Saturday, November 5, 2011

Let's Play Go To Mars

Late yesterday one of my employees emailed me a link asking: "Would you volunteer for this?"

Friday marked the end of a somewhat absurd yet scientifically important (I guess) experiment costing $15 million dollars and involving six men who pretended to be astronaunts (technically "cosmonauts", which is an interesting contrast in terms when you think about it) going to, exploring, and returning from Mars. The experiment lasted 520 days and involved a "fake" landing on Mars where two of the "crew members" donned 70-pound suits and marched around in a dark sand-filled room designed to simulate the surface of Mars.

That image struck me as incredibly funny and my employee and I enjoyed a good laugh. A closer reading of the story revealed that this was not the first time this experiement had been attempted.

Back in 2000, a different mix of "crew" involved at least one woman. The "mission" had to be interrupted when two male crew members got into a fistfight over one male trying to "forceably" kiss a female co-astronaut on about day 400 of that mission. I laughed hard at that.

I noticed there were no women in the crew for this experiment. Science learns and marches on.

Still, science looks pretty silly sometimes, and completely human.

The experiment took place in Moscow. The misson was named Mars 500.

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