step 1: put a man on the moon by the end of this decade. step 2: take the next 40 years off

What could have been . . . (sigh) . . .

2008 marks the 50th birthday of the National Evil’s sister organization, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. And just as many a younger sibling looks up to his or her elder, so too does the National Evil regard NASA as a trailblazing influence on how it intends to spend its first 50 years on this planet: blow your wad in the first decade of existence, then suck up billions in tax dollars to launch missions that accomplish half of what the first did using a computer with less than 1 KB of memory.

(Tangent: Do you suppose the computer systems from the Apollo missions chide their younger, more vigorous heirs with tales of how they launched uphill, both ways, in blinding snow, to get to the moon?)

Wouldn’t it have been better if NASA had faked the moon landing? Imagine what those billions of budgetary dollars, redirected from shuttle- and satellite- and probe-construction, could have accomplished! After all, the only thing NASA’s post-moon endeavors have proved to us is that space is vastly more complicated, boring, and . . . vast . . . than we’d believed. Where once we swooned over the faint outlines of possible canals connecting huge Martian cities, now we shit ourselves over the chance that, six billion or so years ago, there might have been a piss-dribble of water there. Where once we believed interstellar travel to lush planets swarming with fascinating aliens was mere decades away, physicists are now showing us that we live in one of oh, let’s say 34 universes, each of them so immense and receding as to be virtually unnavigable.

Medieval cartographers knew what they were doing. Without a clue as to what really lay beyond the horizon, they drew fanciful islands on the fringes of their maps and, if that wasn’t enough to tempt foolish young men, appealed to their egos by slapping terrible sea serpents in the way. And that is what NASA could have, should have done for humanity. Rather than dumping money into Voyager or the shuttle program, NASA could have built innumerable soundstages on which to film spacestravangas of unimaginable power.

And that—that—is the lesson lil’ Evil has learned from his older brother NASA. That is why the National Evil is dedicated to bringing you specious Martian cityscapes of prose. Oh, Evil could bore you with actual, factual moon landing-style posts. And then you’d know the truth, sure—but remember what that truth was: the moon is cold. It’s rocky. It’s covered in moon-dust. That’s it.

Wouldn’t you rather hear about the tri-boobed nymphoids of Saturn?

Enjoy the weekend. If possible, CONQUER MARS!


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