Thursday, September 14, 2006

In space, which direction do you pray?

One of the fringe benefits of not adhering to certain religions is that you are spared dilemmas of the following kind:
We all know that Muslims have ceremonies. There's washing before prayer, praying a few times a day, and facing Mecca. But what if you're in space? Water and zero gravity don't go together and water is very scarce in space. The sun sets and rises a lot more often if you're in orbit. And as for which way Mecca is at any given point in time..
Mad Latinist offers some advice in the comments section, as does yours truly:
I think that spacecraft should install special rotating structures that you can strap yourself to that can pitch, yaw, and roll and are controlled by a complex array of motors hooked up to a positioning computer and operate in such a way as to always point you to your desired holy site (Mecaa, Jerusalem, the Indianapolis Convention Center, etc.)

Then I think the other astronauts should, as a prank, reprogram this device so that people ended up facing the wrong direction:

"Ha ha! You were praying towards Disneyworld!"

"Oh yeah, well your prayers were going towards the World's Biggest Ball of Twine!"

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