“Oh, why do you want to go on a one way trip to Mars?” asked Kris.
“Why wouldn’t I? I think it would be awesome. And I would be on TV!” Mr P was making conversation over the fence, with his neighbor Kris.
It was a Saturday morning and Mr P had gone out to get the newspaper. The sun was shining through the trees. The birds were singing, flowers were smiling, bees were humming and butterflies flitting happily. In other words, Mr P was feeling particularly elated as it was the weekend and he could laze at home. That was reason enough for him to stop by and chitchat with his neighbor who was pruning the shrubbery in his garden. After local politics, the subject had veered round to the Mars trip and Mr P had started the topic with “You know, the booking for that one way trip to Mars finished last week. And I just missed it by a whisker,”
He had then started to point out the things that deterred him. There would be no television in Mars. Nor would there be any of his favourite haunts such as Pizza Hut, KFC or McDonalds. “There would be plenty of parking space, I believe” continued Mr P trying to find some advantages for Mars.
“No point in having parking space without cars” argued Kris. “I guess you would only be walking….. and that too in your space suit.”
“I wouldn’t mind walking around in a space suit always. But somebody would have to wake me up quite often. It looks quite comfy and I think l’d fall asleep in it. As long as there is no summer in Mars….” Mr P crossed his arms and closed his eyes picturing himself in a space suit. He wouldn’t mind getting one for the South Dakota winters. He regretted that winters were still too cold on earth even with all the global warming.
“The paper says two hundred and two thousand, five hundred and eighty-six people have volunteered from all over the world. I wonder why more haven’t applied” he brought his thoughts back onto the topic.
Standing back to take a look at the pruned plant, Kris muttered “Well, those who have some sort of family, probably will not want to go”.
“We can’t generalize that. There are a few people whose family would badly want them to go on a never return trip to Mars.” Mr P quipped.
“And I don’t mean you” Mr P added hastily when he saw his neighbour’s forehead crease into a frown.
Eyes on his shears, Kris mumbled “There are a few people whose neighbours would badly want them to take the trip too……..”
At that point, Mr P realized that for his continued good health, he had to break the conversation then and there. He hastily said farewell and scooted back into the house. After Mr P had finished his breakfast he googled up more of the details of the trip to Mars as the earlier discussion was still uppermost in his mind. He scrolled through the website and was amazed at the requirements that were specified for the candidates. It seemed as if they were listed specifically with him in mind! He down-loaded the page and took a print of it. Kris was still in his garden, so he rushed out with it.
“They have listed on their website, the characteristics the candidates need to have. I think I would have met all the criteria perfectly. Here, take a look” he cried, and handed the paper over the fence.
Dubiously, Kris put his shears down, rubbed his hands on the sides of his gardening pants and grabbed the paper.
“Resiliency, adaptability, curiosity, ability to trust, creativity and resourcefulness” Kris read out the main headings loudly, trying hard to hold his mirth back…
“Hmmmmm… Some of these fit you well. But if you ask me, not all!” Kris tried to say diplomatically.”Resiliency: I must admit you have that quality. “Let’s look at them one by one. ” Kris then proceeded to list out the expectations for the potential Mars trekkers and his take on how Mr P would fit in each case.
“Your thought processes are persistent: Otherwise why would you still keep trying to borrow my car?”
“You persevere and remain productive: I have heard how hard you try to control the fire ants in your tropical home but sure, the ants remain productive and keep multiplying!”
“You see the connection between your internal and external self: Don’t you fall asleep when doing yoga and meditation? Is it that, your external self, is then trying to catch up with your internal self or vice versa?”
“You have a “Can do!” attitude: Otherwise, how would you even come up with the idea of volunteering for Mars? I admire your cheek!”
” Let’s discuss curiosity….. I agree with you there. Aren’t you always wondering what’s happening this side of the fence?”
At this point, Mr P was not sure whether Kris was admiring him or making fun of him. Slightly piqued, he asked Kris who could be good candidates in his opinion.
“Dedicated scientists may want to go” said Kris.
“But, if I were a scientist, I’d rather somebody reach there first and confirm it’s safe before I go. Or what if I die before I report my findings? It would be such a waste,” countered Mr P.
He kept the conversation rolling. “Depending on if any beautiful women have applied and will be chosen, I’d be happy to go if they accept late applications. Shouldn’t there be a “knight in shining space suit” to protect the women from all those aliens?”
He asked Kris if a pepper spray would be handy in that case.
“Don’t worry” said Kris. “The deodorant you spray on you, would keep even aliens at bay.”
Mr P had not fully digested this information before his mind was boggled by what Kris said next. “You know how the US border security and immigration call people from other countries ‘aliens’? Well, if we humans go to space and find some aliens, are they the aliens or are we the aliens?”
It took some time for Mr P to get his head round the question. He was still mulling over it as he returned back into the house. “Are they the aliens or are we the aliens?” he kept asking himself.
- Here’s The Longest You Could Survive On Mars Wearing Only Jeans And A T-Shirt (businessinsider.com)
- AUDIO: ‘Why I’ll fly one-way to Mars’ (bbc.co.uk)
- A Quick Update On The Reality Show That Will Send People To Mars And Never Bring Them Back (videogum.com)
- One-Way Ticket to Mars Attracts Global Attention (newswatch.nationalgeographic.com)
- Offer of one-way trip to live on Mars has volunteers lining up (abc.net.au)
- Mattel Launches Mars Explorer Barbie (shoppingblog.com)
- Mars Pyramids and Alien Conspiracies (weird.answers.com)
- Space-Time: Two (thisislogos.wordpress.com)
- Alien frontier: see the haunting, beautiful weirdness of Mars (theverge.com)
- NASA researches technology that will let astronauts sleep their way to Mars (time4sleep.co.uk)