What would life on Mars actually look like?

Just as extreme altitudes have notable effects on the human body and mind, so too does extreme wealth seem to have a particular effect on psychology. Or at least that’s how it appears when you look at the shared ambition of two of the world’s most prominent billionaires, Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos. Both men are fixated on the idea that humanity’s future lies beyond Earth and are funnelling fortunes into the vision that we will soon have significant human settlements off-planet, whether on the moon, Mars or elsewhere. It’s an argument grounded not just in exploration and discovery, but in survival. If humanity’s future on Earth looks to be

A bird’s-eye view: Orbital, by Samantha Harvey, reviewed

This slender, gleaming novel depicts a day in the life of six astronauts at the International Space Station – but a day isn’t a day for a crew orbiting Earth at more than 17,000 miles an hour. Space ‘takes their 24 hours and throws 16 days and nights at them in return’. Weaving a line of philosophical enquiry through her luminous prose has become something of a trademark for Samantha Harvey, who probed the elasticity of time through a portrayal of Alzheimer’s disease in her prize-winning debut The Wilderness and, in All is Song, transported Socrates to the 21st century. In Orbital, her sixth book, she explores time again, especially