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Washington DC, 01 April 2013 – In a bold new initiative intended to revitalize a flagging American human spaceflight program, government officials today announced plans to land a team of astronauts on the Sun by the year 2038.

The stunning announcement immediately evoked comparisons to the glory days of the Apollo lunar landing effort.  Public reaction to this next great adventure in space was overwhelmingly favorable.  However, talk of a resurgence in American space supremacy failed to sway federal lawmakers whose collective response could best be described as tepid.

Responding to claims in some sectors that the benefit-to-risk ratio is far too low for such a mission, the space agency immediately countered that  unusually extreme measures are being taken to mitigate mission risk.   Reportedly, a key element of the risk mitigation plan involves scheduling the solar landing at night.  Moreover, each astronaut will be equipped with a personal fire extinguisher and also receive the equivalent of a masters degree in fire science by way of pre-flight training.

Crew creature comforts are also a high priority for the solar landing mission.  Citing as proof that the space agency has done their homework here as well, officials indicated that the landing party will be provided with more than ample supplies of sunscreen (SPF 1 Million), sun glasses (welder’s glass), and asbestos undergarments.

Amidst a flurry of early speculation regarding the prime crew for the first solar landing attempt, the most frequently mentioned names are those of Gollum, Cruella De Vil, and Count Rugen.  Back-up crew members include the Wicked Witch of the North, the Joker, and a player to be named later.  While space officials declined to provide details, the competition for a seat on this daring mission is understandably intense.

It is not obvious at this writing as to how the solar landing team will actually get to the Sun.  The United States (1) has not flown a Saturn V launch vehicle since 1973, (2) retired the Space Shuttle in 2011, (3) currently has no manned-rated launch system, and (4) must rely on Russia to get to and from its own space station.  However, a senior space official requesting anonymity avers that alien abduction is a leading contender for transport to the Sun.

Challenging too is the question of how astronauts will travel on the surface of the Sun where temperatures are on the order of 10,000F.  A possible solution to this vexing problem comes by way of the automobile industry which has suggested the use of an all-electric version of the Chevy Volt.  Government officials have been swift to agree.  Not only is there a reduction of fire and explosion hazard due to elimination of combustible fuels, but there is the additional benefit of taking the green movement to the Sun.

One simplifying feature of the solar landing mission is that there is no return flight.  Thus, the technical complexities and substantial costs associated with lift-off from the Sun, trans-earth trajectory, and atmospheric entry back at Earth are eliminated.  Environmentalists were especially pleased to hear that entry vehicle aerodynamic heating would not be a factor on this mission.  The fear being that such heating would markedly contribute to man-made global warming or whatever the climate change crisis du jour.

That’s our report for now.  Suffice it to say that uncommon days lie ahead for the American human spaceflight program.  To stay abreast of the latest solar landing project developments, the interested reader is directed to the following URL: AprilFool.com


Posted in Aerospace, History

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