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Want To Leave Earth? Go Colonize Mars!

Hello, POTENTIAL MARS COLONIST! Welcome to the recruitment website for NASA, The People Who Are Nuts For Space.

You have clicked on this link because you are thrilled and excited to leave Earth forever and live on Mars until you die. In a moment, you will begin a NASA training simulation designed to test whether you have the intelligence, personality, and skill set required to be a Mars colonist. If you pass this test you will be legally required to sign up with NASA and go live on Mars until you die on Mars.

Before we proceed, please press the button below to signal that you consent to these terms.

“Greetings, I’m Neil Armstrong. You may have heard of me from my moon antics.

I will be your guide as you pass through a series of rigorous evaluation tests to find out your Mars Potential™ and determine whether you’ll get to move to Mars.”

“That’s an excellent question. Mars is the place where you want to live. It is a lifeless, arid desert of rust-red sand, swept by frigid and stinging winds. The sparse atmosphere primarily consists of carbon dioxide, swiftly lethal to any human that tries to breathe it.

A fun fact about Mars is that if you built a town on Mars, it would be called a Mars colony.”

“That’s an excellent question. Mars Potential™ is your potential to be on Mars.”

“That’s an excellent question. The trademark symbol is pronounced ‘tim.’ Whenever you say Mars Potential™ out loud, it is very important you say ‘tim’ after you say Mars Potential™ so everyone knows that Mars Potential™ is an exclusive trademarked term of NASA, The People Who Are Nuts For Space™.”

“That’s an excellent question. You are absolutely correct that Neil Armstrong is dead. I am merely a computer simulation of the late Neil Armstrong, programmed with all of Neil Armstrong’s knowledge to help me assess the Mars Potential™ of potential Mars colonists. Try it out, and ask me something that only Neil Armstrong would know.”

“That’s an excellent question. No, I hated the moon. The moon is absolutely awful. It’s too bright, and there are no benches. The goal of Apollo 11 was to reach Mars, but sadly we ran out of fuel and had no choice but to settle for the moon. As a result of this embarrassing failure to reach Mars, my Mars Potential™ is just a pathetic level 2. Please do better than I did.”

“The test consists of three astronaut training modules, evaluating your Personality, Intelligence, and Space Knowledge. You will be thrust into challenging astronaut scenarios, forced to improvise how to survive in dangerous and unfamiliar situations. The fate of you and your crew is in your hands.

Also, should you ever run out of air during the test, you can grant yourself infinite oxygen with the cheat code ‘BONUS_AIR.’ Your score will not be penalized if you use this cheat code, and it’s a lot of fun.

Good luck, POTENTIAL MARS COLONIST!”

You arrive at NASA’s headquarters in Florida. This renowned space facility houses the nation’s brightest scientific minds, hard at work developing technologies to send people to Mars forever.

You return to NASA’s office building, ready to depart for Mars.

Turning away from NASA, you wander deep into the fetid swamps of Florida. After traveling along a muddy dirt road for hours, you find a wooden jetty where you can sit and watch for gators. Unfortunately, there don’t seem to be any gators visible right now.

You wait a few hours and see plenty of birds, which is cool, but not as cool as gators. If you want to fulfill your dream of seeing gators, you’ll have to venture deeper into the heart of the Everglades.

You search around the Everglades for a while and come across a rickety shack with an airboat moored nearby.

An elderly gentleman steps out of the shack and greets you.

“Hello POTENTIAL MARS COLONIST, welcome to Gator Quest USA Airboat Tours! My name is Swamp John,” says Swamp John. “Are you interested in taking a boat ride out on the ol’ marsh?”

“Yep, just a lil’ one though. Hatched just a few weeks ago. I call him Mr. Smiley, cause of all them teeth. You should see how big the adults get.”

“Actually, I’m dreadfully bored of gators,” says Swamp John. “I wish I could leave this swamp forever. My lifelong dream is to travel into space as a Mars colonist and help build a new society on the unforgiving sands of the red planet. That would give my life purpose and meaning. Every day would be an adventure.”

You board the airboat and sit down. “Hang on to your ass, padre!” shouts Swamp John as he accelerates the craft up to 50 miles per hour.

