Pris­on­ers’ plan for Mars

Sky at Night Magazine - - INTERACTIVE -

I am cur­rently a pris­oner at HMP Glenochil and I have al­ways had an in­ter­est in as­tron­omy. As pris­ons are places where the night heav­ens are masked by flood­lights, I haven’t seen a star in many years. Yet I have re­cently been in­volved with a fas­ci­nat­ing project which en­listed the unique ex­pe­ri­ences of pris­on­ers to aid think­ing on the best way to es­tab­lish a base on Mars. Lead­ing sci­en­tists from the Univer­sity of Ed­in­burgh de­liv­ered a four-part pro­gramme of sci­en­tific in­for­ma­tion and dis­cus­sion, while pris­on­ers set up groups to de­velop ideas around the sur­vival and de­vel­op­ment of a colony in a wholly alien en­vi­ron­ment. Depend­ing on skills and in­ter­ests, pris­on­ers worked on top­ics in­clud­ing sci­ence and en­gi­neer­ing, mu­sic, plant life and pol­i­tics. The whole project was brought to­gether in a book called Life Beyond: From Prison to Mars, which was praised by the Bri­tish In­ter­plan­e­tary So­ci­ety, who then pub­lished the find­ings. Even though the stars are cut off to me, I still watch The Sky at Night ev­ery month. Af­ter all, I still have the Moon (some­times). Jamie, HMP Glenochil

What a fas­ci­nat­ing and worth­while project, Jamie. For those in­ter­ested, Life Beyond is pub­lished by the Bri­tish In­ter­plan­e­tary So­ci­ety, price £6. – Ed

A Mar­tian base con­ceived by prison in­mates in a unique project

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