If any of you are under the impression that our billionaires might succeed in "escaping" to space, while the world burns, let me put those fears to rest with what I know from being the spouse of a NASA flight controller. 🧵
For a half-dozen people to exist up on the ISS, it takes a ground team of thousands of people, constantly problem-solving how to keep them alive. Their quality of life is bouncing around in a narrow tube with the same 5 people who can't really bathe for months. /
Every minute of their day is micromanaged so they can survive. They follow strict exercise regimens to keep their bones from turning to goo. They spend a ton of time studying systems and conducting repairs on equipment that's continually breaking because SPACE WANTS TO KILL YOU /
Their sleeping situation is akin to a floating coffin. Their pooping situation is a 20-something-step process in a port-o-potty where everything FLOATS and the door is a plastic curtain. The wifi cuts out at regular intervals. The food is NOT michelin starred, to say the least. /
The only reason they're alive up there at all is because multiple countries have thousands of brilliant, highly-trained engineers and doctors and astrophysicists and computer experts whose full-time job is keeping the astronauts alive and the ISS functioning. /
When something breaks, as it continually does, these teams SCRAMBLE to devise fixes and solutions. And these fixes, lemme tell ya, they are tedious. This year, working from home, I have seen the schematics and overheard bits of meetings, and oh my GOD is it tedious. /
And the spacewalks where they go out to repair these broken things? It takes dozens of hours of study to do each one. And then it's maybe four, six hours in a suit, with stiff, bulky gloves, all "Drive bolt 7A into dock 31X" until their fingers are shaking with exhaustion. /
So there's no future where Bezos and Branson are sipping champagne next to their space-pool on Low-Earth Maralago, ok? There's no way life in space could be remotely comfortable or preferable to life on earth in their lifetimes, or for many generations to come, or probably ever./
The longest anyone's lived in space was Scott Kelly, who spent a year in space, got home, and immediately retired. He'd spent all his life preparing and training to be in space, and found it extremely physically and psychologically grueling to up there for just one year. /
So this billionaire "space race" is nothing more than a dick-measuring contest between Musk, Bezos, and Branson. They are not investing billions to forward science or the bounds of human possibility. They are doing it to be the first rich guy to bounce around uselessly up there./
And it's utterly despicable when you understand that they're funding it with the hoarded wealth of workers who are struggling just to exist. With ill-gotten money made from supply chains that enslave people and are destroying the future possibility of life on earth. /
But if it troubles you that they might SUCCEED, that those three assholes might ever spend more than a week in space and ENJOY it, let me put your mind at ease. Not in this lifetime. With all their billions, they have no power to make space a better place to be than earth./
I don't know if they realize the futility, if they're AWARE that this whole space race is just a pissing contest to see who can get to zero-G fastest? Or if being a billionaire makes you so delusional that they really think they can buy a Mars colony in their lifetimes. IDK /
Join me in enjoying the fact that they won't find anything up there but a lot of time to sit with the gaping void inside them, which space certainly won't fill, while forcibly holding their asscheeks to a suctioning toilet seat, bc they're constipated as hell from astronaut food.
The world is burning, and our billionaires are the people MOST responsible, but at least there's no escape for them. They will live and die (alone, like all of us) on this beautiful, precious, one-in-a-gazillion planet.
We should take our wealth back from them and use it better.
I've made a few errors (why I do scifi not science). The pooping protocol is about 10 steps, not 20. Scott Kelly didn't spend the longest time in space, that was Valery Polyakov. Also our astronauts don't just survive up there (although that takes a lot!). They're doing SCIENCE!
Oy vey. To the Muskophiles who've found this thread: Everything Musk can do, NASA could do better, if they had the funding. They don't always have the funding, because billionaires hoard our collective wealth, and use it to make redundant space agencies to boost their egos.
I got this wrong--Scott Kelly at the time was the USian astronaut who'd spent the longest in space at one time. Valery Polyakov spent 438 consecutive days onboard MIR before that.

