He Said She Said: On Going To Mars

Today we’re bringing you another round of He Said/She Said.  These posts are really your chance as readers to hear how discussions (and sometimes disagreements) play out when managing our lives with each other.  For a look at some of the past He Said/She Said discussions – check ‘em out here.


The Background on Today’s Conversation

About a week ago, Cat over at Budget Blonde asked How Much Money Would It Take For You To Go To Mars?

It was one of the first times I had heard about some of the details of the planned mission around our favorite red planet that has a goal start date of January 2018. Here are some of the facts:

  • 16 month trip from earth, slingshotting around mars and back to earth
  • 1 man and 1 woman (preferably married) in a small capsule
  • no space walks

Cat wanted to know who would be up for it.  Here’s my comment on her blog:

“I hadn’t heard of this, but I would totally be on board. This would be the ultimate camping adventure and I know Mr. PoP would want to do it, too! (He already wants to go to Antarctica someday, which I’m not nuts about because of the cold… but the adventure of Mars would make me a bit more willing…) If we don’t get paid, I’d want to set up a nice book deal before we would go or alternately wait a few years until we have more in savings to be able to take the financial hit. As long as Mr. PoP’s parents are on board with looking after Kitty PoP, I would totally jump on that.
As for getting along 24/7, as long as we had books I bet we could do it. And my cooking is bad enough already that space food might even be an upgrade! =)”

And I was so excited about it that I shared it with Mr. PoP that evening.  His response: “You’re [flipping] crazy.  And have you forgotten my fear of flying?”

So clearly we don’t see eye to eye on the whole mars mission.  Here’s where we stand.


He Said

99% of the time my wife is the paragon of rational thought.  The other 1% of the time she wants to go to Mars.  This idea is such a mess, I’m not sure where to start – with the odds of one or both of us dying, or with the idea of being locked in a space capsule for 16 months.

So what do we get in return for running these risks? Nothing! Not. A. Thing. So why go! At least when I have to fly it is required for work, and in exchange for the small chance of not-so-instant death I get a paycheck. Maybe we could scam some sort of book deal from it, but who cares? We’re already on our way to financial independence, so why the hell would we take chances?

Am I overestimating the odds of something bad happening? What would you say the chances of death as an astronaut are? 1 in a thousand maybe? Wrong! According to this article its 1 in 20, or about 5%. For a 5% chance of death, you are getting the pleasure of being trapped in a small room with your spouse for 16 months, getting bombarded with radiation, watching your muscles atrophy and eating space ice cream.

I just don’t see what Mrs. PoP likes so much about this, but she has started hanging our on a bunch of space forums, and asking if we should spend part of next weekend at the Johnson Space Center. [Not Johnson!  Kennedy Space Center is so much closer! – Mrs. PoP]  All of this leaves me with only one plausible explanation – Mrs. PoP is going to leave me for an astronaut.  =/

She Said

Honestly, I ‘m surprised that I’m the one with the sense of adventure here.  This is definitely a departure from our norm.

Here’s how I look at it.  This would be an absolutely amazing experience, made even more intense by being able to experience it with my favorite person in the world.  (Solar system. Universe, even!)

What About Money Plans?  Our timeline for financial independence looks like it could be achievable by the end of 2018 – not by the start date of January 2018, but I’m fairly confident that any book advance deals, not to mention the reduced cost of living for those 16 months spent in space would balance out the months we’d be missing out on growing that kitty.  (I would make a spreadsheet if I thought that would convince Mr PoP.)  I’m also working under the assumption that a halfway decent PR person would be able to hack together a few speaking/writing gigs upon our return that we would not go hungry.

What About Those Who Depend On You?  We don’t have kids, and we’re still not sure if that’s going to happen.  As for beloved Kitty PoP, the idea of used kitty litter floating around a space capsule is pretty disgusting, so we’d make sure he was well cared for by Mr. PoP’s folks for the duration.  Yes, he’d miss us briefly, but his little walnut sized brain would quickly adapt to his new reality of being spoiled by Mr. PoP’s parents.

But I wouldn’t do it without Mr. PoP.  As much as I think this trip would be amazing, I wouldn’t go without him.  Seriously, there’s no one else I’d want to spend that much time with or who I think I could trust enough to be by my side on such an endeavor.  And contrary to what he thinks, I’m not going to divorce him and take up with an astronaut to boost my chances of going, either.  Our marriage is going to continue to be an adventure with, or without, the red planet.


Would you apply for the inspiration Mars journey?  Would your spouse/partner?  Are you both on the same page when it comes to space travel?

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