The moon is ever so slowly edging away from us. Like the most subtle attempt to sneak off without Earth noticing.
Tomorrow it will be 1mm further away from us than it is today. I’m not sure what we have done wrong, perhaps not given her enough attention. Although with the eons of attention from all civilisations I’d say we have been in her thrawl for as long as we were able to look up. The Inuit of Greenland tell the story of Anningan, the Moon God, who continually chases his sister Malina, the Sun Goddess, across the sky. As he chases her he grows thin from lack of food until, as a crescent, each phase, he decides enough is enough and disappears for 3 days to eat and returns full, to chase her all over again. Nothing is mentioned about Malina’s eating habits.
The Moon is an impressive piece of coincidental construction, and without it we would certainly not be alive, its action on Earth causes tides and ensures that we spin in a casual manor, at only 1670 km/hr. It also sheds a huge amount of light, when you are lucky enough to be away from humankind’s lazy luminescence efforts. The brilliant whiteness of some nights allow moon shadows to cast deep into unmarked territory, revealing a different side to the most familiar.
The Moon is a cold barren place, a void of chemical reactions, a place uninterested in supporting anything save a breath of atmosphere. Yet some of the most rousing images are of its texture, its craters and its mysterious dark side, and humanity bouncing around humming and dropping hammers and feathers.
The Moon has started to be of interest to new nations, to places that see it as a pinnacle of their development. The psychology of this is fascinating. That the US went there 45 years ago seems almost a myth to modern technology and the human race. But this feat was achieved, and wants to be emulated. What will be the effect of China or Iran or India setting foot on the Moon? Will they see the world as astronauts generally come to, as a fragile world, being undermined by a human race obsessed with possessions?
The Moon has looked down on all parts of the planet and seen the expansion of lights flickering away across all continents, without comment. The door is opening to more explorers from more places to access her. The leap across an unending darkness is no longer daunting, what will litter the peaks and valleys of our ashen white friend in a couple of decades?
The Moon has seen the big picture of humanity’s journey to where it is now, has humanity got the awareness to see the big picture of what increasing journey’s to the Moon will mean to our future?
If you were to make a prediction as to the moment that perhaps Humans will have colonised Anningan, perhaps by the middle of this century would not seem far out. But at what point does a prediction become a challenge? Self-fulfilling prophesies are exactly these, predictions that became challenges to the few who could. We are no longer at the time of a few who can, there are more and more nations and private entities ready to chase that dream. Imagine something, say it out loud, and sooner or later it will become reality, no matter how far fetched an idea.
The mix of private endeavour with nation state, the mix of exploration with economics and the question of ownership, humans have never been good at responding in a measured manner when it comes to these arenas, and the Moon will no doubt see its own share of disturbances not seen since it evolved from the pulp forming Earth.