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Editor's column: First signs of Cows in Space
The greatest news in space exploration history was received last week by the International Cows in Space Association.
Weve been praying that signs of cows would be found in space since Alan Shepherd was lobbed into suborbital flight, said society founder Limousin Lim Angus. Of course we never rooted for Yuri Gargarin because we didnt want to be associated with communist cows.
What titillated Cows in Space members was data from the spacecraft Huygens which proved there are vast amounts of liquid methane on Titan, one of Saturns moons.
Professor John Zarnecki, principal investigator for Huygens surface science package, said methane runs like rivers on Titan.
This methane must be constantly renewed from some unknown source within the moon, he added.
We dont want to jump to any conclusions, Angus concluded. But this could well mean that below the freezing surface of Titan are vast herds of grazing, cud-chewing, methane-producing cows.
Cows are known to produce vast amounts of gaseous methane, which would liquify on a cold planet like Titan. The problem on Earth is so severe that cow methane is partly blamed for global warming, and countries such of New Zealand have taxed cows to provide funding to contain the problem with bovine diapers or other devices.
Cows in Space Society has held out hope of finding interplanetary bovines since the earliest days of space exploration.
We wanted to find something friendly and productive in space, Angus explained. Not just a bunch of little gray men who like to abduct humans and experiment on their reproductive parts.
Angus said he and a group of like-minded optimists chose cows as perhaps the most pleasant, easy-going creatures one could hope to find in space. Science fiction literature was rife with space monsters and other gruesome creatures, but nobody ever imagined a gentler, kinder denizen of outer space, he said. Imagine the effect on mankind if we actually did find cows in space. Thats why were so excited about Titan.
Angus continued that proof of cows in space would show that the theory of survival of the fittest is not applicable throughout the universe.
Finding cows would suggest that survival of the kindest is possible on other worlds, Angus said.
That the kindest creatures prosper. Imagine how that would shake up scientists and theologians on earth. Why, it could change everything. People could get ahead on earth just by being nice. What if the next President gave an inaugural address by simply saying, The U.S. is going to be nice to everybody for the next four years. This inspiration from space cows could change the world.
Unfortunately for Cows in Space Society, methane itself is not absolute proof of cows. Thats why Angus will be pressuring the international space community to redouble its efforts on Titan, until the question of cows can be answered with certainty.
We dont know how far below the surface the cows may be, Angus said.
We need to send up sensitive listening devices capable of detecting the faintest moo, and spacecraft that can comb the surface of Titan looking for frozen cow products, such as manure and ice cream. Why, we could mine Titan for the ice cream, finally giving mankind a direct benefit for all the money weve spent of space exploration.
Angus is also worried about possible enemies of cows in space. Dont expect any funding from the Pentagon or Boeing, he said. If cows in space cause peace to break out on Earth, it could be a disaster for arms dealers. Of course, they could always branch out and starting shooting cows toward Mars.
Its about time they had some intelligent life there, but it wont happen if men get there first.