At first glance, the pictures coming back from Mars are impressive. The headline in my newspaper trumpeted the posibility of imminent holidays abroad, but on further examination, what I saw didn’t excite. No swaying Casuarina trees bordering peerless white sands, no beachside bars where the Brits could get puking drunk and lobster red, and no pulling spare totty for a casual shag, and who needs condoms!
There was also no sign of the Germans, a fixture on any package holiday, with their towels carefully rolled and placed on beach loungers at the crack of dawn, no singing along to the marching songs of yesteryear, and no tinnies of lager to squeeze on the journey down memory lane. Those were the good old days, nicht war?
I believed, for more years than I can remember, that Mars was a planet somewhere out there, inhabited by little green people of dubious provenance, who spoke English, which helped, and, when making contact, demanded to be taken to our leader. Nobody explained why, although rumour had it that former President
Chump Trump was ready and waiting. Never one to miss a photo opportunity!
Reality is often a disappointment as we read avidly about Perseverance, a rover mission which I am surprised to learn is the fifth. Quite what this fifth rover will achieve that the other four failed remains to be seen.
The statistics are impressive. The flight from Nasa took seven months and covered 292 million miles, so unappealing when compared with the Luton to Benidorm night flight. Other than the little green people, there is no evidence of intelligent humanoid life, and no infrastructure that would support it. Mark you, if you’ve ever been to Benidorm, there is also no evidence of intelligent humanoid life, green or otherwise.
Some laud the achievement in eulogistic terms, with one commentator declaiming that “the Mission to Mars is an outstanding venture in our quest for knowledge, and a triumph of scientific endeavour.” Yeah, whatever!
Finally, a word to the wise. In 1953, man first set foot on Mount Everest when Hillary, one of ours, and Tensing, a Johnny Foreigner, made the historic ascent. When asked why he climbed Everest, Hillary replied, “because it was there”. Since then, climbing to the summit has become a routine and almost daily event, especially for the sons of Nippon, but nobody claims it to be a triumph of scientific endeavour.
Live and let live is my motto. If you want to go to Mars, good luck to you, but count me out.