The Extent of My Extra-Terrestrial Travel
By Jeff Salter
This week we’re asked whether we’d travel in space (assuming we could safely return). The question focused on Mars and the Moon, though I don’t think they’re necessarily the most charming of the possible destinations. I mean, according to many of the 1950s Sci-Fic movies (I saw as a kid), the place with all the hot chicks was Venus!
Anyway… as I said in reply to one of the columns by a colleague Fox this week, I wouldn’t so much dislike VISITING another planet… but I’d hate the tediously long voyage to get there.
But before we leave the topic of Mars, let me say that one of my very first stories – written at some point during elementary school years – was titled “Trip to Mars.” It was terribly lame, terribly juvenile, and terribly derivative of those goofy 1950s Sci-Fic films mentioned above. But apparently it represented some innate desire of mine to SEE something other-worldly.
Actually, however, if I had the money, health, and inclination to do any Extra-Terrestrial Travel, I think my first choice would be to visit the orbiting space station. [Is there more than one?] I won’t want the one with all the Russians, because I can’t be bothered to learn a new language. And I wouldn’t want a lot of oppressive rules (or tasks) while on-board. I’d just want to wander about the station, peer out the windows, visit the snack bar, see what the earth and moon look like from those distances. And then, when my time is up – let’s call it a long weekend – I’d like to come back home and write about my experience.
The launches to and from the space station have been reasonably successful and predictable – other than two major catastrophes of the Space Shuttle program. I’d definitely feel a lot safer with this type of Extra-Terrestrial Travel than I would with some endless voyage through the cold darkness of outer space… to some distant planet that would take years to reach.
There and back — get the t-shirt, take a few selfies, gaze out the portholes, and then come back home. Terra Firma.
What about YOU? Would you like to travel in space? To where? For how long?
[JLS # 353]