On the way to Mars! In Moscow!

5 astro/cosmonauts have just strapped themselves in for the 520 day mission to mars. The launch was earlier today and by all accounts, highly successful. Also rather easy.

Because they are not going anywhere.

They are sitting in a tin can for 520 days, pretending to go to Mars. Which I actually think is a very valuable exercise, and a lot better for NASA than watching "Sunshine" 6240 times to figure out how people work together in space (a great movie if you have not seen it).

The downside of all of this is that the ESA thinks it will be 30 years before we can get to Mars. Which would make it about 80 years to get from the Moon to Mars. Which is frankly completely pathetic. 80 years is a long freaking time. Human progress is meant to be doing just that: progressing. On an ever increasing pace. However, because it has been left to governments and not private industry - we've been screwed.

Want to know how Europe colonized the New World? The government offered charters to private companies to go over there, collect gold or make money somehow, and then said they would take 30% (or so) of the profits. This is not a new freaking concept.

Anyway, for the next 520 days the ESA, CCCP, and NASA will be conducting a simulation of a Mars mission. Because no government has the balls to fund the real thing. It is however at least a small step in the right direction.

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