At first, this seemed like another of those wacky sportsbook proposition bets that’s impossible to play because of ridiculously long odds, but then NFLbets started feeling insulted by certain apparent presumptions about bettors held by the given sportsbook, who shall remain nameless.
In the proposition bet “Will Humans Land on Mars by the End of Trump’s Presidency?”, the NO is getting odds of just 1/20 while YES is at 10/1.
So just another harmless piffle like “To Become the Next Pope” or “Day of the Week Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s baby is born”, albeit with preposterously short odds on both available options. And as NFLbets prepared to write up this screed advising to bet the house on NO, it occurred that this information backing up our supposition is so easily found that everyone who visits the UnnAmedBookmaker.com should load up on this prop as much as the bookie will allow.
Is the unnamed bookmaker assuming that no one will? Come on now – if the would-be bettor is looking at the online sportsbook website, he/she clearly has internet and has likely sought information by, likesay, typing a few words into Google. Barring placing a bet as a joke gift, there is absolutely no reason not to research this stuff before placing a bet.
Problem #1: Space
“Space,” as Douglas Adams once observed, “is big.” Trained in primary school to think of planetary orbits as tidy circles within a neat 2-D plane, many folks have trouble with the notion that when we speak of the solar system, an agglomeration of three-dimensional objects all moving in relation to one another mixed in with the occasional curvature of spacetime.
The end result of this is that getting a craft from Earth to Mars is less like shooting a cannon at a wide target, but instead akin to striking a basketball while it’s used in a pickup game with a glass bead: It’s possible, but for successful results, you’d better pick your spot correctly. Put another way, the stars – or, in this case, planets – must align. And much of the time, rather inconvenient obstacles, likesay the Sun, would get in the way of a Mars mission, or the distances between the blue planet and the red planet are too great for current fuel capacities of space vehicles.
Which brings us to…
Problem #2: Time
Two problems with time vis-à-vis a mission to Mars are in play here. First, there is the window of opportunity. If you believe Trump will lose in Election 2020, NASA, the Chinese Space Agency and whatever private companies who believe they can get a homo sapiens to Mars had better get their shite together quickly at this point: The next possible launch window is July to September 2020.
So let’s say you like Trump to lose in 2020. You’re essentially thereby ensured of cashing in by betting NO in the “Will Humans Land on Mars…” prop. Why? Unless NASA (or someone) invents Star Trek’s warp drive pretty damn quick, it will take 260 days for a Earth-launched spacecraft to reach the fourth planet. Mars-bound astronauts would have to launch on April 1, 2020, to touch down before Inauguration Day 2021, and that just can’t happen.
As a two-term president, Trump’s last chance to see humans land on Mars as U.S. president would come in late 2022/early 2023. This launch window begins in December ’22 and goes through February ’23; any mission launched in this time would put people on Mars before Trump
is tarred, feathered and run out of Washington, D.C. leaves office in January ’25.
But you know what? In September 2007, then-NASA administrator Michael Griffin, the guy who should be more outwardly positive publicly about the chances of a Mars mission stated that yes, Americans will be going to Mars – probably in 2037.
Easiest money of the next few years at the sportsbook is this prop – we just wish it didn’t feel so insulting to the intelligence. Who in HAL’s name is betting on YES here…?
NFLbets also hopes that, when our species is technologically capable of getting to Mars, the results are a little better than this…