As many of you know I recently spent some time on our Mars colony. One of the biggest concerns for people who want to go to Mars, is the trip itself. I have heard reports where some people say it takes six years to get there. That is completely false. It takes about a day and most of this time you are sleeping. Turns out, Mars is really not that far away (in space years). It is much smaller than we first thought. It is only about the size of Alaska. The scientist who first estimated the distance got it wrong and the scientist that came after him just didn’t question it. It just looked bigger because we thought it was a lot further away than it really is. Classic case of “group think”
However, one thing they did get right was the dust. It is simply horrible. It gets everywhere and you taste it in your mouth (after you eat it) for days. It would be comparable to living on a planet full of cinnamon without the cinnamon odor. But, the main thing I want to talk about in this article is the trip itself. In some ways it was delightful, but in other ways it was annoying and irritating. Small little things that could have made the trip so much better, that NASA simply dropped the ball on.
For example, as you might imagine, we are strapped in pretty tight in our launch chairs. It is hard to move around, so I wanted to plug my iPod in before we took off to keep the battery fully charged for the whole trip. I had just downloaded seasons 1-3 of the Gilmore Girls and I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. Well, guess what? No cigarette lighter chargers. I mean at some level I understand this, but really? If we can put a cigarette lighter in a Ford Focus, come on NASA, spring for the extra $75 to put one on the shuttle! When I ask about it (complained), everyone acted like I was being riducuolus. They even told me that I wasn’t allowed to have electronic devices on during the launch. The pilot told me that the company line was that it interfered with cockpit communication, but that they were actually more concerned about me dropping it and then while fishing around for it in my launch suit, accidentally hitting a wrong button or flipping some switch. I Velcro my all of my electronic devices so I can attach them to my person, so you would think they’d cut me some slack. Again, not the end of the world, but work with me NASA. And I don’t like being mislead about the whole interfering with cockpit communication thing….(to be continued)