Nonprofit Organization Wants to Send Married Couple to Mars

Nonprofit Organization Wants to Send Married Couple to Mars

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As romantic getaways go, it's out there.

Since the Curiosity rover landed on Mars and started introducing non-human space to the concept of noise pollution, the Red Planet has been in the headlines more than ever. It captures our imaginations easily, being near enough to see on select nights and yet too far away for us any of us to ever touch. The prospect of sending humans towards it is a tantalizing one, however; so tantalizing, in fact, that one super-rich space tourist, Dennis Tito, and his non-profit space company, the Inspiration Mars Foundation (IMF), have decided to send two humans on a fly-by of Curiosity's new pad in 2018.

So, what kind of people do you send on a 500-day round trip to Mars and back? The answer, according to Jane Poynter, president of the Paragon Space Development Corporation (a life support systems developer) and a member of the Inspiration Mars team, is a happily married heterosexual couple.

"It's important that this is a man and a woman because they represent humanity," said Poynter. "After all, we are more or less 50 percent men and 50 percent women [on Earth]. It represents our children - whether they are a girl or a boy, they see themselves reflected in that crew." Added to that, the team says that a married couple are the most likely to be able to help one another through the psychological impact of being stuck in a box in space for such a long stretch of time.

When it comes to spending time with a spouse in an enclosed space, Poynter has more experience than most: She and her husband were two of the participants in the fascinating Biosphere 2 experiment of 1991. "It was extremely helpful to have somebody that I could problem solve with," said Poynter, reflecting on Biosphere 2. "It was also fantastic to have the opportunity to be there and share the experience when we had those wondrous moments." She also added that when the time comes, she expects that she and her husband will apply to be the couple to fly to Mars.

Interesting as that is, however, there is something of a leap between 2 years on Earth in a bubble and 500 days in the inky black in a tin the size of a parking space. That's no exaggeration, either; because of the required fuel, water, and mechanical weight, living space in the IMF's planned Mars vehicle would be that small. Additionally, there are no provisions in the plans for hygiene equipment more complex than sponges.

At the moment, Tito and his team are still seeking funding for the early stages of the mission. They insist that the technology required to achieve their goal, which relies on the craft slingshotting around Mars in one go, exists, and that the biggest danger - radiation in space - will have been solved by technological advancements prior to their launch date. However, at time of writing, it would seem to be the case that the private donors required to provide the hundreds of millions of dollars (that's the conservative estimate; others go upwards of $1 billion) to fund this brave, exciting venture are reluctant to come forward. It's easy to see why the money has been slow, given the scope of the task and the proximity of 2018. Without that money, all of this planning will have been for naught.

Still, imagine coming home to your wife or husband and being able to tell them, "Honey, we're going to Mars! Just you and me, in a tin with no shower, for 500 days! And we get to see Mars!" And then the look on their face as they contemplate travelling with you through in the cold, sweet, lifeless expanse of space for 500 days with no way of turning the craft around and heading home. Nothing more romantic, right?

Source: Space.com

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Anything to get away from the in laws eh?

"I'm telling you we already passed that asteroid! Stop and ask for directions!"

I made that joke so no one else could. I could see it coming from a mile off.

2 leave, only one returns alive, that's the results I can imagine. 500 days in an enclosed space with one other person, anyone, sounds like hell.

Xan Krieger:
2 leave, only one returns alive, that's the results I can imagine. 500 days in an enclosed space with one other person, anyone, sounds like hell.

Might be it just returns with one dead from stabbing, and the other practically vanished from self-inflicted starvation and dehydration, set on by the psychic trauma of being stuck in a box with a corpse for so long.

One guy and a volleyball should be fine...

Hopefully a married couple of over 20 years, who have lost the will to fight and are now just resigned to and can tolerate each other.

i would have the atrophy their bone and muscle tissue were exposed to would be a larger risk. according to a quick wiki search people loose about 1.5% bone mass per month thats about 25% over the 500 days, and for every 3-4 months its 2-3 years to get that density back.

Cant they send Kayne and Karadesian into space? Any really obnoxious couple would do really.

rodneyy:
i would have the atrophy their bone and muscle tissue were exposed to would be a larger risk. according to a quick wiki search people loose about 1.5% bone mass per month thats about 25% over the 500 days, and for every 3-4 months its 2-3 years to get that density back.

Yeah that's the biggest issue. Granted being a couple there are extra exercises they can do..... which could cause other problems. What would happen if the wife falls pregnant.

