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Old Man in Spaaaaace!

an old man going to marsThe boomers has screwed him again — not Buck Bannister specifically — but they’d screwed him and everyone else who wasn’t part of their generation.

True to form, the baby boomers continued to steal the limelight from younger generations. Once again they had set the tone of the zeitgeist, and this time, it wasn’t like before. It wasn’t the 70s drug-and-sex craze, or 80s consumerism, or the “old people are cool” campaign of the early teens. No, this time they’d stolen the thunder under the auspices of self-sacrifice.

Buck floated in the space station, and looked at the giant craft that was minutes from departure. It was going to Mars. He should be on it, not the geriatric boomers that waited for the “launch” to begin.

Buck had helped build the thing, clocking the most hours in space since the Russian Mir program. That had actually hurt his chances of getting on the Methuselah mission, even though he knew the ship better than anyone else.

It was all a problem of cosmic radiation. The more you got, the higher your chances of getting cancer, developing cataracts, having children with birth defects, and other problems. It was okay to spend some time in orbit, but long-distance space travel?

The trip to Mars was a one-in-ten chance of developing cancer in twenty years. Buck liked those odds, but the authorities (baby boomers all) didn’t. The only people they were willing to send were those who were so old, their chances of living another twenty years were pretty slim.

So the first humans on Mars would be in their 90s.

The Methuselah’s engines lit up, and they were off. The sound of Buck’s teeth grinding filled the space station, as he watched the start of the last great adventure that would take place in his lifetime.

Yep, the boomers had done it to Buck again.

The science:
Cosmic rays may prevent long-haul space travel. Other spacey humor here and here.