The Strongest Man in the Universe


SOL 175

Earth 2044

Norman Rychert will participate in the first weightlifting competition on Mars. Illustration by Sasha Petrov.

Norman Rychert will participate in the first weightlifting competition on Mars. Illustration by Sasha Petrov.

Prior to his viral bench press video on Mars, Norman Rychert’s only recognition for his weightlifting ability was at the UCLA Undergraduate Strongman Competition in 2036. Rychert took second place, losing to his best friend, Andy Ranalli. Now, eight Earth years later, Rychert is known by Martian settlers and billions on Earth as the Strongest Man in the Universe. 

The global hysteria behind Rychert’s immense strength began when he posted a video of himself bench-pressing 700kgs (1543lbs) on YouTube and Dispersion.

Posted a video of himself bench-pressing 700kg on Mars

Now, a 700kgs bench press would be humanly impossible on Earth; however, the feat is entirely possible on lower gravity Mars. As a result, Rychert would only have to lift an equivalent of 266kgs on Earth—which is impressive, but entirely within the achievable domain of most semi-professional bodybuilders Rychert’s size. Although there are only a few amateur bodybuilders on Mars, the unique ability for humans to lift "heavier" weights on Mars than on Earth has caught the interest and imagination of people on both planets.

Element. Mass is the measure of total matter in an object. As a result, 400kgs of barbell weight (4 x 100kg plates) on Mars is equivalent to 400kg (4 x 100kg plates) of barbell weight on Earth. The difference is the weight lifted by a bodybuilder on Mars would be relatively lower, around 2/5ths of the weight on Earth. As a result, the Martian settler would be lifting the Earth equivalent of 400kgs (4 x 100kg plates) on Mars, but would only need to exert the force required to lift around 152kgs of weight, if he was on Earth.

Rychert was born in Munich, Germany on December 1st, 2015 to parents who were both professors at LMU Munich. He is a self-described “climate-nut” who grew up hoping to have a positive impact on climate change. To pursue his interest, Rychert went to UCLA and graduated from the inaugural Biosphere and Terraforming program. During his time in Southern California, Rychert developed an interest in bodybuilding with some of his fellow classmates.

After moving to Mars to join the Mars Terraforming Team, Rychert continued his physical hobby in his free time. In addition to the Mars Astronaut Physical Program (MAPP), Rychert spends another two Mars hours each day at the gym completing his weight training and vacuum resistance training circuits. 

Exposition. The Mars Terraforming Team is a group of scientists and engineers tasked with changing the surface and climate of Mars to either resemble Earth or make the planet more inhabitable.
“I’m glad my videos have given a glimpse on how some of us spend our free time here on this beautiful planet.”
— Norman Rychert

Rychert's viral workout videos recently caught the attention of sponsors from Earth. MarsGym is partnering with Rychert, and the MAPP to host the first Martian Weightlifting Competition, which will be held on October 21st, 2044/SOL 402 and streamed to both planets. 

Rychert emailed an official statement to The Martian Passage saying “it’s truly an honor to be collaborating with MarsGym. I don’t consider myself to be an athlete—just a meteorologist who lifts weights in his free time. I’m glad my videos have perhaps given a glimpse to folks on Earth on how some of us spend our free time here on this beautiful planet.”

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Bennie has been a writer for The Martian Passage since 2038. He writes about interesting people or special events on Mars.