When most of us looked at the characters from Among Us, we probably thought something along the lines of “Ha beans funny,” and then forgot about it. But here’s the thing: we know that the beans from Among Us are humans (I’ll get to why in a second). Assuming humanity doesn’t destroy itself first, Among Us might become a reality.
First off, just for you skeptics who think the astronauts aren’t humans, let me explain why they are, just in an advanced stage of evolution. Firstly, variations of human brands, most notably in the vending machine on the map ‘MIRA HQ.’
Variations of human brands can be seen inside the machine, like Mountain Dew (Don Dew), an energy drink likely based off of Gatorade, and a Starbucks canned coffee. This is the most obvious example, and I can’t go over all of them, but suffice to say, they are humans. If we can’t agree on that, well, you’re going to have a hard time with the rest of the article.
Now to the beans themselves. We know from the “Medbay Scan” task on all three maps that they are three feet, six inches and weigh only 92 pounds. Just for reference, the average 14 year old in the US weighs 105 to 112 pounds, so assuming that these are full grown adults, they’re very light. But that’s actually not a surprise. If you have any semblance of interest in space, you probably know that spending long periods of time in reduced or 0G environments causes problems with muscle mass and bone strength. Astronauts on the International Space Station are required to exercise frequently. In the future, when we colonize places like the Moon and Mars, exercise equipment like treadmills and weights will be among the equipment they will be given to survive. They will need to use these things daily to stop bone and muscle degradation.
As you might imagine, all this exercise is time consuming. So it would make sense for Space Exploration Operations (SEOs) to select lighter, shorter, and overall smaller people, since they have less of a need for exercise, so they can devote more time to other tasks, like the ones you do aboard The Skeld, Mira HQ, and Polus. There’s another reason for SEOs to select smaller astronauts – they’re lighter.
Space travel – and especially space exploration – is very hard, very expensive, and very dangerous. Kurzgesagt (A German science & politics informational YouTube channel) put it best: “Getting to space is hard. Right now, it’s like going up a mountain on a unicycle with a backpack full of explosives. Incredibly slow, you can’t transport a lot of stuff, and you might die.” Not a pretty picture. The more stuff you need to put on a spaceship, the heavier it gets, and the more propulsion you need to add, adding to the expenses of the operation. It gets even more expensive when you add humans into the mix. If any system fails during the launch the entire crew will most likely die, such as in the Apollo 1 tragedy (January 27, 1967) or the Challenger disaster (January 28, 1986). Failsafes and extra precautions must be taken to maximize the chances of a safe launch and return flight for the crew. This of course means more weight, more propulsion, and more money. Lighter, smaller astronauts mean that less space is needed to house them in the spacecraft, and three astronauts weighing 92 pounds is a lot less than 3 astronauts weighing 113 pounds. 63 fewer pounds can make much more of a difference than you might think. There’s also the fact that smaller people eat less, since their bodies don’t need as much fuel as larger people. This would allow for the amount of food resources to be scaled down on longer term missions, for example, The Skeld’s voyage to Mira HQ and then to Polus.
So there you have it. Smaller, lighter, and cheaper astronauts are the future. Most, if not all, people alive in the present moment won’t see it. The most we could possibly see in our natural lifetimes is the beginning of Mars’ colonization, but hey, if we’re exploring our solar system and colonizing planets, we might be able to artificially hibernate (a technology speculated to be absolutely necessary for interstellar exploration and colonization) and extend our life spans to see the days when everyone is 3’6” and you’re giant.