I have some good news and some bad news.
I read in the paper recently about a proposed venture to send people to Mars. The good news is it will be a one-way trip. The bad news is that the launch isn’t scheduled until 2022, meaning anybody dumb enough to consider the idea of going to Mars and staying there will be hanging around for another nine years on our planet and lowering the collective IQ for the rest of us. Bummer.
As of this writing, more than 100,000 people around the world have signed up to go, including 33,000 Americans who evidently have nothing better to do. Maybe they are tired of hanging out at the mall on Saturday night and want to meet some hot Martians. I am not sure how people who want to take a one-way trip to Mars think. I’m still trying to figure out how the Woman Who Shares My Name thinks.
Dutchman Bas Lansdorp is co-founder and CEO of Mars One, which is organizing the trip. He says that while the mission will cost about $6 billion, most of it will be covered by sponsors and broadcasters. That will make the tickets affordable for applicants. The fee to hop a ride to Mars will be only $38 for Americans and $15 for Mexicans. This means that if Mexicans won’t enter our country illegally, they can save $23, or 17,606.27 pesos on their ticket. That sounds like a win-win all the way around.
Lansdorp says some people are still working on their applications and have not yet paid their fee. A few have and you can see who they are at the Mars One website. The list includes a few Iranians (now that’s a scary thought), a guy from Angola and a Russian named Zorikto, who says his interests range from supply chain management to imitation modeling. Sounds like just the kind of crowd I would like to spend seven months with on a rocket ship.
After looking over the names of those who have applied to go on this one-way trip to nowhere, it is obvious the idea isn’t getting much traction with Georgians. I can’t say I am surprised. Why would anybody in Georgia want to live on Mars? We have it all here — the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Golden Isles, sweet tea and great barbecue, not to mention Sanford Stadium on a crisp fall afternoon in Athens, the Classic City of the South, and the greatest state song in the history of the world — make that the universe — “Georgia on My Mind,” sung by my hero, Ray Charles, a onetime resident of Albany, the Pecan Capital of the World.
On the other hand, Mars might be a viable alternative for some of our fellow Americans who reside in the part of the country where it snows 10 months a year and all their buildings are rusted. Moving to Mars would ensure them a much better quality of life and would have the added benefit of keeping them from moving to Georgia. We’ve already got enough Yankees here who think we talk funny and that kudzu is a salad green but who wouldn’t consider going back where they came from. Fuhggedaboudit.
At first I was surprised to see that Georgia’s Ambassador to Outer Space Cynthia McKinney hadn’t signed up for the trip. She is the former Democratic congresswoman from DeKalb County and noted babble-head doll who could make a racial issue out of a turnip and who used to kiss the president — any president — on national television as he entered the House of Representatives to deliver his State of the Union message. It got to the point where both Democrats and Republicans were having a hard time getting anybody to run for the office because they knew what awaited them when they got elected.
Then I recalled that it wasn’t necessary for our ambassador to join the rocket ship riders. Since she makes her permanent home in the Great Beyond, it would be just a short hop for her over to Mars. Sometimes I don’t think these things through.
I’m not going, either. I have no interest in looking for Martians or spending the rest of my days with a bunch of wackos. There are enough space cadets right here on Earth, thank you, and I don’t have to pay $38 to tell you about them. They are called politicians and they are out of this world.
You can reach Dick Yarbrough at firstname.lastname@example.org or P.O. Box 725373, Atlanta, Ga. 31139.