In medieval Europe the court jester held a very campy role. They made people laugh. While at the same time, they would provide incredible jewels of wisdom. Today, perhaps television comedians hold the same role. If so, space advocates need to pay attention. The comedians, as current jesters, may hold vital clues to ensuring an expanding human future.
If you had a choice today would you put people on the Moon or Mars? Well, you have a choice. Though perhaps there’s desire for both, are there enough resources for both? Some indications show NASA as primarily interested in a Lunar Gateway. Others indicate an interest by them in soon putting people on Mars. Given the nebulous state of the ISSs future, perhaps it’s wiser for all Earth’s nations to focus solely on one.
For us at the Lunar Colony Fund, it’s the Moon. We at the Lunar Colony Fund believe in an expanding role and presence for our species. We see the Moon as the perfect destination with the optimal risk / reward scenario. Join us and let’s make this choice a reality to give to our children.
“Could life be as simple as a puzzle?” mused Aditya. “Trivial as transitioning your playing piece from one point to the next? A connected, serial, monotonic existence. ‘Till at the final moment when your playing piece meets its final moment.”
His thoughts continued. “Do we advance by choosing the happiest next step? Or is it some Aristotlian summation where the next step is calculated based upon the total derived from all the previous? Happiness the goal? Or is happiness purely a perception. A consideration that we choose, either good or bad. Thus we would choose the next step based upon the aggregated, perceived accumulation to date. Whether we were really advancing to a summed happiness or not might be more a personal choice than the penultimate destination.”
While he considered parameters and influences along this line, his eyes scanned the vista in front. It was a shallow depression. Bowl shaped. Perhaps an ancient crater that’s been eroded after billions of years of ‘weathering’. He and Woof were assessing the shape for a potential greenhouse. The plan was to use it to grow a genetically induced strain of greens. These could be planted as the Sun rose and then harvested 30 days later as the Sun set on the Moon’s horizon. With this growth cycle, the colonists could regularly get fresh produce. And they’d have plenty of time to harvest the greens, package the produce into stay-fresh containers, store it then re-energize the hydroponic solution and set seeds for the next generation. It was a very calculated, cold, taciturn life for the plants. Aditya wondered about a plant’s life. Theirs was not the existence of contemplation and eloquent dissertation as he had become used to. Would the genetically modified plant accept this vocation?
“Did plants think? Did they feel?” he wondered. He already knew that they communicated. But to what end?
He advanced past the rim and toward the centre. The bowl’s depression fit the optimal shape as designed by the architects on Earth. The depression allowed for an elliptical cross section in the vertical plane; the most stable shape according to the elementalists. In some ways, the greenhouse would be virtually independent of the Moon. Other than the Moon providing gravity so as to ensure the proper flowing of liquids, it provided little else. A number of airlocks allowed the colonists to enter and exit. But they would do the same even if the greenhouse were floating in space. But in the reaches of space there’d be no need to evolve a plant with a 30 day life cycle. There, other factors, such as the platform’s rotational rate or the distance from the Sun, would be dominant. Here at the lunar south pole, the parameters were very particular.
His feet trudged through the light regolith. Little clouds of dust blew up on every footfall. The depression seemed solid. Neither his feet nor his hand sensor detected any cracks or even any discontinuities. It was as if the bowl had been readied for a giant Eggs Benedict opportunity. Could it be that the depression had been readied for the arrival of humans? Or was the discovery of the depression purely a fortuitous opportunity? He was indeed very happy that its shape fit the desired configuration. But he wasn’t yet certain as to why. Were humans destined to continue to find opportunities as they extended into the solar system? Or were they simply making their own opportunities and deciding that the choice was good. In any case, Aditya was having a very happy time as he pondered and wandered.
Is a trillion dollars too much money? For the the future? Business always invest in the future. If they choose well then they and their shareholders do well. If not then they go bankrupt and the shareholders loose money. If our species invests in the future and we choose well then we continue better than before. Think of the Montreal Protocol. If we choose poorly then do we go bankrupt? Think of climate change. How much is too much to invest in the future? Dare we imagine investing in people living off of Earth?
