Andrew Kessler discusses 'Martian Summer' and NASA's 2008 Phoenix Mars Mission

Space cadet hails from Fort Greene, but he speaks of Mars

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He went from planet Brooklyn to planet Mars, and back again.

Fort Greene writer Andrew Kessler landed his dream job of working for NASA, and now he’s bringing his experiences with the Red Planet to an art space in Gowanus just in time for the recent landing of the Curiosity rover.

“Space is the great unifier,” said Kessler, who wrote the book “Martian Summer” about his unlimited access to mission control during the 2008 Phoenix Mars Mission. “It’s really hard to think about your petty differences when you look at space and realize how tiny and meaningless we really are. Our neighborhood and city boundaries become so petty.”

Sure, no Brooklynite will make the 35-million mile trip to Mars anytime soon, but Kessler says space nerds walk among us here in Kings County.

That’s no surprise considering this is the borough where Ted Southern is taking the idea of artisanal handcrafted stuff to a whole other level, making his own spacesuits.

“With DUMBO having a strong tech community it will happen,” said Kessler, who will speak about his time at NASA at Observatory on Aug. 30. “I think we’ll see more startups like Ted Southern’s and people doing little pieces of stuff for larger missions. That’s kind of a hope for the future as the tech community grows.”

Space isn’t the only thing bring people together. Science in general is getting groups to wave their nerd flags and have a great time, he claims.

“It’s kind of like no time has been better for geeks, it’s cool to be a nerd,” said Kessler. “With Nerd Nite and the Secret Science Club, which are both packed, there’s lots of organizations bringing people together.”

Andrew Kessler at Observatory (543 Union St. at Nevins Street in Gowanus, Aug. 30, 7:30 pm, $12.

Reach reporter Eli Rosenberg at or by calling (718) 260-2531. And follow him at

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