The Moon taunts us. It is very far away, which has historically protected it from the human species’ innate desire to desecrate it. Fortunately, NASA announced on Thursday it has now selected the four companies it will contract with to jump-start capitalism on the Moon, thereby eliminating its unfair and unearned advantage over hollering primates.
The U.S. government has long rejected the notion that the Moon is some kind of “global commons,” and it’s not a signatory to the Moon Agreement, an international treaty intended to promote equitable distribution of off-world resources and prevent territorial claims, militarisation, and biological or industrial contamination of celestial bodies. Instead, it (and most other countries with advanced space programs) views off-world resources as up for grabs for whoever gets there first. This year, NASA began soliciting bids for companies to launch the first mission to gather Moon rocks and sell them in-situ to NASA, which would constitute the first off-world sale of space resources.
NASA wrote in the announcement it has selected four companies for the program: California-based Masten, Colorado-based Lunar Outpost, and two firms both named iSpace from Japan and Luxembourg. None of the companies will receive much compensation for the effort — Masten will be paid the most, at $US15,000 ($20,181). But they will get bragging rights and a technical head start on NASA’s plan to usher in a new era of private business on Earth’s nearest stellar neighbour.
This is controversial, to say the least. According to CNN, Ph.D astronomer Stuart Clark has warned in Science Focus that Lunar mining could result in a “gold rush” and a “winner-takes-all mentality,” in which scientists lose out on “valuable geological clues.” University of Notre Dame engineering professor Clive Neal told CNN, “my way of looking at this is that if we look at moon resources as resources for science, and a resource for exploration, and a resource for commercial participation everybody wins because the data sets that we need are pretty much the same.”
Capitalism sucks, but if libertarian spacesteaders and Amazon Space have to go somewhere, they belong on a dead pile of rubble, swinging at 3,682 km per hour, regularly peppered with meteorites, and around 402,336 km away from the rest of us. Earth’s reigning economic system also claims to generate improved returns and creative solutions through competition, so capitalism might as well compete to survive on a celestial body whose day/night cycle has 230-degree temperature swings, and longstanding myths about cheese to the contrary, has no food.
Here’s some points in favour of mankind fucking up the Moon, from me:
- The Moon is a big dumb rock that zips around the planet in a circle, posing a traffic hazard to near-Earth shipping lanes and panspermia.
- There is no life on the Moon, meaning any harm we do to it will only impact future generations of humans (moomans).
- The Moon’s value is primarily aesthetic and it is possible that long-term human habitation of a horribly polluted Moon would result in a culture that finds its ravaged landscape beautifully haunting.
- The Moon has no atmosphere and is exposed to space radiation; its surface is covered in horrible regolith (basically toxic shattered glass), and the lack of atmospheric drag would make it very easy to kill people from long distances. You are already in mortal danger on the Moon whether or not we spill space oil on it. If you think a puny little carbon-based maggot like you is gonna fuck up the Moon, then watch out, because the Moon has tricked you into spacewalking right into its deathly trap.
- If we do successfully fuck up the Moon, it is an estimated 4.51 billion years old and will not notice.
- Really sticks it to God.
- May have a secret Nazi Moonbase, in which case to hell with the Moon for harbouring Nazis.
I understand that these points, though very smart and dare I say intellectually unassailable, may not go over well with Commie moon sympathisers and so-called “scientists.” If you think I got anything wrong about why we should loot the levitating sky rock, tell me off in the comments below.