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Maybe I don't understand 'colonization'

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POSTED: November 22, 2010 4:15 p.m.

I’ve just read that story about a couple of scientists who think we are about ready to send people to Mars on a one-way trip.
Immediately I said to myself, “What’s wrong with this picture?” And it should be very clear. ONE WAY!
Now I’m not saying that there aren’t people we would like to send there one way. But I just don’t think you will have genuine astronauts – people trained to drive a spaceship – who are going to get in front of this line.
I’m sure we have brilliant minds who could work out the logistics of such a project. But given that the purpose is colonization, I don’t think a planet that’s so much hotter than ours, has no trees, golf courses or Super Bowl is going to draw a lot of adventurers. What I mean is: you can travel to inhospitable places covered in rocks right here on earth. I give you Iraq and Afghanistan. And you can come back in a couple of days if you don’t get shot or captured. I know that’s kind of like comparing SPAM to potted meat, but your chances are better for a round trip here on earth. You could even snatch a burka off one of their women in Iraq, give her a big kiss right on the mouth and still your odds are better for survival than a trip to Mars.
Keep in mind, only two scientists are saying we are ready for this colonization. That’s not exactly a consensus of great minds. It’s probably a greater number of people than will admit to being Democrats in most barber shops, but two is only one more than one. And as the song says, “one is lonely number.”
I can just see these two scientists trying to get volunteers.  It would be like a company inventing a shark-proof diving suit and wanting to test it.
“Hey, fellow. We’ve invented a shark-proof diving suit. We would like you to put it on and get in the tank with that great white. And when it bites you, tell us if it hurts.”
Now these two scientists liken their proposal to early colonization of America.
Are you kidding me?
Like I said, there are no trees on Mars. There are no flowing rivers. There are no Indians to massacre. Tell me how Mars is anything like the colonization of America.
These guys are not calling this a “suicide mission.” They say the trip would take six months, and by not taking extra fuel for a return trip, it might even go faster. They say that this would pave the way for future space efforts.
And then they said what they need is an eccentric billionaire to finance such an adventure.
Well, that lets me and all the people I know off the hook.
They also suggest that the new colonists might be older people in their 60s (kind of like that movie Space Cowboys), noting that the mission would likely reduce their life span because of lack of medical facilities. They also said radiation could destroy reproductive organs of people of childbearing age.
Am I missing something here? Didn’t they mention “colonization?” Somebody’s got to tango if colonization takes place.
Wow! The shark suit scenario gets to looking better and better. At least they could retrieve most of your body.
I’m reminded of that “great public relations effort” when I was being recruited for the Marines platoon leader school during the Vietham War. I was told if I lived a year, I could make captain. Some people just have a knack for explaining things.
Oh well, after reading this story I’m reminded of the baked-beans analogy. This too shall pass.

Walden is editor/publisher of The Moultrie Observer. He can be reached at dwain.walden@gaflnews.com.

 

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