Astronauts have it easy

When we’re knee-high to a grasshopper, our dream jobs are often more impractical than we understand at the time. Doubtlessly, many of us can relate to playing the “When I grow up I wanna be…” game, with common responses often along the lines of “Hollywood movie star”, “Prime Minister”, or perhaps even “brain doctor”. The reality of many of these rather niche professions is that they’re difficult to obtain and even then that’s only after a lot of hard yakka.

But one lofty profession that many young dream of and few obtain may be a whole lot easier than I originally thought: astronauts. Sure, there may be stringent prerequisite requirements of an advanced degree, a jet aircraft pilot’s licence, as well as a host of physical and mental tests (not to mention the ensuing training), but from there on in it’s all easy street!

And I’m not talking about the pay or the bragging rights of having been to space either; I’m talking about the ability to spend time catching up on movies, TV shows and playing an epic amount of video games. My envy was sparked by this story on the PopSci front page, which tells the tale of a six-man 520-day simulation of a round-trip mission to The Red Planet.

Cramped living conditions and lack of regular showering aside (less showering means more time for entertainment, right?), this type of simulation is perfectly suited to geeks and/or those with a massive back catalogue of digital entertainment that’s on a ‘must watch’ list. I’m sure that a lot of you can relate to not having enough hours in the day to consume the amount of movies, TV shows and/or games that you have to catch up on; and what better way to do this than in a situation that requires you to do so? After all, if you were in the situation as the lucky folk in the simulation, there’s only so much time you could spend on ‘working’.

Furthermore, in such a situation, maintaining ones psychological health is also of paramount concern, so it’s perfectly reasonable to lose yourself in hours of digital entertainment under the guise of maintaining sanity. My back catalogue of movies to watch, TV shows to start on and games to play (let alone finish) is so long that I fear that I will never get to them all; particularly considering how much new digital content is released every month!

Am I the only one excited by the prospect of 520 days of being able to put some decent hours towards watching movies, TV shows and playing games?

In fact, if you can tell me a specific movie that has been on your ‘to watch’ list that you’ve never gotten around to watching (the longer the wait, the more impressed I’ll be), I’ll give a Blu-ray movie (Trick ‘r Treat) to the person with the most “I can’t believe you haven’t seen that already” response. And please be inspired by the tagline of Chopper: Never let the truth get in the way of a good yarn.


10 Responses to “Astronauts have it easy”
  1. Muffin says:

    Okay, so yes it would be awesome to just kick back and do nothing but play games and watch movies for as long as you want. But 520 days? That’s a ridiculously long time. I think even if you had enough material to watch during that time, you wouldn’t want to. You probably still would go a little stir-crazy! Want to get up and have a little walk around? Nope. Craving a long hot shower or bath? Nope. Midnight Maccas run? Nope. Sooo…as much as I absolutely love the idea of being an astronaut… I think it might be better to wait until I’m a billionaire and go into space with Richard Branson.

  2. Dude from Sydney says:

    I totally agree with you. If they could give me an Xbox, a TV (HD of course) and a multitude of games and tele shows then i would be in heaven. I have often dreamed of just taking off a month, playing Games most of the day and possible bike riding in the evenings (tip of the hat to health) to get through the multitude of games that i have lying around. My god, i think that the last game i actually finished, like properly and completely finished was golden eye!

    Its so easy when you are young and get a new game for christmas, or save up the 2 dollars a week you get in pocket money to bring the tally up to a great total of 2 games a year.

    now i have a sallary which is vastly disproportionate to what i would actually need to live. This is not to say that i am wealthy, but i NEED about 200 a fortnight for food (being generous), 500 or so for amenities and rent and then BAM. The problem now is that there is so much AWESOME coming out that there isn’t enough LIFE to actually be put into it.

    I bought Mirrors Edge over 6 months ago and it is still in its wrapping because i have been playing BC2, Dirt 2, Modern Warfare 2… and a number of other games. I have also been watching shows such as my much loved Star Trek amongst other newer titles like 30 Rock. In fact, i only got to 30 Rock LAST WEEK because of all the back log. How long has that show been on? and its SO GOOD! I got to How I Met Your Mother in 2009.. 2009!

