20 Things You Must Do in Space
Three years back, the UN declared that April 12 would be known as the International Day of Human Spaceflight. Talk about a stellar holiday! (Sorry, we're practically contractually obligated to make that pun.) Get together with your fellow rocketeers this Saturday to celebrate the milestones humanity has achieved in space, and start planning your own orbital vacay while you're at it. Here's what we'd like to do in space—what would you do?
1. Experience the "Overview Effect."
Do this before anything else! The Overview Effect is a magical paradigm shift that many astronauts report experiencing when looking at the Earth from space. Seeing that our planet is just a tiny blue marble suspended surrounding by unfathomable emptiness is a real mind-exploder. You're gonna want to get in on it.
2. Play ping pong.
Table tennis can get intense enough here on Earth. Imagine how nuts the game would be in zero g!
3. Float around eating potato chips, like in The Simpsons.
For those who are unfamiliar, this is what you gotta do.
"I believe I can flyyyyy / I believe I can touch the sky..."
"Ground control to Major Tom / Commencing countdown, engines on..."
"Starships were meant to fly / Hands up and touch the sky..."
That's just how your karaoke sesh is going to get started. What else would you put on the playlist?
Well, duh. If you mess up, you can always blame it on no gravity and stuff. That's completely respectable.
If we ever settle space with big ole O'Neill cylinders, one of the coolest features will be the pools. They would look like like this, so if you dove in one side and kept swimming, you'd actually emerge on the surface of the other side! WUT. This would definitely add a whole new layer to Marco Polo.
7. Read some Jules Verne.
Floating around while reading would be fun enough, but imagine how much more delightful it would be with the father of science fiction. Reading From the Earth to the Moon on the way from the Earth to the moon would be an apex experience.
8. Start construction on Rainbow Road.
Have you seen the ads for Mario Kart 8? It's clearly only a matter of time before we make a real life Rainbow Road, and you can get in on the ground—er, orbital—level. And let's just hope racers on the real Rainbow Road recover from burning up in the atmosphere as gracefully as MarioKart characters do.
9. Play Truth or Dare.
But don't dare your friends to run around the outside of the spaceship naked or anything.
10. Take selfies with Earth.
Caption: "Hey, check it out, I'm hanging with continental Europe. WHAT UP BLACK SEEEEA." #spaceselfies
11. Found Starfleet Academy.
According to Star Trek lore, Starfleet is supposed to be a major force in the world by 2161, and there's no reason it can't start with you. Plus, it's totally a great way to get out there and meet some fun-loving aliens.
12. Watch Gravity.
WAIT. No, don't. Watch Apollo 13. WAIT, WAIT, WAIT. Avoid that one too. Jeez, are there any space movies where the ship is totally fine at the end? Ooo! Watch Cosmos (here are more reasons why you should).
13. Spacewalk your dog.
"Here, Rover! Fetch! Uh oh...I guess my dog is a satellite now."
14. Start a band.
If there's one thing Chris Hadfield has taught us, it's that rocking out is even more awesome in space. So pick up your instrument choice and jam the airwaves.
15. Lightsaber fight.
I mean, this one is a no-brainer.
16. Call your parents.
They worry about you. Especially now that you are traveling in an aluminum box at 20,000 miles/hour.
17. Do some research.
NASA is on a tight budget, so why not help them out by zipping around to check out our local digs? Apparently there are subsurface oceans on both the Jovian moon Europa and the Saturnian moon Enceladus, and a dwarf planet beyond Pluto. Go check 'em out, scout!
18. Keep a journal.
You're definitely going to want to remember every detail of your space adventures if you ever return to planetary life. Like the time your BFF squirted chocolate milk bubbles out of her nose and it exploded on the control panel. Good times.
It's so easy to do in space.
20. Party on.
Because there's nothing cooler than life in outer space. Safe travels, Sparklers, and have an awesome International Day of Human Spaceflight!
What do you want to do in outer space?