Could your marriage stand sixteen months of togetherness with no chance of escape?
If the answer is Yes maybe you should sign up for the trip of a lifetime.
In case you missed it, Inspiration Mars, a private non-profit group, announced last week that they plan to send a man and a woman on a spaceflight to the Red Planet. The mission would involve a straightforward flight to our nearest planetary neighbour, one loop around it at a height of one hundred miles, and then the return to Earth. The proposed launch date is January 5th, 2018 because at that time Earth and Mars will be in their best alignment for the shortest possible trip (which only happens twice every fifteen years) and, coincidentally, the sun will be at the lowest point of its eleven-year sunspot cycle. That reduces the hazard of solar radiation, although there will still be plenty left—enough that the astro-couple should be past their child-bearing years because the voyage will probably make them sterile. This isn’t just a fantasy: Inspiration Mars has the support of some big (and wealthy) names along with some reputable organizations and companies. The mission is intended to re-inspire the American people and provide an opportunity for important research.
The group wants a married couple so they’ll be able to give each other emotional support over such a long trip, far away from every other living soul.
Is that really the way it would work out? Let’s think about the possibilities:
The Good? Zero-gee sex. The Bad? With the way zero-gravity pools blood in the body, she may have a headache the whole trip.
The good: she’ll know exactly where he is every night. The bad: no girlfriend time…for either of them.
He’ll get to watch TV in the bedroom. On the other hand, if some of the funds come from filming a reality TV show, everyone on Earth could be watching them in the bedroom.
Good: there’ll only be room in the closet for one pair of her shoes. Bad: before the ship clears the orbit of the Moon his dirty socks will be floating everywhere.
He’ll look for any excuse not to shave or bathe. Zero-gee will make them both puffy: try to imagine 501 straight “fat days.”
And then when they turn to Dr. Phil for marriage counseling, it will take four minutes for the TV doctor’s questions to get to them by radio, so he’ll hear each answer eight minutes after he’s asked the question. Dr. Phil’s not that patient.
On the other hand, since the spacecraft won’t actually land on Mars but only make an uninterrupted round trip, that means the husband will be able to travel 374 million kilometers without stopping to ask directions.
This just might work.