Fixing the Moon

When I look at the moon, I think: Wow, we gotta fix that thing. The moon’s been struck pretty badly, given its four-billion year life. Its lack of atmosphere allows meteor strikes, and the windless plains deny leveling forces, forces that are normal to me and you.

The moon is battered.

Most people, virtually everyone, would agree that the moon has a damaged surface. If they are right, and if the moon is important to humankind, then what would it take for us to enact repairs? What could be done to fix the damage, if we could prove that the costs, and the practicality of such measures, were not insurmountable issues?

If we had the means and access to do the work, we could organize teams, or robotic machinery, to rake and level the irregular landscape. The surface is soft and workable. We could fill the craters and heal those scars. The moon would become a better place. It would be smooth and look whole again. Presuming of course, it looked whole, once.

Who would argue there is no need to help out– to clean up– our own Heavenly Body?

We would need to consult with scientists around the globe to determine how we’d best protect the newly-repaired surface from future strikes. This is much more than simply protecting our investment, although protecting what we’ve built is a human tradition in the finest order. The moon is hit by an estimated 6,000 pounds of meteor material per day. Consider: What type of minimal atmosphere could we reasonably set in place, to stop a percentage of the strikes? Then we could get on a schedule to fix the surface as needed, perhaps on a quarterly or even yearly basis.

How about the moon’s shape? Would we correct it?

Despite what we see from Earth, the moon is not a perfect circle. It’s more like an egg shape, with the bigger part of the egg facing the Earth. What could we do to reshape the moon, or at least bring it a percentage closer to a true spherical diameter? We could set a goal of perhaps a 15-20% correction. Who would argue against the moon being modestly adjusted to the universal symmetry standard of a bisect line, with an equal mass and shape to the left and right, top and bottom?

To keep this discussion reasonable, and our costs lower, we could propose the following. Let’s set aside our direct and admittedly pie-in-the-sky plans for reshaping the moon. Instead, let’s do this. If we identify the parts of the moon that need more mass (the top of the egg, the “pointy part”) why don’t we relocate the tons of surface we’re shifting during our crater-filling activities? This concept of double utility has served us well in the past and can serve us today. Even if we only fix the moon by five percent, that is something.

We’re not talking planet-sized work. The moon end-to-end doesn’t even stretch the length of the United States. These projects could work, if we are in agreement to prioritize positive change. That, in effect, is what this discussion is all about. If we aren’t in agreement to prioritize positive change, then I don’t know what to tell you! Step aside! We need to look inward before being afforded the luxury of moving outward.

Space truck those tons of lunar dust north my friends. Dump it, resettle it, and come on back for more. Don’t worry about the path you’re leaving. We’ll fix that, too. Each step you take, you’re moving forward. This can’t be argued; process is progress.

And then, we can say we’ve done a good thing and go home satisfied.

THE COURT WILL NOW LISTEN TO THE OPPOSITION.

When I look at the moon, I see what people have been gazing at for centuries. And yes, it looks like a dead-on circle to me.

Is the moon damaged? Or is it just simply, the moon?

Why is it our responsibility to effect a change to it? What if our work causes unforeseen problems to it, and to the Earth?

The fact that we’re considering reshaping the moon is terrifying. The so-called imperfect egg creates lunar gravitation that has served Earth very well for its lifetime. If any of our adjustments to the moon happened to cause a change to our planet, there would be no undo button. We could not know if reverse adjustments could make things better or worse. We have no good experience in whole, sweeping unified changes to nature. Yet the discussion is before us, due to someone deciding an oval shape is inferior to a different kind of round.

The talk that all steps are progress, and that progress is inherently good, is childish and incomplete. Have you ever seen someone walking in the wrong direction? They are progressing in the wrong direction my friends, and so shall we, due to people who are not inclined to accept rough or cracked rocks. Why aren’t we polishing the Maine coast? Why aren’t we filling the Grand Canyon?

A crater-less lunar surface would increase the sun’s light reflection. What would be the effect on the millions of nocturnal animals who know only the natural way? Talk to the scientists, the opposition says. I would get a lesser assortment of answers by asking children.

There is one object that people have looked to, in universal wonder. It is hanging in the stars and has connected loved ones, living continents apart. The moon has been a unifying point for us to fix our eyes, to join us, and ease our loneliness.

That object is not broken, and should not be changed.

Our sole natural satellite has inspired the greatest songs, poems and writings the world has known. Not one of those works speaks of the flaws of the moon.

The moon is not the sand trap of space, to be raked smooth at any dent or fissure. The moon is not our sculpture, to form into a so-called normal shape that happens to be a current political party’s fancy.

We are told to get on board, or step aside. I would rather go to the tallest skyscraper, and throw the moon reshaping funds off the roof. At least in that way, the money would find its way to people in the street, who could no doubt put it to better use.

This debate hall will be demolished, with all of us long gone and buried, and the moon will eclipse us all, changed a bit each day but unchanging in its way.

The moon was created just right. Its system, shape, and means of absorbing violent strikes is perfection. Moonlight is the nighttime’s custodian of sunlight, its lumens determined by God and nothing else. The moon is ours to be inspired by, it is not ours to change.

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Fixing The Moon by Ara Hagopian.

About Ara Hagopian's The LITERATE Show

For over thirty years, I have enjoyed drawing beautiful shapes and writing complementary stories. The imagery tends to focus on our place in the world—whomever or whatever we may be. I am influenced by Twentieth Century history—I read vintage magazines, books and letters. Inspiration comes from visualizing human achievement and personal interaction—derived from people, places and things which may be obscure, but never insignificant. My pen-and-ink THE MAGNIFICENT RECOVERY was selected by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston for their 2008 summer art auction.
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