Blog or Not?

A statistically improbable polymath's views on politics and culture.

Monday, October 24, 2005
Where No Man Has Gone Before
Apparently NASA officials are worried that romantic relationships formed during long-term missions to Mars could jeopardize the missions themselves--and by "long-term", they're talking about at least 30 months long with only seven other people to keep you company--so they're trying to figure out how to minimize the impact.

But what about the larger problem--that of sticking only a few people in a tiny space for more than two years? The record for a continuous stay in space is a little less than 438 days--and that's on Mir, where there would be some turnover. Trips to the Antarctic can sometimes last as long as three years, but usually there's at least fifteen people on the base, there would be base turnover, and when all else fails one could go and chat with the penguins. While our Martian astronauts may be able to take long, solitary walks on the Red Planet, I don't think they'll have any lifeforms other than a few terrestrial microbes for company--unless NASA decides that they need to study hamsters in low-g environments.

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