I read this morning that a British led consortium of space scientists is planning to crowd fund a mission to land an unmanned probe on the moon and bury a time capsule. People who donate funds will be able to put personal text messages, audio, photos or videos into the time capsule, and even a strand of their own hair. The mission will also drill down below the moon’s surface and analyse samples taken. They also aim to survey the moon’s south pole to see if a human base could be set up there in the future.
I applaud the main aim of this project, which is to engage ordinary people in science and inspire new young scientists, but I’m afraid this whole idea seems like so much fluff and nonsense. As one commenter on the BBC article says:
“UNICEF States that £10 will enable 10 families in Africa to have kits to enable them to collect, store and purify water…. So £500 million donated to UNICEF… Now that’s a whole lot of people with access to clean water!”
I am increasingly alarmed by how we, as a species, seem to be looking beyond our planet when so much is wrong here that needs to be fixed. Lunar Mission 1 will aim to bury something under the moon’s surface that will survive “after we are extinct”, but seems to be doing nothing about the very real threats which may well make us so in a relatively short space of time.
Look at climate change and our gradual destruction of our ecosystem, wildlife, air quality, seas…and the list goes on and on. We blithely continue to pollute, destroy, deforest, hunt to extinction etc. with little apparent thought, globally, for what we are going to do when our planet can no longer support us. And I mean when, not if.
In this country, we continue to argue about immigration; our leaders barrack each other in parliament like schoolboys, vying to make each other laugh and grasping for the next perfect sound byte.
But we’re not actually doing anything. When the issue of climate change comes up, politicians globally start to hum and haw, claiming that “we’ll do it if they do it too” and trapping us in an endless cycle of blame and chronic inaction. Carbon emission targets get pushed back another decade, and in the meantime our planet is choking to death. In the last 40 years, global animal species have reduced by approximately 50%.
Looking to the skies and the universe beyond our atmosphere is like sticking our fingers in our ears and singing “la, la, la, I can’t hear you”, whilst our planet screams for our attention and help. Give your money to an environmental or social charity, and try to save our planet and its species (including homo sapiens) before you immortalise yourself on another.