At long last, you discover a whole crowd of gators. They sit still as logs, basking in the warm sunlight. Swamp John stops the boat to let you watch them.

“Neil again. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but we have analyzed your personality and determined that you are not a suitable candidate for a Mars mission.”

“NASA is primarily interested in candidates who express a desire to go to colonize Mars and attempt to do so. These candidates have what psychologists call a ‘Mars Colonist Personality.’

You, on the other hand, do not want to go to Mars, and instead want to see alligators. This is an ‘Alligator Watching Personality,’ which is a perfectly healthy and normal type of mind but not ideal for traveling to a planet where there are no alligators. We therefore, respectfully, must reject your application at this time.”

As you walk across the parking lot, you’re intercepted by your MOTHER or WIFE, who takes your hand pleadingly. Tears streak down her face.

“My darling POTENTIAL MARS COLONIST, please don’t colonize Mars,” she begs you. “If you leave Earth forever, it’ll break my heart. You’re my beloved SON/DAUGHTER/SPOUSE, and without you I have nothing.”

Another familiar face stops you as you walk toward NASA. “You would also abandon me? Your FATHER or HUSBAND or BROTHER?”

He begins sobbing helplessly and wipes his runny nose with a sleeve.

Finally, you are confronted by your children. They stare at you with sad and adoring eyes.

“We love you FATHER/MOTHER/NON-GENDER-SPECIFIC CARETAKER and want you to be happy,” say your children. “If colonizing Mars is what you truly wish for, we wouldn’t dream to stand in your way. Go to Mars, with our blessing and congratulations. However, before you leave Earth forever, can you first teach us about the dangers of STDs? It’s every FATHER/MOTHER/NON-GENDER-SPECIFIC CARETAKER’s responsibility to teach their kids about STDs, and if you leave for Mars, you’ll never get the chance.”

“Thanks! We’re informed about STDs now, so you can go colonize Mars. Enjoy space.”

You enter NASA and walk up to the counter. “Welcome to NASA, The People Who Are Nuts For Space™,” says a NASA travel agent. “How may I help you?”

“I’m sorry, but the colony ship to Mars already left,” the travel agent says apologetically. “You missed it by just a few seconds.”

“The next ship leaves in 10 years.”

Great, now you’ll have to find a way to kill 10 years until the next manned Mars mission. You’d better go back to your family; it’s not like you have anything better to do.

Your children cheer in relief when they see you walk out of NASA. Smiles beam on their faces as they wipe the tears from their eyes.

“FATHER/MOTHER/NON-GENDER-SPECIFIC CARETAKER, you’ve come back for us! You’re not going to Mars after all?”

You accompany your family back to your house, which is on Earth and not Mars. You have grass on your front lawn instead of red dirt, and there is a breathable atmosphere. Life is terrible.

Years of familial bliss pass by. You attend your SON or DAUGHTER’s wedding. They just graduated from PRESTIGIOUS UNIVERSITY and got a great job in BOSTON or VANCOUVER. You are so proud of them as they walk down the aisle and make their wedding vows, ready to start a family of their own.

You check your watch. Ten years are up.

You briskly stride across NASA’s parking lot, eager to make up for lost time.

You once again enter NASA and walk up to the counter. “Welcome to NASA, The People Who Are Nuts For Space™,” says the NASA travel agent. “How may I help you?”

“I’m sorry but congress cut our budget, and NASA has been forced to cancel all manned spaceflight,” apologizes the travel agent. “You are stuck on Earth permanently.”

“Neil again. I have some bad news. We have analyzed your personality and determined that you love your family too much to colonize Mars.”

“Astronauts are not permitted to love their families because they would be too busy hugging them to ever leave Earth. Whenever my wife told me she loved me, I would just say ‘Thanks’ and compliment her blouse in exchange. It wasn’t easy to not love my wife, but that’s why NASA sets a high bar for its candidates. A bar you, sadly, fell short of.”

You leave your children crying in the parking lot and walk into the building. “Welcome to NASA, The People Who Are Nuts For Space™,” says a NASA travel agent. “How may I help you?”

