Saturday, September 13, 2014

Interplanetary Traffic & Parking Considerations

With a Mars Rover preparing to head to our neighboring planet in 2020, we really should discuss the elephants in the room: Traffic and Parking. 
Landing Rovers | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
Image via

These are important issues. NASA is working on determining where to land another Mars Rover. They sought input from scientists around the world. Our world. 

Someday, another planet's space program might want to land a data-gathering rover on Earth. While they will probably consult their own scientists, input from Earthlings could only make landing here less stressful for our galactic neighbors. That is why I put together my top five list, in no particular order, of considerations for dealing with traffic and parking on Earth:

Any alien visitor will want a full calendar of Earthly holidays. Why? Have you ever tried to park at the mall during the month of December? Or try to get home for Thanksgiving? All religious holidays from every denomination of every world religion must be listed as well as all national holidays from the nearly 200 countries established on Earth. These observances and celebrations have a tendency to increase traffic and absorb all parking spaces everywhere for extended periods of time.

Aliens must consider the working habits of Earthlings. Even small towns, like Asheboro, have congested roadways before and after typical workdays. If I go out of my way to avoid Salisbury Street, Fayetteville Street, and Dixie Drive for large blocks of time during the work week, space aliens just might want to avoid the same for their rovers.

Outgoing Atlanta Traffic | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
Do we really want THIS to be the
first image sent back to another
planet via their Earth Rover?
There are places on Earth that experience traffic congestion as well as lack of parking regardless of the day or time. In the US, Atlanta, Los Angeles, New York City, and Washington DC come to mind. I'm sure the same is true of other bigs cities, such as London, Paris, Beijing, Delhi, Moscow, and Buenos Aires. These are all places I would rather use public transportation than try to drive around and have to park my car, let alone a rover.

Space aliens sending rovers will want to know where the zones are and when laws are in effect. Imagine their surprise when they land their data-gathering vehicle and expect to move it from point A to point B at 75 m.p.h. (converted to Earth speeds) at 3:15 p.m. near Plainville Township Elementary? All their calculations will have to be refigured because of the 25 m.p.h. speed limit in effect until 4:20 p.m. This, in turn, could throw off the entire mission. Also, no one wants Bernie's little two-year-old brother to grab parts of a high-tech rover and start putting them in his mouth and slobbering all over them while Bernie's mom is talking to his teacher about missing spelling homework.

Our need to continuously fix, upgrade, widen, and otherwise improve roadways is bound to have an impact. Once other life forms from distant galaxies receive data on all the construction zone alerts that are active on any given day all over our planet, they might actually be deterred from sending a rover. Eureka! Now that I think about it, maybe the governments of Earth already know construction zones are a deterrent to space aliens. Maybe that is precisely why there are so many active construction projects all over the world all the time. 

Micki Bare, mother of three, wife, daughter & writer is the author of Thurston T. Turtle children's books. 
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Copyright 2014 Michele Bare 

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