Saturday, January 17, 2004
I think we should build a huge American flag on the moon that would be visible from earth using regular telescopes of the kind the average person could afford to buy.
Because the Moon has no atmosphere, there isn't any wind or anything else that would disturb the flag. Therefore it's possible to lay out a flat using very lightweight material. Perhaps reflective Mylar? An unmanned rocketship carrying all the flag materials would be launched separately, so that when the men get there it will be waiting for them and they can lay out the flag.
This would give the astronauts something useful to do, because otherwise there isn't really any purpose for them being there. We are certainly capable of exploring the moon and taking pictures using robotic vehicles like the one we just landed on Mars. But I don't think we have the technology to build a robot capable of laying out the giant American flag.
Wednesday, January 14, 2004
George W. Bush says that we are going to send men to the moon by 2020. (He says as early as 2015, but I'm a pessimist.) But Senator Joseph Lieberman said "We should not be going hundreds of millions of miles away on a costly new mission when we have limited resources."
I say that if we could afford to send men to the moon in 1973, why can't we afford to do it 47 years later in 2020? Furthermore, it would be pretty embarrassing for the United States if China can afford to send men to the moon and we can't.
So even though there's nothing to do there besides say "look we did it", I'm all in favor of it anyway. Part of being human is doing things so that you can beat your chest and say "look what what I did!" Sending men to the moon is America's version of the Great Pyramids of Egypt, a permanent monument to show the future generations how great we were.
I hope that we have the foresight to erect something on the moon that will be visible to someone looking at the moon through a telescope, so there will always be visible proof that we really accomplished it. Because, you see, I am a pessimist about the future of space flight. As much as I enjoy watching Star Trek, I think the reality is that we are stuck on this planet, and with our world's natural resources dwindling, there may not be many more trips to the moon. So we need to do something dramatic like build a monument on the moon so thousands of years from now our descendants can look in awe at our achievement.