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If NASA offered to fly you to Mars, would you go?

This week: Mars, Vikings, and fake movie stuff.
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Every Friday on Dana Wessel answers your questions. Music, sports, pop culture, whatever you want. Have a question? You can tweet them to @DanaWesselor email him at

Q: If NASA offered you a spot on its first trip to land humans on Mars -- 3 years in space, survival far from guaranteed, eyes of the world on you -- would you go? Make it back, you've got Neil Armstrong cred for life. - Phil

Absolutely. I’d negotiate for a bit, but I absolutely would be down for that. First of all, I’d want to learn all the NASA secrets. Where are the aliens? I want to see them.

I’d also want to see what exactly would be at my disposal on that space station and shuttle. I saw that Matt Damon movie and he had ZERO classic video games on Mars. Bullsh*t. That would have to change. Full NES/SNES library. Also, booze. First guy to get hammered on Mars? Hell yeah.

I’d also want to pick the crew I roll with. If I am going to be on Mars for three years, I better like the people going with me. I’d have a 500-question survey to determine if I’d want them with or not. Oh, hell, who am I kidding? As long as they make a good Contra/drinking partner then the rest would figure itself out.

Of course the big hang-up here is that I just got married. Not sure how stoked Heather would be about me leaving Earth for three years with no promise of coming back. Or maybe she would? Who knows. But the possibility of coming back alive and never having to buy a beer again for the rest of your life would be too good to pass up.

Q: The Vikings are 4-0. Best team in the NFC. The head coach is the best we’ve ever had. Our defense is amazing. Why am I still scared, Dana? Why am I so scared? - Dave

Because you’ve been hurt, Davey. Can I call you Davey? Great. It’s because you’ve been hurt, Davey. We’ve all been hurt.

I know it is hard, but Vikings fans can’t live scared like this. Just enjoy the ride, man. I mean, just going on raw statistics, odds are the Vikings will NOT win the Super Bowl. So just enjoy the fact that we have a great team, a cool stadium, and the running back who whipped his son in the testicles with a stick isn’t playing for us anymore. Should be a fun run. Soak it all in and let's just see what happens.

Q: The self-lacing Nikes from (Back to the Future II) are finally a reality. What other (stuff) from movies do we still need? The obvious one for me is the lightsaber. - Brendan

Great question. Let’s just skip over everything from Star Wars and all that other boring technological stuff. We’ll get there eventually. There are a lot more important things we need.

  • The ability to pay for an amazing apartment in a major metropolitan city with no (or a very low-paying) job.
  • Going from being awful at something to a total pro via a three-minute montage set to a pop song that shows you getting progressively better at said task/skill/sport.
  • A best friend who is a smart-ass 99 percent of the time except when you find yourself in a real conundrum and is able to give you profound, life-altering advice.
  • Beautiful women who dump the jock/badass to date the goony/nerdy dude.
  • Meeting the love-of-your-life at the laundromat rather than just a drunk person sleeping on the floor.
  • No hangovers. Seriously, when was the last time someone was hungover in a movie unless the plot directly called for it in a major way?
  • A tense moment at a family dinner table that gets resolved by a playful food fight.
  • Best friends that will come over and watch as you try on multiple different outfits before a big date/event and will stay there until you finally find the exact right one.
  • Any time you get dumped, you will immediately meet someone who is quirky, eccentric and the polar opposite of the vapid, self-centered person who just dumped you and they will open you up from your sheltered existence and fall in love with you.
  • Every dog is loyal, ridiculously adorable, and very well-trained. It will also do things like put its paws over its eyes whenever you do something embarrassing when someone from the opposite sex is over.

Q: I am terrified of our new clown overlords. I do not welcome them. Thinking about making a Sam’s Club run and hunkering down until this thing blows over. What should my shopping list be? - Jon

You mean besides some canned goods, every season of The Simpsons on DVD and enough handles of Captain Morgan to drown a family of elephants? Not much.

