Friday, June 04, 2010

Earthbound Explorers Prepare for Vacuum of Space, Void of AM Radio

And by Sunday there won't be anyone to eat.
The six explorers faced a roomful of reporters, answering questions with steadied calm that soothed the tension before the beginning of a journey that some called an important lesson in living without benefit of the normal ties to civilization and sanity that we take for granted, and that others called a sheerly mad stunt.

"I am very happy to be part of this project," said Diego Urbina, the Colombian-Italian and most extrovert member of the crew.

And yet the brave adventurers knew they were embarking on a mission from which not all of them might return: to spend 520 days locked in a chamber with only food, water and AM radio to sustain them. Then, to prolonged cheering, the astronauts of the mind closed the portal to their isolation chamber with its giant wire exercise wheel, its monotonous routine of dishes to wash and beds to make, tubes of dreary, tiresome homogenized pork produts to consume, and endless hours of hysterical crises to digest unbuffered by factual content or coworkers with access to the BBC’s website.

“Anything could happen,” gushed chief engineer Romulus Morrison. “Personally I’m betting that halfway through the experiment the crew will believe Mexico has invaded America and that President Obama surrendered immediately, that the rich have fled to a cloud city hovering above Dubai, and that most of the world ekes out a Mad Max style existence selling dietary supplements and cheap jewelry to each other on eBay. By that time, they’ll have forgotten that their capsule is in a warehouse in Russia and they’ll actually refuse to come back to Earth.”

I love space -- and I weep for it.As they entered the interconnected modules that would be their home for a year and a half, all six adventurers must surely have thought of their ill-fated predecessor, the Beck 500. Confined for the same amount of time listening only to Glenn Beck, the surviving members of that expedition have yet to sufficiently remaster the art of human speech to describe their horrific descent into madness – the only testament to their ordeal is a silent but utterly unapproachable pile of diapers fashioned out of handmade Gadsden flags. And the mute remains of their deceased comrades, found floating in a wine sauce seasoned with tarragon and basil. A wine sauce.
What's he doing?  The backstroke.