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Kirby: Road trip proves NASA has it wrong

Published September 3, 2007 12:00 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2007, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Last week, I took a road trip to the Oregon coast with six friends. We traveled more than 1,000 miles together in a van and proved that NASA is lying.

NASA claims that it can stuff human beings into an expensive International Space Station and spin them around the Earth for months with no ill effects other than those normally associated with a prolonged ride in a clothes dryer.

Thanks to our road trip, we now know this is not true. Human beings are not meant to be treated like pressed ham. Not without a lot of drugs and deodorant we're not.

The crew for this mission was a motley one: Jess, Mikey, Mugs, Belle, Big Dave, Red and me - three men, three women, and Mikey. The resulting loss of our friendship seems a small price to pay for the advancement of science.

We left Salt Lake at 5:30 Thursday morning. Destination: Any beach on the Oregon Coast. Duration: Five days and four nights. Purpose: None. Results: Mixed, although we all agree that I should no longer be allowed to drive.

About eight hours is all that's required for humans to reach the Abandonment, or what is commonly known as "Let's Leave While He's in the Bathroom" Stage. So, no astronaut in his or her right mind would step outside for a space walk after more than a couple of days.

Boredom sets in after as little as five hours, but you don't need the trackless reaches of space to figure this out. Southern Idaho works just as well.

The Bother Stage is a point when humans will do anything, including picking a hopeless fight, in order to have something to do. When Mikey decided to hold forth on how women really feel, he almost had his eye put out with a feminine hygiene product.

Remember to bring a variety of food on any prolonged trip involving humans. It is possible to get so tired of Red Vines - or in NASA's case, Tang - that the notion of chewing on someone else's ear makes absolute nutritional sense.

Smells. I don't want to belabor this point beyond good taste, but all humans have and make them. You never hear astronauts talking about air fresheners or last ditch olfactory measures such as poking Gummi Bears up their noses.

Finally, any traveling group of humans larger than two requires some sort of outside referee. In our case, it was the Oregon State Police.

Because it's impossible to get pulled over in space, it seems unlikely that human beings would be allowed to travel there.

Like NASA, our trip was all about space and time - specifically that over time, humans need way more space.

rkirby@sltrib.com