Jan 202004
Authors: Jonathan Kastner

I’m a radical liberal who believes that chimps should be given

voting rights, and as such, I rarely find myself agreeing with

what’s-his-toes in the White House. But recently there’s been a

push to muck around in space, and I find myself in the

uncomfortable position of agreeing. We must reach Mars quickly,

because that’s obviously where Saddam hid his nukes.

Seriously, though. People seem to have trouble realizing the

good a solid space program could do. Achievements such as

freeze-dried ice cream, while delicious, don’t seem worth the

billions upon billions of dollars from taxes. Four dollars seems

overpriced for those flavorless wads.

The importance of the space program can be found, like all

important things, in movies. There was a glut of asteroid-disaster

films a while back that had a deep impact on me personally, where

the world suffered a veritable Armageddon because our own big blue

rock was hit by an ugly gray rock. Think how, with a well-furbished

space program, these situations might have turned out


Morgan Freeman, as president: “The situation looks grim,

gentlemen. Tell me, how big exactly is this asteroid?”

Scientist: “It’s at least the size of yo’ mamma.”

Morgan Freeman: “You’re fired.”

And then they could start using spaceships to evacuate Earth or


As for the cost, there are other ways to fund space exploration

so we don’t have to fudge the taxpayers. NASA could advertise

travel to Mars as the next ‘in’ thing for celebrities, who are

notoriously stupid when it comes to both fads and travel. And I

can’t be the only one who’s fantasized about blasting Ms. Britney

Spears into space. Don’t forget, those trips take a long time, so

it would be months and months before we saw her again, and by then

she’d be old and unlikable.

The main problem with the space program is that the only things

most people see are grainy pictures and heavy costs. That needs to

change. We need something to connect the people of earth with the

robots we keep shooting at Mars. We need a reality TV show.

The stars would all be robots and one guy they send up there.

The robots would be trying to collect measurements and looking for

water and taking samples, and the guy, who would of course be fat

and unshaven, would run around flipping them on their backs and

saying stuff like, “Take a core sample of this!” whilst wiggling

his ample rump. And one of the robots could have an English accent

and a monocle and consistently be fainting. It would be great.

All reality shows need a twist, so for this one we could borrow

from science fiction movie clich�s and have all the robots

go homicidal. They could blame electrical interference or Martian

artifacts or a solar flare. But for the rest of the season they

would chase the fat guy around Mars, maybe secretly controlled by

the audience, and he has to get to a spaceship somewhere, or they’d

feed him to sand worms.

There should be no problems selling the space program to the

American people after this, and funding should be a breeze when the

Hollywood crowd decides that Mars is the hip place to be. Then

what’s the long-term benefit of a space program? Eventually, a

stable space colony could ship back the resources of another planet

to be used here on Earth. And the colony could be a refuge for

people with widely differing political and religious views. It

would be just like how England started America, and everything

would be great until the witch-huntings started. But until that

glorious day, our eyes will be turned ever upward, watching the


Jonathan is a sophomore studying English. His column runs every

other Wednesday.

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