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DonRocks

Does Polluting The Moon Matter?

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"Reminder: Humanity Has Made The Moon into a Garbage Pile, Wants To Keep Doing It" by Tim Herrera on washingtonpost.com

The one, three-word question: Does anybody care?

If we could take the entirety of human waste (including radioactive waste) generated throughout history, and successfully launch it to the Moon, would it matter?

There must come a point where the universe is considered "a bunch of mass," and that both we and our garbage are nothing more than subatomic specks, eventually to be annihilated by the Sun exploding.

Does polluting the Moon reach that point, or is there some degree of urgency that I'm not seeing?

I suppose that, for people who hope to colonize the Moon in the future, this might be something more than an academic issue, but I'm not in that camp just yet.

Bonus!

Here is the first picture ever taken of the Earth from the Moon, on Aug 23, 1966, by the Lunar Orbiter I, as the grapes were ripening in the second-most successful Bordeaux vintage of the decade:

p20.jpg

What makes this seemingly uninteresting picture so philosophically fascinating is that, at the time it was taken, the photograph contained every single known thing ever to have lived.

I'm assuming that the actual photo didn't clip off the top part of Earth, and that no skeletons or ashes had previously been shot into space; I'm also discounting any microscopic particles on the orbiter, and noting that most of everything is blocked either by darkness, or by the Earth itself. Am I missing anything, other than, say, sanity, or a brain that's larger than a walnut?

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On 3/5/2015 at 5:50 PM, DonRocks said:

What makes this seemingly uninteresting picture so philosophically fascinating is that, at the time it was taken, the photograph contained every single known thing ever to have lived.

I'm assuming that the actual photo didn't clip off the top part of Earth, and that no skeletons or ashes had previously been shot into space; I'm also discounting any microscopic particles on the orbiter, and noting that most of everything is blocked either by darkness, or by the Earth itself. Am I missing anything, other than, say, sanity, or a brain that's larger than a walnut?

Marvin may not have been in the frame.

marvin.png

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Practically?  No, it probably doesn't.
Philosophically?  Yes, it probably does.

I liken it to the situation on Mt. Everest. Does it matter that the top is covered with dead bodies (frozen so they'll never decay), spent oxygen canisters (metal so they'll never decay), and from a recent story, human excrement (also frozen so it will never decay)?

I'm never going there so I'll never see it. 99.9999999% of the people on the planet will never go there and will never see it. But the fact that this unique area is covered with trash makes me a little sad. Like with the moon, I understand the difficulty of cleaning the top of Everest. And I'm sure the moon is exponentially more expensive and difficult to clean up than Everest is, but I still don't like the idea of it being "full" of junk!

Cue John Lennon......"you may say I'm a dreamer...."

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Great context to lend perspective to higher-stress earthbound types like in the Rocky Mountain ski towns. This from the Crested Butte News:

"COLORADO

Coloradans expect more snow to fall in March than any other month, slowing runoff from the mountains and filling depleted reservoirs later in the spring. Not this year. March temperatures zoomed into the 70s, sending skiers into shorts, and fruit trees into bloom. In Crested Butte, the hot days melted snowdrifts so that what was once hidden popped into view. It wasn't pretty: "Copious amounts of dog poop are emerging with the spring thaw, spreading a distinctive unsavory aroma," said the Crested Butte News. To deal with the unwelcome discovery, the town is talking about creating yet another festival, this one a PooFest to scoop the poop."

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