Monday, August 27, 2012

Neil Armstrong is dead.

Apparently it is the week of eulogies on my blog. Neil Armstrong died on August the 25th. You may remember him: he was the guy that first stepped on the Moon. I didn't know the guy, other people say he was inspiring, a great person and other things like that. A good emotional blog post you can read at the Bad Astronomy site.

But I think that his death, at 82 years of age, is less relevant than the fact we stopped going to the Moon. From the dirty dozen that walked on a space body other than Earth, only 8 remain alive and they are, without exception, born in the early 1930s, so all around 80 years old. Depending on many factors that usually cancel out, these people have around a decade of life left in them, so expect that in 10 years or less we will have no man on Earth that went anywhere else. The death of the last man to have walked on the Moon would be even sadder than Neil's.

That's not only romantically ugly, emotionally wrong, it is plain stupid. It's like we close our senses, humanity as a whole, to the options we have, to the alternatives laid out right in front of us. We act like those retarded tourists that go to an exotic location only once in their life and they return with "Meh! No one spoke English, I didn't have the guts to try the food and the service was crap". Forget the accounting bottom lines and the terribilistic "We gotta stop putting our eggs in a single basket", just think that in a few years we, as the human race, we'll have forgotten what it is like to step on the Moon, the experience gone from our collective memory. We will just sit there, on the bloody couch, counting our money and looking at the picture of the imprint of Neil Amstrong's foot, a simple postcard to replace memories lost.


Alex Peta said...

Well going to the moon ( a satalite not a planet) isn't that relevant to humankind and discovery.

Basically, if you think in pure dollars, is it worth it going back to somewhere where you had been already, where no new chemical element was found or any other kind of discovery to make it worth wild?.Don't think so.

There are plenty more planets to explore :)

Leaving the joke aside, indeed I agree that humankind's future is colonizing another planet (this is the same point Stephen Hawking made when he was asked about the future of humankind) but needs to be triggered somehow by something revolutionary, a new discovery, technology,chemical element etc.

Siderite said...

Obvious to anyone reading my blog, I don't think in pure dollars (or euros, for that matter :) ).

The problem with "something revolutionary" is that it means nothing. It is the equivalent of "magic", to paraphrase Clarke. It's the same mindset as "If I had enough money, I would give to charity" and yet you never seem to get there.

I was discussing with a colleague yesterday on how different our perception of ourselves is from the real thing. We always come with brave words like "If it were me I would...", yet we fail to live by our words if put in that situation. I believe it is the same for the entire human race. Our responsibility as a species is diffused between 7 billion people and amounts to nothing. And yet we see ourselves as extraordinary.

Evolution does not reward catatonia.