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Discussion: Magnificent Desolation Or Boring Desolation – Is There Room For A Return To The Moon In A Cyberspace World? — 4 Comments

  1. There is much value in a return to the Moon, for purely practical reasons:

    1. There is much to learn there about the origins of the Earth and our planet’s history. How is that practical? Well, science is ALWAYS practical in the long run. Even such seemingly esoteric concepts as continental drift enable us to better understand and respond to earthquakes and tsunamis. Knowledge is always better than ignorance.

    2. Spinoffs. Learning how to live on the Moon will inevitably result in technological breakthroughs in unexpected areas, which possibly would not have occurred without a lunar colonization program to make them necessary.

    3. Industry. Imagine relocating all of our polluting industries to the Moon, allowing us to return our home planet to its original, pre-industrial state of clean, pristine beauty. And how do we get our Moon-made products down here to the Earth? By means of gigantic magnetic catapults. (Remember that gravitationally, the Earth is “downhill” from the Moon.)

    Those three ought to serve as starters. There are many more PRACTICAL reasons to return to the Moon.

  2. Very good question! I just can’t see any harm in polluting a lifeless rock. Besides, it looks like we’re going to pollute something no matter what, so wouldn’t the Moon be a better choice over the Earth?

    • I think the potential harm needs to be looked at in two directions. The first is the obvious – Would it be ethical to store garbage on the Moon. The second is more subtle – What would our disposition of heart become if we develop the mentality, “We can just send our garbage to the moon.” When reading not only Pope Francis, but also Catholic Social Teaching in regard to care for creation that came before him, the core spiritual issue is addressing a heart of consumption and wastefulness. The first move to caring for creation is conserve and moderation. My fear is that a “moon dump” would simply exacerbate ramped consumerism on Earth.

      The second point is something that I’ve been wrestling with intellectually for some time. I do think that both theologically and culturally we have developed an implied anthropocentric view of, “If it isn’t ‘life’ or ‘alive’ then its of little use.” I also fear that we have developed a “If it’s not part of our beautiful Earth, it’s just ‘God junk’ post-creation.” I’ve never heard anyone refer to it as such, but I feel that’s how many view the moon and planets. This is where I think the Christian East is of great help, seeing a sacramental (with a small “s” versus big “S” like the Seven Sacraments) character to creation. It forces us to first see all of creation as sacred since it was created by God. We then try to understand how we are to treat this sacred creation in a sacred way, while also affirming that God made this creation to care for ourselves, our families, our communities, and our world – both now and in future generations. It’s fascinating when you think about it!

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