Space: The Bestest, Most Awesome Frontier.

July 19, 2011


With NASA ending the shuttle program and Virgin Galactic announcing its progress toward civilian space flights yesterday, it truly seems we’re at a turning point in the development of space travel.  It seems like a good time to offer just a few reflections on space travel and its implications.

Pew! Pew! Pew! "Look out!" Pew! Pew! BOOM! ...aaaand, roll credits.

I think the end of the shuttle program bodes poorly for the screenplay I wanted to produce when I was ten.  It was called Shuttle 6.  It’s about a bunch of shuttles that go up, and something happens that makes them all explode except number 6, and then something bad is happening, and it’s up to the handsome, ten-year-old captain to save everyone, and then he karate kicks some guys and there’s a laser gun fight.  It’s terrific.  And, yes, I realize that’s a little plot-heavy for today’s blockbusters, but I was prepared to thin it out a bit.

People have pretty much given up on jet packs and flying cars.  This is insane.  Yes, I realize that they’d be logistically impossible on any mass scale and there’d be constant fiery deaths, but on the other hand: Jet packs. And flying cars.

What the hell is this? It's supposed to say "Property of Byron"!

One of my big heroes of the space program is Buzz Aldrin.  Aldrin, of course, was the second man on the moon.  I respect him so much because, in part, he was part of that team that first went to the moon and – perhaps more impressively – made it back.  But what really just blows me away is that he missed being the first human being to step on an extra-terrestrial surface because of, basically, a coin toss.  And he accepted that.  That’s dignity and discipline.  If I’d been on that ship?  Neil Armstrong would have been descending the ladder, saying “This is one small step for man, one giant what the hell??”  And then there would have been me, hurling myself out the capsule bay door, over Neil Armstrong’s head, slowly face-planting into the lunar dust and pumping my arm.  History’s biggest jackass?  Perhaps.  But: first man on the moon.  First words uttered on the surface would forever be, “Yeah!  Suck it, Armstrong!”

Some are positing that the future of orbit flights will be commercial flights that get people from, for example, Tokyo to New York in 45 minutes.  This is, I’m sure we all realize, absurd, because that’s barely enough time to catch one or two people’s colds, much less watch Inside Man.

Two of the major impediments to long-distance space-travel are loss in bone-density and packing water.  To solve the loss in bone-density, I say bring calcium tablets.  Boom – solved.  Can’t believe you didn’t think of it NASA.  As for water, the problem is that virtually anything can be condensed except water, so incredible amounts of storage would be needed just for that.  The solution?  As I see it there are two. Option one:  Keep the air in the ship really, really humid.  Crazy humid.  Washington DC

"I see a hippo!" "I see a snowman! Golly, long-distance space travel is fun!" "It sure is. Do you have any more calcium pills?"

humid.  Then you can just breathe water, or lick the walls if you’re thirsty.  Option two: fill the whole ship up waist-deep with water and everyone wades.  Need a drink?  Lean down.  Convenient!  If there’s no artificial gravity in the ship, then the water just bounces around in little balls and that’s even easier, plus you can watch them and see if they look like things.  I can’t believe I have to come up with all this stuff.

Virgin Galactic is getting closer and closer to offering civilian rides into orbit.  Tickets cost $200,000.  A lot of people think that’s ridiculous to pay that much money to spend about 3 minutes in orbit.  Now, I’m willing to admit that I might take a pass on the inaugural flight, just in case.  See how many billionaires and Hollywood A-listers burn up on re-entry.  But I think these people are forgetting that if you go, you spend 3 minutes IN ORBIT.  IN SPACE, FLOATING AND LOOKING AT THE EARTH.  God yes, it’d be worth $200,000!  I guess what I’m saying is this:  The holiday season shows up before you know it.  If you get my drift.

A scene from the 1979 James Bond film "Moonraker." A film mostly remembered for its stark realism and the line, "My God, I believe Bond is attempting re-entry!"

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About The Byronic Man

Recently voted "The Best Humor Site in America That I, Personally, Write," The Byronic Man is sometimes fiction, but sometimes autobiography. And sometimes cultural criticism. Oh, and occasionally reviews. Okay, it's all those different things, but always humorous. Except on the occasions that it's not. Ah, geez. Look, it's a lot of things, okay? You might like it, is the point.

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9 Comments on “Space: The Bestest, Most Awesome Frontier.”

  1. Blogdramedy Says:

    When I read this I thought of the friend in “Stranger than Fiction*” who always wanted to go to Space Camp.

    I have no great desire to go into space so when they start offering stand-by slots, I’ll treat you. They’ll take Monopoly money…right?

    *On my top five movie list.


  2. Tinkertoot Says:

    I asked a friend if they’d pay R2000 000 to go to the moon and they looked a little unsure but when I said if Piccard was captain the immediate answer was YES.


  3. Walter Says:

    4,3,2,1 earth beeeloww me drifting fallling, floating weightless, coming home! Thank you Pete Schilling.


  4. bobandsusie Says:



  5. The Good Greatsby Says:

    I would pay to see Shuttle 6. Your vague description of the plots mirrors the way I still describe movie ideas to my kids: And then the hero does something that makes you like him for some reason and you really root for him when a bad things happens, but he overcomes the bad thing just in the nick of time. Then I ask if they would pay to see that movie as a test of whether they will give me honest feedback or not.


    • Byron MacLymont Says:

      Kind of reminds me of a friend of mine who’s daughter was deep, deep in the “princess” phase, so he told her about a magical movie about a princess named Princess Leia who has wild adventures! Worked too. She’s a Star Wars fanatic now. Even dressed as Princes Leia for Halloween – cinnamon bun hair, and all.


  6. Anonymous Betty Says:

    Wow – orbit tickets are only $200,000???? Consider my holiday shopping D.O.N.E. … for like, the next gazillion years.


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