A Question of Making or Marring the Mission to Mars

Published: 19th March 2016 04:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 18th March 2016 10:14 PM   |  A+A-

An innocuous report in a newspaper on the proposed mission to Mars in 2024 and the finalisation of the list of people, who would, in all probability, be migrating to the new planet interested me.

I read and re-read the report and was completely overawed by what the organisers had to offer. If nothing else, those selected could effortlessly make it to the headlines. Paparazzi would follow such people everywhere and lap up all that they had to offer and then report the snippets and stories in their own way. Even Vijay Mallya would envy such coverage and funding such trip would be no issue for him.

That was more than a year ago. I allowed the initial euphoria on the subject to die down before brooding on the subject at leisure and contemplating what my next step should be. I broached the subject with a friend of mine, who, for all practical purposes, is regarded as a highly resourceful person, well-connected with the right people, who can make a difference, like changing the final list of migrants to Mars even in the eleventh hour.

“How does one enlist for the mission, in the first place?” I quizzed him by way of initiating the conversation.

“Are you seriously interested!” he retorted with a smile, and continued in a sarcastic tone, “I do not think you can make it, but if you have any suggestions on whom to send, I will take it up. For the interest and involvement you show, god knows, maybe you will be rewarded with a free trip at a later date!”

His inadvertent mention of god set me thinking. Being a person with a religious bent of mind, I was reminded of god’s directions about Noah’s Ark and all that he did to save the world. Should there be another deluge like the one in Chennai last December... I was snapped out of my reverie by my friend repeating his request that I suggest someone to send on the mission.

“Why not send a couple of film stars?” I quipped.

“So your priority is glamour, is that all?” he queried.

“Quite true. With regional representation being talked about, our presence will, in all probability, get maximum mileage with their presence.”

“Anymore?”

“We can identify and send a pair of lovers, a couple spotted in an isolated place on Valentine’s Day.”

“Why pair of lovers?”

“Obviously that will provide equitable representation to either sex and at the same time give them the much wanted freedom to enjoy themselves without any threat of attack from some spoilsports.”

“Okay, is that all?”

“A couple of journalists, also to cover the events that unfold there, in a way we understand better. Social media today is hyper-active and you get updates by the second…”

“Again a couple. Like Noah, you seem to be taking two of every class or tribe.”

“If number is not an issue, we can even have the T-20 match staged there. Send the cricketers from all the participating countries.”

“Why on earth, cricketers?”

“At least there will be no issue of security threat for calling off participation.”

“True, but then it will mean sending a big contingent to Mars. The environment could get polluted and sending cricketers will also be a costly proposition. By the way can’t you just suggest one person whom we can consider sending?”

“Then, we will send one politician.”

“Are you kidding, you want to make or mar the mission?” my friend asked, eyebrows raised. That probably was the last straw. He became serious.

“You must understand two things clearly. One, brevity and clarity are the hallmarks of any good proposal. What you suggest must be brief, and for the good of one and all. Two and more important, is that this proposed trip to Mars is one way. Those who are sent will not be able to return. Bearing this in mind, make your suggestion.”

“In that case, our politicians for sure”.   maharajapuram.s.vaidyanathan@gmail.com

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