Martian Deep-Crater Pizza

Published 4:10 pm Thursday, June 13, 2013

A Dutch organization is offering applicants a one-way trip to Mars.



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That's the kind of trip I'm not going to fall over people to sign up for.

If I go to Mars I must have a return ticket stuck somewhere in my space suit.

A return ticket-never leave home for Mars without it.

Yet thousands of people have already applied for the seven-to-eight-month journey the Dutch organization Mars One hopes to launch in 2018.

There are many obvious questions and the most obvious is this: where are they going to find a reliable source of pizza?

Mars is half the diameter of Earth so there are bound to be 50 percent fewer pizza restaurants. If you land in the wrong place, you're out of luck, and it's food in a tube.

Most of the reviews for Martian “Deep-Crater” Pizza ask more questions than they answer anyway. The most popular Martian pizza topping, according to reliable Internet research, is concentrations of plagioclase feldspar.

It's been years since I ate any plagioclase feldspar and my memories of its flavor are some of the most unsettling in my life. Tectosilicate minerals affect me that way. Even as a side-dish.

And don't get me started on high calcium pyroxene calzones, another Martian fast-food delicacy. Travelers to Mars are going to lose bone mass and anything high in calcium will be a boon but I draw the line at a calzone stuffed with important rock-forming inosilicate minerals found in many igneous and metamorphic rocks.

Any metamorphic rock worth eating is going to have the common courtesy to metamorph itself into a New York Style pepperoni supreme pizza.

So I'm out. No Martian trip for me.

But the former captain of the USS Enterprise-Sir Patrick Stewart (aka Captain Jean Luc Picard)-may be just the man to skipper this little excursion, even with a one-way ticket.

If there is pizza worth eating to be found on Mars, Sir Patrick is the man to boldly eat where no man or woman has eaten before.

Stewart made headlines this week when photographed eating a slice of pizza in Brooklyn. Ordinarily, someone eating a slice of pizza-if it's not Bill Clinton and a White House intern-is not hard news. Or even limp news.

But Steward admitted publicly that it was the first slice of pizza he had ever eaten in his life. The man is 72 years old and not so much as the merest thin slice of pizza had ever passed his lips.

I was astounded. For years he had access to the food replicators Starfleet and the United Federation of Planets installed throughout their starships. Furthermore, I have seen every documentary of his missions in space, or his star treks, and know for a fact that he even had a food replicator in his personal quarters.

He ordered Earl Grey Tea, hot, every day but never a slice of pizza?

Now, however, Sir Patrick has been bitten by the pizza-biting bug. The day after news reports-confirmed by both Stewart and the owner of the pizzeria-of his first slice of pizza in Brooklyn, the former starship captain was photographed in a Chicago pizza shop eating a deep-dish pizza with a knife and fork.

Clearly, this galaxy-trotting adventure gourmet is traveling many miles at warp speed to quench his newfound thirst for pizza.

What better way to top off the topping quest than by leading an away mission to Mars.

According to the Martian Chamber of Commerce-as a former president of the Farmville Area Chamber of Commerce, I have reciprocal contact rights-retailers on Mars are more than willing to offer Sir Patrick and any of his crew a seven percent discount on all items. Plus a punch card that will allow them to claim an additional 1.54321 lift-off discount for the 25th item purchased.

Stewart would also be allowed to audition for the role of Banquo's ghost in any Martian production of Shakespeare's Macbeth, as a further inducement to visit Mars.

I'm not sure Banquo's ghost ever actually says anything in its one scene, and it's only a brief appearance at a banquet-but a banquet at which pizza might be served.

Clever, those Martians surely are.

Stewart, who I expect to show up for a slice of pizza in Farmville, Dillwyn, or Cumberland any day now, may stand alone in waiting for a slice at Pete's Palatable Pizza in Beersheba Springs, Tennessee and declare, “The line must be drawn here!”

Or he may just set his taste buds to their “stun” setting and go for it.

Aurorae Sinus-a famous dark feature in the southern hemisphere of Mars (perhaps oceanfront property)-here he comes?

That, ladies and gentlemen, would be nothing to sneeze at for the Martian Chamber of Commerce, which moments ago alerted me that additional toppings of hematite and olivine would be made available for any pizza ordered by the famous Starfleet officer.

And I haven't yet mentioned the Martian crust, which, at 120 kilometers, is three times the thickness of Earth's crust.

Something to chew on there, Sir Patrick, though hard for me to swallow.

Mars One's plans to settle the Red Planet are ambitious and historic, but I don't want that Dutch treat.