During the Mongol Rally we will attempt to do 3 things: film it, podcast it, and measure the air along the way. Because why not?
Why film and podcast the rally? Because we want to have a souvenir. And because we want others to watch and listen to the adventure. Because podcasts are awesome. Because we should probably get to know each other after 6,000 miles in the cars together. Because the more stories there are on the internet about adventures like this, the more people can be exposed to amazing cultures that exist outside the common sphere of interest, and maybe go on an adventure of their own! Or join the rally next year! We'd also love to take the time to discuss the amazing charities for whom we're raising donations.
Why measure the air? Well Nick is a PhD student in the mechanical engineering department of the University of Colorado, but works in air quality research. Ya, weird. Anyways, recent works studying the composition of bacterial diversity in air have focused on a small set of locations, over a few months to a year. The MIASMA project at CU is an ongoing study aimed to expand on the current spatial bacterial diversity map by sending filters to interested participants in many communities within the United States. A filter is placed on the car of the participant and driven ~100 miles collecting air along the way. The filter is then sent back to the lab, the DNA is extracted from the filter, sequenced, matched to a database (I'm skipping a few steps...), and in the end you know a good number of the bacterial species on the filter. Because of the diverse terrain through which we will be traveling, air samples will be collected along the way and analyzed for bacterial diversity in a similar way as the MIASMA project to expand knowledge to remote regions of the earth! For science!
In homage to those who have come before us, here are links to some of their stories:
The Mongol Rally Guys
Warning: How Not to Do the Mongol Rally