I was listening to Max and Marcellus the other day (or it may have been Mason and Ireland), and they were discussing the fact that Justin Bieber had just signed up for a ride on Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic space flight. Not just Bieber, but his manager as well (Really? Of all the people he wanted to go into space with, his manager somehow topped the list?). I believe their point of contention was whether or not the once-in-a-lifetime experience of going into space would be worth it if the only seat available on that flight was the one between Bieber and his manager.
It is a difficult question. On the one hand, it’s space: the final frontier. If given the opportunity, who wouldn’t jump at the chance? Then again, Justin Bieber isn’t somebody I find particularly enjoyable on Earth. Do I really want to be incarcerated with him (and his manager) on a shuttle heading into the great unknown?
Which got me thinking about another hypothetical question I’d read about some time ago.
In his book Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs, Chuck Klosterman proposes a series of hypothetical situations..one of which goes something like this: which would you choose, 1 year all expenses paid in Europe—or presumably the destination of your choice—or 10 minutes on the moon? (I’m just going to add my own addendum and say that either option will only involve the companion(s) of your choice as well.)
Personally, I’d choose the moon. What, not the answer you were expecting? I get it..it makes no sense. Why would any person in their right mind ever choose to go to the moon of all places over a potentially amazing, completely funded year in Europe?
I know plenty of people who would look at me like I was nuts for making such a decision. They’d be the ones who’d choose the year in Europe in a heartbeat. While that is tempting, I’d still opt for going to the moon. Probably because a year in Europe or the destination of my choice—provided that destination is on this planet—is something I can accomplish on my own much more easily than I could swing a trip to the moon. Anywhere on Earth is potentially within my power to reach, whereas going to the moon would at minimum require the assistance of a space program..or Richard Branson if he’s feeling generous. Point is, I couldn’t just jump on a spacecraft and fly off to the moon the same way I can dash off to Europe on the next available flight. There’s just the small issue of scope and resources.
Also.. it’s space. Space! I may have issues with activities on Earth that involve being suspended in the air (note: parasailing and bungee jumping are not my favorites), but somehow the weightlessness of space holds a different appeal. The idea of being able to see the earth in its entirety..seeing our home planet within context of the vastness of the universe..setting foot on a cosmic entity hundreds of thousands of miles away ..it’s not something everyone gets a chance to do. For the girl who built squadrons of x-wing fighters out of legos and sent them off to defend the Republic..who grew up on the exploits of Han Solo and Luke Skywalker..who wanted to join Starfleet Academy and explore the galaxy with Captain Picard..the prospect of going into space fulfills something of those childhood fantasies I didn’t realize I still had. In all likelihood I probably wouldn’t be shooting off to the moon at the helm of the Millennium Falcon, or even from the bridge of the Enterprise (hello, reality check), and I realize the actual experience would be somewhat less romantic than what I’m envisioning in my head. Still, I have no doubt that it would be the adventure of a lifetime. Maybe I could talk to Richard Branson about the Millennium Falcon thing…
So which would you choose?