The Red Planet beckons ...

Photo by Vicki Harris

Photo by Vicki Harris

Unemployment remains stubbornly high, but I think two professors have now found a way to boost employment opportunities.

Two Washington State professors, Professor Dick Schulze-Makuch and an unnamed co-author (after reading this article you'll understand why), suggest we colonize Mars and it would be faster and more economical "if astronauts behaved like the first settlers of North America ... not expecting to go home." Professor Schulze-Makuch says this will "get Mars exploration moving."

Say what?

Listen, Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492 with three ships, hundreds of horses and donkeys, months of food supplies, tools, lumber, etc., and hundreds of people, including men, women and children, and I thought he was woefully under-supplied. We're going to send folks to Mars not expecting to go home? I guess in one respect they're right; they won't be coming home. What -- other than dying on Mars -- can these folks expect?

Let's think about this idea for a moment. Once you get to Mars, exactly what is the plan of action?

Unless you're into monster truck races, where you watch big trucks run over giant boulders, there doesn't look like a whole lot to do on Mars. First, let me back up. To successfully colonize Mars, we'll need both males and females. I can hardly get my wife to travel to an Auburn game with me. What's the chance she'll agree to populate Mars?

I guess it might improve mankind's chances -- of getting lucky, I mean. "Honey, I know you have a headache, and it is 220 below zero, and we haven't eaten in four days and you are tired of watching Undertaker Monster Truck run over boulders, but we must do this to populate Mars."

If we do such a thing, I suggest sending Yankees first. They are used to cold weather. Or maybe we can send some nomads from the Sahara Desert. I think they like wandering around in rocky areas, without water or food, although I have no idea how we'll get the camels there.

Perhaps those folks who sled across Alaska with their dogs will be interested. Sorry, Sarah, your husband might take off for Mars, where some of your more liberal detractors say you've been for quite a while anyway.

I guess once there we could let whoever is there stake out a couple hundred acres to call home. Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac would probably be willing to loan 100 percent, no income proof needed. There'll be no entertainment and no beer, but I bet satellite reception would bring in up to 235,000 channels.

But back to unemployment. We will be sending workers who are competing for jobs in the United States to Mars. Additionally, we'll help the world's overpopulation problem by sending folks to Mars.

Come to think of it, maybe we could send illegal aliens to Mars, but before you know it the place would be uninhabitable with all the crime, drug dealing and unwed mothers.

Well, maybe the best idea of all would simply be to send Congress to Mars. It's already full of folks whose ideas are out of this world.

Contact columnist T. Gamble at t@colliergamble.com.