Today is the 40th anniversary of the moon landing and now there’s renewed talk about going to Mars. To celebrate, I thought I’d re-post a piece that I wrote when President George W. Bush began his own renewed talks about going to Mars. The idea fell to Earth like a lead balloon. With President Obama facing a universe worth of other issues, I doubt that he’s going to jump on the Mission to Mars with much gusto. Today he’ll probably pose with the Apollo 11 alumni, but not commit to much else than a smile.
It’s amazing how far we’ve come in 40 years. Before Armstrong’s giant step, the moon was just something we pointed to and marveled at. Today it’s something we point at and say, “I own that piece right there, next to the Sea of Tranquility.” Yes, even the moon is for sale.
Here’s the piece written in 2004:
“In the past 30 years, no human being has set foot on another world or ventured farther up into space than 386 miles, roughly the distance from Washington, D.C., to Boston, Massachusetts.” The voice was that of President George W. Bush launched from NASA headquarters in Houston to a satellite orbiting at thousands of miles an hour. From the satellite the signal was shot down to us earthlings. Rocking in my recliner, I stared off into the corner of the room listening to the voice of the President emerge from the ether out my radio.
Pyramid, a word association game show featuring two celebrities, was on TV and I was playing along, “Uh…uhh…kids like to play on this…boing…boing…boing…” The clues were given by the voice of Bart Simpson. A Pogostick- I screamed inside my head. The contestant echoed my thoughts and I gave myself a point.
“Today I announce a new plan to explore space and extend a human presence across our solar system.” The game was moving onto the Winner’s Circle; I sat in an entirely different circle in my recliner staring at the TV with a slice of cold pizza in my hand – the Loser’s Circle. I switched off the TV opting for George Bush over Bart Simpson; there’s a first time for everything.
“It is time for America to take the next steps.”
The last few weeks as the world logged onto the NASA website and viewed color panoramic shots of Mars, there had been rumors of manned missions to the Red Planet. It was a mind-blowing prospect- the ultimate journey, at least a three-year mission that would cover approximately 40 million miles…one-way.
I pictured a man, dressed in white, running in a vertical circle in an all white room while an all too intelligent computer plays classical music in the background. The man is interrupted by the appearance of the president of the galaxy, a creature with three arms, two heads, and one big ego that goes by the name Zaphod Beeblebrox. They hold an unusually complex and circular discussion that lasts a short time – a few years – and soon arrive on the Martian surface to find clothed apes swinging from the Statue of Liberty.
This was real science fiction.
“Using the crew exploration vehicle, we will undertake extended human missions to the moon as early as 2015, with the goal of living and working there for increasingly extended periods of time.”
Whoa! Stop the presses. Excuse me Mr. President, but I was never informed of such plans. Mars…fine, let’s go for it, but the moon?? ? No one asked me for permission.
Who am I? I just happen to be an owner of the moon, who appreciates to be kept in the know when decisions are made involving my property.
This year for Christmas my brother purchased me an acre of land on the moon for the bargain price of $35.00. The one-acre of land represents the largest thing that I own. Area G11, Quadrant Alpha, Lot Number 6/1190 located 001 squares south and 006 squares east of the extreme or 6-10 degrees north and 20-24 degrees east, is harmoniously located on the northwest portion of the Sea of Tranquility near the Crater of Argo.
Slices of the big cheese can be purchased from the self-proclaimed “Head Cheese,” Dennis Hope. In 1980, Hope found a loophole in a UN treaty that prevented governments from owning extraterrestrial property, but failed to ban ownership by individuals and corporations. Hope laid claim to the surface of the moon and the eight other planets, forming the Lunar Embassy (www.lunarembassy.com)-one-stop shopping for your extraterrestrial real estate needs.
Mr. President, as an owner of the moon, I hope that you plan to treat it with the respect with which we have treated our own planet. What are your plans for the moon?
“…the moon is home to abundant resources. Its soil contains raw materials that might be harvested and processed into rocket fuel or breathable air.”
Hold on a second sir…Maybe you were unaware of this, but I also am an owner of the mineral rights from the surface of my one-acre to a depth of three kilometers inclusively. I believe that I should be consulted or compensated for property being dug-up, thrown into a rocket, and burnt away. Maybe if I were to accompany the mission…
“Eugene Cernan, who is with us today, the last man to set foot on the lunar surface. He said this as he left: ‘We leave as we came and, God willing, as we shall return, with peace, and hope for all mankind.’”
“America will make those words come true.”
Mr. President, please, I do not appreciate being interrupted. If there is no place for me in your plan,s or respect of my ownership, I will be forced to take matters into my own hands. I love to travel to far off places and a trip to the moon has always been on my list of things to do; I am not beyond seeking the aide of the Russians. They have similar plans in the works and hope to revisit the moon by 2014, a year sooner than NASA. Sir I must remind you that the Russian’s can be bought. In 2015 when you visit the moon and Man Band member/Astronaut, Lance Bass, steps onto the Lunar surface, do not be surprised to see a sign driven into the ground: ‘Private Property. No Trespassing: Any violators will be prosecuted!’
“The vision I outline today is a journey, not a race.”
I respect that sir, I really do. But, please respect my rights as well. In the future I hope to develop an environmentally friendly get- away for the earthbound upon my one-acre. Beachfront on the Sea of Tranquility guarantees to be an ideal location for a dive resort. Customers will have lunar diving a few “small steps for man” away from the front door of the Beach House. There is no atmosphere, promising that customers will return home with the tan of their life. What do you think?
“Let us continue the journey. May God bless.”
I’ll pencil you and Laura in for the grand opening. It’ll be great; I’ve booked Jimmy Buffett.