By Craig Hastings
So would any of you travel to Mars with 40 other people knowing that the probability of you spending the rest of your days there is likely? I guess this a real plan from what I’ve seen lately in the news. If you haven’t heard about this, here’s some of the basics to think about if your tempted. From what I’ve seen so far my advice to you is to wait for about the third transport leaving earth, and here’s why. The first group that arrives will have to establish the colony residence buildings. I’m pretty sure that means that if your one of the first to arrive you get to be the group that sets up all the basic necessity facilities up for the future arrivals.
So the first earthly martians will have to figure out the restroom facilities for themselves and future arrivals. This is one duty I for sure want figured out before I get there. I’m not real sure how the gravity compares to ours here on earth, but I want to know without question that when I flush everything goes down and not up in the room when I’m in there. Will there be a ceiling exhaust fan? I hope so, but who knows. Is the Mars air pure enough to provide a spring fresh scent in the restrooms before I follow after you? Hmmm, it better. I assume there will be a collection tank somewhere nearby for waste collection. What happens when that gets full? Just asking because you know, there won’t be a truck stopping by once a week to take it to wherever. And being the first arrivals you certainly will not have an underground gravity flow sewer system up and running quickly.
I’m also a lot of bit bashful so I want you to have already perfected privacy shower facilities before I arrive. I want to be able to lock a door and not worry about one of the other earthly martians barging in on me. I shared bathroom group toilets and showers at the Illinois State Police Academy back in 1980. That was my first and last experience with that set up and never again if I have a choice. I’m sure you don’t want to see me any more than I care to see you. Take no offense, it was just the way I was raised so blame my mom and dad.
On television the organizers of this travel had on display a layout of how your new little village will be built. It appears all of the individual buildings will be joined together by a network of passageways. Why bother with that I’m not sure. Why not just build one big, continuous building with walls and doors? Could it be due to my first concern of how the restroom ventilation is going to work? It could be that the experts expect some of us wouldn’t get along, and a need for separation is a precautionary must. There is only one vehicle pictured in the first arrival inventory. If there are 40 of us, who gets first dibs on the car? If I’m going I’ll have to have a signed contract with NASA specifying how often I get to drive the Mars Mustang. See that, I’ve already given my wheels a name. However, if it’s extremely slow I’ll rename it the Mars Camaro. Not to worry though. I’ll figure out how to add an extra solar panel or two to gain a little more space power so mine’s faster than yours.
The food problem won’t be a problem for me though. Give me cinnamon with icing Poptarts and dried fruit chewables, and I’ll be set everyday for the rest of my time. That’s one thing I’m not particular and in need of variety when it comes to food intake. Water with artificial flavoring will suit me just fine too. I do wonder what the plan is for medical needs. What if I need an emergency hernia surgery because I’ve overworked myself or pushed my Mars car back upright after turning it over on a Mars dune? The gravity issue will be important here also. I don’t want everything being held inside to try to get outside when I’m cut open.
And finally, here’s why you don’t want to go first. As well planned as this first transport will be; things will be forgotten. And it won’t be like you can two-day UPS or FedEx what you need to Mars. Nope, I think this flight is about a year long so all of you better plan well for this trip. How does anyone know exactly how much toilet paper and deodorant 40 people will need on Mars? Could that number somehow end up different on Mars? Maybe. Speaking of flight time, a year or more on the same crowded transport with 39 other people and some or most of which I never met before this trip? I’m not so sure. What if I got stuck sitting with that one annoying Mr. know-it-all!? Would there be a way I could end it if I just couldn’t take it anymore? Wow! What if someone died on the trip!? Where is that person stored for the remainder of the trip? Will there be a designated cemetery when we land? If not, wouldn’t that be a heck of a detail to be put in charge of when you land? “Hey Hastings, don’t forget to bury the dead guy!” No way!
I could go on but, I’ve said enough here that should I decide to go I’m pushing back to at least the forth transport. I want these few things I’ve mentioned worked out before I get there. Lastly, though, I’ll be honest with you; what if you get there and it’s discovered you’re not alone? Could be the current occupants might wait to show themselves until they get a good inventory of us earthlings built up. Then when the time’s right and the pickings are good, they will strike and keep those of you worthy and the rest of you….. Just throwing that out there. You never know! If you’ve seen the pictures on TV that have been taken recently on the surface of Mars, there appears to be evidence that someone or something has either visited Mars or occupied it at one time.
The best advantage of not being first: the first 40 could tell those that may follow what they need to be sure to bring and the pros and cons of going at all. I’m too old to go. I think if I was 21 years old and with no game plan for my future I might go if, and I mean if, there’s a plan that at least after my first 15 years there I would be given the option to return to earth. All in, I figure I would have eaten up 40-plus years of my life by the time I got back leaving me with another twenty that I had to get a job and work. The closest I’ve ever gotten to Mars was in my twenties. I was sitting in the fourth row, center stage, of a theater watching the release of the first Star Wars film! I’ve watched every one of these films, and I’ve yet to see how and where they use the restroom! Hmmm, I wonder.