Today’s time-train stops in 1983 on the very day an unmanned spaceship passed beyond Pluto on its continuing ‘no-man’ mission to ‘Gawdknowswhere’.
In the week ‘Pioneer 10′ was launched (March 2nd 1972), ‘Nilsson’ (that’s Harry, not Dennis) was at the top of the British hit parade with a song entitled ‘Without You’. A lovely little ‘ditty’ all about some feller who feels suicidal. Funny enough, the song was written by two geezers who later both chose to commit suicide themselves. The second one doing so just as ‘Pioneer 10′ was passing Pluto. How’s that for high jinks!
Anyway, this driverless piece of space junk (that’s the spaceship, not the song) not only carried some non-returnable, very expensive NASA recording equipment up with it to analyse interplanetary living conditions, but as you can see from the window of your train it also carries a metal plate on its side that includes some very primitive drawings of the naked human form and an invitation from NASA to all alien life forms in the neighbourhood to drop in on planet Earth sometime.
As we haven’t heard what could be even a single bleep from ‘Pioneer 10′ for well over seven years now, and we still await the arrival of that far-off alien nation to drop by, either ‘Pioneer 10′ has crashed on some distant planet somewhere and is now being worshipped as ‘the great fire god’ by a primitive group of Dan Dare aliens…or it’s still going but there is absolutely no-one out there in deep space to read NASA’s invitation to enter the Earth’s atmosphere and become the sole focus of a rapid post-mortem in Roswell.
If Pioneer 10 is indeed still flying, then it’s going to take another two million years to reach its intended target. So I wouldn’t bother waiting up for the first pictures if I was you. I’m damned sure Sir Patrick Moore won’t.
But the funniest thing about this particular ‘Dreamland Junction’ time-train is that whilst the non-manned ‘Pioneer 10′ spaceship managed to transport itself without a human driver across an entire galaxy and towards a far off star over two million light years away without any incident, the driverless Cambridge Guided Bus, built two years ago by BAM Nuttall, hasn’t carried one fare-paying passenger a few miles up the road yet.
Us Earth dwellers have come such a long way in thirty years haven’t we!
Priceless! Absolutely priceless!