Imagine a wall that’s 3 metres tall. The two of you could work together and one of you could get over the wall. If neither of you work together then neither of you goes over the wall. Is there a wall that’s keeping people from investing in the Moon? How many are trying to get over the wall? Are they acting together or on their own. Which will last longer, the wall or people’s desire?
We at the Lunar Colony Fund believe in a solid future for our species. This future leaves a very capable home planet while enabling people to venture off planet to the benefit for all. Gene Roddenberry was on to something by encouraging us to “go boldly”. Join us, let’s have a future that we’re proud to give to our children.
Xu’s fingers collected together and gently pressed upon the Enter key on the keyboard. She saw the screen go dark. Her chat session had ended. As with the other colonists, she had the ability to hold private communications with anyone on the Moon or on the Earth. Her latest just ended. It had been with the secretariat of a group of investment bankers. The conversation had been dire. All about profits smaller than forecast and losses greater than expected. But the conversation hadn’t been directed at their adventure on the Moon. The chat topic had been a general overview of the Earth’s economy.
In her mind, she repeated many of the verbal expressions she had heard. She tasted the nuances. Rolled syllables and stressed accents when repeating words spoken as the speaker had. From it, she didn’t sense any pretence or menace. Neither was there a sensation of a threat or warning. Yet the thrust of the conversation was obvious. The Earth’s economy was continuing to deflate. It was steadily marching toward the end of the service economy. The service economy had replaced the production economy. The production economy had replaced the simple barter economy. However, nothing was replacing the service economy. The best that the secretariat hoped for was a long period of nil inflation. It would be a period having very little demand for production, construction or invention. From it, Xu conferred that the conversation’s overall message was to aim for steady state, a need to keep things moribund.
On the positive side, she accepted that the lunar colony existed within the continuum. As such she expected the secretariat to continue supporting it. On the negative side she knew that any requests by the Lunar Colony Fund to speed up construction or enlarge work scope would likely be met with a very quick refusal. Further, it was possible that a risk once realised would overwhelm the perceived resources and put an end to their lunar dreams.
While much of this perception of the economy was not new, the chat left her with a heightened sense of unease.
“Zara,” she enquired “remind me, why are we doing this?”
Zara looked down and then up with a look of confusion on her face. “We’re doing this to improve the process for extracting water from the surface rocks.” she replied.
“No, not why are we doing this chemical analysis. Look at the bigger picture. Why are we trying to live on the Moon? Our bodies were made for living on Earth. There they’d grow free and easy. They’re adapted to the gravity, to the air, to the ecosystem. Yet here on the Moon we are imprisoned within a metal tube. Nothing is either free or easy. Nothing is natural about our existence.” she paused.
“You certainly start big conversations in a quick way” Zara said. “Let me try to answer. I find when looking at the bigger picture that I have to look from a reference much grander than myself. It’s not about me sitting at this table. It’s not about us living in the Hab. It is about humanity making its first step off of Earth. It’s a trial. If we can survive then we can consider the limits of the universe as being the limits to humankind’s opportunity. If we can’t survive then the human race accepts that while we live on Earth freely and easily, the Earth is our prison. A prison that won’t let us ever leave.”
“That’s an interesting and yet very appropriate perspective for us here on the Moon. We represent the very limits of humanity. Not only do we determine if the human race is capable of surviving off planet Earth, we also determine if the human race has the desire. What is the limit to humanity’s desires? Do we want to live forever? Do we want to travel the stars? Can you even identify a desire for all of humanity?” Xu had many questions.
“I like where you’re going with this. What a great question. How do we identify humanity’s desires? Sure we understand personal desire personal. Individually, we want to be safe, we want to live in comfort, we want progeny. Where do we want to go as a group? Does the group have the same desires? And should we only direct our efforts to these desires? I must admit, my personal desire has been instrumental in getting me onto the Moon. I’ve just accepted that having people on the Moon is the logical next step so I haven’t really thought about why. Should we be concerned?”
“No. There’s nothing really to worry about. I just finished a chat with a person who seemed that today was OK but that tomorrow, at best, would be no different. As if humanity on Earth was settling down. Whatever that means. If people on Earth decide that the status quo is good enough then they could very likely define desires to minimize change. This could be in conflict with our situation on the Moon as here we’re all about change. Personally, I’m hoping that humanity continues to see the value in pushing frontiers.”