What's in a Cave?
Homo sapiens is a curious species, never satisfied with the here and now. No matter what our age, the urge to explore is in our genes.
(Since junior high, I’ve also hoped that the ladies have the urge to explore in my jeans … but that’s not relevant to this story.)
We have extended our wanderlust from continents to the entire globe to the solar system, and yet we keep finding new things to amaze us. In the realm of astronomy, discoveries ranging from volcanoes on Jupiter’s moon to lakes on the surface of Saturn’s moon Titan keep space junkies like me wondering what we’ll see next.
Here’s something. According to a story on astronomy.com, NASA’s Mars orbiters have discovered possible caves on the Red Planet’s surface. Seven, in fact.
For the experts, this suggests a higher probability of underground habitats that could moderate the temperature swings the surface suffers—and possibly better conditions for indigenous life on Mars at some point in its history.
For me, it presents likely locations for some well-known disappearances:
Ambrose Bierce. The witty author vanished in the Chihuahua state of Mexico in 1913. Mars could be his current location—it’s a hell of a lot more likely than in the belly of one of the Taco Bell dog’s hungry ancestors.
Amelia Earhart. In 1937, she disappeared while flying over the South Pacific. Maybe her plane simply had better range than we ever suspected.
Glenn Miller. The famous bandleader was traveling from England to France in 1944 and never arrived. If he went to Mars, he could have invented new forms of music we can’t even imagine. Or maybe just the same crap he did down here.
D.B. Cooper. This story is amazing. A man in 1971 receives $200,000 in ransom, hijacks a plane, and jumps out over the Pacific Northwest—never to be heard from again. Instead of descending to Earth, did he have a rocket pack and ascend to Mars?
Jimmy Hoffa. This American labor leader vanished in 1975. Given the power of the unions at the time, it’s possible he was sent on a secret mission to set up the first labor organization on the Red Planet.
Natalee Holloway. Aruba is a long way from Mars, true … but investigators haven’t turned up any trace of this Alabama teenager who disappeared on a high school trip in 2005. NASA rovers should add blond hair to their list of things to look for in their meanderings.
Madeleine McCann. In May, this three-year-old went missing from a resort in Portugal while her parents had a bite to eat nearby. I recognize that millions of miles is a long way to crawl, especially through interstellar space, but I haven’t heard many better ideas.
David Amulet. Last week, he just faded away. Gone, into thin air, like a ghost. Did he go up to Mars? Nobody knows, but thankfully I—his evil twin—will happily fill in for him. Ladies and gentlemen, prepare for some tabasco-flavored posts.
I'm not nearly as nice as my twin.