Me and the 14YO were talking about the proposed manned mission to Mars that’s been in the news recently. Anyone signing up for it will be gone for years and hasn’t got a great chance of ever making it home. It’s a suicide mission, undoubtedly.
‘Would you go, if you got the chance?’ I asked her.
A devil-may-care smile crossed both our faces at the same moment as we both answered the question: ‘Hell, yes!’
Other members of the household were looking at us with a mixture of alarm and bafflement at this point. Which is understandable. 14YO is a bit more of a dare devil than me, and likes dangling off climbing walls and (this week on a school residential at Catterick garrison) tackling army assault courses, but there’s a strong streak of total wuss running through us both. I’m still scared of driving on motorways, for goodness sake, can you imagine what a liability on a space mission I’d be?!
It’s probably fortunate that neither of us are ever going to be asked to put our money where our mouths are on this one. But whoever does sign up for that first one way trip to the stars, I can totally understand what would drive them to do it. We may have charted the globe now, but I reckon the urge to explore space is the same that inspired the seafaring explorers who gazed at the horizon centuries ago, wondering what’s out there. In the minds of people who sincerely believed the earth was flat, setting off to find a route to India and China must have seemed as sure fire route to oblivion as a mission to Mars does to us now.
And yet they still went. Probably driven by greed or desperation or poverty in a lot of cases, but also because that need to know what’s beyond the horizon is pretty fundamental to being human. Boldly going where no-one (sorry TOS fans, am a TNG girl) has gone before and all that. And maybe my starry eyed idealism about the idea of space travel owes a lot to Star Trek. Exploration not just for the sake of finding treasure and getting rich, but for the sake of finding out new stuff about the world, or the universe, or about your own nature. That’s the big idea that inspires me when I look up at the night sky.
Written for Stream of Consciousness Saturday hosted by Linda G. Hill. This week’s prompt was POINT – to open a page of a book at random and point to a word. The nearest book I had to hand was Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and ‘star’ was what I turned up on my third attempt, after my first two blind points had turned up Granger and Harry. If you’d like to take part the rules, borrowed from Linda’s site, are as follows:
1. Your post must be stream of consciousness writing, meaning no editing, (typos can be fixed) and minimal planning on what you’re going to write.
2. Your post can be as long or as short as you want it to be. One sentence – one thousand words. Fact, fiction, poetry – it doesn’t matter. Just let the words carry you along until you’re ready to stop.
3. There will be a prompt every week. I will post the prompt here on my blog on Friday, along with a reminder for you to join in. The prompt will be one random thing, but it will not be a subject. For instance, I will not say “Write about dogs”; the prompt will be more like, “Make your first sentence a question,” “Begin with the word ‘The’,” or simply a single word to get your started.
4. Ping back! It’s important, so that I and other people can come and read your post! For example, in your post you can write “This post is part of SoCS:” and then copy and paste the URL found in your address bar at the top of this post into yours. Your link will show up in my comments for everyone to see. The most recent pingbacks will be found at the top. NOTE: Pingbacks only work from WordPress sites. If you’re self-hosted or are participating from another host, such as Blogger, please leave a link to your post in the comments below.
5. Read at least one other person’s blog who has linked back their post. Even better, read everyone’s! If you’re the first person to link back, you can check back later, or go to the previous week, by following my category, “Stream of Consciousness Saturday,” which you’ll find right below the “Like” button on my post.
6. Copy and paste the rules (if you’d like to) in your post. The more people who join in, the more new bloggers you’ll meet and the bigger your community will get!
7. As a suggestion, tag your post “SoCS” and/or “#SoCS” for more exposure and more views.
8. Have fun!