I'd go insane on the second month from the sheer boredom of the whole ordeal. Seriously, almost 2 YEARS without doing ANYTHING while stuck in a BOX, the space sex will get boring pretty fast, trust me ;d. I suppose they could get a laptop, if they somehow find a way to install something to charge it with, and install enough games on it to last for 2 years ;d. Books too, I suppose. Still, it would be maddening.

They probably calculated the risk for bone atrophy, it would be a huge oversight to not do it.

Tragedy's Rebellion:
the space sex will get boring pretty fast, trust me ;d.

http://www.cracked.com/article_18547_6-reasons-space-travel-will-always-suck.html

I can see the headlines for when they get back... THE FIRST MAN TO ORBIT MARS EATS WIFE DURING VOYAGE

Tragedy's Rebellion:
I'd go insane on the second month from the sheer boredom of the whole ordeal. Seriously, almost 2 YEARS without doing ANYTHING while stuck in a BOX, the space sex will get boring pretty fast, trust me ;d. I suppose they could get a laptop, if they somehow find a way to install something to charge it with, and install enough games on it to last for 2 years ;d. Books too, I suppose. Still, it would be maddening.

They probably calculated the risk for bone atrophy, it would be a huge oversight to not do it.

You act as if communication with Earth would be impossible, or that power would be an issue.

I assume it would have solar panels, making power a non-issue. The Mars Rover, for example, gets 140 watts per hour for four hours every day on the surface of Mars, with the average laptop using about 50 watts during use, less when idle, on a ship that would have constant direct sunlight. Power would not be a factor, at least, not a factor that couldn't be solved by another foot of solar paneling.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mars_Exploration_Rover#Power_and_electronic_systems
(Source for laptop wattage: Various. I actually used a high estimate compared to the most scientific result I found, which was from 2004, which gave 8-30 watts: https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:TMvAc_8Qc0kJ:citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download%3Fdoi%3D10.1.1.87.5604%26rep%3Drep1%26type%3Dpdf+&hl=en&gl=us&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESj-UShkCJqa8-MtuxqVBJmt8GNtTlTGQNAeBoN9I8yK4k9Q8GhItxxX_Wpw16yy2h9DYHPGwCtO8Nby9Izoo5e-XAR5MLYcgcIvESmITlc-nkMZsdr8-UAq31VFdj8JeRV6Om7e&sig=AHIEtbS-8v6efHg_ikjFo3CxlXz7ECSGqw )

As far as tech goes, of course they'd have a laptop or two. That would be a necessity. In terms of entertainment, they'd absolutely be able to download movies and games and books from online, since even at its furthest the time delay would only be forty minutes to receive a response (When Earth and Mars is closest, 3.22 light minutes between them, when farthest, 22.27 light minutes). I can't speak on the download speeds specifically but I see little reason to think it would be unusably slow.

Even if it was unusably slow for movies or complex games, it would still be very usable for news articles and books (and simple flash games), meaning all the entertainment they could ever need. 500 days? That's a few dozen novels, a few hundred hours reading news articles and science journals, etc. Pretty easy to handle, in my opinion, as long as the couple enjoys knowledge and learning and is by no means your "average" adult couple.

Don't forget, we have several-terabyte hard drives that can fit in the palm of your hand, and could start the trip with many hundreds of hours of movies and other entertainment, too.

Uh oh, heterosexual couple only.

Why not a homosexual couple? Oh wait then you only have one gender going up there.

TWO homosexual couples? Are only the gay allowed in space?

Two homosexual couples and one heterosexual couple? Life support for 6 people and privacy for 3 groups? That'll cost a ton.

How long were some sea voyages for? Months? I wonder if anyone ever hit multiple years on a boat without setting foot on land or calling into a harbour?

Wonder what the daily routine would be. Wake up, eat, check systems, {emergency maintenance}, bathe, exercise, check world news, routine maintenance, eat, exercise, recreation, eat, exercise, sleep?

What's wrong with gay people in space?
image

Do we not like these people?

In space, no one can hear you nag...

Seriously though, I would do this if I had a spouse. Let me take my PC and I'll be able to catch up on all of my games.

There are way too many jokes to be made out of this.

Tragedy's Rebellion:
I'd go insane on the second month from the sheer boredom of the whole ordeal. Seriously, almost 2 YEARS without doing ANYTHING while stuck in a BOX, the space sex will get boring pretty fast, trust me ;d. I suppose they could get a laptop, if they somehow find a way to install something to charge it with, and install enough games on it to last for 2 years ;d. Books too, I suppose. Still, it would be maddening.

