#108 September 1997
Section 18.104.22.168.108.of the Artemis Data Book
That the media and a poorly educated public should take the view that "we've done the Moon, now let's move on" is understandable if discouraging. That one hears the same sentiment echoed by many space advocates is much more of a problem.
Perhaps any/everyone's estimate of "what needs to be done next" is colored more by the drumbeat to which they march than by cool, clear, hard reasoning> Turn of the century American philosopher William James showed in great depth just how much temperament predisposes "reason". Without attempting to be exhaustive, a first effort to list some of the different siren call drums we space-interested "hear" might be: Explorer, Tourist, Settler, Businessman. Myself, I have an ear for all of these drums, each of them raising a surge in my spirits. But it would be dishonest of me not to admit that my spiritual home base is as settler. The great variety of topics written about in MMM over these last eleven years are testimony enough to that.
Others do not hear that drum so clearly, or it raises much lower tides in their spirits. The explorers and tourists among us, unsuspecting just how much remains to be discovered and wondered at on the Moon, will naturally want to move on. Some would-be settlers, and many businessmen will want to consolidate our toehold on the Moon first, pointing out the greater logistic base such development will afford for further deeper exploration of the rest of the Solar System. It is always useless to argue against temperament. The universe is vast and it needs all of us. We must be wise enough to admit that and respect one another. I understand the lure of Mars, of Europa, of Titan. I too would be a Martian, a Europan, a Titanite.
That said, it must be pointed out that in any non-superficial sense, we have yet to do the Moon!
We did not get enough rocks and dust! Our samples from six scattered areas, a college effort, are far from representative enough. Nor are they enough in total quantity. Enough perhaps to let us uncover "what the Moon is made of", orders of magnitude too little to let us discover "what we can make out of what the Moon is made of." That deficiency has set NASA up as high priest over the samples, hoarding them so tightly, least we never go back for more, that we are prevented from learning what we need to know to give us confidence that we can return to stay, self-sufficiently.
We are forced to rely solely on ivory tower "research" too heavily based on crucially inadequate simulants. That in turn slows us down in developing a viable suite of feasible and serviceable lunar-derived building materials and alloys.
We have explored none of the literally thousands of linear miles of lavatubes which geological clues and photographic telltale signs give us a very high level of confidence we'll find - cosmic weather sheltered, dust-free hidden valleys many thousands of square miles in aggregate area. We have sampled no central peaks (composed of upthrust mantle material), no polar permashade "cold hole" ice fields, no unflooded great impact basins (the farside thalassoids). We still do not know enough to piece together the real origin of the Moon, the presently in vogue Velikhovskyesque scenario notwithstanding.
We have yet to take advantage of the unique platform the Moon offers optic and radio astronomy both - vantage points of which the Hubble people can only dream. We have yet to visit to the "Peek-a-boos" lands of the lunar limb, much less explore the first square mile of the lunar farside except from orbit.
The Moon is a gift we've "anticippointedly" unwrapped and discarded in a boredom revealing not its shallowness, but our own lack of depth, after playing with it for just a few moments. But after all, back then our mindset was "moonandback" one word.
QUESTION: Can those so easily and quickly bored with the Moon, totally unable to imagine beneath and beyond appearances, quite incapable of recognizing opportunities staring us in the face, be trusted to be any more insightful when they lead us to Mars? Or - might we need new leaders, with proven track records in uncovering real possibilities and opportunities for "reclamation" [where have we heard that word?], i.e., for "finding resourceful ways to take 'a barren wasteland' and turn into a fruitful, productive oasis in which transplanted humans can take root, thrive, and pursue happiness". How many of these been-there-done-that people have wasteland reclamation experience, or even reclamation brainstorming, in their resumes? These very same people will find on Mars, alas, only more "rocks and dust", more endless expanses of "boring", not-quite-as-hyped scenery, "unrelieved" frigid cold, and - and this is the bottom line - "no reason to return".
What we are sure to get out of entrusting them with our leadership is another long "40 years wandering in the desert (of incapacity to imagine)" post-Apollo like retreat before these same people or their intellectual successors succeed in getting significant press for their "on to Europa" fad-charge.
In comparison to the general public, the space-disinterested, WE space-interested
people are supposedly extra-imaginative, extra-creative, extra-resourceful,
extra-attentive to hidden opportunities and possibilities. Guess what,
folks? Not!!! Contents of this issue of Moon Miners' Manifesto
Relevant Back Reading
the (new) Beginning, . . ." (Starting over on the Moon) APOLLOS 11 - 17:
Bursting Apollo's "Envelope" by Peter
Kokh from MMM # 88 SEP '95
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Contents of this issue of Moon Miners' Manifesto