Space Travel

Here is how space travel can possibly be achieved.

People are likely to have a huge stress when travelling to Mars or beyond. Being couped up is bad enough. Being couped up and knowing that you are millions of miles away from home is something that could quite literally drive you insane. In space, no-one can hear you scream. The last thing we need is insane astronauts. So here's what needs to happen.

You get people who are willing to live in a confined space, such as their house as coach potatoes wishing that they could order home delivery everything so that they never need to leave their chat rooms.

Drug them up so that they are asleep during the launch of their space vehicle. Send up two space vehicles. One that is meant to go to Mars, the other stays in orbit around Earth. Don't tell them which one they are in. When people wake up, keep them in darkness, and for extra safety, keep their eyes closed. They should be able to feel an air current. This lets them know they are potentially on a planet with wind, and it's clearly a breathable atmosphere, even if there is no light. They should call out "are we in a game?". This gives the maximum flexibility for behaviour. The answer given need not be honest, and the astronaut needs to take this into account. If he's in a game (real or faked), he needs to know the rules. These can be given prior to the astronaut being able to visually see anything. The environment can be described so that he can start using his imagination.

Next, he needs to be given medication. This should probably consist of about 3 identical-looking pills. Don't tell him what the pills are for. They can all be placebos. The point is that one of them could be some sort of hallucinogenic.

Next thing is the date should be shortly before the 1st April. This way the astronaut never knows whether he is being lied to or not. It could all be a wind up to an elaborate April Fool's Day prank, and even after the day has changed, it could still be faked, because the authorities could have changed the calendar deliberately. So long as the astronaut is not given any independent way of verifying this, every day is dangerous, and the astronaut needs to constantly hedge his bets as to whether the environment is earth orbit, or interplanetary travel, or a space station prepositioned along the route.

Space stations can be of near-identical shape so that one room just needs to be "renovated" in order to appear to be a space station. Staff can be rotated so that it appears that an identical twin was at the space station. E.g. someone who was called Esther at one point in the journey might have a twin sister called Ethel picked up at a space station. Don't let the astronauts know how many people are in the space ship, and do indeed use identical twins as astronauts. Staff in separate compartments can do IM chatting under different fake IDs to give the illusion of a large number of astronauts. There can be strict rules of non-disclosure.

Other things need to be done to complete the illusion. E.g. ensuring that messages posted on an earth-based chat room are appropriately delayed, regardless of whether the astronaut is in orbit or is on his way to Mars.

Hopefully those things will make a start on making space travel as pleasant as possible. A pity we don't have a way of faking the absence of gravity or things would be a lot more flexible. Fortunately Mars has similar gravity to earth, so that can potentially be faked too, although I think anyone reaching Mars will be eager to see it for themselves and will risk insanity on the trip home rather than requesting that that be rigged in such a way to provide "plausible deniability" also.

Note that these ideas were based on me living my life as if my router may have been hacked such that all the information I have about the universe is also faked. ie when I go to the BBC News website, if I am instead directed to some other website, I wouldn't even know. And I'm not the sort of person who normally tries to verify that, because I have faith in humanity, and have no reason to leave Sydney. It was only when I needed to get a message to Gaddafi that I ever decided to ensure that the message was getting through, rather than being intercepted by my government. I attempted to verify by going to the Chinese embassy, and at one point nearly going to the Russian embassy AS WELL. Gravity is so annoying, because otherwise only a small portion of Sydney would need to be faked for me to be happy enough that I'm still in Sydney.

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