released, Forest tried to track the video’s progress. He took screen shots as the video was posted on blogs and shared around on Facebook and Twitter.

Gibson: "I...I couldn’t even keep up. I could not keep up. I was like searching for it, and Google results and going through...there were just too many. I couldn’t keep up."

The video found its way on the Today Show and National Public Radio. More than 2.5 million people watched it on YouTube. And even NASA got involved, tweeting to video to its more than 2 million followers. And then, they sent Forest an email.

Gibson: "Hey, just wanted to let you guys know that one of the astronauts, while prepping for their spacewalk, was listening to your song on their headset. It was turned up so high that Ground Control could hear it through their headset."

Gibson: "Someone who is actually living the dream, you know, who is actually up in space, in weightlessness, on the International Space Station, was getting pumped up for their space walk with our song."

Forest might not have made it into space. But his video did. And his relationship with NASA didn’t end with the video.

Gibson: "We were getting legit calls from people at NASA saying, We want you to work with us. They’re interested in working with me in storytelling, in making videos, in doing marketing, in doing social media, all these things that are my background that traditionally don’t have any connection to space in any way... it’s just mind blowing. It just really opened my eyes to the fact that I really could be accomplishing my dream."

Forest plans to work with NASA and private space companies, dreaming up videos about space exploration that go far beyond his normal reach.

Copyright 2012 Northwest Public Radio