So, in case anyone missed it, members of the human race have landed a spacecraft the size of a refrigerator on a comet the size of New Jersey, which happens to be whizzing through space 310 million miles away.
Operators of the device can probably relate to bumping the dock at the copper mine in Baghdad, Arizona, as it is also roughly the size of a refrigerator and approximately 310 million miles away from anything remotely Earth-like.
The original team of scientists who sent the Philae probe out on what’s know as the “Rosetta Comet Mission” have waited ten years to see their little package delivered safely. They can understand what it feels like to be sent out on a “Safeway Grocery Mission” and show up for an appointment with 30 other trucks who have the same appointment time at a distribution center with six open docks. The scientists, however, were not asked by comet-dwelling lumpers to provide them with extorted monies to have their goods unloaded. Apparently, the comet isn’t union. Yet.
This event is truly science fiction turned fact, and both scientists and those who write about fantasy science are awed by the prospect of not needing Bruce Willis to save the planet from deadly asteroids anymore. That is so 90s.
Sci-fi writer Alastair Reynolds said, “This is science fiction made real in terms of the achievement of the mission itself, but Rosetta is also taking us a step closer to answering science fiction’s grandest question of all: Are we alone?”
Alastair could pose the same question after traversing the entryway of Flying J in Phoenix, Ariz., on a blistering hot Friday afternoon, where at any given moment you may run into an argument between someone who thinks they’re Jesus and someone who thinks they’re an Alpha Centurion, or a transvestite Dolly Parton look-a-like with boobs that are suspiciously shaped like merchandise from the teddy-bear aisle inside the store, and a stuffed tiger tail hanging out of the armpit of her chartreuse jumper.
According to CNN, there were flaws with the landing — when Philae made impact, it bounced at least twice, and then stuck the landing. And that was all that counts. Who the hell has ever done a double blind-side back and can argue with that?
So it’s become pretty obvious: If you’re considering another line of work, space exploration is just a lateral over. It requires a lot of the same qualities trucking does, intelligence, skill, patience – and bonus – no hours of service rules. They think there’s a trucking shortage now? Just wait ’til everyone goes to outer space…