Thursday, June 25, 2009

Stay Put(t-Putt)

With a single rocket launch, the population of the cosmos has doubled overnight… or so says one misinformed reporter. While this eager space enthusiast may be, for lack of a better word, ignorant in his laughable assumption that only humans will be counted in the next great space census (expect a knock on your door in 13,254), he does bring up an interesting debate: should the people of earth be clamoring to get off the planet and move into a cozy studio airlock chamber somewhere in the neighborhood of Mars?

According to the dire predictions of one well-informed politician, yes.

Despite my own enthusiasm to see mankind join the rest of the galaxy-hopping species while it can still be considered “fashionably late,” rushing the process can only lead to disaster. No regrettable tale illustrates this point better than that of the mini-golf loving Namtorians. 

Namtorians had occupied their planet for over 5,680,000 years. So, as you could imagine, they had exhausted nearly every putt-putt layout imaginable, and were quite bored with their surroundings. One day, after hitting himself in the face with a rubber band, the Namtorian emperor decided that the entire population of the planet should be launched into space in a single vessel, where they could presumably dream up ways of getting multicolored balls to pass beneath pint-sized windmills in zero gravity. Unfortunately, their primary means of propulsion resembled something like this, and the Namtorians never made it to hole one.

In short, people of Earth, don’t jump the gun on this one. You’ll find yourselves orbiting another universe’s sun soon enough. In the meantime, keep an eye on those icecaps.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Gas is Gas is Gas

I recently found out about a certain accepted practice down on Earth that has me a bit confused. Apparently, gazing at the stars is considered romantic.

Call me old fashioned, but I just don’t see what’s so romantic about burning balls of gas. Do you take your dates down to your boiler room to look at your hot water heaters too? I’d like to assume no, but then again, I’m still trying to figure a lot of this stuff out.

In fact, it seems that there’s a lot of misunderstandings about stars in general. Take for instance, “The Lion King,” where the filmmakers would have us believe that stars are actually the kings of the past sent to watch over us. Putting aside my doubt that those in power through a monarchy system have the best interests of the general population in mind, the whole thing is just totally bunk. With the rare exception of Fangledorf the Fabulous and Flabby, whose layers of fat caused him to burn for over 500 years after being ceremoniously launched into space on his 47th birthday, no king has ever become a star.

Perhaps it’s just a problem with the media. If only Hollywood would stop featuring scenes with Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts gazing up into the sky, there wouldn’t be a problem (I’ve never been swayed, though I’ve seen Ape Pope get misty eyed at times). In the future, these movie types should pick a more appropriate butterfly-in-the-stomach inducing scene, like that of a Cape Canaveral Launch. Now THAT’S romance!

And don’t even get me started on sunsets…

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Road Trip, Anyone?

Hey there Rocket enthusiasts! While I’ve had my fair share of disagreements with, “trolls,” on the world wide web, I’d like to talk about something that surely everyone can agree on: Road Trips!

Yes, it seems everyone enjoys a good road trip now and then. See the sights, taste the food, feel the atmospheric pressure change as your relation to sea-level alters. But road trips, whether ground-based or interstellar-oriented, often bring about several common, but easily avoidable social faux pas.

First off, leave that big gulp at home. Nobody likes to pull over every 15 minutes because somebody decided to have 3 cups of coffee (or buzemble juice) that morning. It may not be a problem if your space ship comes equipped with a Compact By-Product Removal Unit, but for those of us who like to travel light, it’s a pain to be asked to pull over when there’s nothing but suns for lightyears in any direction.

Also, just because you’re not at the controls doesn’t mean you shouldn’t help out with supplies for your journey. You know what they say, “gas, food-stuffs, or breathable air… nobody rides for free!” I’ve heard the crude Earth version of this saying, and while its rhyme scheme is more traditional, two out of three of the suggested forms of compensation are frowned upon by the Church.

That just about covers the major issues… sure you might leave your friends miffed by your radio-karaoke sessions, or you might have some disagreements over whether to leave the pod-bay doors open or closed, but that’s all part of the experience. So hit the road, space fans! If you’re heading towards the Mulglupta Nebula next weekend, we just might cross paths (that is, if Chocolate Pope doesn’t lose the map again).

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

History Lesson Time!

I’ve been browsing through Earth’s official public record of knowledge, and I’ve come across a few gems like this… “The highest specific impulse chemistry ever test-fired in a rocket engine was lithium and fluorine, with hydrogen added to improve the exhaust thermodynamics (making this a tripropellant)[1].”