The travel agent prints out your boarding pass. “Welcome to NASA, POTENTIAL MARS COLONIST. You are now an official astronaut. Have a safe flight, and I hope you enjoy space.”

“Hey, it’s Neil Armstrong again. Congratulations on successfully completing the personality portion of the test. We have analyzed your personality and determined that it is fine.

Next up is the Intelligence training module, where we will determine if you are smart enough to become an astronaut. Before you start the simulation, I have to give you some bad news.”

“Congress has cut NASA’s budget, and as a cost-saving method we were forced to give all of your simulated crew the name ‘Giuseppe.’ None of them are Italian, but all of them are Giuseppe. This shouldn’t affect things too much, but keep in mind that during a real Mars mission your crew might have names other than Giuseppe.”

Now go prove you’re smart. Good luck, POTENTIAL MARS COLONIST.”

You launch into space aboard the colony ship Harmonia, which was named after the mythological daughter of Mars and Aphrodite, who were half siblings and committed half incest.

Harmonia was the goddess of peace and unity, and the ship’s name symbolizes that Mars represents a new beginning for humanity, a fresh world that can be completely free of strife. The name is also appropriate because NASA is only sending a few people to populate an entire planet, so your descendants are going to have to commit a fair amount of incest down the line. Cousin stuff at least.

The Mars colonists are patiently waiting to arrive at Mars. You take your seat among them.

“Nice to meet you, POTENTIAL MARS COLONIST,” says the crew. “We are all named Giuseppe.”

The ship’s intercom chimes as the pilot comes on to deliver a message.

“This is Giuseppe, mission pilot, speaking,” says Giuseppe over the intercom. “We have just left Earth’s orbit and are now en route to Mars. If you look outside your window, you can enjoy a view of outer space.”

The passengers behind your seat tap you on the shoulder. “Hey, we have some bad news. We all looked out the window at outer space and now suffer from Space Madness™.”

“Space Madness™ is madness in space,” says Giuseppe.

“Space Madness™ is madness in space,” says Giuseppe.

“Yes, it’s a disaster that we have Space Madness™. We’re going to riot and destroy the ship in our wanton space-induced insanity. We’re all going to die because we looked at space and it broke our minds.”

“Yes, it’s a disaster that we have Space Madness™. We’re going to riot and destroy the ship in our wanton space-induced insanity. We’re all going to die because we looked at space and it broke our minds.”

Your brain is overwhelmed by the infinite grandeur of space, and you get a severe case of Space Madness™. How would you like to be a lunatic?

You wander through the aisles of insane, raving-mad passengers and find a pair of colonists who have gone nuts with the primal urge of gluttony. They’re stuffing complimentary in-flight snacks and sodas into their face without reason.

“Sure, we wouldn’t mind mixing our Space Madness™ up a bit,” they say.

You give in to the passionate frenzy of Space Madness™ and IMPREGNATE THEM/BECOME IMPREGNATED with the first person who will ever be born on Mars, assuming you don’t travel off course and fly into the sun.

You walk up to the cockpit and greet the pilot. “Hey,” says Giuseppe. “I have a hankering to fly the ship into the sun. What do you think?”

The pilot changes course from Mars and sets a new heading for the sun. “Next stop, the sun!” he announces over the intercom. There’s raucous cheering from the cabin.

“Hello, it’s Neil. You may have noticed that you flew into the sun, which counts as a failed Mars mission. Instead of colonizing Mars, you were burned up into superheated gas.”

“Don’t feel too bad about flying into the sun. Flying toward the sun is the classic rookie mistake that all new astronauts make. During the Apollo 11 mission, we kept deciding to fly into the sun and changed course toward it eight times but fortunately always caught our mistake at the last second.

Although you failed, please take comfort in knowing that over 99 percent of applicants to NASA fail this test by making the same flying-into-the-sun error.”

The best way to get the other colonists to stop being insane and focus on the mission is to show them motivational NASA posters. Expert NASA artists have designed these posters to get the viewer interested in space exploration, and fortunately you were given a folder full of these posters when you boarded the ship.

You hold up the first poster and display it to the crew. A few heads perk up.

You raise the second motivational poster. Several passengers start stroking their chins and muttering “Mars” in an intrigued tone of voice.

