I wrote this bit on Chronicles’ website about the anniversary of the moon landing. I write not to denegrate the landing itself but the insanity of manned space exploration:
“You know what’s on the moon? Rocks and dirt. You know what’s on Mars? More rocks and more dirt! Any so-called conservative who is complaining about the costs of health care reform, fighting global warming and the stimulus should have their heads blown off with a cannon if they also start whining about why the U.S. doesn’t have more manned space exploration (cue Newt Gingrich). Billions to look at rocks and dirt. Billions to stroke man’s ego.
While landing on the moon was an impressive accomplishment and those who were a part of the space program deserve praise for their bravery and sacrifice, we must admit the “Space Race” was as much about the Cold War as much was about science. Billions were spent to beat the Russians to the moon, not “one leap for mankind.” This is what drove everyone from the engineers to mission control to the astronauts themselves. Putting our flag on the moon looks nice for TV cameras and makes one feel good but to go beyond that, to try and seek some higher purpose for man will only leave you disappointed because nothing much changed after that or if did, only got worse.
Man has been able to explore the stars and the out edges of the galaxy and beyond with unmanned space probes. Our knowledge of the universe is much greater thanks to the Voyager and Mariner probes and the Viking craft and the Mars rover and the Hubble Telescope as much as been due to the Apollo and Gemini projects. And yet we wish to celebrate man physically setting foot on the moon. Why? What’s the point? Just because it’s there? Fine, pay for it yourself. The government doesn’t subsidizes mountain climbing on Everest just because it’s there, why should it subsidize moon landings or Mars exploration? Are their precious ores or minerals we can mine on the moon? Fine, pay for mining and transporting them yourselves if you can raise trillons in capital to do so. No one’s stopping you. Want to live in colonies on the Moon and Mars, fine by me. You won’t catch me recerating life on Earth in some artificial bubble millions of miles from home but hey, to each is own. But you will not pick my pocket for it. As the old song goes “Mars ain’t the kind of place to raise your kids. In fact it’s cold as hell.”
I look forward to the day more and more private dollars go into space travel and exploration so that every anniversary of the moon landing we do not have idiots like Charles Krauthammer lamenting our lack of space exploration because of man’s noble need for discovery, which can be a violent and violating process as “progress”. As I said, man has made many leaps in knowledge and science in more cost effective ways out of the Jet Propulsion Labratory where Cape Canaveral has given us duct tape, Tang and a footprint after billions spent. I know where I’d put my money.”
Some other moon articles: John Derbyshire’s “Moon Folly”; Thomas Fleming’s “Lunacy: Our New State Religion” and Gary North’s “Bureacrats Step on the Moon, What a Thrill!” and of course, how can one forget the song…watch?v=_l81UXB84mk