Former NASA Engineer Mark Rober’s Internet Global Outreach


SEATTLE, Washington — Mark Rober is a former NASA engineer who currently has 11.1 million subscribers on his YouTube channel. Rober is also ranked as the seventh-best tech-themed channel on YouTube. Here is more information about Mark Rober’s internet global outreach.

Rober’s Internet Global Outreach

Rober uploads 12 times a year and has stated in his YouTube video, “Drinking Nasty Swamp Water (to save the world)” that he likes to dedicate one video a year to performing Internet global outreach. Rober states in the video. Some may be familiar with Rober’s name from the 2019 #TeamTrees initiative, which aimed at creating Internet global outreach. The campaign was created by Rober and fellow YouTube philanthropist Jimmy “MrBeast” Donaldson.

It is a donation system where for every dollar donated, the team would plant a tree. According to the campaign’s website, it has managed to plant upwards of 21 million trees. Notable donors to the global outreach campaign include YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki, the Discovery Channel, Elon Musk and Shopify CEO Tobi Lutke. According to TheVerge, #TeamTrees planted 350,000 trees in Kenya. It also helped to plant 100,000 trees in California to help the state after the 2018 wildfires.

Showcasing Solutions with Bill Gates

On two occasions, Rober has also worked with Microsoft’s Bill Gates, who is well known for his philanthropy. One of these instances was on a video highlighting the meat alternatives Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods. This video, according to, accumulated more than 7.5 million views in three days. The other occasion in which Rober and Gates collaborated in Internet global outreach was in the previously mentioned swamp water video.

The swamp water video was made in response to Bill and Melinda Gates’ annual letter regarding the state of the globe. Gates himself appears later in the video and the two discuss the importance of caring about developing nations. In the video, Gates responds by stating that rich countries spend less than 1 percent of budgets on helping developing nations. He claims that when one country helps another to stand on its own feet, it can develop its own economies. Rober summarizes Gates’ stance on global aid by saying, “…teaching a man to fish is better than just giving a man a fish.”

A Powder to Clean Dirty Water

Philip Souter is a laundry scientist at Procter & Gamble. He created the chemical powder that Rober and Gates used in the video to clean dirty water. Rober was quick to clarify that the company is not sponsoring his video, which means Rober received no financial benefit for showcasing the product. Souter explains how the compound works. According to Souter, there are three main steps within the powder’s functionality.

  1. Coagulation: Rober explains that the powder crystals are positively charged, which causes the crystals to attract the dirt particles that exist within the negatively charged water. 
  2. Flocculant: This stage involves a polymer acting to contain the dirt-clinging powder crystals, creating larger chunks of dirt that are dense enough to sink in water. 
  3. Chlorine: Chlorine is released into the water, eliminating 99.9 percent of the viruses and bacteria that were not absorbed into the flocculant polymer. This leaves the water safe for drinking. 

The CDC created a report on the powder, outlining what it saw the benefits and drawbacks for this powder to be. The CDC outlined the effectiveness, long shelf life and ease of transportation of the small packets as the main benefits. It also noted its field success, showing that it was able to reduce diarrhea-causing disease presence from 90 percent to less than 20 percent. As for drawbacks, the CDC noted that the packets require “some training” to use properly and have a high cost per liter.

In the swamp water video, Rober goes on to state that a common goal of internet global outreach campaigns is how everyone benefits. “…Aid efforts … allow parents to stay healthy and gives them time to provide for their families, which gives their kids the opportunity to get educated which in turn creates more opportunities for the following generation. So eventually, over time, the entire world starts reaping the benefit,” he said.

Jacob Creswell
Photo: Wikimedia Commons


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