A Very Long Distance Relationship
No, I don’t have a secret lover in another city. This is a completely different kind of relationship, a inter-galactic one if you will.
I’ve been having these recurring dreams over the past week about being space, I am up there floating around, amazed at what I am seeing. The sun is reflecting off of, what looks like from my height, very still oceans and the clouds are casting shadows on the warm and robust continents. No borders are visible anywhere, political or geographical, it’s just one planet and it fills me with wonder that this is my home. It looks like the highest resolution google earth I have ever seen. I initiate a sequence, which in the dream, I have no idea what I am doing, but my fingers seem to be deftly running over keys and knobs making everything happen. Then out of the death star-esque looking window in my space plane I see a satellite spin away from the ship and slowly unfurl its solar panels. It disappears over the curvature of the earth, and I know it is in orbit, I start my dissent. In my head I know this is a communication satellite for contact with other earths, like the Hubble Space Telescope is for looking, this one is for talking. In this recurring dream I need to go up again to activate the satellite or do repairs or check up on it, I’m never quite sure. Anyway, I start to get anxiety, because before I was just along for the ride, now I have to figure out how to get into space find the damn thing, which will probably involve math and I have my wife telling me how to land the space plane, “Keep the nose up dummy, don’t forget to keep the nose up or else you’re gonna eat dirt” my wife is way nicer in real life than she is in my dreams, I have no idea why. I am freaking out and am trying to find ways to avoid going back into space. From the landing to the rendezvous with the satellite, I realize that this mission is way over my head. I think the dream has something to do with my career anxiety, but I believe the simpler explanation is, I watch to much Big Bang Theory.
Regardless it got me thinking about communicating with other earths and how that would go, and to my dismay I got a little depressed. You see if we did make contact with another earth it would more than likely be through radio waves or some laser beam technology that travels at the speed of light. So let’s say we go with the latter to save time. A laser beam travelling at the speed of light would take twenty years to make it to the closest habitable planet, Gliese 581 c. Whoever got the message first would then have to answer, which would take another twenty years, then even if we hooked up via Laser-Phone™ and had a constant connection, we would still have to wait another twenty years, that’s going on sixty years now. Then there is the fact that we both have orbits around our own stars. So our suns would get in the way of the transmissions every once and a while or other planets, asteroids, space junk, Evil Alien Warships, who knows what’s out there. But you gotta think, even if we had a connection with them right now that had been going for the past twenty years, they would be laughing at us once they got our first transmission. We would inundate them with our grand news of the technological marvel called the Discman, or our new groundbreaking communication devices called Pagers. We would send them Windows NT 3.1 and Netscape Navigator. Plus they would have to watch old episodes of Friends, Martin and Beverly Hills 90210 and listen to the Spice Girls, Hanson and Boyz II Men. We want to foster good relations with these people, not be the laughing stock of the galaxy. Equally depressing is we would probably get the same old alien stuff from them, ugh! That can’t be good, just think of twenty year old alien porn, I just threw up in my mouth a little.
Yes, we could share medical breakthroughs and new inventions, but what if their physiology is completely different from ours, what if they are ten foot wide amoebas, they’re not gonna give a shit about spinal surgery or the Snuggies . So even if we do start a conversation, I think it would be fun for the first month or so, then…not so much. So as for the satellite in my dream, I would still probably activate it, make contact, because even it we are just sharing our shit with each other, at least we are sharing it with someone. Right?!?