Gadzooks – It’s Our Anniversay

Trail Baboon has reached a milestone – TEN YEARS!  In honor of our anniversary, I am re-running a piece from our first week (with Dale’s approval!)   I was going to change the question, but it’s turned out to be eerily prescient in our current situation.

An intriguing human experiment has begun in the western part of Moscow at the Institute for Medical and Biological Problems.

Six men just started a 520 day “mission” to Mars.  They are enclosed in “a series of windowless steel capsules” for the duration, with enough food and activities and chores to keep them busy.  There’s also ample time for relaxation.  The “voyagers” will have to exercise two hours a day but will only be able to shower once a week.

Uh oh.

There are many obstacles to overcome in a real journey to Mars.  There would have to be a shield to protect the humans from solar radiation.   And psychologists predict that one the greatest emotional hazards is the likelihood that the crew would begin to grow tired of each other’s company.   But at least in a genuine Martian trip there would be a sense of excitement and anticipation of arriving on the planet – something that’s missing in this effort.

Perhaps the greatest hurdle in this make believe exercise is to get six grownups to pretend for almost a year and a half that they can’t just walk out for a smoke or a bit of vodka.   After all, it takes skilled actors years of training to get you to suspend reality for two hours on a stage.  How long can fact-based scientists and researchers last?

Because a similar effort ten years ago ended badly (sexual harassment allegations, fistfights), the mission commander is quoted in an AP article as saying “Each crew member has the right to end the experiment and walk out.  We have had such negative experience in the past, and I hope it won’t happen during this experiment.”

Double uh oh.

Which guy will make a bid to scuttle the mission after 500 days because he can’t stand “Commander Flatulence” or would just like to get out and feel the sunshine? The longer you’re in, the greater the pressure to stay in.  And the longer you’re in, the greater the leverage for anyone who threatens to leave.

This sounds like a twisted reality show disguised as a scientific experiment.  All it needs a name and a theme song, like that ditty that introduced “The Brady Bunch”.

Here’s the story of a group of fellas
Who were simulating flying into space.
They were scientists and they all liked each other
Which is not commonplace.

They’re pretending to go to a planet.
If you’re Martian it’s the place that you belong.
In the movies when the Martians meet the Earthlings,
they never get along.

Till this mission where these fellas met this planet.
Well not really but they tried to make believe.
They had almost made it there when it started.
That’s when everyone declared “I’m going to leave.”

I’m going to leave.  I’m going to leave.
I can’t stand you, and you, and you I’m going to leave.
I’m going to leave.  I’m going to leave.
This is Moscow we’re on Earth I’m going to leave!

What would you need to survive 520 days enclosed in a series of windowless steel capsules with five other people, all pretending that you can’t go outside?


19 thoughts on “Gadzooks – It’s Our Anniversay”

    1. I can’t believe this surprised anyone. Have any of these kinds of experiments ever worked out well?


  1. A five-shot revolver (just in case), 260 bottles of decent wine, at least enough of my pasta sauce and spaghetti for 200 dinners, 100 or so bars of dark chocolate, noise-canceling headphones, plenty of music on an iPod, lots of Cheerios, Wheat Chex, and Life cereal, and NO television!

    Chris in Owatonna

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Okay, maybe a TV if I could bring along all of George Carlin’s videos and those of the other great comedians like Pryor, Dangerfield, Martin, Robin Williams, et al. THat would help pass the time.



  2. I’d make a very poor candidate for such an experiment. I would not be able to tolerate an extended period of time without fresh vegetables, and the idea of sharing a bathroom with five other people for anything more than a long weekend would be problematic as well.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I’d need Robin, our own capsule and a door that locked. I’d also have to be about fifty years younger and be paid a significant amount of money.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Me, an introvert, stuck with 5 other people in a confined space for even a few days would be torture. 520 days? Never. Even with an endless supply of books, my favorite DVDs and music, noise cancelling headphones, my favorite snacks and beverages. Just never!

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Happy anniversary everybody!

    I would make a terrible astronaut. I have a smidge of claustrophobia and being any place where I couldn’t open windows or doors for that many days would make me insane. Plus, of course, I don’t think that our bodies are constitutionally able to take everything that would be involved in space travel like that. So I’m thinking even with all the money that Bill talked about, it would still be a death sentence.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m guessing that none of the subjects of these experiments will ever be chosen for the actual flight, if one ever happens, because they will have shown their individual weaknesses in the experiment. And everyone has individual weaknesses. Ultimately the crew will be made up of untested individuals.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. That was fun to hear Dale’s voice again.
    Yeah, I don’t think I could do it either. I’d miss standing outside at night and the smells of grass or dirt or fresh cut hay.
    Wonder if we could bring pets? Like a chicken or two. And a rooster would be helpful so we could keep the eggs coming.
    Be fun to go to Mars.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. A quick trip to the South Dakota Badlands would give you a similar experience without all the hassle. It has the added bonus of an atmosphere you can breathe. Granted you’d be surrounded by conservatives, but if other worldly experience is what you’re after, that’s a small price to pay. 🙂

      Liked by 4 people

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