Moon Colonization: An American Historical Perspective July 20, 2009Posted by Nick Azer in : American History, Apollo, Frontiers, Obama , trackback
On this, the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, the map above demonstrates not only where America stood in 1803; in a sense, it is where America stands now.
The Apollo 11 mission is often compared to Lewis and Clark’s Corps of Discovery. They are indeed, similar: bold scientific missions of exploration, with eventual political and economic goals in mind, mandated by a President with a dreamer’s eye and performed by a squad of mostly military hands (with important civilian assists). Incredibly dangerous, incredibly unlikely, and completed incredibly well.
Lewis and Clark’s expedition was followed, eventually, by a wave of frontier colonization that has resulted in the Union’s most populous state and also the metropolis I currently reside in (Portland, Oregon). It was the spark for generations of expansion that took America places it could hardly have even imagined.
“You’re familiar with the phrase ‘man’s reach exceeds his grasp’? It’s a lie: man’s grasp exceeds his nerve.” -David Bowie as Nikola Tesla in “The Prestige“
“Man’s reach exceeds his imagination!”- Hugh Jackman as Robert Angier, later on in “The Prestige“
Those same quotes could be applied to America, today. 40 years after Apollo 11′s own journey of discovery, America is on the verge of repeating its history: we stand at the cusp, along with other nations, of a new colonial era, the true wave of integration to follow that initial step the explorers took.
America’s government, and perhaps more importantly its companies, now have Moon settlement (and mining) within their grasp. The potential that Kennedy’s mandate—and Jefferson’s before him—spoke of now has the technology in place to be readily met, the same way that the railroads led to the true opening of the West.
The time is now; the lunar colonial era is our era, and our generation. In my mind, there’s no time to waste—the Louisiana Purchase had significant foresight, and perhaps there are decisions that could be made now, that could have similar impact on America’s role in developing this new frontier (a resource-rich swath of land being added to humanity that is nearly the size of Asia).
America was a leader in reaching the Moon, and now we can lead in developing the Moon. Mankind’s past colonial eras have done many wrongs, particularly America’s; so perhaps this is a time for us to correct our past, to take steps to lead by example in ensuring a smooth and peaceful rollout of humanity onto the Moon (mutually beneficial to everyone).
The moon is there for us; our grasp exceeds our imagination, today. Let’s see what we can do.