The Inspiration Mars Foundation’s audacious plan for a primarily private-funded, manned ship to Mars has more than a few challenges to overcome before its 2018 launch date, and it turns out the solution to one problem — dangerous cosmic rays — comes in the form of feces. The current plan calls for the two astronauts aboard the 1166-cubic-foot spacecraft to defecate into bags which would be used to line the walls of the ship (after extracting as much water as possible from the waste for reuse).
"The [Department of Defense] paid $100,000 to sponsor a strategy workshop in September featuring a session called ‘Did Jesus die for Klingons, too?’ on the theological threat to Christianity that the discovery of life on other planets might pose."
At the Atlas Summit, a conference for libertarian devotees of Ayn Rand, the question is inescapable. It is scrawled in black magic marker on the plain white T-shirt of the white-haired man I pass on the way into the ballroom. It is printed on the green button on the corduroy blazer of the man who wants to share his thoughts on “the envy-driven wizards at NASA.” It is emblazoned on the limited-edition gold coins advertised in the special three-ring binder given to all attendees. It is hanging, really, over the heads of all of us who have convened at the Renaissance Hotel in downtown DC in early July to celebrate Ayn Rand’s sacred scroll of objectivism. The question, parroting the catchphrase of Atlas Shrugged, is “Who is John Galt?”