GETTING REAL HIGH
Could you spend a year on the International Space Station all by yourself?
That’s what astronaut Scott Kelly plans to do early in 2015. The reason he's doing it is to see how a human functions over a long period of time in zero gravity. It'll give us an idea of what to expect when we eventually launch a mission to Mars.
Orbiting the earth alone in a space capsule for a year might drive most of us nuts. The job becomes your life. You have to exercise and do experiments on yourself. The plus side is you won't get sick and you'll become an inch and a half taller. Imagine your dreams. Imagine what it would be like to wake up in the morning orbiting the planet. Imagine how you could easily get very creeped out by the whole experience.
One of the benefits of circling the earth is that you'll age less than if you remained on the planet. Time moves differently while you're in orbit. The lack of gravity on your body could be both beneficial and debilitating. Imagine not walking for a year on solid ground, not using your legs. On the other hand, in zero gravity there may be less stress on your internal organs. And what about sex? This guy will be one of the first guys to masturbate in space.
It’s also important for him to keep his mind active. Being in outer space isn't like Star Trek. What does he do to get away from it all when there’s nowhere to go?
I think I could do a year in space as long as I had the right medications on board. Remember, on a mission to Mars, even the most intellectually inflexible astronaut would want to get high once and a while. I can't think of humans spending all that time in space without altering their consciousness. In fact, altering your consciousness might just be one of the experiments astronauts will have to perform. They might have to have a martini now and then as well.
Will Astronaut Kelly have something on board, bottled or otherwise, that will make him want to kick back and just buzz mindlessly around inside the space station? I certainly hope so. A year on duty, twenty four seven, isn't healthy for any of us. Besides, a real mission to Mars will have to cope with all kinds of personality quirks. It's only fair that Astronaut Kelly gets to experience some of those quirks while spending a year alone in outer space.