While talking to a friend over text messaging, I could not help but wonder if blind people would ever be chosen to go to the Red Planet, space, etc. While my friend, Esoteric Quality on medium and other things, believes that blind folks are taking over science, tech, engineering, and math (STEM) professions more than ever, where is there room for us to go to outer space, deep space, or the Red Planet? Okay, notice that not one lead character in any classic sci fi books about Mars is blind or disabled in any way. In the real world, Astronaut Corps members live in Houston, Texas, which could be one of the worst transit spots for blind individuals if you are not lucky enough to have a driver. I have a friend in Austin, and she complains bitterly on Facebook about Austin’s transportation and the sisters at mosques don’t seem to take her seriously.
Now, what are the qualities that the Astronaut Corps needs in order for someone to journey to Mars? I have a few qualities that I’m sure NASA will have to consider. In my mind, NASA should consider a willingness to learn and perhaps a college degree in aeronautics. But what about adventure? Someone with spunk? I’m sure that should be considered, but NASA really needs someone in the Astronaut Corps or Navy, both closed to blind people, to go to Mars. I wish we could not colonize the Red Planet because people like myself and my fiance Trenton could be left behind on Earth, no kidding, and the Astronauts that do go to Mars will all be navy and army trained, something blind people don’t usually get.
Individuals with disabilities should be considered if, for example, the Earth is about to explode. We need to consider the apocalypse perhaps, but no zombies included. Earth will die one day, and it won’t really be us causing it. We will have to go somewhere with sentient beings on it, though, not Mars. Why Mars? Why should we bother colonizing the planet? Blind and handicapped/disabled people should be allowed to go there if Earth countries and inequality of able and disabled people is too much. What other choice do we have!
So how do you put an astronaut with disabilities in space, let alone Mars? Or some other planet? First, kNASA should open doors instead of close them, make the Corps accessible to ordinary people who are not Army or Navy trained. Training should be open and in some ways modified where visual content lingers, so that the blind can learn how to perhaps pilot the spacecraft, put it in control, and listen to guidance instructions from capcom, etc. There are a zillion ways that a blind person could become a space flier or spacefaring soul, but we must, if anything, drop the Navy and or Army requirements. Sure, living in Texas should never be required but it currently seems like it. We also need to find alternative spaceports other than Florida because Florida has winds, anvil clouds always in the way, and beaches and other things. Florida is also an ableist community, which would then lend the space port not friendly to those with blindness and other physical differences. IF I wanted to fly in a rocket somewhere into space or on another planet, we’d need a flat and easy trip but I wouldn’t ever recommend Florida, that is because in my experience with my dad working the program until its demise in 2010, there were more scrubs than launches and computer problems were only a quarter of the problems. We had mostly weather, and Florida weather sucks for some people. An anvil cloud could ruin time and date for many people, including the astronaut hopefuls. I’m sorry, but we need a better space port that doesn’t have as bad a weather problem. What about a flat piece of plain in Colorado? Or Arizona? Desert weather is a bit more predictable, and monsoon season can be avoided so the shuttles and rockets can go up. Summer could potentially be a better season in the Plains, but there has to be fair weather, no snow, at least for one time. Arizona might be a better place because there’s no beach, and their springs could potentially be good for space launching. Summer would be too hot, and what about the cold of winter? There has to be another way to do this other than fly up from a place that is not only unsafe, but whose weather is unpredictable, whose people don’t feel confident in blind folks going up, etc.
While a blind person is indeed able to train to become an astronaut, I’ve thought about how they’d do on Mars. There’s a Mars research station in Utah, so why aren’t any blind scientists going there? Why you ask? I think it is because people don’t feel we’re qualified in any way to go up there. Nobody’s going to colonize Mars and think, what about the Earth’s disabled inhabitants? It’ll be like Elesium, where only the wealthy and able persons can go to the big station in the sky. We don’t know if Max da Costa will ever come save the day, but truthfully I don’t know if there will be a Max da Costa who will depolarize the world of Earth and outer space, so brace yourselves. The colonization of Mars could be a whole fifty years away.