The Washington Post

Moon Walking

Let’s come at the moon from the other direction today. After all, that’s what moonwalking actually is—walking backwards.

From time to time I throw cold water on human space activities, but today I will entertain a (nearly) plausible alternative. Terraforming the moon for human habitation. This is the kind of space environment that would make sense exploring to me. An environment that, you know, supports human life. Or ANY life. How much time in those space movies (that have so shaped our thinking on this subject) do the characters spend locked in clumsy space suits on empty frozen moon dust? Not much.

Now here’s the alternative.  Sounds delightful. Also sounds pretty implausible. Plausibility is the switch that gets turned off in our heads when we talk about space travel. The words “next frontier”, “Christopher Columbus”, and “human need to explore” repeatedly blind us to what we have actually discovered out there. I’ll quote a recent description from Buzz Aldrin about what he saw while on the moon. “There is no place on earth as desolate as what I was viewing.”

This is the little niggling detail that we never seem to “discover.” But if you want to terraform the moon, propose it, and let’s have THAT conversation!

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Tom Toles is the editorial cartoonist for The Post and writes the Tom Toles blog. See all of his cartoons here.

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