It was the best ten cents I ever invested in anything. That was the price I paid to become a member of the Science Fiction Book Club based in Long Island. For my little silver coin (and a three cent stamp) I embarked on the wonderful possibilities of intergalactic travel and exploring the vast cosmos. In exchange for my investment I received five hard bound, large books and began my travels through the universe from the comfort of my home sofa. And that got me interested in frequently visiting New York’s Hayden Planetarium which became my home away from home. Somehow the vastness of the universe and the possibilities contained in it that we can barely imagine put our petty differences in perspective and reveal them for the insignificant things they are.
I thought about this as the kerfuffle erupted recently as both Indiana and Arkansas passed laws to re-emphasize the definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman. Naturally, the left took a break from pushing for a higher minimum wage to jump on these two bills and castigate them as being horrifically anti-gay, despite the fact that the governors of both states clearly stated that was not the intent of either law. That, of course, is a matter of speculation. So what does all that have to do with space or at least a leap into it as plans are being made to invade the Red Planet?
As you may know, a Dutch company called Mars One intends to launch a ship to our nearest neighbor in the solar system, prospectively in 2022 and is currently recruiting applicants who would like to join the crew of explorers. They received thousands of applications for what is billed as a one way trip. The plan is to establish a permanent colony on Mars. Needless to say, the colony will have to be self-sustaining.
Now Holland is a very liberal place. In fact, they were the first country in the world to recognize gay marriage in 2001. Although the Mars project is being funded and developed by a private company and not the Dutch government, it is reasonable to assume that those in charge probably share the same social views as many of their countrymen. So that suggests one simple question.
Will those who are screening for applicants for this momentous mission consider including gay and lesbian women in the crew, knowing that they will be unlikely to contribute to the nascent colony’s ongoing genetic survival? I hope that I’m here on Earth long enough to get an answer to that question.