I’m so excited to be writing to you for the first time ever as one of two achroniologists chosen for the Origins Mission! Starting soon, you’ll be hearing from me on a regular basis if you subscribe to our field notes. If you’re more the casual drop-in type, you can also learn about what we’re up to right here on this blog.
For those of you who haven’t kept up with current events, a brief rundown: the mission is a research expedition sponsored by the Megatherium Society that will be sending me and one other scientist back in time to study human evolution and adaptability to climate change. So it's mainly a research gathering trip, but we hope that some of what we learn might have practical applications. One example: by studying how our species survived when no other hominins did, we might learn something about adaptability and evolution that will help us with the climate crisis we’re facing.
We’ll be gone for 16 months, hopscotching through space-time (as you do), visiting periods and locations that have been identified as important based on the fossil record. They put a list of all the destinations we’ll be visiting on the website, so you can check it out here. I’ll return to our time exactly 16 months after I leave for reasons to do with how time travel affects our health.
I won’t have Internet, but the dome has a one-way transporter that will allow us to send back weekly samples and letters. And of course there’s a fail safe “return to present” button. It’ll get us out ASAP in the event of emergency. Like a temporal ejector seat!
This is the first time a human subject is traveling so far back in a Tipler Dome, but they’ve done a dozen trials with animal subjects and all of them came back in one piece (the blog actually had a story about those intrepid animal subjects, I highly recommend checking that out if you’re a mouse or monkey lover).
While in the past, we're trying to answer some of the biggest questions in human history, and investigating our hominin family tree. You might know some of the more recognizable names, like the Neanderthals, but we'll also be checking out Homo erectus, Homo heidelbergensis, and the Denisovans—all species that once existed and left traces all over the world, but all died out. We want to know what happened to them, and how Homo sapiens managed to make it to our time. Mere luck? Or did something set us apart?
I hope you're ready for an adventure! I know I am!