An open letter to Mr. Dennis Tito, Mars mission visionary.
Dear Mr. Tito:
Your announcement last week that you are initiating a privately funded manned Mars fly-by with a mission widow of 2018-19 has captured my imagination and thrilled me beyond measure. I know that many people have volunteered and I’ve even heard that you may already have two people in mind (a married couple who lived in Biosphere 2) to pilot the Inspiration Mars spacecraft. But please don’t make any decisions until you’ve considered me.
While I am not what some might consider “astronaut material” – I’m not a trained pilot, sailor, or medical professional, have little exploration experience and shockingly sparce math and technical aptitude – I do have many other good qualities. I’m sure you’ll recognize my spirit of adventure and my willingness to learn when we meet in person to discuss my candidacy for the Mars mission. In the meantime, let me lay to rest any minor concerns you may have.
True, I have dandruff due to a minor skin problem, but it’s mostly unnoticeable and I can easily prevent scalp flakes from weightlessly drifting into the high-tech equipment with a deceptively low-tech plastic shower cap from Walgreens.
I don’t mind being sequestered for a year-and-a-half as long as Netflix is available aboard the capsule (I literally have fifteen years of The Simpsons to catch up on).
I’m a little overweight right now, but I know I can drop ten pounds by 2018. A mission to Mars is the perfect reason to cut Sausage McGriddles from my diet – starting next week.
I’m not exactly claustrophobic, so during the 501-day mission in a tiny capsule amidst the blackness of space my moments of irrational panic – though frequent – will likely be very short.
In my youth I was able to wear the same underwear two, even three, days in a row so I’m pretty sure that as an adult I can do it for 500+ days with a good enough reason. A mission to Mars qualifies.
I learned from Cuisinart not to push random buttons while asking, “What’s this thing do?”
More than once I’ve drunk an un-chilled Old Milwaukee beer out of a car trunk in summer. Recycling urine for drinking water probably won’t bother me.
If another person MUST fly to Mars and back with me, my wife will testify that I’m a good cohabitator – though (full disclosure) she does NOT want to fly to Mars with me.
In college I lived on Frito pies (comprised of substances that can only loosely be classified as “food”) from the off-campus 7-11 store, which means I can survive on any foodstuffs stocked in the Mars space capsule without complaint.
I’ve seen all the Mars-themed movies (“Mars Attacks!“, “Mission to Mars“, “War of the Worlds“, etc.) and I took a one-day self-defense course at the Y, so I’m ready for anything that might happen up there.
Over my lifetime I have dedicated thousands of hours envisioning what Earth’s cosmic neighbor is like up close – so, mentally, I’m over-prepared.
Thank you for your consideration, Mr. Tito. I am available for an interview at your convenience and am ready to begin official training on a moment’s notice.
PS: I really, really, really want to see Mars up close before I die and I don’t think I can wait for the Mars space charter bus to be developed. [This should not be discerned this as an indication of mission-jeopardizing impatience that could lead to poor in-flight judgement and rash decisions.]
Chris Everheart is author of the YA thriller
- Dennis Tito’s 2018 Human Mars Flyby Mission Explained (Infographic) (space.com)
- Want to go to Mars? Dennis Tito will take you there… (blogs.scientificamerican.com)
- Mars trip… with spouse. Takers? (cnn.com)