They probably calculated the risk for bone atrophy, it would be a huge oversight to not do it.

Sell everything then buy all the handhelds and a laptop and a fuckload of games and bring hard drives full to the brim with TV, movies and cartoons and hope you manage to bring enough to keep yourself entertained for nearly two years.

Evil Smurf:
What's wrong with gay people in space?
image

Do we not like these people?

Oh boy here we go. Even if you're just having a joke let's not start this.

VanQQisH:

Evil Smurf:
What's wrong with gay people in space?
image

Do we not like these people?

Oh boy here we go. Even if you're just having a joke let's not start this.

Well, they were disturbingly specific about it being a heterosexual couple. One can't help but think "Is there some agenda to this we're not seeing?".

Represent ourselves... to whom? People on Earth?

Beyond that, it's a cool idea. Sadly, I've never even dated, so I cannot apply.

Id actually say a married couple is the exact WRONG couple to have. I think 2 people with absolutely NO initial sexual interest would be the best. The problem is that if you drop a couple a stable couple that has been together for a while, because there is no change coming from the outside world, they will run out of conversation material VERY quickly.

Two people with barely(just enough to be safe) information about each other and initially no relationship interest at least allows for some sort of growth and development for that relationship so you dont go mad.

SonOfVoorhees:
Cant they send Kayne and Karadesian into space? Any really obnoxious couple would do really.

Only if there is a camera placed in there so we can watch them inevitably kill one anther.

OT: Sounds like a bad idea, like they might want to kill each other after the 3rd month bad. Just because they endured a experiment with similar parameters don't mean a thing either since there is always the thought in the back of their head that they can leave at anytime during a controlled experiment whereas in space there would be no way back. Too bad cryosleep hasn't been invented yet so you could fly there get woken up look at the sights and then go back to sleep for the duration of the trip home.

Abomination:
Well, they were disturbingly specific about it being a heterosexual couple. One can't help but think "Is there some agenda to this we're not seeing?".

Well, the heterosexual couple is what has continued and represented mankind all throughout history. I see nothing specifically against homosexual couples here, just that the heterosexual couple which makes up the majority of us is being used as a representative.

Nothing more than that really. It's not like they're even sending them off as emissaries to some alien race. Just sending them on a return trip to Mars' orbit. Nothing to really freak out over or to get on the defensive about.

VanQQisH:

Abomination:
Well, they were disturbingly specific about it being a heterosexual couple. One can't help but think "Is there some agenda to this we're not seeing?".

Well, the heterosexual couple is what has continued and represented mankind all throughout history. I see nothing specifically against homosexual couples here, just that the heterosexual couple which makes up the majority of us is being used as a representative.

Nothing more than that really. It's not like they're even sending them off as emissaries to some alien race. Just sending them on a return trip to Mars' orbit. Nothing to really freak out over or to get on the defensive about.

I am mostly tongue-in-cheek about the whole defensiveness. I can understand wanting to send them because it would be useful for scientific study of long-term exposure of males AND females in space while reducing the risk of either going too long without emotional companionship. Because if we do intend on colonising other planets it'll be by sending "reproduceable" families there in the first place, we don't want them to be batshit insane when they land due to... long-distance space travel crazy syndrome or whatever.

I do feel, in the current sexual-equality environment, that stating a heterosexual couple represents humanity the best is not quite the wisest thing to say at this point in time. It does imply that the grandest of gestures of the human race must be done with heterosexuals which I do find makes me a bit uncomfortable.

Better to focus on the scientific benefits of it being a heterosexual couple than the "gesture" benefits.

How about they send up just one person? The capsules that pioneered human space exploration only held one person. Why not have the same apply for this mission. It's cheaper to send up 500 days worth of supplies, oxygen, hydrogen and fuel for one person than for two

Abomination:
Uh oh, heterosexual couple only.

Why not a homosexual couple? Oh wait then you only have one gender going up there.

TWO homosexual couples? Are only the gay allowed in space?

Two homosexual couples and one heterosexual couple? Life support for 6 people and privacy for 3 groups? That'll cost a ton.

How long were some sea voyages for? Months? I wonder if anyone ever hit multiple years on a boat without setting foot on land or calling into a harbour?

