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October 30, 2007

Lunacy: Environmentalism For The Moon

It's a big, dead rock in space, boys. I doubt there will ever be anything precious enough to mine from it, or that the ridiculous cost of space travel will ever fall enough to make it worthwhile, but in case that happens, the lunar environmentalists will be there to file EPA complaints against anyone trying to make the moon economically productive.

Plundering the moon


The new space race isn't focused on science or discovery, but is about exploiting lunar minerals

Andrew Smith
Saturday October 27, 2007
The Guardian

...


Yet, hidden beneath the expressions of patriotic pride in [China's] Chang'e-1 probe's launch is evidence that this new space race will be different from the first. Examine the mission statement and you'll find the objectives given as creating maps and "analysing the chemical composition of lunar dust". Innocent-sounding science at first sight; on closer inspection, nothing of the sort.

I first heard about helium-3 (He-3) from the geologist Harrison "Jack" Schmitt, the only scientist among the 12 Americans who walked on the moon between 1969 and 1972, and a tireless campaigner for a US return. He understood a 21st-century programme would never happen without an economic rationale, and he hoped that He-3, which is deposited on the surface by the solar wind, might provide one. If the necessary fusion technology could be made to work, he said, this compound would be a source of clean energy for Earth.

...

Whether it turns out to be He-3, solar energy, or some as yet unknown technology that draws humanity back to the moon, there's an irony here. In 1968, Apollo 8 brought back the first shimmering image of an "Earthrise" as seen from the moon. Four years later, Apollo 17 came home with the famous whole Earth picture. These new views of our fragile, heartbreakingly isolated planet are often credited with having helped to kickstart the environmental movement - even with having changed the way we see ourselves as a species.

At present, nations are forbidden under international treaty from making territorial claims to the moon, but the same has hitherto been true of Antarctica, of which the UK government is trying to claim a chunk. Earth's sister has played a role in teaching us to value our environment: how extraordinary to think that the next giant leap for the environmental movement might be a campaign to stop state-sponsored mining companies chomping her up in glorious privacy, a quarter of a million miles from our ravaged home.

Inkblot: If you looked at the sky through a telescope and saw a tiny robot mining plant there, mining the moon for energy resources, would you be filled with a sense of wonder and pride about the ingenuity and courage of your fellow man, or with forbidding and dread that the moon was being raped?

(Officer, she was asking for it. Just look at her. Waxing and waning like a common trollop.)

Once again, the Agent Smith theory of humanity ("You're a virus") is palpable. These people wish to quarantine the Walking Disease known as humanity.


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posted by Ace at 05:15 PM

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