Every year on April Fools’ Day, reporters in newsrooms around the world brace themselves. While we’re usually a pretty skeptical bunch, April 1 brings out the worst in us.
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We don’t believe anything anyone tells us on this one day of the year, and rightfully so. It’s a holiday that literally just celebrates people lying, and brands have been in on the act for years, leading to some really bad moments for journalists the world over.
That said, each April Fools’ Day, there’s usually one person pulling more of their hair out than anyone else in the newsroom.
Who’s that person, you ask? Why, it’s me, your friendly neighborhood space reporter, and here’s why: Everything on my beat sounds fake to begin with.
Let’s play a little game, shall we? I’ll give you news items, and you decide if they’re real or hoaxes.
Elon Musk says he wants to nuke Mars in order to make the red planet’s climate habitable.
Multiple companies have plans to mine asteroids in order to extract their resources and either sell them on Earth or use them for space exploration.
An astronaut smuggled a corned beef sandwich onto a space capsule and ate it while in orbit.
Scientists want to take a photo of a black hole, an object that, by its nature emits no light.
Budweiser wants to brew beer on Mars, and it’s taking steps to make that a reality.
KFC developed an elaborate campaign centered around sending a chicken sandwich to the edge of space.
So, which ones are real and which ones are fake? I know, it’s hard to tell.
So you can forgive me when I took a very long pause and yelled at my computer (and editor) a little after Richard Branson “announced” on April 1, 2014, that Virgin Galactic intends to build a “lunar hotel.”
Yes, a hotel on the moon sounds totally impossible, but in real life this man wants to fly rocket planes carrying celebrities to the edge of space and eventually send things to orbit.
A moon hotel just isn’t that much more ridiculous sounding than any of those other ideas.
So please, be kind to space journalists this holiday and maybe consider not celebrating it at all, particularly if you’re a brand.
What’s the point in trying to trick us when you want all of us to believe you all year round?
All of us are just out here trying to bring you the news on our ridiculous beat, so maybe think twice before you outright lie about your new “moon hotel” or the grand opening of your asteroid mining operation.
Oh, also, just so you know, a derelict Chinese space station is expected to fall back through Earth’s atmosphere, and some pieces of its charred remains might make it all the way to the planet’s surface on April Fools’ Day.
Seriously. That’s not a joke.
This holiday sucks.