With my shoulder still recovering slowly, I’ve decided to do a bit of running again. Here’s a shot from a run across
CAUTION: I must warn readers who are sensitive to sarcasm and sardonic wit… …as this update follows a recent trip to
I’ve been to
But before I really let rip on
Six volunteers have just emerged from 105 days locked in a windowless capsule intended to simulate the cramped and inhospitable conditions that astronauts would have to endure on a manned flight to Mars. As incomparable a moment as Armstrong’s first step on the moon was, I have doubts about whether manned space flight is still relevant in these days when all the spectacular science is being done by unmanned telescopes like the Hubble (admittedly serviced by humans), and the newly launched - and criminally under-celebrated - Herschel telescopes.
But even supposing for a moment that manned space flight does have a future, would you really volunteer to sacrifice 105 days of your life to such an experiment? Sure, these men could also say they were contributing to the scientific advance of mankind. But wouldn’t it grind you down to know that you were locked inside a glorified tin-can pretending to be an astronaut. In fact, mightn't there be something fundamentally abnormal – geeky, unimaginative, passionless (isn’t it telling that all of the volunteers were men) – about these people?
Surely it’s only reasonable to ask: what on earth (a rather appropriate construct I’m sure you’ll agree) leads people to volunteer to be shut in a fake space-capsule for 3 months? Even more unfathomable is that this 'adventure' will now be followed up by a repeat experiment, identical in every respect except that it will last 520 days…
Well one thing’s for sure – at least the experiment is far less dangerous than an actual manned voyage to Mars, where at any point in the two year journey, a rogue chunk of rock could careen into your space capsule, spilling you out into the atmosphere-less expanse of space.
Space isn’t the only place completely lacking in atmosphere. During my work trip I took an early evening constitutional around the streets of central
It was like
Passing reception, I picked up a rather thin publication called “This Week in
Or maybe there was a run on the unself-consciously named ‘