Strange news from Moscow, planet Earth today. The six-man Mars 500 mission crew returned safely to earth after a 520 day round trip to the red planet, only to discover everybody on earth pretending they never even left.
“Simulation my a$%! I did not endure 520 days of Yue Wang’s lectures about hand-washing hygiene to go down in history as a “simulated” astronaut,” ranted Italian astronaut Diego Urbina. “Do I sound like a simulated astronaut to you?”
To prove his point, Diego offered to really punch me right in the head – an offer I declined. But I did promise to reveal the truth about his mission, that it was a very grueling, very real mission.
“Think about it. I’m an engineer, not an actor. Where are the martian soil samples we took? If that’s not real, why won’t they produce them? And what about our hair? That’s not simulated radiation-induced hair loss – that’s real. ”
But why would the Russian Institute for Biomedical Problems devise this elaborate ruse to convince the world that the Mars 500 crew never even left the earth?
“It’s the Kremlin. What do you expect? The truth?” laughed Mars 500 crew member, Russian Alexy Sitev.
“A lot of people still think the Apollo moon landing was faked,” pointed out another crew member, Roman Charles. “Maybe a simulated simulation is their way of ensuring the media gets the story right this time.”
But is it just clever PR? Or a massive cover-up to prevent a mad rush for Mars? To give Russia and the EU a chance to exploit Martian minerals without regulation before the cat’s out of the bag? Keep on keeping on to find out!