It was bound to happen. Sooner or later someone was going to commit a crime in outer space.
Was it monster-ism? Treasonous behavior with aliens? Nonconsensual sex with another life form?
Nope. Turns out the first crime in space may just be a boring domestic dispute. I didn’t know it was possible to fight with your spouse or ex-spouse from 175 miles above Earth, but it is.
According to a report by The New York Times, astronaut Anne McClain improperly accessed the bank account of her estranged spouse, Summer Worden, while the former was aboard the International Space Station.
Depending on which version you’re willing to believe, McClain either merely looked at the status of the account (as she said she routinely did while on Earth) or she withdrew 20 bucks to buy a mocha latte from a passing asteroid.
McClain denies having done anything illegal, but Worden reported her to NASA, which is investigating with the help of the ESP (Extraterrestrial Space Police).
All of this seems like a bother over nothing, but at some point lawbreaking in microgravity was inescapable. We are, after all, talking about one of the most unpredictable life forms anywhere. That’s why my money had been on murder as the first offense.
Think about it. Is there any more stressful environment than living in a container the size of a recreational vehicle with a bunch of other people, while traveling 14,000 kph in an environment where the slightest miscalculation could turn you into instant space goo?
Unless it’s in the final moments of being eaten by an apex predator, probably not. That’s why mere handfuls of people are fit to become astronauts.
If you’re the sort of person with nerves easily plucked by coworkers who don’t refill the coffee pot, or have different political opinions, or simply forget to brush their teeth, how long would it take you to lose your lid?
The average time on Earth to reach such a boiling point is about eight days, or less than two minutes on social media. McClain, who has since returned to Earth, had been in space for six months during which the alleged crime occurred.
In addition to being accused of something over which no physical injury took place, McClain was outed as a lesbian astronaut because she was married to a woman.
Some people (all of them idiots) will find this unacceptable. Shouldn’t this matter, they “reason,” be turned over to the other ESP (Extrasexual Space Police)? What business does a gay person have in space?
Quick answer: None of yours.
Stop for a minute and consider the infinite number of gender variables there are in the universe. If you think it’s an easy answer, you need to watch more space monster movies. Not because they’re based on science we already understand but rather what might happen because of science we don’t yet even know about.
Instead of putting McClain through the social media grinder over what was essentially a private matter, we should sit back and wait to see if she brought back something to Earth with her.
I’m just saying — when a mob of slobbering aliens is cracking your skull open to eat your brain, are you really going to care about your bank account?
Robert Kirby is The Salt Lake Tribune’s humor columnist. Follow Kirby on Facebook.