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More from @sim_kern

24 Sep
A major media outlet only just paid me for an article I wrote over 2 months ago, and only after exchanging over 30 emails with their editors and accounts payable department. I spent 2x as long trying to get paid as I did writing the article. Not the first time this has happened.
My first job in journalism was writing a series of music and culture articles for the Houston Chronicle’s youth culture blog—called 29-95–which folded, and I never got paid for those. I only followed up about 5 times before giving up because I was 22 and didn’t know better.
Earlier this year it took me about 6 months to get paid for another article. It seems like outlets either PayPal you right away, or you have to take a part-time job hounding them for your couple-hundred dollars they owe. Is this just a me problem or systemic?
Read 4 tweets
1 Sep
STOP TELLING TEXANS TO MOVE! You cannot throw away your HOME and FAMILY and COMMUNITY and SUPPORT SYSTEMS like you’re upgrading an iPhone! There are profound financial, legal, and ethical reasons why people cannot, cannot, ABSO-FUCKING-LUTELY cannot move! My god, the privilege!
Not to mention—this is not just a Texan issue! The Supreme Court has signaled they will no longer even make an effort to uphold Roe V Wade. So you’re looking at very soon, all the red states—the majority of states—following suit and getting even bolder, going after birth control
And the few blue states where abortion *may* remain legal (barring greater consolidation of federal GOP-fascist power)? Surprise, surprise, they’re the most expensive states. Is Ver-fucking-mont going to open its arms to the impoverished masses of the south? Yeah I thought not.
Read 7 tweets
31 Aug
In the panic after Trump won, my spouse and I talked about where to draw lines--what would trigger us to move--out of Texas or even the US. One of mine was the end of legal abortion. Tomorrow, that line will be crossed. But there's no way we can move now. We're stuck in Gilead.
I am, once again, going to share the short story that sums up how I feel about all this.

TW's for all kinds of repro horrors magazine.metaphorosis.com/story/2019/the…
Y’all it is not helpful, when someone says, “Terrible things are happening here, and I CANNOT move,” to reply, “Well why don’t you just move?”
Read 6 tweets
21 Aug
Some Gulf-Coast-dweller advice for folks in the path of Henri 🧵
-Have a go-back packed w/important documents & electronics wrapped in plastic
-Move precious things & books & stuff that’ll be destroyed by water to high shelves or to a 2nd floor if you have one
1/
-If you have a car and street-park, move your car up into a high parking garage or to a higher street before the storm hits if you can
-Plan for your power, water & gas to be out for days (here we always plan for a week)
-Adults need 1gallon/person/day of drinking water
2/
-Have a few days of food thats both nonperishable & doesn’t need to be cooked. PB&Js are good, trail mix, snacks, spaghetti-o’s, jerky, etc.
-If you’re a drinker, some drinks can really help calm the nerves during the storm. But don’t get wasted, in case it goes bad for your area
Read 19 tweets
20 Jul
"One reason we find the fantasy of outer space colonization so irresistible is the prospect of starting fresh. Our global society is enormously complicated, with baked-in bigotries and illogical ways of doing things that seem impossible to untangle here on Earth.🧵
On another planet, we assume we could start over and get it right. Realistically, though, there’s no leaving our messiness behind, no matter how many light-years away we travel. I can’t think of a better illustration for this than the fact that the moon is already a toilet /
When people think of what astronauts left behind on the moon, they might picture Buzz Aldrin planting an American flag. But I picture all the literal shit we left up there. Because NASA, unlike any respectable hiker, didn’t value “packing out waste”. /
Read 19 tweets
3 Jul
Some folks in the comments seem to think a moon/Mars colony is possible. Not in our lifetimes, friends. NASA has been planning the Artemis mission for years, and will continue planning it for years more, and that's going to send astronauts to the moon for a week. ONE week.
Artemis is also not fully funded yet by congress and is enormously technically difficult, so it's not even a given that it's going to happen. So no, no moon Maralago or Mars Maralago either. It's much easier to keep people alive in low earth orbit than farther away.
Also, cancer. Without an atmosphere protecting them, astronauts are exposed to far more radiation than on earth. The longer you're up there, the more likely it is you develop cancer. At this point, I don't think I need to tell you how far away we are from space hospitals.
Read 5 tweets

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