Washington State University professor Dirk Schulze-Makuch says the key to inevitable space colonization is sending fearless astronauts to places like Mars -- and just leaving them there.
He makes a compelling argument. He says the risks and expenses of one-way voyages that would last as long as six months would be sliced in half and that these men and women would be like American pioneers from centuries past.
For eternal glory, they would face unimaginable hardship, a barren existence and, he says, a longing for human company that would be unquenchable.
Not if I had anything to do with it.
You let me pick who goes and soon Mars will look like the last day of the month at the downtown department of motor vehicles.
Here’s just a partial list of the folks I’m sending on a one-way flight to the Red Planet.
- Brett Favre -- I’m starting to get the feeling Brett Favre spends a lot of time staring in the mirror saying, man, I’m Brett Favre. Martian mirrors would be perfect for that kind of preening. Plus, I figure he’s going to need some place to live after his wife tosses him out for sending dirty pictures to surgically enhanced sideline reporters.
- Those five guys who chirp, “Hey! Where’s the $20 you owe me?” every time I see them. So long fellas. I’ll pay you the very next time I see you. And this time I really, really, mean it.
- Kate Gosselin -- With all her book signings, dancing shows, etc., this is the only way her kids could possibly see any less of her than they do right now so that makes sending this mom to Mars the responsible thing to do.
- Snickers -- I’m still having trouble adjusting to our new dog and figure him spending his wild years on Mars might ease our transition. I’ll sell it to the girls as a historical opportunity for their little purse puppy to earn enduring fame. I’ll agree we can replace Snickers only on the condition that the next pet is just a wee bit more masculine than our nasty little yipper. Then I’ll bring home a hamster.
- Donald Trump -- My list is not purely punitive. I’d like to see what a master developer like Trump could do with some truly pristine real estate.
- “The rent is too damn high!” guy -- He won’t be able to shout that campaign complaint if he lives in a Martian shack, at least if he beats Trump to the planet.
- My friend John -- Because of his callousness at my choking incident, John’s enjoyed a starring role in my blog the last few days. Here’s what he wrote to our friends about what happened. It’s about 90 percent lie. “Chris, buddy, no need to thank me for saving your life at the Chinese place Sunday. I know you'd have done the same for me if I had been choking on a piece of dim sum too. (And no need to be embarrassed by the shrimp projectile you fired from your throat at the patrons at the next table, it's all just part of the Heimlich Maneuver.) Besides, Val's humble words of gratitude were more than enough. And don’t feel obliged about owing me for saving your life. I’m sure it won’t come up again.” In order for him to one-up me on shipping him to Mars, he’d have to arrange from there to have me sent to Jupiter. Ain’t gonna happen.
- Jeff Probst -- This one’s going to really hurt because he’s my favorite pop culture celebrity on this planet. I’ll miss him when he departs it for another one. Still, the opportunity to set up a “Suvivor: Mars” is too obvious to neglect.
- Conan O’Brien -- I’ve watched his manic and uneven new show a couple of times and can’t help but think sending him to Mars would be a sort of homecoming.
- Dirk Schulze-Makuch -- Pioneering history is rife with tales of cannibalism. If the MREs spoil it would be good to have the guy who dreamed up the whole scheme around in case anyone wants to try their hand at some butt jerky.
- Everyone listed in the Greater Boston Area phone directory -- That wouldn’t rid Earth of every obnoxious New England Patriot and Boston Red Sox fan, but it’s a good first step.
So let’s just call that a start. Once we get done with Mars, we’ll still have about seven planets that need colonizing.
Everyone better behave.
And you’d be advised not to pester me about that $20 I owe you while I’m working on my lists.