Friday, March 2, 2007

I meant for this one to be educational.

I like reading about space. It's vast, all encompassing and mysterious. When you look up into the night sky and gaze upon billions and billions of stars twinkling above you can't help but be in awe of it's beauty and contemplate what strides we are making to break free of our home planet and see what's really out there.

Recently I was reading about a NASA space craft that was destroyed because it crashed into a dead satellite. Why did it do this? Because a sensor inside was confused and thought it was moving away from satellite instead of towards it. This craft cost $110 million to design, build and launch. $110 million down the tube because a computer couldn't tell the difference between forward and backward. It's like when old people forget whether they were coming or going to a place but on a much grander scale.

Anyway, I started thinking about our attempts to get into space and how much ingenuity and courage it took to get there. You hear all about the manned space expeditions but you don't hear much about the sacrifices it took to get to that point. I'm talking about space monkeys. In my mind I like to imagine these monkeys as brave and bold, true leaders of their species, perhaps puffing on a cigarette before happily climbing into a rocket knowing that adventure is just around the corner. In reality they were pretty much just strapped in and launched. This also conjures images of a monkey screaming while it flies upwards at 11.2 kilometres per second and, if you're not a member of PETA, this is also kind of funny.

Ham the chimp was the first higher primate (better than a monkey!) to be launched into outer space and he made it back safely. He lived to be 27 and was in a movie with Evel Knievel. He's buried in New Mexico. This is all I know about Ham and some might say that is far too much to know about a chimp's life anyway. For all of Ham's success, there's also a dark side to the monkeys in space concept. Many of these animals died during their missions. Which leads me to another thought: How friggin' intimidating would it be for an alien to fly to our planet only to be greeted by the corpses of several dead monkeys floating around in orbit? No wonder there's no conclusive evidence of intelligent life elsewhere in the universe. They're all avoiding us! Dead monkeys in orbit, satellite debris floating around like car parts spread out on a trailer park lawn, an atmosphere that's depleted and steadily growing dirtier by the minute... we are the white trash of the galaxy. All we need now are some giant speakers at the poles blaring out Whitesnake's greatest hits and perhaps the holographic projection of a monster truck rally on the surface
of the moon.


Jorinde said...

I'd go for 'blue trash' since the planet really does look blue from outer space, and that way you don't offend anyone.

(These are cool posts, if you ever become a famous writer, this is the kind of stuff they collect after you die and publish as early evidences of talent)


Anonymous said...

I just re-read this post and I have to say it is one of the funniest things I've read in a long long while. A far overdue tip of the cap to you good sir.