Life on Mars

Our intrepid explorer, Henry Burden, reports from Mars …

18th February 2021 Jezero Crater, Mars

We had a good landing on Mars!!! Bit hard to breathe though, and I have some nasty gritty particles in my teeth.

Gathered some volcanic rock, skimmed a teeny weeny bit of plutonium from the reactor, and BBQ-ing some aged beef (the journey from earth, the lack of oxygen etc and the beef is perfectly aged!). After dinner, and a couple of bevvies, I need some sleep.

They talk the big talk, put on a good show for tv, but it was ME that landed Rover.

Tomorrow I have to wake up, go to the Rover, and flip switches 1 through 14 to the ‘on’ position. THEN, according to my contract (more about that later…) I have to crawl under my Martian Gillie blanket, and can only come out to eat, etc, while the cameras are facing away from me.

Now, my contract… I was hired by NASA to polish anything and everything on the Rover that was made of Titanium. I care about my work. One thing led to another, and last year I was designated to be the sole crew member/astronaut ‘extraordinaire’…. “Consider it a long vacation” they said..

I thought I was just along for the ride – jeez, with Coronavirus etc, what did I have to lose??? Just keep the Titanium clean they said.

Huh – I get halfway here and my daily ration of a six pack of beer gets cut off!! Mother …Goose. Think prohibition to the Nth degree. The ultimate carrot. No more beer until:

1. I get Rover safely on Mars.

2. After I’ve eaten and slept, I flip on those 14 switches to wake up Rover.

3. As previously mentioned, I have to ‘stay out of sight’ when the cameras are facing my direction..

4. Once all the green lights on the switches are lit, start typing on a keyboard and reporting on what I’m seeing, and if Rover is ‘letting any smoke out…’… jeez.

5. I have to fly a drone over the immediate landscape, take pics, and send pics back to earth – from my iPhone (quick nod here to AT&T…).

Right now:

I’m sitting by the beer dispenser hoping it will malfunction and drop at LEAST a couple of bevvies.

The freaking dust is worse than I was led to believe, and the N95 masks from China ain’t worth a (insert your own  expletive…).

Just finished dinner. My space-aged beef. I topped it off with some onions in a well known, and loved, mushroom soup brand.

Concerned about that soup and what effects space travel may have had on it.

Feeling full, relaxed, and relatively at peace – beautiful night skies.!!!

Observed that I’m actually not alone here! There are little creatures, like elongated ‘rattus norvegicus’ with extended chests (assuming large lungs to extract oxygen…?) that are milling around my styrofoam plate and remnants of my beef. Occurs to me that my plate might be the first piece of serious Mars trash. (Observation… the rats speak English… and have a sense of humour! One of them asked me what I’d call a screwdriver made of rat poop… I didn’t have a clue. He burst out laughing and said ‘… a ratshit screwdriver.’.

On a more serious note. I’m not supposed to divulge everything I’ve written just now. Like I told them just after landing ‘if I tell, what the heck will you do – leave me here…? Hah..’. The line went dead and I realized I was possibly ‘screwed’….

Fortunately I remembered an old friend, Maye Musk, who just happens to be Elon Musk’s mother. I called her up (note that phone calls from Mars to earth are REALLY freaking expensive…though another nod to AT&T here…!) and dear Maye put me in touch with Elon, who kindly offered to pick me up in about a year. I guess I’ll have to hack into the beverage dispenser on Rover, and learn to love rats…

Jeez – just woke up after watching the phenomenal landing of River on Mars!! Way to go Humans!!

Had the strangest dream though…

Think I’ll post this amazing dream on Facebook… they’ll never believe me!!

All material used by permission of Henry Burden