Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Weekend Assignment #338: Space Truckin'

This week Karen wants to know if we would like to visit Goldilocks. Seems like a fun question.

Even as astronomers discover planets that may be capable of supporting life, such destinations remain out of reach of would-be human colonists, even if the world is "only" twenty light years away. But if some science fictional technology were discovered in the next year or two (warp drive, matter transmission or whatever) that made it possible to leave Earth behind and go live on another planet, would you be tempted to do so? If you choose not to relocate, would you be interested in just visiting the place instead?
If you asked me this question as a kid, there would be no doubt, I would have been on the first ship. I'd probably sleep out for tickets. I assume that would be necessary if we really could go out there. The tickets would sell out in 26 seconds and all be bought by brokers who then sell them on Space-Hub for 1000% more than face value. Am I right?

But, yes, as a kid I would have jumped on that right away. Like most boys, I wanted to be an astronaut. I think I grew up in the perfect wedge of time for that aspiration. We had already been to the moon a few times, and in grade school the shuttle started flying. But my mom smashed my dreams. As far as I knew, the best way to be an astronaut at that time was be in the Air Force as a pilot then work your way into the astronaut program. Well, since I needed glasses, as I still do, my mom always told me I couldn't be an Air Force pilot. Another dream smashed.

For a time in high school I wanted to be an astronomer and go to MIT. Well, I found out they don't make a whole lot of money and I wasn't smart enough. Again, astronomical dream smashed.

Now, as an adult with a family, I don't know if I would go to stay on another planet, but I think it would be cool to visit. Maybe like a long vacation or something like that. Or a sabbatical. After reading Packing for Mars, however, I'd be a little nervous. They don't make dramamine strong enough for space flight. Not yet, at least. Not to mention the hundreds of other things that could go wrong.

Extra Credit: If you did go, whether on vacation or as a colonist, and you were only allowed to bring one small suitcase with you, what would be in it?

I would bring a my iPad, for entertainment, and a shotgun. And maybe some underwear. We've all seen the Alien movies. A gun is definitely needed for any planetary visit, I don't care what the sensors say.


Florinda said...

I really thought you'd be more enthused for this trip! I suspect you're right about the ticket scalpers, though. However, I am not at all surprised you wanted to be an astronaut.

"Maybe" some underwear?! (shudder)

Mike said...

Florinda: I think I would be if the kids were older. I don't want to miss any football games. :)

Yes, me wanted to be an astronaut should not be much of a surprise. Also, if figure they would have underwear for me to buy there and special space underwear for the trip. :)

Karen Funk Blocher said...

I had no idea you had astronaut and astronomer aspirations growing up. Wow. I took many a flight to the moon in a living room chair during the Gemini and Apollo eras, but never thought about doing it for real. I did take just one astronomy course in college, and was crushed at how hard it was.

Thanks for another fun entry!

Sandrine said...

I'm not sure the shotgun would be a great idea. After all, you don't know what the aliens are made of and you don't want the kids messing around with it. No, you probably need a sonic screwdriver. They seem fairly useful all round and especially when dealing with alien life or technology. I think you can buy one online.

Stephen Watkins said...

I'm with you on the astronaut aspiration as a child... and on the fact that in those days I'd not have hesitated for a second to sign up for the first wave!

But I'll disagree that they don't make a "dramamine" strong enough for a trip to Mars/Goldilocks. It's called "Sedation"! If I'm not conscious during the trip, I can't get sick on it ;)