By BOB BILLETER
Do You Want To Go To Mars?
Would you like to go to Mars and live out your years there? A group called Mars One is planning a trip to Mars in 2024 and it has reduced 200,000 applicants to 100 finalists, according to an article in USA Today. One catch is that the people who go will not be able to return.
The first thing that caught my attention when I read this article was that there were no West Virginians in the 100 finalists. There were 14 from California, three from Virginia and people from 15 other states in the final cut. In the group of 100 were 6 Africans, 46 Americans, 10 Asians, 30 Europeans and 8 from Oceania. But no West Virginians. I can't imagine a West Virginian agreeing to leave Almost Heaven and living on Mars until he dies. Mars One is a Dutch organization.
I certainly wouldn't go to Mars if the deal was that I had to stay there until I died. And there are so many exciting places on this planet to visit that I would think that most people would want to visit most of them before they thought about going to Mars. I have never been in Paris or Europe for that matter. I have never been to Rio de Janeiro and a hundred other places on this planet that I would like to visit.
I have always been fascinated by the islands in the South Seas. During World War II, I got to see the Hawaiian Islands and the Carolines in the western Pacific.
There is something about the islands in the South Seas that fascinates many people. Movies and books about these islands have been exciting to Americans, especially men I suspect, for decades. The beaches are wonderful, the Polynesian girls in their skimpy sarongs are beautiful, and just like West Virginia, the islands are almost heaven.
When I was a teenager I read the book "Pitcairn's Island by Nordoff and Hall, who were also the authors of "Mutiny on the Bounty." The Bounty mutineers went to Pitcairn after they seized the Bounty and were looking for a safe haven to hide in.They took a number of young women from Tahiti with them. At that time the island was not on the charts so they figured, rightly so, that they would not be found and taken back to England to be hung.
But there were not enough women to go around so fighting broke out among the Bounty crewmen. The result was that most of the crewmen were killed. However the descendants of the Bounty crew and the Tahiti women still live on this remote island today. Pitcairn is a place I would love to visit. It is one of the most remote and nearly inaccessible places in the world however. I would rather visit Pitcairn's Island than Mars.
Islands have always been fascinating to me. My cousins and I explored islands in the Ohio River when I was a kid and visited them during the summers. Island inhabitants, those on the smaller islands, appear to live simple, trouble-free lives and are not bothered by many of the problems, such as the threat of wars and armed conflicts, that plague most of us. There are people who own entire islands and live on them with their families. I have always envied such people.
Well, I've digressed again. I have gone from Mars to Tahiti to islands in the Ohio River in West Virginia. If people do end up being successful at settling on Mars perhaps this will insure the survival of the human race in the event that one day we humans succeed in blowing up this planet. If this happens, the settlement on Mars may end up being the last trace of the human race.
By the way, the 100 persons chosen for the Mars settlement breaks down to 50 men and 50 women. So it would appear that the settlers probably will not end up killing each other over women. That doesn't mean, however, that they won't have disagreements or other things to fight about. People have been fighting and killing each other since the dawn of civilization.
Human behavior is a sad thing, isn't it? In spite of this, we must approach the future with optimism. Maybe, in time, humans will learn the wisdom of loving their neighbors.