I think there's a message in Chicago losing the Olympics. I also think there's a message in the moon invasion despite its alleged success.
The message is a simple one: It's time to focus on home. We need to take care of business here in America.
That means a lot of things. Repair the economy. Stop the wars in other places. Bring our troops home. Close Guantanamo. Restore the housing and job markets. Handle healthcare once and for all. Stop whining. Restore the infrastructure. Make a difference in our global civilization.
Charity, beloved, begins at home. We have to take care of things here.
So even though I believe in the space program, and think it is doing remarkable things, I'm not sure I agree with the expenditure of $79,000,000 to find out if there's water on the moon. How many uninsured Americans could have been covered with that kind of money? How many prisons could have been closed? How many people could have been employed to help green our economy?
Urban shaman Mama Donna Henes is a friend and mentor to me. Her blogosphere words about the moon invasion are chilling.
No sooner did we land [on the moon] than we set about trashing it. In the short time that we have been visiting our attendance upon it, we have left over 20 tons of debris—biological, atmospheric and manufactured—on the surface of our once pristine satellite.
Here are just some of things we left to litter Lady Luna: flags and dedication plaques from each moon mission, video cameras at the launch sites, sensitometers, the launch legs for the lunar module, geologic tools, laser reflecting mirrors, the lunar rovers, a gold-plated extreme ultraviolet telescope, a Tesco super market shopping cart, several Apollo backpacks, and three golf balls.
How many people have been to the moon? One dozen have walked its surface. Twelve people left 40,000 pounds of garbage? That's 3,333+ pounds per person! We can barely handle the garbage problem on our own planet. Do we really need to pick up the problem of garbage on the moon? If we moved there, we'd have to.
Donna writes, "At 7:30AM EDT on Friday, October 9, 2009 the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) mission, will fire a Centaur rocket into a crater at the South Pole of the moon which will act as a 'heavy impactor' crashing into the lunar surface at nearly 6,000 mph sending a debris plume of 300,000 to 350,000 tons of material from the crater floor over 30 miles high.
"A second sensor satellite will then drop down into this plume analyzing its contents in the hope of finding water. The result of this search will ultimately determine how realistic a full-time base on moon can be.
"After the booster rocket hits the crater, blasting out a hole 90 feet deep, the shepherd will follow through the plume. After analyzing the plume, the shepherd craft will itself slam into the crater four minutes later, creating a second hole 60 feet deep"
This seems wasteful to me. We are not managing our resources well here at home. Sure, it's a curiosity whether there's water on the moon, but come on! It's the same message as that of Chicago not getting the Olympics. We don't need to spend money on new things; we need to make the old things work better.
"ʽWater on the moon has haunted us for years,' said William Hartmann of the Planetary Science Institute. ʽIt's all part of humanity's quest to understand our nearby cosmic environment.' Yeah, right, understand it so we could rape it."
Whoa! Moon rape? Slightly drastic? Unfortunately, I don't think so. I think it's an accurate statement of the nature of the experiment. We're not dealing well with the water issues here on Earth either.
Donna concludes with a Robert Francis poem that is too poignant to omit.
Who (said the moon)
Do you think I am and precisely who
Pipsqueak, who are you
With your uncivil liberties
To do as you damn please?
I am the serene
Moon (said the moon)
Don't touch me again
To your poking telescopes,
Your peeking eyes
I have long been wise.
Science? another word
You heard me
Get down, little man, go home.
Back where you come from,
Or my gold will be turning green
On me (said the moon)
If you know what I mean.
I truly believe, despite the awe that NASA fosters, that we need to be focusing our abundant energies on solving the domestic problems that plague us. Poking the moon goes nowhere toward those goals.Donna Henes is the author of the bestselling book, The Queen of My Self