If NASA hasn’t discovered a planet, does it exist? Does it make a sound when it belches? Can planets even belch?
These are just a few of the mission critical concerns we have at Trail Mix Space Laboratory upon learning that the fun folks at NASA – who’ve traded their traditional pocket protectors for Mohawks – announced the discovery of 715 planets we had somehow misplaced. No doubt the Scientologists had been hiding them in Tom Cruise’s pocket protector.
Make no mistake, this is big stuff.
“We’ve been able to open the bottleneck to access the mother lode and deliver to you more than 20 times as many planets as has ever been found and announced at once,” said Jack Lissauer, a planetary scientist at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California.
How can Congress keep cutting NASA’s budget when it’s actually delivering planets? I mean they’re serving up planets like cheese fries and we’re just sitting around whining about the long winter.
We now have 715 more destinations to escape snow days. And if William Burroughs was correct we don’t need no stinking rockets to visit these sneaky planets who’ve been hiding from us all this time. He wrote, “We speculate that Man is an artefact designed for Space Travel. He is not designed to remain in its present biological state any more than a tadpole is designed to remain a tadpole.”
You see, Burroughs believed evolution did not stop with homo sapiens (hence, my choice not to capitalize the words). Makes sense. He envisioned a new species would evolve into some new form capable of space travel without oxygen tanks and intergalactic port-a-potties. Ok, that doesn’t make sense — he was a drug addict who sold heroin to buy morphine, which is the reverse of what you’d expect from a sensible drug addict.
Still, it’s worth trying to figure out which of these planets has high-speed internet, fried bologna sandwiches, comfortable chairs and the other essentials of life. Then we can just go there, once NASA scientists perfect those ion thruster rockets they keep yammering about.
Here at the Trail Mix laboratory we’re persuaded that with oh, say, just under a gazillion dollars deep-space-travelling ion thrusters could be built in time for the release of iPhone 4,135. For those unschooled in these matters, NASA says the problem is that “charge-exchange ions produced by the beam ions with the neutral gas flow can be accelerated towards the negatively biased accelerator grid and cause grid erosion.” In other words, they might get us close to our new exoplanet but would probably wear out before we could come home. That’s OK, sign me up. If I’m not satisfied there I’ll ask to speak to the manager.
Or, maybe Burroughs had it right. Let’s just evolve into space travel beings and skip the NASA funding.