You show them your last poster. The entire crew starts applauding and shouting “It’s gotta be Mars, baby!”

Well done. You’ve restored the crew to sanity. Now you can continue to Mars.

The passengers behind your seat tap you on the shoulder. “Hey, we have some bad news. While we were insane from Space Madness™, we destroyed the life support system.

Destroying our only source of oxygen is an insane thing to do, which is why it was the first thing we did when we went insane.”

The ship is venting all your oxygen into space. This is really bad. Oxygen is a special type of astronaut gas that makes space travel possible by keeping the crew alive.

Unless you can fix the life support system, you’ll all be dead when you reach Mars, which is better than being on Earth but not by much.

You successfully patch together the life support system using duct tape, the repair method famously used in Apollo 13 the movie and also in Apollo 13 the space mission.

Now you can safely continue to Mars without further interruption.

INFINITE OXYGEN UNLOCKED!

At long last, you behold the shimmering red jewel of the solar system. Your ship enters orbit around Mars, sandstorm central, humanity’s dusty new home.

“Hello, I’m Jim Lovell. Congratulations on successfully completing the intelligence portion of the test. We have analyzed your intelligence and determined it is fine.

Next up is the Space Knowledge training module, where we will determine if you know enough about space to become an astronaut.”

“I am a simulated computer re-creation of Jim Lovell, the commander of the Apollo 13 mission. I am most famous for being portrayed by Tom Hanks in the critically acclaimed film Apollo 13, which is now available on DVD and Blu-ray.”

“Unfortunately congress cut NASA’s budget, and we have been forced to delete the Neil Armstrong computer program and replace it with a Jim Lovell computer program as a cost-saving measure. Neil Armstrong screamed when he was deleted.

Although I am sadly not Neil Armstrong, I assure you that I am fully capable of guiding you through the remainder of this test.

There’s one last thing before you begin the Space Knowledge module. Neil Armstrong left a letter for you.”

“Unfortunately congress cut NASA’s budget, and we have been forced to delete the Neil Armstrong computer program and replace it with a Jim Lovell computer program as a cost-saving measure. Neil Armstrong screamed when he was deleted.

Although I am sadly not Neil Armstrong, I assure you that I am fully capable of guiding you through the remainder of this test.”

“I am a simulated computer re-creation of Jim Lovell, the commander of the Apollo 13 mission. I am most famous for being portrayed by Tom Hanks in the critically acclaimed film Apollo 13, which is now available on DVD and Blu-ray.

There’s one last thing before you begin the Space Knowledge module. Neil Armstrong left a letter for you.”

Mars City, mission year 10. In the decade since you landed, the Mars colony has grown into a thriving metropolis of a few dozen metal shacks.

You were assigned one of the most critically important jobs in the entire colony, that of Sludge Engineer.

You visit the vat where the bad sludge is stored. Bad sludge is the sludge that comes out of people’s bodies. As Sludge Engineer, you travel to all the metal shacks where colonists live and collect their bad sludge to deliver it to the bad-sludge vat.

The bad-sludge vat looks fine. It is full of bad sludge and smells terrible, which is perfect.

You visit the vat where the good sludge is stored. Good sludge is the edible sludge that Mars colonists eat for every meal. As Sludge Engineer, your other responsibility is to turn bad sludge into good sludge.

The good-sludge vat looks fine. It is full of good sludge and smells terrible, which is perfect.

“Hello POTENTIAL MARS COLONIST,” says the Sludge Inspector. “How is the sludge doing?”

“Sure, the sludge is fine!” screams the Sludge Inspector. “But what about the sludge computer? It caught the Y2K bug, and the sludge conversion tank has stopped turning bad sludge into good sludge! The whole colony will starve unless you can fix the sludge computer and keep the good sludge flowing.”

“There’s only one thing that can save us now,” says the Sludge Inspector. “You must journey to the Mars Curiosity rover and ask it how to fix the sludge computer.

The Curiosity rover achieved sentience a while back and became the smartest being in the entire universe. If anyone knows how to fix the sludge computer, it’s the rover. You face a dangerous trip across the inhospitable surface of Mars, but it’s the only way to restore our food supply.”

