Justin Bieber, Mars Explorer?
By: Patrick Kiger
Teen pop music hearthrob Justin Bieber has been having a rough time lately, what with getting booed at the Billboard Music Awards and having his pet monkey confiscated by customs authorities at a German airport. So it's not hard to understand why the Beeb might want to get away from it all, albeit briefly, by plunking down $250,000 to reserve a spot aboard one of Virgin Galactic's planned suborbital space tourism flights . (His manager, Scooter Braun, is also going along.) Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson revealed the news in a recent tweet. In a subsequent tweet, the singer responded that he wanted to shoot a music video in space.
Here's a Colombian video news segment on Bieber's otherworldly aspirations.
Alas, since Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield shot his amazing cover version of David Bowie's "Space Oddity," the novelty of doing a music video in space has worn off a bit. Besides, plans call for Virgin's SpaceShipTwo to spend only about five minutes per trip at its top altitude of 62 miles, roughly the edge of space. So Beebs would have to shoot that music video in one take (his first big hit, "Baby," took 3 minutes 34 seconds, so there wouldn't be much time to spare).
Which leads me to think that if Bieber is going to venture into space, he might as well go big. How about a trip to Mars? As it happens, Dennis Tito, the wealthy engineer who paid $20 million for the Russians to fly him to the International Space Station back in 2001, is leading a private effort to stage a Martian fly-by mission in 2018. Unlike the proposed MarsOne colonization effort, which I wrote about in May, the mission planned by Tito's Inspiration Mars Foundation will only orbit the Red Planet, getting no closer than 100 miles to the planet's surface, and the ship will return to Earth after a 501-day mission. The Canadian crooner is a virtual money machine--his signature line of perfume garnered $60 million in sales in the first six months that it was on the market, for example--so I'm guessing that he could easily afford whatever it might cost to buy his way onto the Mars mission
One complication: Tito envisions sending a pair of astronauts--a man and a woman--to Mars, so Bieber might have to convince his on-again, off-again beau Selena Gomez that space exploration would be a good career move. Also, according to this Space.com article, he'd have to be willing to drink his own distilled, filtered urine, which will be the only source of potable water on the journey.
On the other hand, remember how much hype Paul McCartney got back in 2005 when he performed two songs in concert on Earth and transmitted them to the ISS? Imagine how huge of an audience Bieber could attract if he staged a live concert from Mars orbit--transmitted with a 10 to 20-minute time lag, because of the enormous distance between Mars and Earth. It would be a pay-per-view sensation.
So what do you think? Should Justin Bieber go to the Red Planet? Or is that a mission better left to Bruno Mars? Express your opinion below.