Remember these chaps?
Six intrepid astro/cosmonauts have spent the past 513 days on a simulated mission to Mars in the interests of space research. For over a year and a half, their only contact with Earth has been through the official communications link.
While they have produced plenty of media-friendly diary entries and accounts of their situation, all their information on events outside has come via Mission Control, where psychologists have been employed to ensure their emotional well-being and equilibrium.
How likely is it, then, that the two Europeans involved - a Frenchman and an Italian - have been allowed to follow the development of the growing financial crisis in the eurozone? What possible good could come of describing the situation to men in their position?
So in a week or so, Romain and Diego will emerge, blinking, into the spotlight of European media attention and find out that it's all been going to the dogs - and just to complicate matters, thanks to an ill-timed grimace captured by the world's cameras, relations between Berlusconi and Sarkozy are less than cordial.
I imagine that, sometime next week, on the outskirts of Moscow, there will be a scene not entirely unlike the one in Aliens when a newly-defrosted Ripley discovers just how disastrously things have gone wrong in her absence.
And like Ripley, one imagines, our intrepid heroes will find themselves asking the question,"Did IQ's just drop sharply while I was away?"
3 hours ago