Submitted this Letter to the Editor following the 2004 announcement of President Bush’s vision for space travel beyond Mars. I think I know why it wasn’t published…
It’s hard to come up with vacation spots to enjoy with the kids as they get older. The moon certainly is convenient, although it would be nice if it had air and water. Sounds like Mars could be a popular destination, but to avoid the crowds maybe we should consider Jupiter. Visiting a planet that’s almost entirely gas and liquid would be very interesting, and we could probably get used to gravity only about 2.5 times that of Earth. But then again, these dark and rainy winter days get us thinking about some fun in the sun. Mercury might be just the ticket, although 800° F is uncomfortably warm, even if it does cool off to -120° F at night. Lower fuel costs could make transportation a bargain, though; imagine shutting down those noisy rockets and quietly coasting along in the gravitational pull of the sun.
Well, one thing is for sure: our family is definitely not interested in Venus. Who needs 900° F temperatures and clouds composed of sulphuric acid? We can get acid rain without leaving North America. Saturn sounds appealing, what with those gorgeous rings and at least 19 moons. An atmosphere of ammonia and methane, however, is not so appealing, and winds up to 1,100 mph must produce quite a chill factor.
Who knew that space travel could offer so many choices? Thanks to President Bush for opening these wonderful possibilities to ordinary Americans. Since we have addressed all of the needs on planet Earth so successfully, now is the perfect time to refocus our attention and spend billions for interplanetary travel that will benefit so many of us. It’s just what we need! Hopefully the corporations working to transform these dreams into realities won’t have to wait long for their first contracts. Bet they’re excited! Just one question: will the President be one of the first to visit Uranus? It seems like his head is already up there.