“That was a real cold slap in the face for us,” a NASA engineer, who agreed to speak anonymously to this column, said. “Some serious soul-searching is going on in the space industry even as we speak.”
But if you guys aren’t focused on science, what do you do?
“Well, most of us just play Minecraft all day long, although there are always a few bad apples searching the heavens with giant radio telescopes hoping to download some alien porn. We spend a fair amount of time on Insta and Tinder, letting the nerd groupies out there know we’re available. And we have some ping-pong tables in the back.”
Didn’t you just send a probe to Pluto? And beyond, to that whatchamacallit?
“Kuiper Belt object. Ultima Thule. Yeah, once you know the terminology, it’s easy to fake science. Some guy I only know from the break room figured that one out using his cell phone calculator. We tested his hypothesis with a paper clip and a rubber band, subtracted the effects of the atmosphere and boom! We were sailing past Ultima Thule. Nice feather in our cap, and we went back to arguing about what it would be like to have sex in a singularity. But now, with Trump on our case, we’ve got to get serious about focusing on real science.”
I’ll say. You’re going to Mars.
“And that’s going to be way useful, because the way the Earth is going, we’re going to have to learn to live on a planet with very little breathable air in the near future. But we’re also not allowed to mention global warming any more, also according to Trump so we might as well see what we can do with planets where we’re allowed to work on their environments. Doubt we’ll get far though—the next generation of scientists is going to have to get that done. I’m worried we’re not going to have one.”
What—you think the end is that near?
“Naw. It’s just what with Trump pushing to teach the Bible in schools instead of science, all the kids nowadays are going to grow up just wanting to go to Heaven instead of to other planets. I haven’t read the whole Bible, so hopefully there’s some Psalms about orbital trajectories and escape velocity that I’ve missed in there. Otherwise, see ya space program! Hey, I’ve got to get back to my desk.”
To focus on science?
“Tomorrow, bro, tomorrow. Right now, I need to smoke a joint with Elon Musk.”