The first murder on Mars
June 16, 2016 1:49pm CST
Years ago, I read an article about some “incidents” onboard the space station Mir. These weren’t full blown fistfights, just a few thrown punches. I did a quick search, but I was unable to find anything about fights in space. That’s not to say that they don’t happen, but more likely that any that do just aren’t publicized. When you think about it, it makes sense that things could get testy enough in space to make people want to punch someone. That happens all the time on Earth without people being stuck in a small, smelly apartment with the same people for months at a time. (I’ve heard that space stations stink because of the accumulation of smells from people and equipment and not being able to open a window for some fresh air.) Probably the reasons there haven’t been brawls in space, or murders, is because it takes years of training and evaluations to get to space in the first place. And then there is a team of people on the ground watching over you who can patch in a call to your loved ones if they think someone needs a pick-me-up. But what about when people are on Mars? Especially if it is colonized by people who only buy a ticket and pass a, rigorous but still basic health screening? A Mars base will most likely have an odor to it. There are plants on the space station, but they are more for experiments. There will be far more plants on a Mars base to try to supply food, so the air will be a little fresher, but there will still be people in close quarters and you won’t be able to open a window. And talking with doctors or your loved ones on Earth will be more a never-ending game of phone tag than an actual conversation. Crew rotations on space stations means you just have to put up with someone for a few months at most. But on Mars you could be stuck listening to John’s stupid puns for years. So given all these stresses, when do you think the first murder will happen on Mars? My guess is it will be one of the first five hundred people. And if you’re wondering, I’d say the first suicide will probably be within the first two-fifty. I’d love to be proven wrong.
• United States
People are people no matter where they are. People kill each other all the time. Unfortunately, this will probably get worse in space. You can't take a ride in the car and hang out somewhere till you calm down. Togetherness breeds contempt.