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Out of this world

Out of this world

A year lasts 687 days on the red planet which means that blokes will be able to forget anniversaries and birthdays and things like that at about half the rate we do now

Peter Edgerton www.peteredgerton.com

Friday, 14 April 2023, 12:57

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Dean Friedman's 1978 song Lucky Stars would surely have to be the winner of any Worst Lyrics Ever Written competition (look it up online) but Elton John's erstwhile wordsmith partner Bernie Taupin really would have to be offered a lifetime achievement award for 'I sat on the roof and kicked out the moss/Well, a few of the verses, well, they've got me quite cross' (Your Song) and, the even funnier: 'Mars ain't the kind of place to raise your kids/In fact it's cold as hell/And there's no-one there to raise them if you did' (Rocket Man). Eh? I'm not sure why His Sir Eltonness didn't send Bernie on his way with a flea in his ear and a Thesaurus in his pocket. Maybe he was a bit, er, distracted in those days.

Anyway, whether or not it's a suitable environment to bring up a family, Mars is firmly in the sights of the boffins at Nasa as they press on with their plans for human exploration of the planet as soon as possible. To this end they've just made a simulation of Mars with a 3D printer (no, really) and four lucky souls will spend time living in red planet conditions so that people with massive foreheads brandishing clipboards can make notes on how well they're coping. It may become a TV programme called I'm A Guinea Pig Get Me Out Of Here. This is yet to be decided.

So, what can people expect if they one day decide to move to Mars? Well, at first glance, the lack of both oxygen and water plus the severe temperature fluctuations wouldn't appear to make it the most desirable holiday destination but, if we dig a bit more deeply, we discover that the planet is, in fact, home to the highest mountain in our entire solar system. This means that when Everest is finally buried under an ocean of Twix wrappers and Coke cans, we humans will have an alternative climb for all our Instagram selfies.

Another plus is that a year lasts 687 days on the red planet which means that blokes will be able to forget anniversaries and birthdays and things like that at about half the rate we do now. Will we get any thanks for it, though? I very much doubt it.

Yet more good news is that we'd all have to wear a space suit which would bring true and immediate equality for the whole of mankind, principally because everyone would look exactly the same regardless of race, creed or gender. There may be the odd misunderstanding on singles' night at the Two Moons Under Water pub, but it would be a small price to pay for living the Utopian dream, I'm sure you'll agree.

You would hope there might be a decent school or two as well; if not we might have to concede that Bernie Taupin was right after all.

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