Monday, October 10, 2011

Why We Should Trash The Moon

                My daughter and I have a disagreement about the Moon. Hannah is a Preservationist, and I am a Developer; that is, she is against human colonization of the Moon, and I am for it.
                The reason for our disagreement is the fate of the appearance of the Moon. Shall human colonization of the Moon be visible from Earth? She is against it, I am for.
                Perhaps we need not argue. I asked G. David Nordley, an astronomer, and he said that cities and roads and power lines on the Moon would not be visible from Earth by the naked eye. But he agreed that they would be visible by telescope. I think that would be enough for Preservationists to object to.
Once I suggested a compromise to Hannah; Farside development only. But we agreed that it wouldn’t work; Farside colonists would eventually move to Nearside. For the sake of argument, let us assume that any Lunar development will eventually be visible from Earth.
So should there be Lunar development visible from Earth, even telescopically? Hannah is against it, and her reason is that she wants the Moon to remain mysterious and wild and inhuman. She says the Moon shouldn’t have city lights or roadways on it. It would look too busy. Hannah wants to preserve the peace of the Moon. She says it’s beautiful just as it is.
I say, it’s the peace of the grave. The Man in the Moon looks like a gaping skull. I say that the Moon is flat-out ugly; we’re just used to it. This essay is titled, “Why We Should Trash The Moon”, but you can’t trash the Moon because it’s already a trash-heap. No amount of human interference could possibly make it look any worse.
Once Dana Leslie, a blind Wiccan philosopher, scolded me for saying that she wouldn’t care about how the Moon looks. Dana said that she did care about the Moon’s astral aspect. I apologized for my sightism, but said that I too care about the Moon’s astral aspect, which  I very much want to trash.
I say that the Moon has been dead and pure long enough. It’s time to give the Moon a bad case of Life. So let’s bring on Lunar cities and slums and roadways and power lines and mines and tailings and spaceports and crash sites and waste dumps and maria full of solar panels! And let it all be visible by naked eye from Earth! Sure it’ll look like lichen on a rock; but that’s prettier than just a rock. Make the place look lived-in! I say we should trash the Moon just to have next-door neighbors. Someone to say hello to, up in the sky.
And I don’t think we should stop there. Take the Earth-crossing asteroids. Once every hundred million years or so, one of those flying mountains crashes into Earth, and there’s a mass extinction. I say that’s completely unacceptable, and we should do something about it.
I propose that we send ruthless ambitious greedy corporations out there to make a huge profit by mining every single one of those menaces to oblivion. Let the megacorporations turn those flying killer mountains into I-beams and copper wire and pottery and fiberglass  and drywall and consumer electronics and cheap toys that break the first time you play with them and tons of sugary salty greasy bad-for-you fast food. Yes, I think we should eat the Earth-crossing asteroids!
Hannah and I agree on terraforming Mars. From Earth, all that we’d see is the red planet turn blue, and the process would take a long time; but again, it would be nice to have neighbors.
It would also be nice to have a spare biosphere handy for when the Sun gets too hot. The trouble with the Sun is that it’s been warming up, these past few billion years, and will continue to do so. I’ve long known that it’ll run out of fuel and blow up in 5 billion years – that’s written 5,000,000,000 – but long before that, only one billion years from now, the Earth will get just a bit too hot, and hydrogen will start to escape, and all of Earth’s oceans will evaporate. That would be the end of life on Earth, as we know it.
                Only one billion years? I thought we had five! I say that’s completely unacceptable, and we should do something about it. I propose that we move the Earth away from the Sun. A few percent outwards ought to do. Of course that’ll lengthen the year and dim the sunlight, but we could adapt.
                I am not sure how to do this. Perhaps by slingshotting asteroids between Earth and Jupiter? Philip Plait, an astronomer, says that’ll work, but to me it sounds dangerous. How about putting rockets on the Moon, to use it as a gravity tug? That sounds safer, but would it work?  And either way will take awhile, but that’s all right, we have a billion years to do it.
                Perhaps some of you can suggest ways to move the Earth. Or maybe you can argue that we should keep the Earth where it is, for the next billion years anyhow.

No comments:

Post a Comment