Quickly, where were you when the Curiosity landed on Mars? If you answered “I dunno,” “What?” or “Hey, she came on to me man!” then you can join millions of other average joes who greeted a triumph of engineering and space exploration with a resounding “meh”.
I don’t blame you–but I am kind of surprised, because spaceships are cool. Robots are cool. Mars is probably the coolest planet–when’s the last time Arnold Schwarzenegger went to Venus? Never, that’s when. So shouldn’t we, theoretically, give much more of a damn about a freakin’ Mars landing?
But we don’t, and America continues to spend more money on Kardashians or whatever rather than building the Mars Colonies we so richly deserve. So how can we reinvigorate public interest in the space program? Simple, with America’s greatest export; rampant pop culture with a healthy dollop of stupidity.
We can get the nations of the world throwing money into American space exploration with just a few simple stunts, such as:
A MANNED MISSION TO MARS–FEATURING “THE SITUATION”!
Okay, right off the bat I’m going to make it abundantly clear that I don’t endorse Michael “The Situation” Sorrentino piloting any sort of craft, space or otherwise. That way madness and hilarity lies. But mainly madness.
I don’t even endorse The Situation being a passenger in a piloted spacecraft, because even the most highly trained astronaut will find that his or her brain has turned to blue cheese after a few months with nobody but New Jersey’s most notorious tanbot to talk to.
The craft would have to be remote controlled and largely automated, with some kind of feeding bottle and burger dispenser included. There’d be a twenty-four hour camera feed so the world could watch as The Situation is slowly exposed to the awe-inspiring vastness of the universe, finding his mind expanded to the point where he either becomes a much better person, or descends utterly into total insanity. Obviously, for ratings reasons, we’d be banking on the latter.
The public has already proved that they’ll gladly watch naturally terrible people for hours at a time, even if (especially if) said people aren’t doing anything interesting. Hurtling a reality TV star far out into the inky void of space would prove an irresistible ratings lure, which brings us nicely on to…
Sure they may be a masterstroke of engineering, towering totems of technological achievement designed solely to give gravity the finger and make disparaging remarks about Physic’s mom, but space rockets are dull. Why not liven things up a bit with some corporate sponsorship?
I know, I know, you don’t want to cheapen the cutting edge of mankind’s social evolution with bawdy logos and slogans, but why not? Literally everything else on Earth has some kind of advertisement slapped on it, so why should space be any different?
Rockets with huge Ford logos emblazoned across them! Space suits manufactured by Adidas, with Rayban visors and Nike space-boots! And if they ever do get an astronaut on set foot on Mars, can you imagine how much McDonald’s would pay to have say over the first word’s spoken on an alien planet?
“It’s one small step for man, but man has my hunger taken a giant leap” *munching noises as astronaut devours a space Big Mac*
If there’s one thing that people have proven they’ll pay for time and time again, its ridiculously hyped boxing matches. With MMA on the rise and boxing losing popularity, now would be a perfect time to give a shot in the arm to both professional boxing and the space program by staging a huge publicity match on Mars. They could call it the Rumble in the Vallis Marineris… or something more catchy, probably.
Two celebrity boxers nearing retirement age would be sent to the red planet in separate shuttles where they would spend the year-long flight time smack-talking each other. When they finally landed, they’d climb into their re-enforced space suits and spend a multi-round fight trying to crack their opponent’s visor, thus making his head explode like in Total Recall.
Sure, a trained athlete has to die, but can you imagine the ratings? They could even have a three-breasted Martian girl holding up the round numbers! Why isn’t this already happening?
Paying for sex has been around for as long as paying for anything else has. Paying to watch sex was probably the first thing people did when they realized they could pay to watch stuff. Whatever your views on pornography, there’s no doubt that it has pushed the limits of all forms of media–and it could do the same for the space program. Following the same format as putting The Situation into space, trained astronauts would be replaced by veteran porn stars (Or asstronauts, if you will) on an automated flight–thus bringing Rule 34 to its inevitable interplanetary transcendence.
With a twenty-four-hour live web cam–and absolutely gallons of lube–the world would unite in awe as they watched science and pornography combine to broaden the horizons of human endeavor. Your grandkids will definitely ask you what you we’re doing when Ron Jeremy and Chasey Lain took several dozen giant leaps for mankind, but chances are you won’t be able to look them in the eye and tell them the truth.
So there you have it, we can easily safeguard the higher ideals of mankind by combining them with the lower ones. Science may or may not believe in the human soul, but it’s going to have to sell something if it wants the attention it deserves.
For more space case studies, check out Why The Curiosity Deserves More Attention than the Olympics. And if you’re reaching for nearer stars, enjoy Steve’s Guide to Getting Married like a Man!