Red is Dead
Mars is a rocky husk of its former self: dusty, rusty,cold, void of liquid water on surface…did I mention dusty? The question is: Why the hell would anyone want to go frolicking on top a rock like that?
Sure, at some point in Martian history, it would have been worth expending resources and effort to get there. The story written in its geology proves this to be the case; for reasons not entirely explainable—Mars couldn’t remain a vital planet flush with water; it died and dried into a cold, rusted gravestone.
I don’t know about you, but to trek through 38,000,000/50,000,000 miles of space only to end up in a cemetery of a planet would piss me off, indeed.
I know, I know—your thoughts are heard: Well, going to Mars is the next step to propelling humanity into the cosmos!
I’m sorry for being the needle that pops the bubble of grandeur. Let me remind everyone that at the moment, NASA (or any space agency) doesn’t have a rocket with enough blast-off power to fling a human toward the God of War. Once upon a time, NASA was constructing a rocket called “Constellation” that was mammoth enough to potentially do the job. However, the project was scrapped to do being over-budget.
We’ve learned quite a bit about Mars from a distance and if you ask me, that’s good enough, at least for now. What’s wrong with sending rovers? Every year they become more sophisticated; who knows what kind of capabilities a rover will have in 20 years.
Shit, Curiosity is able to fry rocks with a freaking laser beam, and then analyses the gas for chemical properties.
Next Door Desolation
Besides, it doesn’t make sense to travel millions of miles / kilometers in attempt to plant a flag or inhabit it with people, when we have a perfectly good world next door!
Perhaps you heard of it? This world is grey, cratered, and as one man said, “desolate”. I’m talking about Earth’s moon!
At a distance of 250,000 miles—it’s a littttttle easier to reach.
Plus, we need the practice! As a species stepping into the space-colony game, let’s face it, we don’t know what the hell were doing. Why spread out so far away from Earth? What doe’s Mars have to offer besides confirming what we already know: water once flowed on the surface and perhaps microbes carved out an existence.
The moon, although hostile, is not as hostile as Mars. For one thing; the distance’s involved make it a possibility for a return trip to Earth, which will fortify any psychological comfort to our primitive space adventures.
Keep in mind, Apollo 11 took about 3 days, 3 hours and 49 minutes reach the moon.
The trip to Mars could be as much as 152x the Earth-moon distance and would take more than 456 days to get there traveling at comparable Apollo 11 speed…better pack a lunch.
One thing Martians would have to put up with is weather, and it won’t be sunshine or rainbows. Mars is unpredictable: one minute you could be tiptoeing along a rusted landscape, while the next a dust devil manifests out of nowhere and smothers all your equipment with a storm of rusted particles.
Don’t underestimate a martian dust storm! These atmospheric manifestations can last for weeks and cover the whole planet.
Mars is not user-friendly.
The moon? Worrying about such things is nonsense. No air. No atmosphere; the predictability will allow Lunarians to mine material and build habitats in peace, instead of hiding in some lava tube playing poker to wait out rude dust storms.
The moon contains a secret; an important resource we could actually exploit—water. This life-giving substance is known to be imprisoned in lunar rocks. All a technologicaly-savy space wanderer would have to do is ‘cook’ lunar soil into vapor, and then condense the gas into frost.
Apply some artificial flavors, and guess what? You got yourself a lunar snow cone!
Here’s what the Red Planet will offer, a shirt that reads: I Went To Mars and All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt.
Lunar water could be used to make more than snow cones; it could also be used as rocket fuel by abstracting
My last point I want to bring up is the character we choose to sit on top a rocket to be blasted at Mars.
Is a family man/woman really the wisest decision? Truth is, when it comes to long-term space travel, we don’t know what the hell we’re doing in that department, either. Maybe there comes a point when Captain Positive just can’t handle it anymore, and ends up retired in some far off corner, spinning unbounded by gravity while surrounded by spherical floating tears.
Not a pleasant sight.
Why would you want someone who is anchored to Earth? What I mean by that is, why would you want someone who has emotional investments to make the journey? Wouldn’t it make sense to send someone who doesn’t yearn for the ideas that the average person conforms to?
Things such as: marriage, kids, career—society’s interpretation of how were ‘suppose’ to live.
If you ask me, to travel across the blackened void to some dead planet is tough enough. Imagine if you had to separate yourself from a family, kids, friends; a way of life that is bound by earthly standard.
It might be enough to, dare I say, make you float into a corner, and spin in your own tears?
Those that are floating above our heads have the comfort of knowing they can hitch a ride, burn through the atmosphere and be greeted by a crowd of loving arms. I imagine astronauts thrive on that sort of comfort.
I can’t imagine if you stripped an astronaut of their comfort it would make the trip less difficult.
Not to say a hypothetical astronaut that doesn’t have earthly connections wouldn’t have issues. They certainly would, but it would involve other mental strains that come in the form of not wanting to sabotage the mission out of some bizarre philosophy that develops on the way to Mars.
Captain Positive always sees the light at the end of the tunnel.
Here’s a thoughtful quote from Hunter (one of the Mars One candidates) when asked to comment on his life: “…turd in the toilet bowl of life. I just kind of float.”
Maybe we found the right person for the job: any planet could use a little honesty; even if its of the crimson variety.
Blood in the Night
I’ve been an amateur astronomer for about 9…wait, no—10 years. I mention this because I have a personal investment with the canvas of night, and treasures that are embedded in it.
Mars in particular I observed many times with a binocular or telescope (or my eyes). That blood drop in the sky bleeds hypnotically into our humanly retinas.
In fact, you can see Mars with your own eyes by going outside after 9:00 p.m., it will be located a few degrees away from the orange star Spica. By around 2:00 a.m., Mars will reach its zenith in the sky and will be at opposition around mid-April, 2014.
For more information on Mars One—Click here!