By Pope Brock
I was slung in my favorite deck chair, drink in hand, having a gawk at the night sky. Andromeda, Pisces … I trawled the constellations, mind abandoned, still aware in some curve at the back of my brain that the world is coming apart at the seams and we’re all fucked, and enjoying the gentle paradox of it, the clink of the ice in my glass and the slumber of the dog.
By and by I found my gaze resting on the moon. There it was, the great provider: breeder of wonder, werewolves, and all those songs. The place where beauty meets philosophy, where hope and despair alike are lost.
Gnawing through the romance though was a little something I’d read not long before. An astrophysicist had claimed that the moon could save our planet. Not immediately: This would be in about 4.5 billion years when the sun explodes and roasts us in wrath and fire unless we get out of the way.
Frankly, the notion of Earth making a break for it seemed implausible to me, but this Canadian professor said we could do it by shooting off an army of rockets on the far side of the moon. Slammed out of its orbit by the collective blast, the moon would sail off with Earth, yoked by gravity, trailing behind it. A thousand years’ travel and we’re out of harm’s way—albeit dark and freezing unless we initiate phase two of the plan. As the sun receded in the distance, we would replace its rays with a trillion lunar argon arc lamps. A flip of the switch and the moon would become the sun: blue sky, puffy clouds, everything just as before.
I’m gazing up at the night, not quite in a reverie thanks to the gnats, but thinking yes, well, lovely. Imagine the parades. Still, to get that opportunity the human race would have to last (long pause, phone math) 22,500 times longer than it has already. At that point I heaved myself up and went inside for more booze.
Looking back, I believe that night marked the shift in my thinking from save it (Earth) to save us (me). Or if not me, someone. Because when you’ve got surfing champs riding the curl from an ice wall collapsing in the Arctic, when an Ivy League egghead offers mathematical proofs that the human race is doomed if we don’t get off-world, and Stephen Hawking and others are ululating on the same theme, and thousands are tunneling and stockpiling ahead of TEOTWAWKI (The End of the World As We Know It), then you have to start wondering if it’s not time to break camp. Or at least to establish a beachhead on the moon, just as some governments, corporations, scrappy start-ups, and freestanding oddballs are trying now to do.
Picture: David Hernandez, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons