A surprising number of guests arriving have commented how sad that I am closing Possum Valley and emigrating to Mars. I am astounded that first, heaps of people read my last blog, and secondly, that some took me seriously. It is evident that a lot of people who know me slightly, suspect I am crazy enough to want to do it, and those who know me well are quite sure I am off my trolley. In the interests of good business, I should clarify the issue.
NO F***KING WAY WOULD I EXCHANGE THE ENVIRONMENT I CURRENTLY ENJOY FOR A PARCHED DESERT WITH 1% OF THE ATMOSPHERE HERE AND NONE OF THAT BREATHABLE.
Not to mention I couldn’t find a Subway when I got fed up of cooking. If I could cook. If I could grow anything under the bubble. If I managed to wring some oxygen out of the rocks to breathe.
I live in the most beautiful vibrant environment already, teeming with life and energy. That anyone should give that up to go to a frigid dusty rock would be inconceivable, except perhaps if you were brought up in Mexico City. Then the lifeless environment (apart from teeming humans), wouldn’t be such a shock.
So here I will stay and manage Possum Valley until I fall off my perch. I have been further persuaded that a trip to Mars might not be the fun we imagine, by a recent article I have lost the link to, which suggest that high energy radiation encountered in space, especially cosmic rays, cause dementia. It is really hard to shield against such radiation unless you have a spacecraft the size of the “Death Star” in Star Wars and only inhabit the central part. Age and alcohol are already causing enough brain damage without long exposure to super-high energy zapping through my brain and turning it to alphabet soup. Then you lose the alphabet and then can’t count your toes.
Some cosmic rays have so much energy you can see them. They are typically the nucleus of a helium atom accelerated to very near the speed of light and cause a flash or streak of light in the eyeball. The American astronauts in the Apollo missions kept seeing these flashes but didn’t know what they were so didn’t talk about them or report the phenomena until much later, in case they were grounded for ‘seeing things’. To the delicate and complex molecules of the brain these cosmic rays are like a wrecking ball. And given the lack of significant magnetic field, thin atmosphere and zero ozone, the surface of Mars doesn’t look much better than the spacecraft. Best bet would be to live a troglodyte existence and develop a race of deep cave dwellers.
Which leaves us with Earth. And the fact that we really, really need to look after it because the alternatives are so much worse, even if there alternatives at all.