Madame Mars 01
Sobering up on New Year’s Day, not from over-partying, but from over-thinking my end-of-2013 Mars news. Over 200,000 Mars One applicants vying for a one-way trip to Mars, then suddenly on Dec. 30 the applicant pool shrunk to 1058 – and I’m one of those. My friend Bill Sheehan says those odds are about the same as becoming the village idiot. Maybe only village idiots apply for a one-way trip to Mars.
I feel like Schrödinger’s Jan: I’m going to Mars and I’m not going to Mars. Both outcomes are currently true because neither can be presently ruled out, and the box revealing the actuality won’t be opened until much later this year, possibly even next. For one reason or another, I’ve come to think of myself as a Martian – one of a handful, globally speaking, advancing to the next round that will ultimately select the first humans to move to Mars in 2025.
While I’m thrilled that I’ve actually moved a step closer to space travel (which I’ve craved since I was a kid), I keep asking myself – what do they want with ME? What role would I assume in the four-person crew – Mars grandmom? I’m among the oldest in the candidate pool, so I can only assume that “maturity” is a desired quality for pioneering Martians.
Maybe they’re impressed by the fact that I know a lot about Mars, not only why I’d have to wear a spacesuit to take a walk there, but exactly what would happen to me if I didn’t: how all the liquids in my body would explode in a desperate attempt to equalize the pressure inside my body with the near-vacuum pressure outside. I know how my muscle tone and bone density will atrophy without customized fitness training along the way and once I arrive. I know the places to see there – Olympus Mons, Valles Marineris – and the places to avoid, like the dust-storm-prone southern plains: one appropriately named Hellas.
If they do a reality TV series – they’re hinting at this already – will anybody take this mission seriously? Will I? And there’s my answer – I’m a filmmaker who also teaches screenwriting. I’m the creative crew for this gig, one in which “on location” is ripe with uncertainties. Maybe they’ll let me telecommute from the comfort of my Earth office.
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