Deep Space Case

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                <p>You are hurtling through space at speeds of about
650,000 MPH*.<br><br>*Let's assume that this is not only not impossible,
but also safely attainable.</p>
<p>You have been selected as part of a government program dedicated to
‘deep space exploration.' The way you were selected was as ironic as
it was random. For the purposes of constructing this wildly sci-fi
hypothetical, let's say that you actually volunteered to do this.Â
However, you weren't 100 percent aware of the decision you made at the
moment you made it. And let's also throw the subject of astrophysics
off to the side completely. The last time you changed your address, you
applied for a new driver's license. It was pretty simple, just filling
out a few forms, proving your residency, nothing special. Except when
you attempted to fill out the section to elect whether or not you wished
to donate your organs and tissues, there was another inquiry option
available which was titled "participate in government exploration
initiative."Â You read up on this in the brief summary that followed the
inquiry box. The summary basically said that if deep space travel were
ever to be viable, and deemed safe by the appropriate agencies within the
government of the United States, that you would be willing to donate your
"time" to Science. Of course, you thought this was absurd, but you also
thought it would be really funny to show your friends your new ID with a
funny looking "Deep Space Donor" logo right beneath your picture. Well,
what you did not know, is that rocket science had progressed faster than
you ever thought it would, and it was also much more advanced than you
thought it was to begin with. A couple years after you made this decision
in jest, you are approached at your doorstep by federal agents. Believe
it or not, you're going into space, buddy!*<br><br><br>*Let's further
assume that you of course go through the following emotional
progression:Â disbelief, shock, denial, stupor, skepticism, and then
grief. For sake of brevity, let's cut to the part where you finally are
being sent into space. <br>The agents tell you that you have 6 weeks
until you are required to start your 8 week training course prior to your
departure from Earth. They also lay out rule number 1. <u>Rule Number
1.</u>Â You may choose up to 6 people to accompany you for the rest of
your/their lives. Who do you choose? What is your ‘pitch' going to be
when you are trying to convince up to 6 people to spend the rest of their
lives with you in a pod travelling at 650,000 MPH into the vastness of
outer space? Do you rely on a PowerPoint slide presentation? What
ratio of women to men do you choose? How desperate will you get if
nearly everyone says no? Knowing that you are not allowed to bring pets
for some strange reason, does that exacerbate your anxiety? Answering
all of these questions in just six weeks time will be an extremely tough
task. How much of this time will you devote to pondering? This will
be the most important decision in your life. It will also be one of
the few decisions in which your decision is ultimately final. After you
make this decision there is NO going back. In space and in time,
you will only be able to go forward.       <!--INFOLINKS_OFF-->

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<br>When pitching to your ‘select six,' do you tell them about Rule
#2? OR… do you do all of this… alone? <u>Rule Number 2.</u>Â
During your 8 week training course, you are joined by a NASA design
team. Within safety constraints, you can make your space pod as big and
as luxurious as you want it. You are allowed as many design
collaborators as you want, and as aforementioned, you have 8 weeks to
come up with the design. The only drawbacks are that your living
quarters must be able to achieve the speeds needed to travel deep into
space, and that it must be safe. However, you are allowed as many
iterations of your design as feasible in that 8 week period. A lot of
hypothetical conclusions will need to be pole-vaulted to here.Â
Basically, you're probably going to have a space pod similar in size to a
nice upper-middle class family's home. Except you are also probably
going to have beyond state-of-the-art technology available to you. Keep
in mind that you'll probably want to make sure the amenities you choose
are durable and useful. Remember, you and your entourage will probably
be living in space for about 65 years, and there is not really any
repairs or upgrades that can be made to your equipment. With that said,
do you think you could design your space-travelling dream home in a
matter of 8 weeks? <u>Rule Number 3.</u><strong> Â </strong>Streaming TV.
You are allowed to watch streaming television from the comfort of your
space pod. But again, there is a catch. Due to the high amount of
bandwidth required to stream television into deep space, you will only be
allowed to have access to three channels. Which three channels do you
choose? Do you consult your entourage? Do you have enough of a movie
library to last you for 65 years of 3 channel entertainment? Also keep in
mind that the farther you are from Earth, the longer it will take to get
the streaming media <em>to you.</em>Â Say you launch in 2016, you pick
CBS as one of your channels, and in 2035 you are watching the 2025 NCAA
Mens Basketball Final Four (also take the leap of assuming that Court Tv
has not somehow completely captured the rights to the Final Four). Let's
not get into food, fuel, or oxygen supply and just assume that NASA got
all of that figured out for you.  Let's take a look at the last
rule. Rule #4. <u>Rule Number 4.</u> After 10 years, there is no law
precluding you from exiling 1 of your 6 pod mates. As part of the
contract that you really had no choice in signing, you are pointed to an
"exile clause."Â The exile clause states that after 10 years, you may do
away with one of your podmates and release them into deep space. This
obviously is incredibly morbid and absurd, but it is nonetheless in the
contract. <br><br>You begin to think to yourself, even if someone got
so under your skin due to 10 years of living together in such close
quarters, could you ever do this? Would you ever think of doing this?Â
Would the situation you are in drive you so crazy that you would begin to
think "well, it's <em>not against the law.</em>"Â Also, with nobody else
(i.e. law enforcement) able to step in since you are so far far away, who
is to say you wouldn't think of this before the 10 year mark and maybe
begin to plot who you would kick out into the vacuum of space? Would it
be plausible to think that everyone would be nice to you since they know
you have this power? Even though some clerk at NASA could be watching
you through a camera feed, they would only be seeing what happened a long
time before that by the time the video transmission had reached them.Â
And at best, they could only scold you. Just thinking about this may be
enough to drive you crazy. Knowing that you would even think these
thoughts probably worries you. Which leads to one last hypothetical
inquiry: does thinking about a situation that may drive you crazy…
begin to drive you… crazy?</p>                <!--INFOLINKS_OFF-->

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