Thursday, December 15, 2005
If you were wondering when you should start panicking, I now have a definitive timetable for you.
China will start a manned moon-landing program in 2017.
If there is any shopping you need done, any Broadway shows you want to see, any person you have been silently pining for from afar but have been too much of a spineless social retard to approach, well, I'd say you'd better get a move on. You've only got 11 years before the End of the World is upon us.
The flip side of this is now you can put off cleaning out the garage or re-sealing the shower indefinitely because none of it will matter in the long run.
As to how or why Chinese taikonauts landing on the moon means the end of our civilization as we know it... come on. Don't ask stupid questions. It's obvious, isn't it?
It's because... uh... I... um...
You know what, I'm not sure. All I know is that it was all life-and-death when the Russians were trying to do it before us, so it must be life-and-death now for the same whatever secret reason. Only this time it's not the Russians it's China, which is worse somehow I'm sure. Also (and this is vitally important) this time I'm alive to see it. I find that I have much stronger reactions to things that happen right now while I'm a walking, talking person versus how I felt about stuff back when I was still five years away from being born. I just sort of took more things in stride back then, man. But that was 1969, so it was probably just all the drugs I was on.
Don't judge. It was a different time. You wouldn't understand if you weren't nearly born then like I was. Don't get me started on the flashbacks. Even though they are of a time when I had no sensory organs of any kind, they're still crazy, crazy intense. The colors, man; the total lack of colors.
The thing that gives me most pause is that at first I just wasn't sure what China's motivation for sending men to the moon could be. When we did it, it was for the noble cause of one-upping the Godless Russkies as part of an international pissing match of which the "Space Race" was only one part. There were other facets of course like the fate of all of Europe, the inevitable mutually assured nuclear destruction and the ballet dancer/circus performer thing. I don't know exactly how that last part fit in to all of it, but I remember the 1980s Cold War being all about defecting Russian ballet dancers and circus performers.
Before you ask, yes, I'm thinking of Moscow on the Hudson and White Nights but the way I see it, they wouldn't have bothered to make movies about them if they weren't reflective of the truth. Just like that one out now about the giant monkey coming to America to kill us all. One more thing to worry about, but that's a whole different post. Movies don't lie. That's what the news is for.
Anyway, China doesn't have all that "race" pressure because the race is over. We won. We were able to put together the money and the talent to stage a fake moon landing in the Arizona desert before the Russians could. Of course we had the incalculable advantage of having direct access to Arizona, which is I'm sure what tripped the Russians up, but that was 36+ years ago now. We've turned the page.
Now China wants to actually go to the moon after 2017. All that expense and effort and risk, for what? Celestial sloppy seconds? It doesn't make sense until you think about it this way: the article doesn't say how many people will be included in the manned mission after 2017.
So I figured it out. They're not doing for the international prestige or any lasting scientific significance.
They just need the space.
China has a billion people. A buh-ill-yun. That's a lot of take-out, people.
We sent three-man crews. My estimate for the first Chinese manned mission to space will be a crew of nearly 800,000.
Think about it. They're spending all this time and money right now in preparation for the Olympics in Beijing in 2008. That means all kinds of new stadia and venues that are kind of saucer-shaped, perhaps even domed, to hold all together several hundred thousand people at once. Figure the games end in August of '08, give another 9 years or so to fund and execute an operation to secretly fit each stadium venue with booster rockets underground. From there it's a simple process of luring a bunch of unsuspecting rurals into the stadiums with a promise of a free concert or livestock exhibition and then pow! Doors go closed, 3-2-1 ignition, gone.
Goodnight, God bless. Well, not "God" since they're atheist heathen reds, but whatever the equivalent. Jackie Chan I guess.
No tedious selection process, no super-expensive specialized training. Just a bunch of bumpkins they didn't jobs or housing for in the cities anyway on their way to a whole planetoid all to themselves. Plus they would get rid of their Olympic Stadium, which nobody ever seems to know what to do with after the games are over anyway, so double-bonus there.
The moon solution would have everything the new unsuspecting immigrants could ever want up there. Wide open spaces, plenty of work to do building a society from scratch and fighting off the packs of giant man-eating space lizards up there. The lack of a breathable atmosphere does kind of stick out like something of a minus, that's true. But seriously, by 2017 I don't know how breathable Beijing air is going to be anyway, so we'll call that a wash.
It sounds cruel and inhumane and ruinously expensive, but just wait. Those Chinese are a hard-working, adaptable, industrious people. I wouldn't be surprised if we didn't see a majority of the world's crappy tourist gift-store plastic tchotchkes coming from the moon shortly thereafter. That is, after all, the genius of their people. I for one look forward to it.
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 1.8