But is this clown thing even that surprising? 2016 has already been a depressing, sad, cluster-bleep of a year. Of COURSE we are dealing with weird-ass clowns scaring the crap out of people.

Q: Graceland, Paisley Park... what should be next? - Natalie

Hmmm. Maybe the studio apartment in L.A. currently shared by every single past winner of The Voice? Might be kinda cool. A lot of music history there, between that one girl... and the other dude. Yeah, The Voice sucks.

Oh, and as long as we are on the topic, I have heard some people talk about wanting to preserve Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch and turn it into a museum. No. God no. The only reason I’d ever go within a 100 feet of that disgusting hellhole is if I had a flamethrower strapped to my back and I was going to burn the place down.

Q: Me and a co-worker were talking about what the most embarrassing thing that could possibly happen to you in elementary school. We settled on peeing your pants. That’s the worst right? - Kristen

Yeah, that one is definitely rough. I can’t remember that actually happening to someone in my school, thankfully. That would be a tough one to recover from.

A few others that came to mind:

  • Throwing up - A more common occurrence than peeing your pants, but almost as embarrassing. Nobody wants to be the puke kid. I threw up in elementary school after drinking four chocolate milks one day. But thankfully it was in Kindergarten before kids started being awful to each other.
  • Accidentally calling the teacher "mom" - I remember this happening a few times. Every time that kid who did it got razzed for weeks. Man, kids are such di*ks.
  • Getting sent out in the hallway for misbehaving - Happened to me quite a bit. Always embarrassing. Other students and teachers walk by and see you sitting out there like an idiot.
  • Absolutely sucking at something in gym class - Gym class is probably the venue kids are the most relentless. You never wanted to be the kid that finished last in the mile. I was a decent athlete but was tall and lacked the upper body strength to to even get three feet up the rope climb. I never heard the end of it. I still see a therapist five days a week to talk about it.

Q: What is a perk of the workplace that you think more places should have? Mine would be a coffee cart person that goes past everyone’s desk delivering coffee every hour - Heather

Good question. Definitely no ping pong tables or beer kegs or other new-age Google crap. That is all played out. I have never gotten the appeal of beer taps at work. Who wants to drink at work? Know what other place has beers on tap? EVERY BAR AND RESTAURANT IN THE WORLD. And guess what else? Your co-workers won’t be there.

I think the one thing every workplace should add is nap pods. Key word here being "nap." Not a place to go kill a hangover with a two-hour sleep. Just a place to go catch a 20-minute cat nap. Something to recharge the batteries. There have been studies* that have determined productivity would increase by 5.8 million percent if nap pods were available in work.

*A study I did myself in my own head while typing that sentence.

I am not just saying that because I get up at the ass-crack of dawn either. I feel like 9-5ers are nodding their head along to this right now. Naps are the key to life. A nap a day extends life expectancy by by 35 years*. So any boss, manager, or CEO reading this, get on the nap pods.

*Also made up.

Q: I went on a Tinder date with a girl the other night. I brought up politics and accidentally said Trump was a democrat. She didn’t correct me. I wasn’t sure if she was just being nice so I decided to test her by making other obvious political mistakes (Trump and Bernie teaming up, etc.) and she never corrected me. Other than all that, I really liked her. Should I ask her on a second date, or skip it? - Name redacted by e-mailer's request.

I don’t think SHE should go on a second date with YOU. Who brings up politics on a first date, you monster? I bet she didn’t notice your blunders because she was so taken back that a human would ever bring up politics on a first date -- especially during THIS election -- that she was just daydreaming and counting the seconds until she could get out of that awful date.

Come on, dude. You’re giving the rest of guys out there a bad name.

Alright, that’ll do it for this week. Let’s all raise a tall glass of orange juice and toast to the weekend! This will be the first weekend that it really feels like fall, but don’t let that keep you inside. Put on a hoody and fire up the grill or hit up a tailgate. There is something beautiful about holding a beer outside while wearing choppers.

Keep your questions coming to @DanaWessel on Twitter, in the comments section below or email them to

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