All the way to Mars with only one loo...

Share

I'm all for using the scientific method in most things. As an arts graduate who's engaged to a born scientist, I kind of have to be. Rational argument prevents much unhelpful bickering, and if a wedding must be planned, best leave it to someone who is proficient in Microsoft Project. But using one's relationship as the subject of a scientific experiment is where I draw the line. Which is why I am worried about Dennis Tito's planned mission to Mars.

Mr Tito, a multimillionaire financier and former Nasa rocket scientist, is confident that he can raise a couple of billion dollars for a Mars mission in 2018, and he's looking for a married, male-female couple to crew it. "It's important that they are a tried-and-trusted couple," adds a mission adviser. The chosen crew should have "experience [of] living and working in an isolated, confined environment for an extended period of time, preferably for the full mission duration, but for at least six months".

If the team is looking for a marriage that has stuck together for a long time in trying circumstances, shouldn't it first try out some gay couples who got together in the 1950s? And what makes him think that a mixed-sex pair will be better at bonding? Last week, the explorer James Cracknell and his wife talked to the press about his impending desert trip with his travelling companion Ben Fogle – the first since Cracknell nearly died when he and his bicycle were hit by a truck. The trip, said Cracknell, is about "life moving on for both of us". By "both of us", of course, he meant himself and Mr Fogle, who have seen each other naked, lots.

The space vehicle's bathroom arrangements are also a cause for concern. The trip will require "reliable –but minimalist – accommodations and provisions … that would meet only basic human needs to support metabolic requirements and limited crew comfort allowances", prospective couples are told. Basically, they're talking about a dodgy toilet. And we all know that the couple that wants to stay together should never share No 2s.

Worst of all, though, is the probability that the couple will become completely fed up with each other soon into the 501-day trip. It's hard for any couple that live and work together all the time. What will the Mars pair talk about at the end of a long day, when one has cooked the other a romantic tea of dehydrated space food? That is, if they are allowed to talk at all. New research (by neuroscientists, no less) shows that driving a car while talking is very dangerous, because the parts of the brain that process vision and decision-making are "significantly reduced" when communicating. Not only does this mean that my fiancé is proved right in his hypothesis that we should not talk to each other on long road trips, but also that chatting while in charge of a space shuttle could result in a horrible asteroid collision.

That's more silent motorway journeys for my partner and me, then. But at least we're not going to Mars.

twitter.com/@katyguest36912

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

 

In Sickness and in Health: 'I'm really happy to be alive and to see Rebecca'

Rebecca Armstrong
Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine