OCTOBER 23rd, Space Travel Disasters
“Well, the thing about a black hole – its main distinguishing feature – is it’s black. And the thing about space, the colour of space, your basic space colour, is black. So how are you supposed to see them.”
-Holly (Red Dwarf)
I love the idea of space travel, I really do. However, when I think of everything that can go wrong it scares the shit out of me. I understand we’ve had about 100 years of flight under our belts now but that still does nothing for my nerves. We don’t have junk floating around in the sky that could cause a collision … unless you count Southwest. Southwest fucking sucks. I’ve flown with them twice and both times they’ve fucked me or someone in my party. But before I get too far off topic, space travel has its fair share of dangers.
The first obvious concern is destination. Where the fuck will we be going? The Moon is only a few days away given the appropriate launch window, but other targets are much, much further. So the more time you are on one of these floating sarcophaguses … sarcophagi… sarcophaguesies … coffins, the opportunity murphy’s law has to show up. I’m sure I’m in the minority of OL’s demographic, but if the chance arises in the next few years of space flights, I’ll be keeping my toes on this little blue marble.
Another concern I have is our general ignorance of otherworldly factors. What if an unexpected gravity well causes a meteoric shift? Suddenly you’re on the Spacetanic. How about black holes? No one knows how they form; perhaps one will just suddenly appear in front of you. Also, who am I sharing this vessel with? I often say that my friends are my friends because I don’t live with them. The prospect of being on a ship that will no doubt have tight quarters for months with people I will no doubt conflict with does irk me.
Hollywood has done nothing to curtail this fear. Most every movie or TV show I’ve ever seen that involves space travel, and is rated PG and up, uses ship malfunction as an element of drama. Either that, or starships are blowing up left and right.
Even with all those factors taken into account, the biggest fear I have is being stranded. If you’re in the ocean, or on an island, there is a chance you’ll be found. If you’re near a shipping lane, or if you’re in the search grid, it’s just a matter of time. All you have to do is survive. If that means gathering resources and fighting off animals, its doable. In space you have nothing. Once the supplies are used up, that’s it, starvation time. Well, actually you’d die of dehydration first, but the point is there is no one coming. Space flights would take so long that by the time you registered as missing, you’re probably already dead.
THE ANSWER: Chances are I’m not going to have to face this fear. I don’t have the eleventy-billion dollars that Richard Branson wants to launch people into space, and even that flight wouldn’t freak me out. I suppose this is a take on cabin fever, but I’m relatively unaffected by that here on Earth. I know this is just my brain overthinking things. But then again, it is my brain and it is just looking out for me. I look at space travel like I look at medieval times. Sure, I’d love to ride around as a knight, jousting and fighting, and all that jazz. But when you get down to it, it’s a pretty disgusting place to live. No showers, no toilet paper, women with underarm hair, rats everywhere. Such rights true with space travel. I’d love to get a window seat and be back in a day or two, but I don’t want to spend months or years up there. I like my gravity too much.