Dennis Tito’s proposed private-sector manned and womanned mission to Mars has brought one of Daze Reader‘s favorite recurring topics back in the news: sex in space.
Tito held a press conference last week to announce the plans: a 501-day trip to Mars and back by two astronauts, ideally a man and a woman, in a committed relationship (better be very, very committed), past childbearing age (since radiation exposure and babymaking are a bad mix). It’s an open question whether anyone has had sex in space yet, but occasional boinking would be built into the itinerary on this voyage.
Also at the press conference were Taber MacCallum and Jane Poynter, a married couple of the right age who head Paragon Space Development Corporation. They have since been making the talk show rounds promoting the project and declaring their willingness to go.
Here’s the weird twist I learned last night listening to them talk: Taber MacCallum and Jane Poynter were two of the original Biosphere 2 crew members in the early 1990s. Biosphere 2 was either a groundbreaking science experiment run by futurist visionaries or a junk science publicity stunt run by a doomsday cult, depending on who you listen to. The idea was for a small group to live in a hermeticly-sealed environment for two years, recycling their air and water and food in order to simulate conditions in an off-Earth colony.
This heritage doesn’t bode well for the Mars mission. It later came out that the Biospheronauts cheated by occasionally opening the windows to let in some fresh air. That won’t work in hard vacuum. If the 2018 Mars mission is run like the Biosphere, sorry, you’re gonna die up there.
Someone from Red Bull spoke at the press conference too. That’s a better sign.