Living During Covid May Help Us to Live on Mars
A new era in the space race is at hand. After a nine-year hiatus, our race to space has been reinvigorated. SpaceX has successfully sent two NASA astronauts to the International Space Station. And for the first time, the United States officially has a Space Force! Will the next stop be the Red Planet? I happen to think that living on Mars will be a lot like living during Covid.
The Isolation is Real
We are getting a small taste of what true isolation feels like. Living on Mars will be even worse. You won’t be able to freely visit relatives back on Earth. In fact, you may not even be able to go back home. It isn’t known what effects Mars’s lower gravity will have on human bones and tissue. Astronauts have experienced weakened bones and muscle loss after long trips in space. Going to Mars might mean never seeing the “old country”—Earth—again. So let’s hope we can Zoom in space.
Stock up on Toilet Paper
We all know about the rush on toilet paper during Covid. But stocking up on toilet paper is going to be even more crucial when it comes to Mars. Practically-speaking, we can only send a ship to Mars every twenty-four months during Close Approach. That’s when Mars and Earth are closest because of their orbits. So be sure you don’t forget anything because it’s going to be two years before you get that good moisturizer.
It’s a Good Time to Catch up on Movies (and Books!)
We are all netflixing (is that even a verb?) during this time. The same will hold true for travelling to Mars. The ride to Mars is really, really long. NASA recently sent a new rover to Mars and it’s going to take six to seven months to arrive. So you’ll have plenty of time to catch up on movies and reading. You should probably bring some old-school DVD’s because while Netflix is everywhere, it’s not in space yet.
Bring a Pet
Lots of people have been adopting pets during Covid. Mars is far away. You’re going to be lonely and a little scared. A cat will keep you company and lift your spirits when you get low. Also, cats have already been to space. Back in the 1960s, the French had a feline space program. They trained fourteen cats. The cat who was chosen to be the first astronaut—I mean “astrocat”—was named Félicette. They implanted an electrode in her head and shot her up in a capsule attached to a French Veronique AG1 rocket. Félicette made it through the ordeal. (Apparently, she was a remarkably calm cat.)
It Will be Okay
In spite of all the obstacles, I believe that we will make it through this current crisis.
Which gives me faith in future Martians. Settling Mars is going to be difficult, dangerous, thrilling, and lonely. But ultimately, I think the first humans we send to Mars will make it, too.
To read more of my vision for Mars, please check out my new book The Lion of Mars from Random House Children’s Books.