What’s the attraction of Mars? I don’t get it. It’s an entire planet’s worth of desert. The total surface area of Mars is slightly less than the land area of earth, minus the water area, and it’s all cold desert.
Who needs this planet? You can’t breathe the air. It’ll be decades before anyone will ever be able to build a golf course there with real grass. They’ll have to settle for astroturf, shipped in at a cost of billions of dollars. Not only will there be no hope of raising dairy cows or goats in the foreseeable future, you can forget almonds and soy beans, too. Mushrooms will only grow between your toes.
People will have to live underground to get away from cumulative radiation exposure at the surface. You go a couple 100 million miles through vacuum, and as soon as you get to your destination, you have to dig a trench, build a subterranean home in it and cover it and live in it almost all the time.
The streaming video will be terrible, and Amazon deliveries will take ages. The gravity is so weak people will need special exercise equipment to keep their muscles from wasting away. No more getting the exercise you need by walking to work and back.
And yet for all that, there are people eager to sign up to join in colonizing Mars as soon as Elon Musk is ready to fire them at it. In the meantime the exploration of the planet by robots is getting ridiculous. Just the last two weeks we’ve seen not one but two Mars orbiters arrive at Mars, days apart, one from the United Arab Emirates and the other from China. Then, this Thursday, a US robot explorer is expected to land on the surface of the planet.
The US robot is equipped with microphones so we will be able to hear what Martian wind sounds like. Because, we’re buying property there, and that’s the kind of thing you want to know when you’re buying property. What’s the noise like? Is it going to keep me up at night?
Conditions on Mars are so awful, it would be immoral to set up a penal colony there. A crime against humanity.
Comparing colonizing Mars to colonizing the Moon, the Moon has pretty much all the same drawbacks Mars has. Nothing but desert. You have to live underground. Nothing will grow there for ages. Extra exercise equipment necessary.
But you could get Netflix. The view from the earth-facing-side is way better than any view from Mars. And when you got tired of it, you could get back to earth a whole lot easier and in just a few days.
Speaking of escaping tiresome conditions, I just googled “When will this Senate hearing be over? Navigator, plot me a course for out of here.” Google didn’t help much.
There could be witnesses! That could drag the whole process out for days.
It’s a pity the final vote can’t be anonymous. The Senate can agree to an initially secret ballot, but if just 20 senators demand the votes be read off publicly, they have to be. And you can count on those 20 senators coming forward.
As a result, the whole exercise is going to provide multiple chapters in an upcoming book to be titled “Profiles in Cowardice: the Trump Acquittal.” Subtitled: “All the President’s Cowards.”
The bad news: The Senate will probably vote to acquit. The good news: The trial isn’t just before the Senate. It is, more importantly, before the American people. The people have been watching. As one of Trump’s own lawyers said, the trial is unnecessary because the people can decide whether to vote for Trump again. All the more reason for the trial. Let the people see what voting for Trump again entails.
It entails a repeat of the January 6 coup attempt. If he even runs again in 2024 and loses again, we could get another assault on the Capitol building and Congress. It might be better organized the next time.
During the 2024 campaign season, the Republicans could choose to remove all barriers to the renomination of Trump. They could choose to have no primaries and let him coast to nomination. But if they do and there’s another fiasco like we had January 6th, it will be on their heads, and the Republican Party will become history.
Dr. Wes Browning is a one time math professor who has experienced homelessness several times. He supplied the art for the first cover of Real Change in November of 1994 and has been involved with the organization ever since. This is his weekly column, Adventures in Irony, a dry verbal romp of the absurd. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read more in the Feb. 17-23, 2021 issue.