Thursday, April 13, 2006

Mission: Space Woes

I read in today's paper that another person died after riding Mission: Space at Epcot. That is so sad...

I rode it with Francesca and Joe in January, and wrote that it made me pretty queasy. The ride simulates a launch from earth, ride through space, and landing on Mars. Four people ride together as a group, and I think six or maybe four groups go at once. Each group of four specializes in one area during the ride: pilot, navigator, engineer, and something else I forget. What that comes down to is each person gets to push a button at some point during the ride.

The effect is created through spinning, and it is powerful and realistic. Each person watches a TV screen right in front of them which shows a first person perspective view of a launch, flying through space, and of a rough landing on Mars. I was OK through the launch, but the lurching around in space (dodging meteorites as I recall) started to affect me... by the time we were flying through the Martian atmosphere trying to land, I was fully concentrating on holding nausea at bay. After our crash landing I was pretty woozy and it took a while before I felt better. Francesca and Joe handled it a lot better!

During lunch I was joking that the control room for the ride probably had a dial setting that went from "wimpy" to "barf-o-matic", allowing the operators to crank up the spinning effect. I like roller coasters and can usually handle motion in the direction I'm looking, but any side-to-side motion really hits me hard. This ride was my threshhold of tolerance for that. I'm not sure I'd go on it again!

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