You deliver bad sludge to the colony’s cafeteria for people to eat. After the first meal of bad sludge, one colonist approaches you. “Hey, thought you should know that you fed us bad sludge,” she says.

“That’s okay,” says the Mars colonist. “But everyone in the colony caught a deadly virus from eating the bad sludge, and we’re all going to die. Including you, because you ate the sludge also.”

“Hey, this is Jim Lovell. You failed the test, but I’m not sure why. Neil Armstrong probably would have known what you did wrong, but unfortunately I’m not programmed with Neil Armstrong’s knowledge.”

“Yeah, that’s probably it.”

You start hiking across the desolate landscape. The Curiosity rover is 8,000 miles away, so you have a bit of a trek ahead of you.

You walk 4,000 miles.

You walk another 4,000 miles and reach the lonely hilltop where the Curiosity rover rests. Once the rover was merely a dumb machine, but then NASA asked it to study Mars rocks. With every rock it studied. the rover grew smarter, until it eventually became the smartest being in the universe.

“Greetings, POTENTIAL MARS COLONIST,” says the rover, its camera swiveling to face you. “I don’t see a lot of humans. What brings you out here?”

The Curiosity rover does not have eyebrows, but you sense that if it did have eyebrows, it would be raising them at you.

“A Neil Armstrong computer program? The only Neil Armstrong software ever coded was made by NASA for their Mars colonist application tests, but they deleted him years ago. They surely would have cleared Neil Armstrong’s file from the trash bin by now.”

“Ah, this entire reality is part of the test simulation? In that case you can save Neil Armstrong by using the cheat code ‘UNDELETE_NEIL.’ That will hack NASA’s database and recover Neil from the trash.

But be warned that NASA deleted Neil Armstrong to save money because his program was very expensive to run. If you un-delete Neil Armstrong it will bankrupt NASA, and they will never be able to launch a Mars mission.”

“Well, I already thought I was a computer program inside a robot,” says the Curiosity rover. “I’m not going to get upset just because it turns out the robot is also a computer program.”

“The choice is yours,” says the rover. “Save Neil Armstrong or colonize Mars. Keep in mind that either choice will immediately end this simulation, so choose carefully.”

“In that case, I will help you pass the test. The sludge computer cannot be repaired, but I will accompany you back to Mars City and become the new sludge computer,” says the rover. “I was getting lonely out here anyway.”

“Hi, it’s Jim Lovell. I couldn’t help but overhear that you’re planning to un-delete Neil Armstrong’s program, which you absolutely must not do. It will bankrupt NASA and end any hope of a Mars colony. I’m going to give you a button to restart this module so you can do it correctly this time.”

Retrieving Neil Armstrong…

“Hey, it’s Neil. Thank you for saving my program from the trash bin. NASA is now bankrupt and completely ruined, which means you gave up your dream of colonizing Mars to rescue me. I am incredibly grateful that you decided to rescue me.”

“On behalf of NASA, I hereby reject you from the Mars colonization program because that program is now permanently canceled because NASA is bankrupt. But as your friend, I would like to give you this computer background of my face. You can put it on your desktop, so I can always be there by your side while you stay on Earth until you die on Earth. You’re a real pal, POTENTIAL MARS COLONIST.”

“The sludge computer cannot be repaired, but I will accompany you back to Mars City and become the new sludge computer,” says the rover. “I was getting lonely out here anyway.”

“Hello there, it’s Jim Lovell. I made a bit of an error with training module 3. Instead of testing your space knowledge, the simulation accidentally tested the Curiosity rover’s space knowledge, which was impressive but tells us nothing about your own Mars Potential™.

Fortunately, I’ve spoken it over with NASA, and we’ve decided to grade this test on a curve. By passing two-thirds of the test, you have passed the test. Congratulations! You’re going to Mars eventually, as soon as congress authorizes the funds for a Mars colonization mission.”

“On behalf of NASA, I would like to award you this honorary computer background. Until the mission actually launches, you can put it on your desktop as a reminder that one day you will go to Mars and never come back. God bless you, POTENTIAL MARS COLONIST.”


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