Let’s start shooting stuff into space again

Dear NASA,

As I’m sure you’ve heard by now, America is no longer the coolest country in the world. Last week, India successfully put their satellite, Mangalyaan, into orbit around Mars. That’s really cool. Sure, you did it first, but they got it on the first try, whereas you and the USSR tried six times before you guys even accomplished a proper fly-by. That’s the difference between a video of a kid throwing a ball from half-court as the buzzer sounds and somehow making the winning basket and a video of a kid who makes the same shot in his or her backyard and is obviously on their 10th take. I’m not saying practice isn’t important – because it is – but you could be practicing much harder tricks.

See, NASA, when I was a kid (read: adult) I wanted to be an astronaut. You might recall this one time, around 35 years before I was born, when America decided to settle her problems for once without giving guns to whoever pinky-promises to help her out. We put a human on the moon, in what is undoubtedly the most ridiculously cool thing people have ever done. It was like Armageddon, except instead of Bruce we had Buzz and instead of a giant, red ball of gas, we had a giant, red ball of Russians. Going to to the moon was so astounding; everybody and their brother grew up wanting to become an astronaut.

Then something awful happened: the terror of arbitrary nuclear annihilation started to die out (it’s our fault for trusting Kissinger). Suddenly, America had no true reason to go to space. And sure, NASA, you tried to overcompensate for Nebraska by building the ISS, but for the last 40 years, you haven’t done anything really bonkers. And that’s what we need: bonkers.

You see, Russia got smart after the USSR’s collapse. They realized that they needed to become cool, or no one would take them seriously. That went in an interesting direction, more weird than cool, like that time all the bears started getting high on jet fuel in Siberia. But they’re starting to get their act together. Remember the opening ceremonies at Sochi? We can’t compete with them; we don’t have hats like that in America!.

Now, with India tossing satellites into Martian orbit like they’re bored, America is falling way too far behind. We put a satellite into orbit around Mars just three days before Mangalyaan, and no one has even mentioned it. It’s time, NASA. Time for you to make America cool again. It doesn’t matter what it is, even if it’s just going back to the moon. I will support you like the rest of my country used to, back when you received 4.5 percent of our national budget, instead of just .5 percent. Through the complicated mathematics known as Google, I calculated that if, as Dr. Neil Degrasse Tyson suggests, we doubled your budget to 1 percent, it would be rad. Maybe you could even go big and put a person on Mars. I volunteer to go.

With love,

Connor Edrington

P.s. You should at least one-up what the Russians did a couple of months ago when they sent five geckos into space just to study the effects of zero-gravity on gecko sex. I suggest studying the effects of zero-g’s on sloth locomotion. The internet would eat that up.

Connor Edrington

Connor is an artist who specializes in doodling large, herbivorous animals using non-traditional forms of transportation. The significance of his work won't be recognized until after his death, so he writes for the Opinion section and makes fun of Nebraskans in the meantime.

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