While it’s all well and good to quote nursery rhymes, for those looking for a more detailed account of the history of rocket fuel, perhaps I can help. Apparently, when Earth people think about rocket fuel, they jump to images of NASA, Sputnik, or some commercially available liquid called, “Everclear.” The first known rocket fuel, however, was discovered a whopping 400,000 years ago by Simon Gardelglan of the Septupian Nebula. Like most great inventors, he was just a lone multi-cellular organism with a dream: to find a confectionary alternative to ice cream cake at birthday parties.

Despite the accusations of heresy and constant questioning of why he didn’t just eat pie, Simon toiled on. While he never did find another suitable birthday pastry (perhaps we never will), Simon did tragically discover the first practical rocket fuel when one of his experiment projects, “dazzle apricots,” caught fire and launched his basement workshop into the stratosphere.

Every year, we now commemorate Simon’s sacrifice to the field of rocketry by lighting his most hated desert ablaze. I’ve seen this ritual on Earth as well, accompanied by some strange song, but I have the feeling something’s been lost in translation.

That’s all for today! I hope you’re all a little more informed. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to conduct a few experiment of my own with this “Everclear” that everyone’s talking about.

Sunday, April 26, 2009


For those of you who are regulars to my blog, you have undoubtedly been wondering about a question I never fully explored in my first post.

Question: “Can a rocket be fueled by Faith alone?”

My answer: “Yes, but not for the reasons you think.”

Since the Space Pope blog went live, I’ve been fielding several guesses from amateur theologians/physicists/pastry chefs (there was this one guy in Ohio…). Most of them cite Hanukkah and the whole miracle oil thing, where one day’s oil lasted for eight. First off, I would remind you people that I’m a Pope, and as such I can’t really attest to the relationship between weapons grade accelerants and Judaism. That being said, I can pretty safely say that’s not it.

I’ve also heard a couple of people suggest that I’m talking about some kind of metaphorical rocket, in which the rocket stands for humanity and Faith is the driving force behind our propulsion towards salvation. Again, clever, but no.

Truth is, this puzzler may have been a bit too biased towards those among you whom are more traveled… particularly in the Scutum-Crux Arm of the Milky Way. If you’ve swung by the outermost tip, you’ve surely heard of the Bartzonians, a race of creatures whose daily emotions are manifested into physical form and excreted through various orifices. It sounds graphic, and it is. Still, almost all of these emotions serve a purpose in their society, and it just so happens that the substance produced by the Faithful is their rocket fuel of choice. In a pinch, you could also use “Lust,” though as a Pope, I would advise you to steer clear.

If you’re still feeling curious about the Bartzonians, I would suggest checking out their Periodic Table of the Elements. Better yet, fuel up your rocket and head out for a first-person account! Though I would probably stay away from “Smug.” They use it as a hair conditioner, but, at best, it would melt your skin.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Don't Try This At Home

Perhaps I should have clarified a few things when I started this blog. Please, do NOT try space travel unless you have the technological means to do so. One reader recently sent me a video of his first “take off,” and now I feel slightly responsible.

While I can’t say I know much about these “pocket rockets,” I can tell you with a fair amount of certainty that they are not equipped for intergalactic travel. Judging the by that horrible sound, they contain some sort of primitive motor, using who-knows what kind of fuel, which will never provide the necessary thrust to break through the ozone layer. And don’t even get me started on the inadequacies of that space helmet (stylish as it may be).

If you’re really interested in building your own space ship, I suggest heading down to your planet’s local Department of Orbiting Vehicles. They should have some pamphlets available with all the information you’ll need.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

All I Am Saying Is Give Reason A Chance

Okay, so the launch of my blog hasn’t gone quite as I have planned. I’ve received a lot of messages along the lines of “space travel sux [sic],” or, “lolz, ur ponytail lukz lik a fishtail in a fishbowl in ur helmut! [lol, sic]” or “I’LL DEFEAT YOU YET, SPACE POPE, MARK MY WORDS I’LL DEFEAT YOU YET!”

As Pope of one of the more liberal branches of Catholicism, I’ve pledged to be tolerant of other people’s beliefs. Of course, that comes with the great Space Catholicism Paradox, where it’s quite hard to be accepting of those who aren’t very accepting of you at all. Not to be confused with the great Space Catholicism Riddle, but that’s something you shouldn’t concern yourself with. I’ve already said too much.

Speaking of saying too much, my point is that if you don’t have anything nice to say, you should at least present your argument in a clear manner, respectful of other points of view… Space Catholicism isn’t all that good with sayings.

Now that all that’s out of the way, I can’t wait to get started with some serious discussions!