Friday, July 24, 2009

FPR on Space Travel

Over at Front Porch Republic, Jason Peters has an hilarious take on the proposed Mission to Mars.

I disagree with him on one thing:

I caught a piece on NPR Monday evening about the possibilities of a Martian voyage. If I got the story right, we’d need 180 days for the trip there and then a 500-day layover at the Red Dust Daze Inn to wait for a planetary alignment conducive to the leisurely 180-day commute back home.

So about three years without beer, baseball, and soft personnel.

If there is one thing of which we can be certain, it is that any forthcoming space mission will be exquisitely diversified along racial and sexual lines. So there will definitely be "soft personnel" stuffed in that interplanetary tin can for 860 days. Given the instability that may be lurking even in the unconscious of those with the "Right Stuff", the trip might more resemble a contemporary "reality show" than the path to glory of the Apollo program. How long into the trip will it take before the astronauts figure out that nothing has gone on, nothing is going on, and nothing will go on during that long trip? Especially when, after a week or so, everyone on Earth has lost interest in what they are doing?

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