According to a public engagement specialist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the way we should all be coping with social distancing is by pretending we are astronauts training for a mission to space, which, if I’m being honest, sounds a lot more stressful than what I’ve already been doing!
Rachel Zimmerman-Brachman, the engagement specialist in question, took to Facebook to deliver her suggestion, drawing a comparison between the social distancing many people are (and should be!) practicing right now, and friends of hers who have taken part in studies about surviving in Martian habitats. “Attitude is everything: I’m on an adventure in a confined space with a small crew for a long duration mission,” she wrote, “with occasional space walks and resupply missions. Sounds like astronaut training to me.”
Now, listen, I love the concept of space just as much as the next person, but the only thing that sounds more stressful to me than being alone in my apartment for three weeks, is being alone in my apartment for three weeks pretending to prepare to explore the literal terror that is outer space. I’ve seen Gravity y’all, that is not an uplifting tale! The Martian, Alien, Aliens, Alien 3, Arrival, Alien: Covenant, Apollo 13, these are not feel-good movies! Even the ones that don’t take place explicitly in outer space do not give me a lot of confidence that what I might find out there is something worth preparing for.
While there is something very appealing to me about the concept of zero gravity, given that were I to try to replicate that alone in my apartment while social distancing I am more likely to hurt myself than anything else, it’s best that I keep the space allusions at a distance for now. Also, I have made myself a solo-charcuterie six out of the last six days, and although I’m not positive it would be prohibited, I also assume that’s not a recommended best practice for those training to go to space, and I refuse to give up my daily cheeseboard.
Now, were this hypothetical space mission to involve social distancing with a buddy, and were my visions of space still that of when I was watching Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century twice a week religiously, I might consent to a space mission. That is of course contingent on being able to train for a space mission with Protozoa, who did and will always make my heart go zoom-zoom.