Personally, I can't think of any good reason why we keep going into space, but every time we do I figure it's because we need a new place to screw up just like we did this one. But here we are on the cusp of a real opportunity to make sure everybody here on Earth can have a lot bigger window during which to completely deplete our natural resources.
Everyone knows that America's aging population is going to put a huge strain on the economy, not to mention on the wallets of their children, who will be scrambling to find a half-decent place to put their parents. A place that won't make us feel so guilty about possessing neither the decency nor the stones to face caring for the rapidly deteriorating folks who nurtured us from idiot, mewling, unformed toddlers into well-rounded yet clearly rather self-absorbed young adults.
All by way of saying I sure hope all these expeditions to Mars are about finding a place to put all the old people.
I don't know about you, but just imagining a blissful, unhurried space station where all of our elderly citizens can stroll, golf or go to the opera (sorry, Earth-bound citizens, the opera and small theater will have to take a big hit when the old folks are all gone) fills me with warmth and pride of country. And we can build robots to handle it all, so we can chill. Why, it will be just like Wall-E but without the obesity. In many cases, anyway.
Sure, it will mean that some people under 65 will have to be Wal-Mart greeters or make hilariously inappropriate sexual comments in movies and situation comedies, but we would soon get used to that. And with the boomers finally getting their own planet (hey, they were on their own planet for most of the 1960s anyway, right?), America will become the land of the wide-open spaces again. (Which will mean a lot more road accidents by the way, so a big old talk-to-the-hand to everybody who was all up in my grill about how the nursing profession was going to suffer when the senior citizens got jettisoned!)
Yes, I have thought it through, and I hope NASA and JPL and maybe even the Discovery Channel will get behind this. Our growing elderly population of retirees needs special, round-the-clock care that only the best in automatons from another planet can provide.
And, in a little while, when the rest of us are older, too... well, never mind that. I'm still young. I live in the moment.
James Napoli is an author and humorist. More of his comedy content for the Web can be found here.