Friday 27 July 2012

Mission to Mars

Here are some dates for your consideration: 20-21 July 1969, 19-21 November 1969, 5-6 February 1971, 30 July-3 August 1971, 21-24 April 1972 and 11-14 December 1972. These are the only occasions that humanity has so far spent on a celestial body other than the Earth. I should probably point out, in the eventuality that anyone reading this is a bit thick, that on all of the above dates the celestial body in question was the moon.

20th July 1969 - 14th December 1972. Honestly. It reads like a hamster's gravestone.

I was born in 1980, which means that I have missed out on all the space fun. Unless you count large scale calamitous failures as fun, which you should not. You bastard. Back on the very Monday that I was born, in the midst of the cold war, the day in July 1969 that man landed on the moon was not yet even 11 years ago. Astronauts and space missions still captured the imagination. It was something constructive to do with all those nuclear bombs. Surely, within days we'd be racing the Soviets to Mars, winner gets all the best rocks?

Goin Mars, BRB
But then Mikail Gorbachev comes along and ruins everything, favouring working on peace on Earth rather than uncontrolled spending trying to blow everything up. In the giddy thrill of the Berlin Wall's collapse, we lost sight of Mars.

Back then I was still only nine years old, though. Plenty of time for a new cold war to begin, surely? It did, of course, but being based around the concept of global terrorism rather than Statehood and political ideology, it did little to advance the space race. Terrorists are unreasonable people at the best of times, very unlikely to be swayed or impressed by the sight of some bloke playing golf in virtually-zero gravity. And all the while I am growing older, my chances of seeing anything interesting at all ever happening in my life - something worth telling future generations about that isn't just about explosions or death tolls - are growing slimmer by the withered, wrinkly, grey-pubed day.

Why did humanity explore space in the first place? We claimed it was in the spirit of scientific discovery and humanity's insatiable curiosity and thirst for knowledge. It seems likely now that these were lies. It was all for political and ideological reasons, wasn't it? How ghastly and smutty. How ordinary. How terrestrial.

Human beings need to go to Mars. Human beings are very stupid and don't know anything until we go and find stuff out. We are completely unable to conceive of how anything works without experiential knowledge of it. On 19th July 1969, for example, we believed that the moon was made of cheese, that Clangers lived there and that cows jumped over it on a regular basis. How foolish we were.

Mars: all the information currently known
And now I want to know all about Mars. What do they have there? History alone teaches me to be wary of thinking it is all Martians scuttling about wearing Roman Armour. But how can I even begin to try and envisage the wonders until a member of my own race gets their candy ass up there and hits some golf balls about and drops a feather? Do they have a Morrison's? Are they Protestants? And what can we learn about the nature of existence and creation?

Humanity not going to Mars is dashed incurious of us, if nothing else. A life half-lived. And I'm going to kick up a big stink about this until some bastard does it.

1 comment:

Mace said...

We don't need to go to Mars, it's only full of self-righteous robots who laugh at our inability to make smooth potato-like substances.

Bunch of robot twats.


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