Looking for a fun getaway with the man or woman you love? Consider a trip to Mars! It’s a journey you’ll cherish until the day you die—which, for the record, will be when you both incinerate on re-entry.
But let’s not dwell on the many completely fatal potential downsides of this romantic jaunt. The privately funded Inspiration Mars Foundation is determined to send a married couple on a non-stop, “state-of-the-art” trip around the red planet for some reason. And why shouldn’t it be you?
Being shot toward a distant sphere would give you and your spouse the “us time” you’ve both been craving—the chance to leave behind the stresses of daily life and do something fun together, like stare for months into unending black, grow progressively more insane and sit helplessly as your bones and muscles deteriorate from the ravages of microgravity. Sounds better than Disney already, right?
Not sold yet? Consider some of the other benefits of being sealed inside a thin metal canister and lashed to 700,000 kg of liquid hydrogen and oxygen:
Intimacy. In this hectic age, there really aren’t that many opportunities to spend every single second of 501 consecutive days within arm’s reach of your loved one. Think about it. No phone calls. No social obligations. No way to leave the room when he starts clipping his toenails or making weird noises in his space sleep.
Sure, most marriages can barely survive the car ride to the cottage—but you guys are really in love and will totally cherish each and every one of the 721,440 minutes you’ll have together. Alone. So very alone. And if there’s an occasional lull in the conversation, well, here are a few helpful “talking points” for a couple who’s been in space together for several months: •
- How are you today?
- Your hair looks good when one takes into consideration you have not showered for 238 days.
- Um, did you try to murder me in my sleep again last night?
Cuisine. Get out of the dull routine of Sunday pot roast—and into the exciting habit of eating food that’s been rehydrated using water reclaimed from your own urine! Sure, it sounds gross now—but it’s just a matter of time before a hipster restaurant in Brooklyn finds a way to charge $350 a couple for the experience. So you’ll be ahead of the curve on that, which is nice.
Entertainment. Maybe you’re worried that spending 17 months inside a capsule the size of a parking spot will get a little boring? Nonsense. There’ll be so much to do in your outer-space love nest. You can become charter members of the 30-million-miles-high club! And after that, you can spend the next 500 days trying to ignore the ever-present spectre of an imminent death. Nothing helps the time pass quite like mortal terror.
Safety. One of the biggest concerns is the cancer threat posed by radiation. Not to worry—Inspiration Mars is on top of it. Remember how they said they’re all about “state of the art”? Well, relax with the confidence that you will be protected from cosmic rays by the very latest in: bags of your own feces.
Confused? Here’s how it works:
1. Poop into a bag. Some suggest this is a more challenging task than it appears to be, but for the sake of argument let’s say all (or most) of it hits the mark. Good for you!
2. Take the bag of feces and hang it on the wall of your spacecraft—your tiny, tiny spacecraft that, after a few months, will be decorated almost entirely with wall poo, making it either a health violation or a modern art exhibit.
3. Marvel as the “organic matter” absorbs the bulk of the radiation.
4. Realize that being an astronaut isn’t quite as glamorous as it was back in the ’60s.
“It’s a little queasy sounding,” the mission’s chief technology officer admits, “but it makes great radiation shielding.”
Two things about that:
First, it’s actually a lot queasy sounding. And second, the technology officer says they have engaged the “best minds” from industry and academia to brainstorm their flight systems. And the pinnacle of what the “best minds” can come up with is: poop shield.
So I don’t think there’s any reason at all to worry that maybe this whole mission hasn’t been sufficiently thought through.
Follow Scott Feschuk on Twitter @scottfeschuk