GAM 2019 Blog

by Grom D. Matthies

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The Moon is one amazing target when observed with a sturdy mounted telescope, capable to handle higher magnifications. One seems to hover over the lunar landscape, visually just a tad out of reach for it to be touched. I love to have a slow visual stroll near the terminator, the frontier between bright lunar day and dark night. It is an incomparable visual show of light and shadows, where craters, mountains and cracks in the surface produce the most astonishing sights. For me, this is the nearest I will ever get to an actual walk on the Moon.

Since the first moon landing, now five decades ago, out of about 10 billion (10000 million) humans which live and lived since then, only twelve souls actually walked on the Moon’s surface. Bearing that in mind, the likelihood any common human walking on the Moon again in any foreseeable future, is practically short to none.

Slight change of topic.

Science-fiction films and series have noticeably shifted from generic alien invasions, galactic empires and spaceships fighting each other. Now the focus is more often on the perils of long-time manned space travel itself, colonization and exploitation of solar system bodies. Due to the dramatic aspects required by TV and cinema, many shows expose quite realistic issues arising from humans dealing with humans living out of the 1G gravitational bond we are used to.  

Cinema turns itself into a kind of testing ground or think tank complementing science, either physical as well as psychological oriented, by creating or exploring the most unexpected situations that may arise and would require serious attention if they would happen in space or on other planets surfaces. Cinema and TV also serve as "preparational sensibilization" for us Earthlings, bound to this terrestrial ground for all our lives. The message may not be as clear, but the facts are… if mankind is to prevail, we can’t stay (just) on Earth.

Back to the Moon

Currently there are only four countries (Europe counting as one) dedicated to launch people into space. Some of the few other space-faring countries may follow soon.

There are keen eyes launched onto Mars. It is somehow sold as the future promised land for us to live, once our current planet turns uninhabitable by whatever reason…of which there are many.

A return to the Moon is also on some space agencies planning boards. The Moon is obviously a good starting point for any further travel into space. It is a practical, nearby test ground, for example, to check the viability of 3D printing habitats and equipment to start the first non-terrestrial outpost. If something goes wrong, at least it only takes three days to get help to the Moon. Whatever may happen on Mars, it will stay on Mars for good.

Those who stay

Yet, being it the Moon or Mars, considering the above mentioned numbers (12 out of 10,000,000,000), those few humans that someday will walk and even settle on an extraterrestrial surface, will be a scarce representation for all the others.

One thing is guaranteed, as is death and taxes… there will be no exodus for any considerable number of people if planet Earth goes sour. Mankind hopefully will manage to get a few hundred guys and girls planted for good onto another world.

For us all and for now. As we, nor any of our descendants, will ever get away from this planet, we must do everything to preserve this one and still enjoy life. This is, considering the opposition and carelessness to confront, a tough task on its own.

Also, for us, now, to reach any of the planets or one of the numerous moons, including our own, just requires getting a decent telescope (or getting nearby one), observe and let fantasy go wild. It is, by all means, a very sustainable form of travel, involving just our eyes and minds…practical astronomy for all.


Grom D. Matthies – Serious space-faring is still future music, but I would love to see the beginning of a first, even temporary settlement on any solar system body. For myself, I would hate a journey into space. So personally I prefer to stay on Earth and, currently seeking, active participation in means of spreading knowledge about the universe and awareness about us living next to a star here on our planet.  GDM19Grom 150