By Professor Lord Lord – Chief Science Writer
Following post-Brexit talks between the UK government, the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA, and following the successes of the Rosetta and Dawn missions, UK politicians are now discussing landing the country on the moon or a dwarf planet.
“It would be far easier to keep the country together with the force of gravity instead of tepid platitudes,” explains Conservative MP Hope Lacken. “In addition, landing on a dwarf planet with water would make it much easier to provide for our population. We could even use it as an opportunity to start mining asteroids – we’d be light years of anyone else!”
The most obvious choice is our very own moon. Though relocating to the moon has cross-party support, some politicians still worry about immigration.
“It’s only three days away,” says Neil Garbage of the United Kingdom Interplanetary Party (UKIP). “Any migrant could pack a change of clothes and some snacks and launch themselves into space. What we really need to do is to protect our borders – institute a strict points-based migration system, beef up our space border control and build a wall around the moon. If we were doing things my way, I’d relocate to Pluto or Charon, which are much further away from Earth but still reachable by spacecraft. I mean, New Horizons and the Voyager missions all got this far, so there’s nothing to worry about!”
Mr Garbage has failed to mention that Pluto and Charon are both unliveably cold hellholes; Pluto, for example, has an average surface temperature of -229 C and no oxygen to speak of in its atmosphere. When questioned on this by your correspondent, Mr Garbage brushed off these concerns: “Stop worrying about the cold! Britain survived the winter of ’47, didn’t it? We’ll get through this by keeping our spirits up and brewing cups of tea.” He failed to mention that at -229 C, oxygen is frozen solid and nobody would be able to breathe.
Indeed, oxygen doesn’t seem to be a concern of most politicians. “Experts may say that we need oxygen to breathe and surface temperatures similar to Earth,” says Michael Gove, “but Britain has had enough of experts. If we need oxygen, there may be pain in the short term but in the long term Britain has a prosperous future in space.”
“I’m a space enthusiast and these people don’t know what they’re talking about,” says NASA researcher Stella Kerman. “Without gaseous oxygen, liquid water, and the ability to grow enough crops to feed the population, they’ll die. If you ask me, this whole plan is stupid and should have waited until interstellar travel seemed feasible. How are we even going to get an entire country into space anyway? Put launch systems and bombs at the bottom of the sea?”
Questions like these have plagued the talks, with NASA and ESA stressing the difficulties of launching an entire nation into space without killing over 60 million people and causing the largest genocide in history. UK politicians have been rather blasé, with Boris Johnson reportedly saying “don’t give me problems, give me solutions”.
The government’s project is ambitious and controversial; this week, thousands protested in London against going into space. If they are to carry on with this plan, they must first consider the problems before demanding nice, potted solutions.