From ancient byways to modern highways, glimpses of faith are everywhere...

Monday, August 18, 2014

'Monks' on Mars

(Saint Anthony the Great)
Although flying off to Mars might sound exciting in theory, the reality is much more like the life of a monk than it is like the life of an adventurer.

The Desert Fathers (and Mothers), for example, practiced Christian ascetic living within a stark region of third-century Egypt.  These small monastic communities adhered to strict routines that didn’t leave much worldly wiggle room.

Irene Klotz of Reuters reports on a team of researchers whose lives sound eerily similar to those of the erstwhile Desert Fathers.  These researchers “have been living in a mockup Mars habitat on a Hawaiian volcano practicing isolated living on the Red Planet.”

This team mainly remains within the confines of a 1,000-square-foot dome.  When members do venture forth into the surrounding environment, it is to accomplish specific tasks that are integral to the overall mission.  One member noted:  I haven’t seen a tree, smelled the rain, heard a bird, or felt wind on my skin in four months.

Lest these scientific "missionaries" completely forgo their secular lives,
some non-monastic entertainment is provided.  In addition to the “flavorful mush” that they regularly
consume, these would-be astronauts also enjoy “movies, board games and exercise.” 


Copyright August 18, 2014 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

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