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Polluting the Moon

This post was written by Elysia
on October 9, 2009 | Comments (9)

If you’ve watched any of the late night talk shows this week, you’ve probably heard jokes about NASA crashing  a rocket into the moon. Letterman quips that we’re following the Iraq strategy – bomb first, look for evidence later.  So wait… we’re bombing the moon? That couldn’t be right!

So I went online to find out what is really happening. NASA is not actually bombing the moon; first they crash landed a “rocket stage,” and then, four minutes later, they crash landed a separate spacecraft that had been carried by the rocket but detached before the impact. The whole point was to first send up a large plume of debris from the larger rocket crash, which would then be analyzed for water content by the array of instruments on the second, smaller craft to follow it.

Both of these missions were accomplished this morning, and you can see a graphic representation and some NASA video about in on the BBC website.

Well, I have to admit – when I first heard they were deliberately crashing things on the moon, I got worried. I love the moon! It is a huge part of my life as a Pagan, and life on Earth is indebted to it for its help in regulating our tides and stabilizing the Earth’s rotation on its axis. But the NASA website about the LCROSS program (Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite) reassured me that no lasting or major damage was done to the moon, which is actually hit all the time by the same kind of debris that hits the Earth’s atmosphere and causes “shooting stars” – only the moon has no atmosphere to slow down such projectiles, and thus we have its familiar pockmarked and cratered appearance.

Yet there are points in their FAQ page that make me uneasy. For example, the whole point of the mission is to look for water (in the form of ice, ice-coated dust grains, or vapor) in the deep craters of the moon where the sun never shines. They argue that a source of water on the moon would be a great help for space missions in the distant future taking off from the moon – with their own source, they wouldn’t need to transport as much water up there. So far, so good.

However, then they go on to say that while the moon has plenty of oxygen tied up in its surface, “hydrogen is the other key element that could make rocket fuel production practical on the moon.” Rocket fuel production on the moon. Think about that for a minute. They want to make rocket fuel on the moon? (Now I’m imagining all kinds of buildings, infrastructure, guys in hard hats, and so on.)

Also I found out that this is not the first time a spacecraft has crashed on the moon – there have been at least 20 impacts of terrestrial spacecraft into the moon. To me, that means 20 pieces of terrestrial junk that no one will ever remove or dispose of. For some of these impacts, they haven’t even been able to locate the impact crater, so they reason these kinds of spacecraft wrecks up there will be “very hard to notice.” And, since the moon is already inhospitable to begin with, “bathed in cosmic rays and solar particle radiation,” it shouldn’t matter if we make it even less livable, so to speak. So I guess that is their case for polluting the moon.

I’m sorry, but as a Pagan I see the moon as something beautiful and sacred, and it pains me to think that after trashing our own planet, we have developed the resources to go up and trash the moon. Does this make me an anti-science, anti-progress religious fanatic, just like the ones I have so little respect for? Maybe in my own way, but I can’t help it.

What do you think? Is it OK to leave debris and possibly set the stage for rocket fuel production on the moon in the name of science? Do you think that this is a Pagan issue at all? Is it even an environmental issue, since it’s not our environment nor one any of us can possibly conceive of living in?

Reader Comments

Written By Katherine
on October 9th, 2009 @ 1:32 pm

I agree. I felt a deep sadness after watching the news yesterday. The moon is beautiful, sacred, and powerful. Science has gone too far.

Written By Tina
on October 9th, 2009 @ 6:34 pm

I,too,agree. I do believe that this is environmental due to the fact that it has alot to do with the alignment of everything in our solar system. I watch the History Channel and in some programs, some scientists do believe that if we continue with this, this will create a “shift” of the planet. Big Companies, Little Minds, Lots of Greed! Blessed Be!

Written By KELLY
on October 9th, 2009 @ 7:13 pm

Years ago when people spent more time outside the women ovulated at the full moon. The menstrual cycle is the phases of the moon. If the moon is manipulated in any way, it could change the seas and storm activity on Earth.