Wonder what the daily routine would be. Wake up, eat, check systems, {emergency maintenance}, bathe, exercise, check world news, routine maintenance, eat, exercise, recreation, eat, exercise, sleep?

I think it was less of a homosexual vs heterosexual issue and more of "we want it to represend humanity, humans are both male and female, so we want male and female in there, and them being married would help them cope with the journey"

doggie015:
How about they send up just one person? The capsules that pioneered human space exploration only held one person. Why not have the same apply for this mission. It's cheaper to send up 500 days worth of supplies, oxygen, hydrogen and fuel for one person than for two

because it woudl take me not to get insane in a box for 500 days alone. and lets face it, me is not fit enough for space travel.

Abomination:

VanQQisH:

Abomination:
Well, they were disturbingly specific about it being a heterosexual couple. One can't help but think "Is there some agenda to this we're not seeing?".

Well, the heterosexual couple is what has continued and represented mankind all throughout history. I see nothing specifically against homosexual couples here, just that the heterosexual couple which makes up the majority of us is being used as a representative.

Nothing more than that really. It's not like they're even sending them off as emissaries to some alien race. Just sending them on a return trip to Mars' orbit. Nothing to really freak out over or to get on the defensive about.

I am mostly tongue-in-cheek about the whole defensiveness. I can understand wanting to send them because it would be useful for scientific study of long-term exposure of males AND females in space while reducing the risk of either going too long without emotional companionship. Because if we do intend on colonising other planets it'll be by sending "reproduceable" families there in the first place, we don't want them to be batshit insane when they land due to... long-distance space travel crazy syndrome or whatever.

I do feel, in the current sexual-equality environment, that stating a heterosexual couple represents humanity the best is not quite the wisest thing to say at this point in time. It does imply that the grandest of gestures of the human race must be done with heterosexuals which I do find makes me a bit uncomfortable.

Better to focus on the scientific benefits of it being a heterosexual couple than the "gesture" benefits.

Honestly i think you missed a bit.

They did explain very specifically why a heterosexual couple, and it really had not much to do with their sexual preference. Males and Females equally represented in the journey. Being a couple will probably help them stay sane. That was the point of the heterosexual couple representing humanity. Not the hetero-unit itself, but the fact that a Man and a Woman make up roughly 99.9% of the population or thereabouts.

I see no sexuality discrimination here, and i don't really think anyone should either, unless they dig for it.

This is why the first Mars trip should be "go big or don't bother". A small group will inevitably drive each other insane. Six people in a can in privation conditions is idiotic. Get a large group in a large ship with some amenities. Give people some space, for Pete's sake. Also, don't pretend there won't be f*cking, because it's inevitable. Instead, manage the consequences.

I can think of better things to do with the money for space travel. But I agree with GamerFromJump it should be a larger group and also a parking space sized box with no privacy sounds hellish, let's hope that chilli isn't packed away in the food supplies.

Also

WWmelb:

They did explain very specifically why a heterosexual couple, and it really had not much to do with their sexual preference. Males and Females equally represented in the journey. Being a couple will probably help them stay sane. That was the point of the heterosexual couple representing humanity. Not the hetero-unit itself, but the fact that a Man and a Woman make up roughly 99.9% of the population or thereabouts.

I know I am going to regret this but what sex is the last 0.1%?

I'm sorry but the best reason to go to space is to get away from your wife.

Frostbyte666:
I can think of better things to do with the money for space travel. But I agree with GamerFromJump it should be a larger group and also a parking space sized box with no privacy sounds hellish, let's hope that chilli isn't packed away in the food supplies.

Also

WWmelb:

They did explain very specifically why a heterosexual couple, and it really had not much to do with their sexual preference. Males and Females equally represented in the journey. Being a couple will probably help them stay sane. That was the point of the heterosexual couple representing humanity. Not the hetero-unit itself, but the fact that a Man and a Woman make up roughly 99.9% of the population or thereabouts.

I know I am going to regret this but what sex is the last 0.1%?

Well it may actually be a lot higher than0.1% and probably is, but transgender, intersex etc you get the idea. It is probably actually closer to 1% but i can't be sure on that.

Evil Smurf:
What's wrong with gay people in space?
image

Do we not like these people?

I can see it now.
*space ship gets attacked by aliens with probing tools*
"Greetings space people! If you have to probe someone, probe me! Because I'm Daffyd Thomas, the only gay in space."
*Aliens does sounds point at eachother with probing tools and giggeling*
"Your extraterrestrials that doesn't really count.*

 

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