Sunday, October 28, 2012

Walking on the Moon

So, how many years has it been now since Neil Armstrong walked on the moon?  That was Monday July 21, 1969, or roughly 43 years ago.  And now, the great Armstrong has left us.  This isn't news, nor is the fact that we haven't been back to the moon since 1972.  Read that again.  The last manned mission, Apollo 17, was forty years ago.  Sure, the 80s was all about the shuttle program but why didn't we do more while we were up there?  How many different experiments can you really run from the safety of orbit so incredibly close to the Earth?  I've seen the floating pencil, we've discovered what spending time in space can do to a man, and we've run some really neat zero gravity experiments.  Well, here's the thing... so what?

When Newt Gingrich proposed putting a colony or a base on the moon, I've got to admit, the man got my attention.  Like him or hate him (and I'll keep my opinion to myself) the fact is that he had something of a point.  Why aren't we on the moon at the moment?  Did I mention that it's been forty years since the last time we launched a mission to the moon?  So why aren't we going back?  I get that Obama called for a mission to Mars.  Very cool, and I hope that we work towards it eventually, but I think we need to pay Newt's line of thought a little bit more attention.

In a lot of science fiction, we have colonies on the moon.  The Lunara Series puts a colony on the moon to help salvage from Earth's wreckage.  In Olympus Union, I'd been so complacent with our people being on the moon, I've barely mentioned it.  Wouldn't it be easier for humanity to take aim at Mars, however, if we figured out how to live somewhere besides Earth?  Put a man on the moon, oh how exciting.  Put a few objects there for people to shoot off of, excellent.  What about a habitat?  Or, maybe a prison?

Did that one perk your ears up a bit, I hope?  For those who have read my first novel, "Olympus Union: The Past Repeated" you'll recall that I've got a handful of prisons orbiting Earth.  And, yes, I planned a prison break that left some repercussions but let's look at some the more realistic aspects of something so seemingly unrealistic.  Listen, if we're essentially figuring out how to build a tractor beam why not build something tremendously useful (that could put the tractor beam into use, too)?  My "clutches" might not be an awful idea after all.  Consider how much more difficult it would be to escape from a prison orbiting Earth.

Alright, maybe you're not as worried about prison breaks.  How about jobs?  Everyone talks about the economy these days.  How about an international cooperative to built an international prison for the baddest of the bad guys?  We're talking about brand new jobs, brand new technology, and a brand new frontier.  And, just maybe, finding a way to ship the most violent offenders off the Earth would help us learn to ship our best and brightest to a whole new world.

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