THERE IT IS: Ripon, Mars. It’s not much to look at, but it’s interesting enough to have captured the attention of NASA. submitted photo
THERE IT IS: Ripon, Mars. It’s not much to look at, but it’s interesting enough to have captured the attention of NASA. submitted photo

     If visionary Elon Musk is successful in getting humans to the Red Planet in the next few years as he plans, we here in Ripon may feel right at home.

     And I’m not drawing a comparison between the frigid temperatures there versus the cold months ahead of us.

     No ... Stand aside, Ripon, Calif., and Ripon, England. You’ve got competition to be our next travel destination.

     Now, there’s a “Ripon, Mars.”

     True, the welcome sign probably still reads “Population Zero.”

     But how many other communities can boast that their sister city is truly out of this world?

     News of the connection came to light Friday, Oct. 20, when the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California blogged about the latest exploits of the Mars Rover Curiosity. (If you’re not familiar with it, find your nearest young space nut. I’ve got one to lend if need be.)

     After what appeared to be an otherwise uneventful day of power consumption before a big project, the Mars Curiosity team blogged about its plans to “observe bedrock target ‘Balfour’ and a block named ‘Ripon.’”

     Ripon? ...

     So, we now know that Ripon, Mars, is cold, dusty and barren.

     As tourist destinations go, it’s not exactly the Door Peninsula.

     But, if you’re not doing anything come 2024 (that’s when Elon Musk has that first trip planned ... tentatively), why not hop on a flight?

     But bring a jacket — word is that it’s colder than Watson Street on a winter’s day.

     To read the entire column, including why Ripon is on Mars, see the Nov. 2 edition of The Ripon Commonwealth Press.