Jason Stanford is committed to his marriage, in sickness and in health, even if his wife moves to Mars ... forever. Or so he says in Texas Monthly. His wife, Sonia Van Meter, is a semi-finalist for Mars One, a privately funded one-way trip to colonize the red planet starting in 2024. "That I married her 'no matter what' satisfies exactly no one because it doesn’t answer the tabloid-level question people now ask," he writes. "Will she, you know, have to help populate the planet? For the record ... human reproduction is not part of the mission." But that didn't stop a cheeky radio host in Austin from asking whether she'll resort to "marsterbation" to cope with her sexual urges.
Online criticisms also took their toll. "Nothing says 'I love you' more than a one-way trip to Mars," said one tweet; "She must really be sick of her husband," said another. Distraught, she tearfully asked him whether she's "a bad wife," and he faced the facts: If she goes, he'll "evolve into a professional astronaut wife" with all the world watching. "I'll be Mr. Sonia Van Meter for the rest of my life," and "remarrying isn't an option." In his view, people just can't handle their reversed gender roles: "If she were the man ... she could be understood as an explorer, and I the determined source of support back at home." For now, Van Meter (an "unapologetic space junkie," notes KXAN) is one of 1,058 semi-finalists, and the mission needs to raise more than $1 billion—so it's still a long shot. "But until the culture grows up, my answers will only puzzle those who want me to describe the view as I look into the abyss." Click for Stanford's full piece, her video application for the mission, or the importance of ... early space diapers. (Read more Mars One stories.)