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Queen Guitar Rhapsodies

Your Chance to Create a Plucker’s Paradise – on Mars

Twin Peaks, each about 30 -35 metres high.  NASA's Mars Pathfinder exploration, 1997. Photo courtesy of NASA,JPL

Twin Peaks, each about 30 -35 metres high. NASA's Mars Pathfinder exploration, 1997. Photo courtesy of NASA,JPL

A Human Colony on the Red Planet Will Be a Reality Sooner Than You Think

"And now, in a live broadcast from Colonia Humana, the first ever guitar recital from the Mars International Concert Hall, given by Carlos Bonell." Yes, I have long cherished a secret ambition to be the first guitar player on that planet. Dismiss not my reverie as the impossible dream of a hopelessly unrealistic plucker: for I do realise now reluctantly that it will not be me, but someone else. That person, to be born soon, will be the one to make guitar history. Just imagine the sounds of Barrios' Sueño en la Floresta beamed live from Mars. There is more: some of you reading this will meet younger earthlings ready to migrate to Mars. On UK TV’s Channel 4 Live From Space programme last week Stephen Hawking predicted we will have human settlements there by the end of the century. To make it happen, President Obama has set 2040 or so as the target for a human landing on Mars.

I asked the noted astronomer and prolific writer on matters extra-terrestrial Ian Ridpath whether one day we could live there and he replied:
"At this moment scientists are already working on creating there an ambience conducive to happy human habitation. They call it terraforming". Think of the attractions of this: a perfect micro-climate in and outdoors (within the Colonia confines of course) all year round. Beyond the Colonia, the planet has spectacular tourist attractions in its mountains, valleys and volcanoes. There are various other positive features of living on Mars which I will come to, but this may be the moment to take a step back and consider the contrary arguments, just to be fair, you understand, and balanced in my appraisal.

Here are a few drawbacks to living and plucking on Mars:

- It takes at present 6 - 9 months to fly there, quite enough time to drive you round the bend.
- When you get there you have to land safely. This tricky and scary aspect has not yet been perfected.
- Oxygen content at ground level Mars is less than 1%. Carbon Dioxide accounts for most of the atmosphere. One small tear in your face mask and you kill yourself with your next breath.
- Even if that doesn't finish you off, the temperature will. At 60 - 100 degrees below zero centigrade you will be frozen into an ice man mid sentence.
- Assuming you land in one piece, and that your face mask doesn't tear, and that you don't become an instant statue, Mars is one weird place for musos. Lacking an atmosphere as we know it, there is no sound. Shout at the top of your voice and nothing can be heard even by someone standing right next to you. Play that guitar, man, and it's all in your mind and nowhere else.

I grant you these are drawbacks, but let me return to the good things about living on planet Mars. Some of the negative aspects will disappear with the creation of the first Martian metropolis. It will be a jolly agreeable place. Temperature controlled to perfection you will go around in a T-shirt throughout the year. You will feel at home because the day and night cycle is almost the same as in our world. Summers are twice as long, and so are winters, but who cares, you don't have to step outside. You can walk or jump more than twice the distance because gravity is less than half of what we are used to back home. Guitar playing will be even more fun. Chris Hadfield, Space Station Commander, who is a keen guitar player describes on Youtube how he had to rethink playing when weightless and upside down (while strumming) on his space station!

Martian sunset, Spirit at Gusev crater. Photo by NASA's Mars Exploration Rover, 2005, courtesy of NASA

Martian sunset, Spirit at Gusev crater. Photo by NASA's Mars Exploration Rover, 2005, courtesy of NASA

Living on Mars will be a big chance for humans. Let me be serious for an instant. It will be an opportunity to start over and create a world as we would like based on our collective wisdom. And that includes a plucker's paradise. All we need do is agree just what that is. Is that a lot to ask? OK, don't answer that.

Within 50 years of that first live guitar broadcast, as surely as day follows night on Mars, a Martian style of guitar playing will develop, as will a Martian sound, and a Martian technique. Martian guitar players will become the butt of jokes back on planet Earth; as will every other aspect of Martian humans from their freshly minted Martian accent to their strange Martian ambiance, a curious mix of an artificially induced Californian climate inside while staring out at a frigid glacial landscape through the window.

And still I say to you, don't miss out. Mars beckons, and a chance to become there the first player or first teacher, and to make of that fresh start what you will. No time to lose, my starry(!)-eyed young friends, start planning now and save for your passage. They are already taking bookings and the seats are selling fast.

21st March 2014, London

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Printed from: http://www.carlosbonell.com/blog/?p=3102 .
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