If we were given the choice between slamming a $491 million automobile into an iceberg to see if it contained water or sending 10,000 individuals to college for the next four years, many of us would choose the latter option. One of those 10,000 might find a cure for cancer, end world hunger, devise a plan for world peace, or even engineer an automobile to run on untreated sewage water (the same thing that many of the icebergs are becoming if you take a look at what’s floating around in our oceans). NASA and our government don’t see it that way. They recently sent a $491 million satellite (also known as an automobile for technology) on a collision course with the moon to see if there was enough lunar water to start another green revolution. They did find water on the moon, and believe it holds part of the following story concerning the universe – it’s been around a long time.
Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy looking at the stars, wondering what else (or who else) is out there. Plus, if you add our propensity to procrastinate to the notion that the sun will explode in a few billion years, it’s probably a good idea that we’re beginning to think about extending our meager existence to extraterrestrial bodies. Our Moon, however, won’t be much good when the sun calls it a day – it’s going down with us (it’ll give a whole new meaning to Modern English’s line “I’ll stop the world and melt with you”). I also have a great deal of respect for NASA personnel who have kind enough to speak to me over the years so I could carry out studies on irradiated foods. I can’t help but wonder, however, how intelligent we’ll look when we slam a satellite into an inhabited planet, and the natives begin asking questions about how things are going back home. Once we apologize for beginning the cycle of global warming on their planet, we’re sure to be sheepish about having to tell them that many of earth’s own inhabitants are being disregarded while we build more satellites to implant into something else just so we can say we did it.
Our solar system and the universe are not going away any time soon, and there would be very little that we could do about it even if we were staring down the barrel of a black hole. Poverty, misery, despair also look to be with us for the foreseeable future if we continue to be more worried about what chemicals exist on Uranus than how our next door neighbors are going to be able to send their kids to college.