Sunday, July 6, 2008

Sending Men to Mars

Oh, I know, another essay defending space exploration, but hey, it's my blog and I'll write whatever I damn well please. I will, however, try to touch on the obvious and not so obvious.

We should send men to Mars because, at least according to popular, touchy-feely psycho-babble, that's where we (men) hail from. It makes sense, in at least one visceral sense, because Mars is red, and men are all about blood, even though Mars is more the brownish red of dried blood, not the fresh, salty red of an overly passionate kiss. Perhaps we might discover the long awaited dilithium crystals to fuel our warp engines, or uncover a virulent strain of bacteria that will re-fire our long dead imaginations. Or maybe we will just create some space for the excessively procreative. I don't know what we may find, but I'd rather spend the money on possibility than on eradicating populations of nations that don't share our national loftiness.

At the very least, we may tune our televisions away from Deal or No Deal.

Exploration and discovery are core elements of survival, although the current version of humanity could use a lot of humility mixed in. Where would we be without the man or woman who surmised that the lobster might be edible; or the oyster? Where would we be without the first traveller to be headbutted by a coconut? Or the first firestarter? or Columbus? or Fred Smoot?. We need to clear our overgrown path of discovery, and begin our journey upon it. We need to refind what we have lost, and discover the bashful, new reality. It takes more imagination for a chimp to fabricate a termite shovel than it does to sit on our collective hands.

I am too old, too nicotined, and too out of shape for the trip to Mars. But I am not too old to remember and cherish the flame that burned in my mind when I was a child and Sputnik soared and the Eagle landed. My life has always been about what I do not know; what I may never discover.

I may not be the archetypal astronaut but I am a willing one. Just ask and I will go. I am not afraid to live and I am not afraid to die. I begin my training next week in the Black Hills.

3 comments:

gail said...

I like this one. Leaves much to imagine, hope for, dream about. I don't understand why, if you have the time to write this on your blog that you have NOT written to me. I have used humor and question and simple sharing to keep you engaged, but nothing. So, blog away to everyone and no one where nothing is and everything isn't. I don't get you at all.
Gail

Fallen Angel said...

You know, for a favorite relative, you're sounding an awful lot like a nagging wife. Thank god you live far away. I'll write soon

gail said...

so glad we are A O K.........
and two hours is not that far away......
your favorite relative, ever
Viola/Gail