Water water everywhere – enough on Mars to drink?

Space exploration is much like the ocean was to early sailors and explorers – a rather expansive one, but I’d like to know what Samuel Taylor Coleridge (The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner) would think of the idea of humanity insisting on travelling to another planet with literally ‘water water everywhere nor any drop to drink’. Because there is water on Mars – its frozen and there is plenty of interesting possibilities with that mere fact.

All theories aside about whether Mars once harboured life (single cellular or multicellular is beside the point), I have an issue with humans going to Mars – its quite simple – we’ll f’k it up! Here is the sad irony. We will burn, dig, destroy, our own ecosystem – especially our fragile yet bountiful water supply in order to send people to another planet that has…oooooh…..lets be generous, ‘nominal’ biodiversity and water with the slightly megalomaniacal idea that we will ‘colonise it’. We will call this ‘achievement’ monumental – slap ourselves on the back and say it was possible because of the advancement of technology.

We must be the only virus/plague that is consciously aware of our own toxicity and demise as a result yet still behaves like the microbial version in spite of this awareness and simply decides to ‘spread’. I am really hoping Mars has a better immune system than earth – hopefully its slightly less hospitable environment might wake us up.
This is where science fiction becomes more like science ‘friction’ – there are elements that are familiar enough to be plausible but the context doesn’t quite fit so we dismiss it. Think the Matrix – Smiths speech to Morpheus about human beings not being Mammals – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IM1-DQ2Wo_w Or Robert A Heinlein’s Stranger In A Strange land – that starts with the first ever manned mission to Mars that becomes incredibly ‘awkward’ for humanity as they realise ‘we are not alone’.

So – I raise my glass of fresh – almost pure – water to those signing up for a 1 way flight to Mars. Perhaps they could read Coleridge’s epic poem on their way – probably take the whole trip to get through it – by then they might be wanting to send a message back saying.

“Grass definitely not greener – send water.”

Its not all about the finish line

Finish lines are to be crossed marking the completion of the event. But it occurred to me today after crossing the line at the 70.3 ironman in Auckland that it can be a bit of a mirage. The ‘Oasis’ of these events I believe is in the connections and small moments that forever link you to another human being. Be it through the shared pain, excitement at the start line, encouragement from spectators, it dissolves the illusion of individual competitors and reveals the stunning beauty of the shared experience. You can ‘feel’ the love, it matters. Spectators are a form of aid station. We drink deeply from the kindness, warmth and enthusiasm and often look like we don’t appreciate it, especially when we are experiencing a metabolic meltdown and feel like our legs have been injected with lead.

I would like to hear people talk about their experience more rather than splits, times, number of events they have done. Why? Because we have a preoccupation with individuality and elevating the performance of one over another – fuelling that ever hungry monster called the Ego. Its a philosophical, psychological and spiritual challenge or declaration I suppose. I’m not saying we need to get rid of the finish line, or push ourselves, have a hope or time we would like to do. But if thoughts are forces, and emotions are energy in motion – then we are missing an opportunity to generate a different kind of collective consciousness through these events.

So I suggest a new form of ‘results’ list. One where athletes and spectators can record thoughts, observations, experiences and moments. I would like to kick off this list by saying – 1: Epic sunrise seen through my goggles during swim 2:Getting to ride in the bus lane was cool 3: The dude who said I was running ‘steady’ – nice! (he was fanging it) 4: Good effort from spectators reading my name…even the finish line announcer struggled but they persevered and I think got there in the end.

And I have to say – crossing the line felt FANTASTIC!