I wrote this for a class taught by Chris Burnside called “Elements of Style.” The prompt was to write a persuasive letter, but each sentence had to be at least 24 words.
Dear Elon Musk,
As a fan of Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles, words cannot express the excitement I felt upon reading that you intend to use your space exploration company, SpaceX, to colonize Mars. The vastness and beauty of space will always inspire wonder and awe in anyone who has gazed upon the sky on a clear night in the country, anyone who has listened to the sweet nectar of Neil deGrasse Tyson’s voice, and anyone has spent a week at Space Camp for a mere $1,000. However, I must admit that, considering that our lives are but hourglasses counting down to the moment when our last grain of sand inevitably falls, it seems that you’re somewhat recklessly dragging your feet when it comes to the colonization of Mars. I write this letter to implore you, for the good of all mankind, to find a way to expedite this process so humans may plant their flag in the fourth planet’s red soil.
First and foremost, successfully colonizing Mars will require amassing a seed population of exceptional individuals who would most likely bring success, industry, prosperity, and gentility to the magnificent red planet. As we all know—and as you are a living testament to—billionaires are the most productive, driven, and intelligent among all human beings and are therefore our best hope of creating a sustainable society on Mars in the face of the planet’s many hardships. Because it will be very difficult to develop a large scale infrastructure on Mars, it’s extremely important that each colonist possess the maximum possible value if a permanent settlement is expected to take root. Considering that the wealth of the top eight billionaires in the world amounts to as much wealth as over half of the entire human race, it’s only logical to assume that we can expect more productivity from a single billionaire colonist than millions of non-billionaire humans (especially if they’re not even millionaires). The top three billionaires on earth possess more wealth than the poorest forty-eight countries combined, meaning that we could expect more productivity by shipping Bill Gates to Mars than the entire country of Belize and all of sub-Saharan Africa. While there are many technical difficulties to successfully colonizing Mars, such as a practically nonexistent atmosphere and inclement seasons, these issues can be resolved by enlisting a population of colonizers entirely consisting of billionaires.
While your own technical experience will be invaluable for such a mission, I believe it will be necessary to enlist the aid of other technocrats to provide you with the necessary manpower to tame the tempestuous climate of Mars. You might produce some great hardware, but having Larry Ellison and Bill Gates on board would provide the mission with software gurus whose genius can be attested to by the fact that both are among the top ten richest men on Earth. Owing to the fact that Mars is so far from the sun and has an elliptical orbit, Larry Page and Sergey Brin would really help the colonists find things in the dark, as the two Google founders have demonstrated an amazing aptitude for finding things. There are also practical considerations, such as manufacturing and product distribution, which can be easily taken care of by Charles Koch, the Walton heirs, and Jeff Bezos. Our wealthy colonists will need to sport comfortable and stylish apparel, so Phil Knight can come along to produce Nike Lead, a moon boot weighted with lead to compensate for the low gravity on Mars. Of course, any advanced society, especially one consisting entirely of billionaires, will require tools for social networking and communicating pictures of meals and videos of cats doing humorous cat things. Not only will Mark Zuckerberg be perfectly suited for this role, but if you encounter any Martians while colonizing the planet they will immediately mistake him for one of their own. This will provide you with the opportunity to eradicate the Martian menace by having Zuckerberg gift them with small pox infected blankets, which will allow you to exploit your land unimpeded. While billionaires work hard, they also need to play hard, so bring along Sheldon Adelson for his prowess in the casino business and watch the Martian economy boom as everyone visits his establishment to play cards and watch Martians box one another for everyone’s entertainment. Finally, a colony on Mars cannot uphold our infallible American values without an uncompromising government and a free press to hold that government accountable for any kind of possible wrongdoing. Enter Michael Bloomberg, whose media savvy catapulted him to the enviable position of being one of the most powerful publishers in New York City while simultaneously functioning as the city’s mayor. I cannot think of anyone better to protect the decent colonists of Mars and ensure that the laws are properly followed than a man such as Mayor Bloomberg, who always stands up for his fellow billionaires.
Colonizing Mars will not be an easy task nor a quick process, but it’s imperative that we accomplish this important goal as soon as humanly possible so that this can occur within your lifetime. While you may be worth as much as a small country here on earth, you can actually become the literal king of a very large country on the planet of Mars. The remaining plebs on earth would be worse for wear without the guidance of our billionaire overlords, but the importance of establishing this new colony and cementing your legacy far outweighs any Earthly concerns. If you can work with your fellow billionaires to funnel all of your funds into establishing a billionaire colony on Mars, I think the colony would be an immediate success upon your arrival.