If you haven’t watched the SpaceX proposal for getting us to Mars, you absolutely should. It’s pretty amazing. Elon Musk’s delivery is a little dry, but it’s awesome.
And if you don’t feel like watching the whole thing, here’s a short version:
Like I said. Amazing. Yet I couldn’t help think that the proposed Mars reusable rocket looks rather like a giant dildo or, to put it another way, a big metal dick. There’s a long smooth shaft and a head that flares out a little where it meets the shaft. Look:
The more I watched the video, the more I realised that a penis was poor metaphor. The fact that the rocket is used to propel is out of orbit and deposit the spaceship into space is more analogous to a sperm. I giggled to myself when I saw the animation of the whole process, and saw the flames from the bottom of the rocket flagellating like a sperm cell’s tail. It’s at about the 50 second mark of this video:
Even the sequence at the end when we see the red planet become a living ecosystem reminds me of videos of an egg cell dividing once it’s fertilised.
In all seriousness, I’m actually very excited about this project and what it could mean for our future. I doubt very much if I’d be able to visit a stable Mars colony in my lifetime, but I’m still happy that the possibility exists.
No doubt there’ll be a few disasters on the way. Elon Musk admits during the Q&A that there’s a very high risk of mortality, and that anyone taking part in the project would have to be comfortable with the idea that they may die on the way or even after they’ve reached Mars.
Which brings me to an idea I’ve had for some time that could resolve two problems at once. When Australia and America were being colonised it was common practice to show convicted criminals that were sentenced to death ‘mercy’ by commuting their sentence to transportation instead. That way if they died in transit or even at the colony it was no great loss. They would have died anyway.
Perhaps we could bring back the transportation sentence for death row convicts? Send them the Mars with everything they need to survive. Many of these people have had experiences that have made them tougher, stronger, and less likely to go down without a fight.
These hardened individuals would be far more likely to survive in harsh environments than your average scientist. Plus, we’d be removing dangerous people from our society. We might even be able to build the peaceful utopia that people in the 1950’s imagined we’d have in the year 2000!
There’s little chance of the new martians becoming war-like super-humans intent on conquering us. For one thing, look at Australia. They mellowed out once their culture didn’t require them to be vicious survivalists. Plus Mars gravity is weaker. Someone who had spent their entire lives on Mars would find Earth gravity unbearably oppressive. Their limbs might even become elongated and wiry as the generations pass.
This is, of course, just the fantastic and unreasonable ideas of a science-fiction writer. The book I’m working on, Hermes925, will be getting a rewrite to incorporate Elon’s plans into my image of the future. Before you ask, no, there’s no penal colonies in my book and the ship doesn’t look like a dildo.