Thursday, September 16, 2010

Hypothetical Thursday: SPACE MADNESS!!

I watch the Weather Channel every morning when I'm getting ready for work. It's addictive, and fulfills my need for some kind of science quotient in my life. Don't judge me. I'm not out buying heroin from high school kids. But it would be hilarious if I was buying earth science books from them instead... Okay, end early morning pre-caffeinated rambling.

So, this morning on the Weather Channel there was an interview with two astronauts, engineer Doug Wheelock, and Tracey Caldwell Dyson. Dyson will be coming back home later today.

Mike Bettes, the Weather Channel meteorologist, asked what they missed most. After running water—Wheelock said he hadn't had a shower since the middle of June—they said they missed simple things like smells, cooking food, the smell of the outdoors.

This got me to thinking: Some of you write science fiction and dystopian, and some of it, like Beth Revis's upcoming debut novel Across the Universe (you know, the one with the BEST FIRST CHAPTER EVER? ;D ) is set in space.

I know I'm a hard-core fan of television/film space dramas. Battlestar, Firefly/Serenity, Moon with Sam Rockwell—an awesome mix of science fiction, psychological thriller and ethical drama—most kinds of Trek. I'd love to write a story set in space someday. But just watching astronaut Dyson's ponytail floating around in that low gravity made me realize how different every sensation must be, how even touching things would be a different experience, and that's just orbiting 200 miles above the earth. Real research would be difficult without interviewing an astronaut, or going into orbit yourself.

Here comes the hypothetical:

If you had the opportunity, but had to spend three months in space or more like real astronauts do, would you go? Since this is a hypothetical, let's say kids and husbands and jobs and pets are a non-issue. I'd like to say I'd immediately shout YES!, but now that I'm thinking about all the things I'd miss, I'm not so sure. About all the sensations that usually fill my writing and how it might change without them.

Plus, there's the issue of bone loss, which also occurs during prolonged periods in low gravity. Astronauts are required to do weight training exercises to keep bone loss at a minimum. And of course, SPACE MADNESS! ;)

So what do you think? Would that kind of in-depth immersion in your research be worth it to you? Or would you prefer to keep your feet on the ground and your head in orbit?

Love to hear your thoughts!


Abby Annis said...

I would totally jump at the chance to go into space. That would be SO cool! And terrifying, probably, but definitely an experience I wouldn't be able to pass up. Great post!

Valerie Geary said...

Oh I would totally go to space!! I would love to see the world from above. I would love to do somersaults through the stars. I would love to dance on the moon!! That's it... I'm going. Right now. *dusts off rocket ship*

Susan R. Mills said...

Nope! Wouldn't do it! I'm happy right here on earth. I'd be way to scared to go into space.

Carolina M. Valdez Schneider said...

Oh yeah, I'd totally do it. There are some experiences worth sacrificing for. Especially if it's temporary. But great hypothetical to present. I know a lot of people probably wouldn't do it.

Hannah said...

First: I would do it but I would be so so scared! Space fascinates me and scares me but as I am a horror writer, I attempt to overcome all fears.

Second: that is my most favorite episode of Ren and Stimpy. "NOT MY ICE CREAM BAR!" LOL!!

Third: I JUST watched MOON! And I lurved it!! Also I love anything space. Have you seen SUNSHINE?! OMG, I heart that movie so much it's kind of pathetic. Mmmmm, Cillian Murphy.

Fourth: I (finally) got an idea for a space horror! It's far from first draft stage but I got it!! *Carleton Dance*

Fifth: I will spend hours, HOURS, watching the Weather Channel. I'm weird like that. I also listen to THE UNIVERSE documentary while at work. TG for Netflix!

That's all, I swears.

JEM said...

I would totally do it! Three months isn't that long and it would be a once in a lifetime opportunity! I would be concerned about the bone loss (I'm too crazy to catch space craziness), but I would welcome the three month break from so many people. Although I guess you better REALLY like your fellow astronauts...

