Mission to Mars

Clyde Harley Fair
Clyde Harley Fair

If God wanted a man on the moon He would have put one there. – Clyde Harley Fair (Jim’s grandpa)

You probably get the impression that my grandpa wasn’t a big fan of space exploration.  He thought it was a waste of time and money, apparently not appreciating that the space program brought us Velcro, Tang and free-dried peas.  I know there were other achievements, but those are the ones that immediately come to my non-technical mind.

NASA has fallen on hard times, but a private company, Mars One, claims it will go to Mars in 2027 and set up a colony.  Grandpa would not be in favor, and I’m so sure I like the idea – despite being a fan of “Star Trek the Next Generation.”

Frosty white water ice clouds and swirling orange dust storms above a vivid rusty landscape reveal Mars as a dynamic planet in this sharpest view ever obtained by an Earth-based telescope. The Earth-orbiting Hubble telescope snapped this picture on June 26, when Mars was approximately 43 million miles (68 million km) from Earth - its closest approach to our planet since 1988. Hubble can see details as small as 10 miles (16 km) across. Especially striking is the large amount of seasonal dust storm activity seen in this image. One large storm system is churning high above the northern polar cap [top of image], and a smaller dust storm cloud can be seen nearby. Another large duststorm is spilling out of the giant Hellas impact basin in the Southern Hemisphere [lower right]. Acknowledgements: J. Bell (Cornell U.), P. James (U. Toledo), M. Wolff (Space Science Institute), A. Lubenow (STScI), J. Neubert (MIT/Cornell)

Here are my top 10 reasons not to go to Mars, at least for me:

  1. It takes six to 12 months to get there and I get antsy on a plane flight longer than two hours. Imagine how many movies I would have to load on my player to stay occupied for that lone?
  2. There won’t be any fresh fruit or vegetables on the flight or when we get there.
  3. My hobby is fishing and there isn’t a place to fish on Mars.
  4. Despite rumors of little green people, I don’t think there will be anyone there to meet.
  5. Assuming I could bring a cappuccino machine, I would have to make drinks with powdered mike because there aren’t any cows on Mars.
  6. I hate Tang.
  7. If I get there and don’t like the neighborhood it will take at least six months to get back.
  8. The nearest Catholic parish is 140,000,000 miles away, which will make it hard to maintain my sacramental commitments or be part of the faith community.
  9. Going for a walk requires more preparation and equipment than deep-sea diving.
  10. There really isn’t anything to do on Mars.

About point 10:  I’m sure there are scientists who could occupy themselves with all sorts of fascinating experiments.  But fascinating experiments get tiresome and there really isn’t anything else to do.

In Antarctica, if you get bored you can bundle up and go play with the penguins.  In Alaska, you can take your sled dogs for a run.  In the Sahara, you can visit an oasis and munch on dates and wild honey.

But on Mars, you just have to sit there and look at the sand and rocks.  I could do that in Hawaii – but it would be near the ocean, the mountains and lots of pineapples.

I’m liking the idea of Hawaii.

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