Written By Leo
on October 9th, 2009 @ 7:18 pm

Earth is beautiful, sacred and powerful too. I think then we should ban any trace of civilization more advanced than anything from stone age on Earth too, I say Stone age because bronze age was kind of polluting, you know. Obnoxious materialist thinkers and it’s silly harmful science…

Written By Barbara Moore
on October 10th, 2009 @ 1:08 pm

This is such an important question, Elysia. And a hard one for me. When I think about the Moon…the beautiful, mysterious, goddess moon and how much she means to me spiritually, the things you mention break my heart.

Sadly, there is another part of me that gets really interested and excited when we learn new things about the universe. So, part of me did wonder “what would they find” as a result of this.

I’m very conflicted about the situation.

Written By Dawn
on October 10th, 2009 @ 6:11 pm

I agree as well. Have we not made enough of a mess of our planet? Where do we have the right to start polluting any other planet, moon, sun etc. Will we start shooting crap into the sun to see if we can harness the energy? How about lassoing the rings around Saturn and see if we can pull it in closer to us? And what it continual “bombing” episodes knocks the moon off its orbital track? How will that affect our tides, etc? Do we ever think of consequences before we act?

Written By Lou Lorenzi-Prince
on October 11th, 2009 @ 7:27 am

The littering of the moon began on September 12 1959, when the Soviets crashed their Luna II probe on the lunar surface. The total amount of junk sent to the moon over the years (by the US and USSR) is roughly 375,000 lbs. and only 842 lbs. has been brought back to Earth. It’s the same story with Mars too, only nothings been returned from there.

Written By Gede Parma
on October 11th, 2009 @ 7:27 pm

This is definitely a Pagan issue, and not just that – it’s also a human issue. As you said Elysia, the moon is tied up intrinsically with our way of life upon this blessed planet we call Earth. I can not believe that NASA, or any scientific organisation for that matter, feels that they have the right to do such negatively-charged things to this planet’s moon. As a Pagan I find it spiritually immoral, as a human being I find it absolutely ridiculous.

Written By Miles
on October 19th, 2009 @ 11:02 pm

This is, without question, a pagan issue as well as an enviromental one. As you probably already know, everything in the universe has gravity. In fact, our Earth is orbiting the moon just as the moon is orbiting Earth, thus creating a sort of wobble effect. Without the moon, we would be dead. Also, the moon is and has been moving a few inches further from Earth every year since its creation. This is due to the moon wanting to go straight and because of the lag from the tides. It used to completely fill up the sky millions of years ago. Going back to gravity, moving anything close to the moon, earth, or anything else will move it, however slightly. So will imapacts. The moon is gaining weight from everything we’ve crashed into it (which could be (amazingly) contributing to global warming) which is the Earth-Moon system’ wobble more exagerated. And no, people like them never think about anything other than themselves. Why? Because they’re the ‘Man’. Pro:Con::Progress:Congress… need I say more? Religiously, I’m [mostly] Christian, so the moon isn’t sacred (to my faith, I revere it). However, I personally love the moon and I would sooner die than have the ‘Man’ destroy yet another of Mother Nature’s creations. NASA is seriously considering ‘Terra-Forming’ Mars – In other words, they’re going to turn Mars into Earth #2. It’ll most likely start circa 2040. Did I mention we’re about to discover immortality? Man is too dependent on science and before long may no longer feel the need for a/any God(s)/Goddess(es).

It is the same Egoistic outlook that is causing history to repeat itself. If you haven’t already, go research Rome. The American Republic is parallelling Rome just before its fall in 410 so closely, so exactly, that I have no doubt in my mind that the contry will fail, and NASA along with it. Nature will have balance, and when man tips the scale, it is only too happy to right it once more.

(sorry it’s not organized and/or 100% on-topic. My mind has a tendency to wander)

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