Shannon said...

I would love to go, but I don't think I could handle three months. I have a hard time going more than a day without a shower. No way I could go that long!!

Shannon O'Donnell said...

I don't think I would. I'm happy with my feet safely grounded. :-)

Tere Kirkland said...

Abby, terrifying, definitely! I'm afraid of flying in turbulent weather, and that's without being strapped into a rocket filled with thousands of gallons of highly explosive fuel. Scary! But worth it for the view alone.

Valerie, save a seat for me! :)

Susan, you're obviously the smart, level headed friend I never had and badly need. ;)

Caro, I'm thinking that would be an experience worth sacrificing for, too. Imagine the stories you'd have to tell...

Hannah, I love the Universe. More of my inner science nerd coming out to play. So cool that you liked Moon. I'll have to check out Sunshine, thanks! Space horror can be soooo good (Event Horizon), or sooooooooooooo bad (Pandorum), so I wish you the best of luck writing something scary and sci-fi-y! *does Carleton Dance with you *

Jem, LOL, that would be my problem, close quarters. I would probably rub everyone the wrong way eventually with my mood swings. But at least we'd never have to fight over whose turn it is to do the dishes when all our food comes in bags! Yum, food bag. :(

Shannon, right? Showering is one of the best inventions of modern mankind. It would be hard for me to wake up every day without one... but maybe the inspiring view would do the job!

Shannon O: You're probably smarter than the rest of us. ;)

kah said...

Well, considering I wrote a mermaid story, can I opt to live underwater for a few months instead? If so, yes! Sign me up. ;)

I'll cope with the Aqua Madness. I'm halfway there anyway.

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

I'd definitely go for it. I'm open to trying different things and that's way out there. I'd love to see the earth as a marble floating in space. How cool!!

L.T. Elliot said...

I think I'd like to go for the research factor alone--although I'm sure I'd like something else about the process, too. I never thought that smells is something you'd be without in space. Wow.

p.s. I'm so psyched for Beth's book, too! That chapter ROCKED!

Unknown said...

YES YES a RESOUNDING YES! I would JUMP at that opportunity! I would LOVE to go into space!

I'm not sure I could sign up for a lifetime, like the people in my book--but for three months--OH YES. I would love that.

Tara Maya said...

It's funny you would ask the question as if going to to space would make me *reluctant* to write about space.... I write about going into space as my sad consolation prize for not being able to go there in reality! Ok, if I went, I would STILL write about it. As nonfiction. MY THREE MONTHS IN SPACE. And then as fiction too. I'd totally milk it. Except for the fact that by the time I could afford to go into space, so would three million other people, so it would no longer be milkable in its own right. :P

Krispy said...

3 months isn't so bad, so probably I'd say YES. The probably comes in because of my GREAT LOVE of food. I'm sorry, but if there's no ice cream in space, I DON'T THINK I COULD HANDLE IT.

That and well, all the weight training and stuff to GET in space... I don't know if I could do it. One, I'm not really into the whole exercise thing (lazy), and I can't even donate blood because I'm not weighty enough! :(

Sherrie Petersen said...

I was YES all the way until you mentioned weight training. I hate exercise and somehow I don't think being in space would improve my opinion of it. On the other hand, it's outer freaking space! I guess I'd force myself to exercise just to experience the adventure :)

Tere Kirkland said...

Yeah, I don't really like to exercise, bit I think I'd get used to it to keep the boredom and restlessness at bay.

It's the food that would be the kicker for me, though. I don't know if I could handle eating all my food out of a bag or something.

Theresa Milstein said...

Beth Revis does have an awesome first chapter. I'm on pins and needles for the book to come out.

I've never been tempted to go into space. There are so many places on our planet that I'd like to visit first.

Unknown said...

Considering I feel sick just spinning on a merry-go-round, I'd say the answer is an emphatic 'no!'

The training would kill me. ;)