Space travel is in trouble. The funding is being cut, public interest is waning, and the most talented minds of the future generations are more impressed by cel-shading than they are by flying to another planet. It just seems like there’s no more awe – no sexy danger, no adventurous mystique – to the reality of modern space travel. Well, buck up friends, because Science has suddenly remembered that space ships are supposed to be rad, and they are about to start seriously delivering on your sci-fi wet dreams, with equal parts Badass and Dangerously Insane:
Unnamed Space Fishbowl
This vehicle, resembling nothing more than a particularly intimidating orbital sex-toy, was designed by Armadillo Aerospace, a Texas company hoping to sell tourists tickets to space. Jesus, look at that damn thing: It’s so preposterous and unwieldy that it would be laughed out of the room if it was painted it on the cover of a ‘50s era sci-fi novel, much less earnestly proposed to a board of multi-million dollar investors. The only thing that could make it more ridiculous? They’ve actually green-lit it, and are building a prototype that they hope to have functional and flying within the next year! So good news for you – if you have a hundred grand to spare, and have always wanted to fly a Buttplug into outer space where you will apparently be eaten by the kraken that dwells deep within its core.
Space Travel Suitable for Even the Most Effete of Aristocrats
Scientists at the Paris Observatory – presumably unsatisfied with the crass, plebian Futurism present in modern space travel aesthetics – are working on plans for a more classy breed of inter-planetary exploration: A hot air balloon.
The balloon has been proposed to navigate the landscape of Titan, where the nitrogen rich atmosphere would function quite similarly to ours. Though no prototypes are officially planned, the idea is picking up steam, and even the most skeptical researchers who previously thought the French were just full of hot air, are now getting an inflated opinion of the concept, with all expectations ballooning out of control, the only challenge left is to – ah, fuck it. You’ve probably punched your monitor in already and thus wouldn’t even be able to read the rest of my awesome ballooning puns. Let’s just move on.
Deep Flight Challenger (Action Figure Not Included)
The Deep Flight Challenger, designed for the late billionaire adventurer Steve Fossett, was originally intended to withstand the intense pressures of deep sea exploration while still maintaining maneuverability and increased visibility. The vessel, however, is apparently proving a viable concept for space travel as well, making it just two mounted laser cannons away from M.A.S.K.
It’s really probably for the best that Fossett never got to pilot this thing, as it would have been immediately clear to even the dullest observer that “billionaire adventurer” Steve Fossett was actually Batman the second he started tooling around in his transforming super-plane.
New Mars Rover Invades Red Planet
NASA’s new Mars rover purports to solve a problem the previous vehicles have long suffered from: They’re boring as hell. Yes, we sent one to mars and everybody geeked out for about fifteen minutes, until it became clear that the thing could only do about a tenth of a mile an hour, occasionally pausing in its raucous, careening ride for two straight months when it got stuck on a pebble. Well, not this time. This time the rover is a little less like an RC car with dying batteries, and a little more like a nuclear powered laser firing death tank.
The main benefits of the improved rover being that the different power source harnesses a great deal more energy than the previous solar-based system, and the new laser is capable of “vaporizing most types of rock” found on the planet. So they’re not even pretending that the laser is there for experiments; it’s solely to fuck shit up and show the red planet who’s the god damn boss around here.
The IBEX: Our Telescope Can Beat Up Your Telescope
The Interstellar Boundary Explorer, or IBEX, is an orbital telescope built to study the somewhat mysterious effect known as Termination Shock. In addition to being the name of my new cyborg-themed AC/DC cover band, Termination Shock is the term for turbulence that occurs when the solar winds from our sun abruptly cease at the boundaries of our solar system. So, maybe a big telescope doesn’t exactly ping your Fuckin’ A Server, but listen: The IBEX is launched by strapping it to a Pegasus rocket, which is in turn strapped to the bottom of an L-1011 aircraft. The plane then flies as high as it can before firing the rocket carrying the IBEX into orbit, which then kicks its own solid state engines on, blasting it even further into space. So in summary: It’s a spaceship mounted to a jet that’s fired from a missile.
If you are physically capable of reading that sentence without making explosion noises with your mouth and throwing pens at your cat, well then congratulations Professor Maturity. I hope you’re happy over there on Bleak, Joyless Island.
With all these new space-travel developments rocking the sense right out of your damn head, I think it’s high time we updated that age old saying “they can put a man on the moon…but they can’t [improve whatever technology.]” The saying should now go: They can put a Kraken in space and fire Telescope Missiles from Transformer Planes…therefore I have no complaints whatsoever about modern technology. They obviously have their fucking priorities straight.