Pretending to Lose, Americans Yield Mars to Communists, Frogs, Drug Cartels, and Dog-Eaters

So a Frenchman, a Colombian, three Russians, and a Chinese guy will be boarding a fake space shuttle for a fake "520-day simulated mission" to Mars. Where's the American?

Nowhere to be found, and there's a reason for that. Would you want to be on a 520-day mission to Fake Mars that includes such fun activities as going crazy, going crazy in other languages, and going crazy while locked up in a box somewhere in the desert?

At 520 days, the mission will mimic an actual voyage to the Moon and back. The sealed containers (again in Moscow) in which the mockup mission will unfold contain not only a spacecraft, but a Mars lander a Martian landscape as well. Around 250 days in the crew will be split, with half of the astronauts moving into the lander for a simulated trip to Mars' surface. There will even be a simulate spacewalk, in which the crew will suit up in modified Russian Orlan spacesuits. For the duration, the crew will be constantly monitored for both psychological and physiological signs of stress or deteriorating wellness.

By which they mean "going all The Shining on each other." Thankfully, Americans have the foresight to understand that

(A) We don't have the money to go to Mars right now or in the foreseeable future, even if there is something there.

(B) China's hopefully going to spend a lot of money going to Mars, and then end up borrowing from us, thereby reversing the current economic condition of their ability to possibly collect us into bankruptcy one day.

(C) We've run the Mars simulation a bunch of times in movies and theme parks rides -- which we are excellent at exporting, by the way, so much more than others -- and it typically doesn't yield much but people getting killed or sucked into the alien void.

(D) Doesn't that sound like the worst time ever? As previously proven, we're fine on our own, thanks.

[fkamer@villagevoice.com]


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