Categories: Afternoon Inquisition

AI: Fly you to the moon?

While in the car today, my husband and I were discussing space travel.

Knowing, and not knowing, the risks involved with space travel, Phil Plait has said that, given the opportunity, he would decline any offers to actually leave Earth.

My husband annoyed me by saying that he would brave outerspace even knowing that he would be leaving me and the kids behind if something happened. Then he REALLY made me mad when he said he’d take Moose to the moon. But he’d be totally uninterested in living on the space station.

Me? I had no business getting upset. I’d go as long as I had access to Twitter. And I’d totally move the whole family to space in a heartbeat.

Given the opportunity and knowing the risks, would you venture into outerspace? What would it take to convince you to change your mind?

The Afternoon Inquisition (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Skepchick community. Look for it to appear Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays at 3pm ET.

Elyse :Elyse MoFo Anders is the bad ass behind forming the Women Thinking, inc and the superhero who launched the Hug Me! I'm Vaccinated campaign as well as podcaster emeritus, writer, slacktivist extraordinaire, cancer survivor and sometimes runs marathons for charity. You probably think she's awesome so you follow her on twitter.

View Comments (58)

  • I am perpetually amazed and generally astounded by the fact that our species has the ability to leave our own planet!!!! That is awesome, and I regret deeply that I realistically will never get to experience that myself before I die. I am too old and asthmatic to become an astronaut (plus I have killer vertigo), and too poor for space tourism. And though it is completely irrational, and as much as I love my family dearly, if I was offered a chance to go to Mars and told there was a 100% chance I would die within about 10 minutes of being there, I would only hesitate long enough to kiss my loved ones goodbye and tell them how awesome they are.

    Because I'm human, dammit! This is what we do.

  • Um, no, Swordsbane at 42, unless you have some really revolutionary ideas, All spacecraft will be manufactured on Earth and launched out of Earth orbit. There may be recoverable water on Earth's moon, but we are far from ready to mine it for cosmic ray shielding. As far as 2001, A Space Odessy-style space stations or space ships, it takes a ridiculously large radius for a spinning-induced pseudo-gravity to be effective without inducing nausea in most people.

    Get a grip. Space travel today is not like Star Trek or Star Wars (both, notably, sci-fi) or other convenient fiction. Sustained, self-contained, microgravity travel outside of the Earth's gravity well and magneto-sphere is no easy task. Before you sign up for space travel, try living in a camper van for six months without any stops.

  • @swordsbane:

    This is not new technology. This is designing space craft the right way, instead of designing them to be light enough to lift from the surface of Earth which currently requires more than half the fuel required for the entire mission.

    If it hasn't been built-yet, then it doesn't even qualify as technology. Its only design.

    In any case, my point wasn't about space-travel, per se. My point was that, for the first off-world colonists, be they on Mars, an Asteroid, a space-station or where-ever, life. will. suck.

    Imagine spending the rest of your life living in a small office building with no windows or doors, where the smallest technical failure means death, where your ecosystem is so small and fragile that its in constant danger of collapsing or spinning wildly out of control.

    And, as an extra added bonus, all the people out there with you - were crazy enough to be out there with you.

    No thanks. I'll wait for Space-colonization 2.0


  • Terra firma for me; endless days of monotony, depravation, tedium and inconvenience on top of substantial risk would not result in a big enough pay off for missing the company of family, friends and the endless earth bound experiences that would be sacrificed. Not to mention the King Kong size carbon footprint these little jaunts leave behind.

  • I would go, especially if there were a colonization aspect. Of course, my partner says he would not - so there's that complication, but personally, I'd want to.

  • I would go, but only if they promised me hot chicks (Skepchicks, of course) when I got there - wherever "there" is. Just the thought of stepping onto another world (with hot chicks) is so exciting I could deal with all the monotony, tedium and risk.

    And did I mention the hot chicks? :-)

  • I want to say yes, but I will freely confess: I have problems watching Apollo 13 without getting the massive heebie-jeebies. Every time they pull out to a shot of that tiny little capsule with its very, very, very thin walls surrounded by all that space? Those miles and miles of stray hydrogen atoms that can't even see their neighbors? My testicles try to crawl up in my abdomen and part of my mind starts to gibber uncontrollably.

    If we're talking an "end of the world" scenario, I like to think that I would let someone else take my place. Don't get me wrong... I'm pretty awesome. But I'm also single, with no children, and possessing a skill set that's fairly repeatable; about the main thing I have going for me in a survival situation is that I've read a lot of post-apocalyptic fiction, giving me some ideas to work from.

  • I'd go if there was 100% chance I wouldn't get back.
    As long as someone is willing to take care of my pets, color me gone.

  • I love space. It fascinates me but I would never NEVER venture into it -- that shit scares me to no end. I can barely fly, you think I am going to go farther?


    Now, would I love it if more people could go and explore and bring me back the information?