A ride into Earth orbit

What a time to be alive.

It certainly has been a trying few weeks, hasn't it? The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we live, and perhaps for quite a bit longer than we think. Restaurants are closed, save for drive-through and take-out, social gatherings are discouraged and it seems like half the people you meet are on edge.

It doesn't have to be that way, of course. This disruption to our daily lives is only temporary. I have the utmost optimism that something will happen to make this pandemic subside around the world.

As I was sitting on my couch on Friday, I imagined that this is sort of what it would be like to start a colony on Mars. No coronavirus, mind you (I hope). Instead, there wouldn't be much to do because ... well, there wouldn't be much to do.

Obviously, our first priority when colonizing Mars would be to build homes, then agriculture plots, and then perhaps some businesses would pop up.

It would be a while before you would be able to go bowling on Mars. What about going to the movie theater? Not happening. And going to the bar? Probably be a while before being able to produce Martian beer in any sort of mass quantity. But maybe not as long as you think.

Either way, the trappings of life on Earth would be nonexistent on the planet Mars. Your daily entertainment might be a good card game with friends, or it might even be simply watching the sun rise and set in an orange sky. Watching wispy clouds sweep high above the Martian landscape. All this in an environmental suit, not shorts and a T-shirt.

Those who venture to Mars and become our first colonists really will have to be willing to give up most of what they know and love. Sports, favorite foods, friends and family. It will not be easy. And you will have to live like this for a while, not a few weeks or a month.

So while you may not be able to go out to a restaurant and eat, take time to enjoy the truly finer things in life: The sunrise. The sunset. The clouds. The warmth. The cool. The friends. The family.

During this "down" time, let's focus on those things instead. Support your loved ones, your local businesses, your neighbor. It's the least we can do.

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Malan is entertainment editor and astronomy columnist for the News & Eagle.

Have a question about this story? Do you see something we missed? Do you have a story idea for Joe? Send an email to jmalan@enidnews.com.

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Entertainment Editor | Copy Editor | Astronomy Writer

Hi, I'm Joe. I've been with the Enid News & Eagle since June 2009. I design many of the pages you see each week in your newspaper. I love writing and talking about space, and I love listening to and writing about music as well.

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