UnNews:Reds pretend to land on Red Planet
|UnNews Audio (file info)|
|Listen to this story!|
21 January 2011
MOSCOW, Russia -- Six cosmonauts are set to pretend to touch down on the surface of Mars. The all-male crew has lived inside a cramped capsule for the past 233 days to pretend to make the interplanetary journey.
The cosmonauts--three Russians, a Chinese, a Frenchman and a stowaway named Zachary Smith--eat canned food, communicate by e-mails and video messages, and bathe once a week. This last was the idea of the Frenchman, said mission director Boris Morukov.
The mission is being conducted by the Institute for Medical and Biological Problems here, although it has not yet succeeded in causing any such problems. In fact, Mr. Morukov says the astronauts are "still motivated, though there is some natural fatigue." The mission is a natural outgrowth of the old Russian saying, "They pretend to pay me, and I pretend to work," work in this case being to pretend to go to Mars.
The Putin/Medvedev administration in Russia has made pretending a cabinet-level ministry, among other things pretending to get tough on Iranian saber-rattling, pretending to dismantle its nuclear arms, and pretending it didn't invade Chechnya. Pretending to go to Mars, however, is the most ambitious effort to date. A real Mars mission is decades away because of its huge costs and technical challenges, and because the Russian government places a higher priority on pretending to complete the annual food harvest.
After pretending to land on Mars on February 12, the crew will pretend to study the surface for two days, and then pretend to return to Earth. Mission control will create mock emergencies to keep the crew busy, Mr. Morukov said. The crew is in a yellow, pretend "space capsule" the size of a school bus, with flashing red lights on the front and back, which occasionally speeds around corners and rolls over to simulate the strange gravity of a space flight. Deadly space radiation is simulated using black light and radios tuned between channels.
Statesmen in the United States discount the possibility that Russia could pull ahead in the "space race." New Jersey Governor Donald Trump said, "This nation has millions of basement-dwellers whose experience playing video games, eating stale, processed foods, and avoiding all real human contact for months at a time, equip America for any competition to pretend to return to space."
- Nataliya Vasileyva "520-day flight simulation nears 'landing' on Mars" Associated Press, January 21, 2011