Life on Mars


“Would you like to go on holiday together?” I asked Mrs R. when I got home.

“Where?” She asked suspiciously. “When?”

“There is a man who is looking for a middle-aged married couple to fly to Mars,” I explained. “In a few years.”

“No,” said Mrs R. “I’m not going to leave the children.”

“We can skype them,” I said, showing that I had thought this through.

“You can’t use skype on Mars,” said the only teenager left at home these days. “There isn’t the internet on Mars.”

“The internet,” I pronounced pompously, “is everywhere. I will take my mobile.”

I think that we would be perfectly suited. Mrs R. is very good at maths and photography and I can do COBOL programming in an emergency and send pithy, humorous tweets to a watching world. We get along very well and would probably be quite happy crammed into a VW-Polo sized spaceship for 16 months.

We are both children of the Apollo generation. We watched the Moon landings in our pyjamas and know that investment in space travel accelerates scientific development so that the world can have non-stick saucepans and pens that write upside down.

“I thought you were going to suggest something romantic,” muttered Mrs R.

I thought that a year and a half alone together under the stars would be romantic.

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