Thursday, June 14, 2007

In any endeavor like ours, there will be attention from the press. Hell, we seek it. A major part of our mission is to get people to imagine, vividly, the exploration of Mars by human beings, and we’re eager to put up webcams, post blogs, and invite reporters into our lives, in the hopes that the exposure will turn minds towards that vision.

With this attention comes criticism – fair enough. How much do analog missions contribute to the goal of exploring Mars? To what extent do simulation conditions mirror those of a long term space mission? Aren’t unmanned missions to other planets just as productive as proposed manned missions, and much less risky? If not, why not? We’re asked these questions every day, and the answers are the subjects of intensive investigations, both here and at research institutions around the world.

What’s more difficult to deal with is ridicule. We’re wearing fake spacesuits and pretending to be on another planet – it’s not hard for a hack to make fun of that. Luckily, most of the journalists who spend time with us understand that we simply can’t answer the important questions about long duration space missions – what is tolerable? what isn’t? what works? what doesn’t? – without some of us looking like fools some of the time. I’m willing to sacrifice a bit of personal dignity to find the answers, but that does means laughing it off every now and then.

Oh, and my friends? You can mock me as much as you want - I'd feel neglected if you didn't!


Tim said...

The article was clearly written by yet another Hunter Thompson wannabe -- and it's a weak simulation of Hunter at that. Some journalists make great on-the-face-of-things observers, but deep thinking is not their talent. And his concluding sentence is utter crap. Perhaps a journalist could be worked into the fake-mars thriller script?

Lora said...

Nice slicing and dicing, Timmy.

Kim, rather than ridicule, which I will certainly deliver any time with the proper inspiration, I can't help but admire you, because you're one person who very clearly is living her dream. I don't know many people who would go to this length to do that. So there.

Jen said...

1. There is a cat? Why is this the first I am hearing of this? Where are the photos?

2. I can mock as much as I want? Christmas in June!

Kim Binsted said...

Timmy, we're totally brainstorming the journalist's role in the thriller this evening. It ain't gonna be pretty.

Lora - thanks!!

Jen - like you've ever needed permission to mock. In fact, I'm surprised that the permission doesn't take some of the joy out of it for you. :)

There was a cat at MDRS in Utah, but not one here. Pity.

Speaking of Christmas in June, any thoughts on how to do a Christmas dinner with canned turkey and dried/canned food in general? We're thinking of having a little party on the 25th...

Jason said...

Hey Kim,

Don't worry, be happy.

I'm finally back home. Yeah!

I saw Leia this morning and shes doing fine. Might have lost a couple of pounds actually.

It's so good to be home. I've been mucking the duck pen and trimming trees.

Let me know if there is anything I can do that Jen's not already doing.

As for Christmas in June dinner, could you make canned Turkey cookies in the shape of Christmas trees and reindeer ( don't forget the menorah for our Jewish friends).Or maybe a canned turkey fruit cake. I'm sure you'll figure something out.

BTW the only journalists I ever knew were Tim, Saki, and Sarah and you what kind of bunch they are.

Kristin Van Bodegraven said...

I think we're all overlooking the central issue:

"Velvet flowing smoothly over my thickly packed muscles, I seize the airlock handle and yank."

Helloo? Anyone? Anyone?

Kim Binsted said...

Yeah, we enjoyed that line. We think he's trying to be self-depreciatingly sarcastic, but since he really was wearing pimp clothes in the desert, the sympathy is not exactly overflowing.

Kristin Van Bodegraven said...

Lord willing and the creek don't rise, ten years from now horny male astronauts on real mars will excuse themselves from Parcheesi citing the need to "seize the airlock handle and yank." Gee, what will be the female equivilant?