Mycelium and Rockets

It stands out amidst its surroundings, rising from the ground and shooting for the sky. Its shape is cylindrical with a bulbous cone on top. No, I am not talking about Blue Origin’s rocket New Shepard (although this is where I am going). And I am surely not talking about a phallic meme… do we really need another dick joke? What I am talking about are mushrooms, fungi, mycelium, and their connection to space exploration. While I can see the easy target, it is unfortunate that as a society that debates quantum physic and philosophizes on the meaning of life, we are still stuck at drawing penises on bathroom walls (Facebook in today’s terminology) I wonder if social media isn’t just a more glorified version of the high school bathroom! Anyhow, I am getting away from where I want to go… mushrooms and Space… Yes!

If there is one thing for sure, nature doesn’t do anything just for the fun of it. Everything has a function and if beauty is part of it, then it is collateral, not intentional. Looking across the world of living organisms on Earth, the stalky shape topped with a bulb can be found where life needs to be seeded and spread. And for an organism that is a billion years old, you would think that mycelium would come up with a better shape to create a fruit. Thinking of it, when the mammals took over the Earth, one would hope that billions of years of evolution would bring some insight and create a new inspiring design at spreading and seeding life. But there might be more to this phallic shape than we would like to admit. There seems to be something that nature has crafted intentionally. Maybe, just maybe, the shape of New Shepard has nothing to do with a billionaire compensating for something, but rather it is rooted in the fundamentals of life, how it spreads on Earth, and how it will spread into Space! Would it be a stretch if we agreed that we are simply the extension of mycelium and our rockets are the new mushroom? Is it wrong to claim we haven’t re-invented the wheel but simply elevated a billion-year-old process to a new height? If we are to go into space and expand the reach of Life, wouldn’t it make sense to do it the way that mycelium has been doing it since the dawn of time, by building giant mushrooms that rise from the ground and shoot for the stars? Just asking…

PS. If you haven’t watched Fantastic Fungi on Netflix, with Paul Stamet, I totally recommend it. And if you don’t see the connection between mycelium, mushrooms, us, and our rockets, then let me write it on a bathroom wall, perhaps it will make more sense.