Mars Landing


I’m just a plainspoken Colorado criminal defense lawyer, but the way I see it…

My grandfather didn’t want to be the first man on the moon. He didn’t want anybody else to be either. He told me this as we gazed at it together, the time I lived with him after my mother died, and the boy I was wondered what it would be like to walk on the moon, and whether I might somehow be closer to her up there. He was a man of his time: he thought it would be a crime against God. He prayed he would never see that crime committed.

His prayer was answered, and my grandfather went home to his God almost six years before Neil Armstrong took one small step for a man. Quite a stumble had granddaddy lived.

Six years from now, a private Dutch company will be about ready to take a bigger step. A quartet of Earthling emigrants will be launched into space, next stop Mars. I say “emigrants,” because they’re not coming back. Ever. Although the company, Mars One, says it will have the technological capability to get the fab four to Mars, it hasn’t a clue how to get them back, and doesn’t necessarily want to.

The plan is to establish a colony, Like the Mayflower. Those people didn’t plan to go back either. Two years after the first four set up home and hearth, four more will come. By 2033 there will be a whopping twenty settlers. They’ll need a wide skill set, organizers say. One of them is bound to be a maid: all that red dust.

No couples, no spouses. As the man says, Mars ain’t the kind of place to raise your kids.

So who in their right mind wants to go to Mars and never come back? Turns out about 200,000 wannabe expatriates applied for first crack. Not all of them were necessarily in their right minds. Some sent nude application videos. This pool has been narrowed already to 705 people itching for the chance to live in a housing development that looks like a string of interconnected extra-large porta-potties. I’m not sure if any of the nudists made the cut. The Final Four will be selected American-Idol-style, with the whole world voting. And yeah, there’s going to be a reality TV show to help the whole world decide.

There’s a helpful FAQ on the Mars One website that explains all this and more. My favorite question by far is, “Is it safe to live on Mars?” And the answer is, “Living on Mars cannot be considered entirely risk-free.”

I don’t know to a certainty that they’re talking about crime, but I know this:

I don’t want to be the first criminal defense lawyer on Mars. I’m not entirely sure I want anybody else to be either.


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