    The problem is money, and an excess of it in proportion to the time i can spend wallowing in my own crapulence (playing computer games or watching television). I am not complaining as such as asking the world to invent a time slowing device which allows me to devote an hour to gaming and only allow for a minute outside the time bubble to pass. That would be awesome.

    In answer to the specific suggestion a movie i have been waiting to get into would be either Knocked up. A television show (i am much more in favour of episodic viewing) would be 30 Rock; anything past half way through the first season. Man i am loving it but i JUST DON’T HAVE THE TIME!

    …….. stupid achievments.

  3. Shonky Adonis says:

    I’ve read about that experiment as well. I think it’s a pretty flawed idea. The prospect of spending 520 days cooped up in a shuttle to get to Mars isn’t a particularly daunting notion for me. However, the prospect of spending 520 days cooped up in a shuttle on Earth just to prove I wont go crazy just so (presumably) a bunch of other astronauts can go to Mars after I pass seems like it would be a bit more difficult.

    It’s ridiculous to even consider that the conditions would be the same. Kowing that you’re travelling to another planet, that you’re the first bunch of humans doing it and that you have absolutely no idea what wonders and challenges you’ll behold when you get there would definitely be enough drive to constantly remember someone that what theyre doing is amazing enough to stay sane for. Sitting in a box on earth to prove a point smacks a little of idiocy to me.

    @Muffin. I think, however, that spending 520 days in a box playing games would beat being forced to share an amazing experience with Richard Branson.

    I have never seen Pulp fiction (though I’ve tried a few times I’ve never been able to get through it), Top Gun (seen bits but not the whole thing) or ScarFace. Go ahead, let me have it.

  4. otoko_tenshi says:

    speaking of chopper…
    ive been meaning to watch it since the ronny johns show came out a few years ago and even tried to download it once but got distracted by the popsci website.
    Then there is also the animatrix via 2000-2001, but even more than that, I have had the Mortal Combat movie down to rent since w/e it came out when i was about 6 or 7 in the mid-late ’90s… it’s a searies of games i have since played, but have still not gotten around to actually watching the film… its one of the first films i can think of that came out in my lifetime that i have always had on my medium to high-ranking on my “to download” (or back then, “to rent”) lists.

  5. Muffin says:

    @ Shonky Adonis - I was merely referring to the Virgin Galactic program… hopefully by the time I’m loaded enough to go, Richard Branson has long since joined the stars… metaphorically speaking.

  6. Muffin says:

    For the record, I legit haven’t seen The Godfather, Schindler’s List, or The Good The Bad & The Ugly.

  7. Dude from Sydney says:


    Scruffy all of those movies. Add to that any classics like sunshine on a spotless inside of head and apocalypse now.

  8. Muffin says:

    Dude… are you talking about Eternal Sunshine? Seen that, haven’t seen Apocalypse Now.

  9. @ Muffin - Clearly we are not of the same mind then. I could totally go 520 days of sweet, sweet digital entertainment… particularly if I didn’t have to waste time on such trivial things as showers (personal hygiene, who needs it?).

    @ Dude from Sydney - A man after my own heart! And as I mentioned in my post, the best thing would be that you wouldn’t be burdened down with all this great new stuff coming out. Of course, once you got back to Earth and learnt that you had a whole new backlog of digital awesomeness to catch up on that might be a different story… hmmm.

    @ Shonky Adonis - You raise some interesting points… there’s only so far a controlled situation can take you and then you’ve got to factor in a whole lot of chance when the trip actually happens in space (where no-one can hear you scream). You also really need to see Top Gun.

    @ otoko_tenshi - Chopper is highly recommended, but the fact that you’ve been wanting to watch Mortal Kombat since it came out is impressive: both because of the choice of film (they’re pretty awful) and the fact that you still want to see them!

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