In the grisly, desperate part of today's earliest hours, when only jetlagged expatriate Britons must listen to NPR deep in the middle of Iowa to learn about the latest news in the cricket controversy, I heard a feature about cosmonauts on BBC World News. It seems that the Russians are researching the psychological effects of extreme space travel on the team of cosmonauts who will make the incredibly long and shitty journey to the red planet. Officials in Moscow are turning away volunteers who want to participate in a study being conducted there that would simulate the kinds of conditions faced by those cosmonauts. The officials hope to determine whether five people will be able to spend the necessary years of space travel in close quarters without killing each other. So five volunteers will spend five hundred days in a hermetically sealed five-hundred cubic meter unit while Russian scientists study their interactions. This is not a reality show.

At first, I thought, who are these people, so willing to voluntarily sit in a tiny pod for five hundred days with people they don't know at all? It struck me that they might be folks who just drove across the country with an eighteen-month-old child in the backseat, and are just looking for a way to relax.

As we near the end of our journey, I have this advice to good folks at Roskosmos: be sure to pack plenty of Pirate's Booty.