If you haven’t had your head stuck in the sand lately, you’ve heard about the Inspiration Mars Foundation’s recent proposal to send an older, “tested” couple to Mars in 2018. Dennis Tito, former space tourist on a 2001 Russian Souyez mission, is leading the foundation’s efforts to raise the $1 billion needed to make this journey a reality.
Because of my own first reaction to the idea of spending 501 straight days in outer space in a rocket-fueled closet with my husband, I decided to ask spouses of my friends how they think the trip would work out for them. Not surprisingly, it was universally considered a very bad idea.
Here is a general gist of their comments:
- We might as well get divorced right now and get it over with.
- No way. I’d murder him within the first two weeks.
- She’d probably break something before we even left the atmosphere.
- At least they’d have a flight plan so we wouldn’t have to stop and ask for directions.
- We’d never make it back because when stuff started breaking, he’d never get around to fixing it.
- After about three weeks of non-stop whining, I’d open the hatch and walk home by myself.
- Could I just send my husband?
- We should put some cameras in there and make it a reality show!
- If she drives, we’ll end up at Venus.
I will leave it to your imagination to guess which one was my reaction.
I’ve given this a lot of thought since it was announced, and the only way that Tito can think this is a good idea is because he only spent seven days up there with a bunch of strangers with limited English skills. His wife was no where in sight.
I say, c’mon Tito, lead the way! Why don’t you and Liz be the first couple to step up and apply for the job. And don’t forget the cameras – that is one reality show I wouldn’t want to miss.
In the past 40 years, over 600,000 people have applied to be astronauts, so I’m sure there will be plenty of couples who will volunteer. And yes, some lucky couple will get the opportunity to pass within 100 miles of the surface of Mars – but I know for sure that it won’t be me and Joe!