Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Shepard.
Its 10-minute mission: to look down on our strange new world. To boldly go where, actually, quite a few have gone before and then come back again in time for tea. Nah, it doesn’t quite have the same ring to it, does it?
They’ll probably be up there by the time you read this. Star Trek actor, William Shatner, and his crewmates were due to blast off at 1.30pm, our time, unless they’re delayed again by wind. Wind is a terrible problem for such missions because capsules are small. It’s not as if you can open a window.
Captain Kirk has lost his cool
As Captain James Tiberius Kirk, of the USS Starship Enterprise (NCC-1701), he pretended to live in space. Now, aged 90 but looking and sounding like someone 30 years younger, Shatner has come clean. He is planking it. The cool, calm Captain Kirk admits he’s scared witless, and this time second officer Spock is not ready with Vulcan logic.
I know you said you wouldn’t want to hear the words: “Houston, we have a problem.” That’s because you want to live long and prosper. I get it. This is just 10 minutes. You will be the oldest person ever to have gone into space. It’ll be a short holiday. Like Boris Johnson and family are having in Marbella. There’s a lot of fuss about it and the problem is that Boris is very recognisable, so it could be short.
The prime minister should come to the west of Scotland again. They got an Airbnb in Applecross last year but tabloids found them. Come to the island of Great Bernera instead. We have a new replacement metal bridge almost complete now. It’s still a secret, but it’ll actually be a drawbridge. When locals on Bernera see anyone dodgy hanging around Earshader, they will just pull the ropes and up it will come like Tower Bridge to keep undesirables off Paradise Island.
Over there, Boris can loudly sing to his wife that Dr Hook song he declined to at their wedding. “And he said, come on Carrie, carry me a little farther. Come on Carrie, carry me one more mile.”
Here, use cream
Meanwhile, Mr Shatner and crewmates hope to get to inner space about 62 miles up. That’ll be at the Kármán line. It’s like a Brexit border, but in the sky. Sixty-two miles. That’s like going from the centre of Aberdeen to the middle of Elgin – but vertically. Ah, right, that could be challenging. Doable, but you would rather not on a wet and windy winter’s night.
Weather doesn’t bother anyone up in the great beyond. It is so quiet in space because there’s no air to carry sound. What was that famous, ominous line from the film Alien? “In space, no one can hear you scream.”
When they had a practice run the other day, William S went to make a coffee. He told the other astronaut he couldn’t find the milk. His crewmate replied: “In space, no one can. Here, use cream.”
Prince Charles doesn’t use cream but cheese to power his ancient jalopy. He rambled on around the Balmoral garden, throwing a bit of shade on the government’s climate commitment, saying youngsters are frustrated with uncommitted adults and praising Greta Thunberg.
The heir to the throne sounded very sensible, actually. He confirmed he had electric cars and then he said: “My old Aston Martin, which I’ve had for 51 years, runs on, can you believe this, surplus English white wine and whey from the cheese process.”
So that’s why the cable under the Minch taking power from Harris to Skye and beyond snapped last year? Brown crabs could have been nibbling it
I use cheese and wine for energy, too. In my case, it’s Sauvignon Blanc and Welsh rarebit.
While HRH is using food as energy in an unusual way, something else is trying to get food in an unusual way. Scientists have discovered crabs like to gnaw on undersea power cables. Brown crab like nothing better than getting their claws into a PLUTO – a pipeline under the ocean to you landlubbers.
So that’s why the cable under the Minch taking power from Harris to Skye and beyond snapped last year? Brown crabs could have been nibbling it in the octopus’s garden in the shade.
News just in from the spaceship… William Shatner spotted a $10 bill on the capsule floor. As he bent down, one of the other crew claimed he saw it first. There was an argument.
Whose ten? We have a problem…