“It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn’t feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.” — Neil Armstrong
Long before the advancements of space flight and lunar colonization, humans revered the moon. She has been a soft, steady presence throughout all of human history. We assign all manner of divinity to her, naming them Artemis, Selene, and countless more. The moon taught us how to tell time and predict the tides. She has been a quiet presence of power, a god, and the master of the ebb and flow of our very oceans.
Few human beings have had the great privilege of standing upon the moon. Those who have tend to return with a feeling of terrible, beautiful awe, as demonstrated in Armstrong’s quote above. What must it be like, many of us wonder, to gaze upon the Earth from afar? What must it be like, what will it be like, to stand on the surface of a god? Will we all feel as humbled as Neil?
Imagine it: vacations to the lunar surface, commercial flights to the moon, afternoon tea overlooking the Earth from your moon hotel’s balcony. Permanent residence in places with names like “Villa Luna.” The wonders of the future seem so distant, but how far away are they, really? What leaps forward in innovation will launch us into the sky for good? We’ve advanced so much in the past few decades. Our wait may be shorter than we think.
There are those who may argue that “conquering” the moon will jade us to her beauty and rob us of the wonder we feel when we look up at her in the Earth’s night sky. I would argue otherwise. Neil had it right. We are so very, very small compared to the nigh-infinite vastness of our universe. The moon is but a grain of sand on a beach. Settling on the moon will be one of the crowning achievements of humanity’s history, and yet there is so much more to see in this solar system, this galaxy, this cluster.
Two thousand years ago, humans invented the precursor to paper. Today, we can access nearly the entirety of human knowledge using a device that fits in one hand. What will we create tomorrow? If human history indicates anything, it is that we are insatiable. While this can manifest in great cruelty, it has also flung us exponentially forward in technological advancement as we build upon each new invention with ever-mounting fervor.
What heights our descendants may reach in the span of the next two millennia likely defies our grandest imaginings. Don’t lose heart. We may survive ourselves yet. The view from here can be bleak sometimes, but look to the future from these shadows…and imagine the view from up there.