|Neil Armstrong comments: 'This mission is one small step for man, a slight shuffle for mankind.'|
Monday, 7 November 2011
Space Mission in Car Park
The very first mission to Mars was completed in 2011, simulated in a space module parked up for 18 months in a Moscow research centre’s car park. Sceptics question the validity of the virtual voyage. But virtual is the new reality (isn’t it?).
This was a well thought-out project, besides. Remember, the first space missions sent dogs up first to see how they liked it. Whereas, the Mars team knew that they could dispense with the preliminary canine trials because they already had good data on how dogs fare in car parks and how important it is to leave a crack in the passenger seat window.
Of course, a real flight would challenge the static cosmonauts way more, sceptics say. They’re not going to face the angst of falling chronically ill a million miles from an A&E, for instance. But they do run the very real danger of running down their parking ticket, of their module being clamped, or worse, towed away and compounded. Most of their communications back ‘home’ are also going to be strained. They’d be of the nature of constantly testing relationships with relatives and friends asking them if they could do them a massive favour and just go down to the car park with some coins, see if they need to stick a bit more in the meter.
So worthwhile or not? Once the dust has settled and the data collected and analysed, we will be able to find out approximately what it will be like to park on Mars.