In most space movies, the answer to every problem is usually to launch a slingshot around the moon or through a black hole. But here on Earth, we need to find more creative solutions to our problems, like lifting everything into space.
This seems to be the first question asked when faced with a dilemma. Communication problems? Put it in space. Overcrowding issues? Try a moon colony. Too much waste? Shoot it in the sun.
It wouldn’t be surprising if, in the future, when space travel is more common, a guy would respond to his girlfriend breaking up with him by saying, “How about we try this relationship in zero gravity?” That might spice things up.
Save us, space
It may seem like I’m exaggerating a bit (which I am), but the examples in this Hail Mary space keep mounting. A European Commission wants to put data centers in orbit where no one can hear them buzzing. Russian scientists plan to use a constellation of satellites to display giant pixel images to helpless consumers in the field. And Starlink brings the horrible pettiness and narcissism of the Internet to remote parts of Earth that probably once led a Shangri La-like existence.
We’ve been looking for oil up there, hoping to send too many people to the moon, and regularly using space to make energy more sustainable and the environment cleaner and all that good crap I pretend to care about.
Perhaps the funniest example of this is our semi-serious idea of throwing trash into the sun where neighbors can’t complain about the smell. This seems quite logical at first glance. The sun is just a giant incinerator floating in space, why not just pack some trash in a rocket, say a tearful goodbye and send it out there every Thursday to coincide with collection day garbage ?
Long story short, some people did the math and found that the whole business was just too expensive. Launching thousands of pounds of trash with rockets that tend to cost around $200 million isn’t exactly an efficient way to get rid of all those plastic rings that six-packs contain.
Yet, no matter what we like to tell ourselves, the main reason, beyond learning and exploring, why we launch rockets off our planet is so we can hitchhike one day and fuck off. camp from here. We tend to think of Earth as a party that’s no longer fun and imagine that because there’s always a beautiful view out the window up there, all problems and worries will somehow be put to rest.
It’s a bit like when a child tries to tidy up his room quickly before his mother arrives and throws things under the bed, in the closet and out the window. We just do that with space.
But you must have seen one of dozens of star trek shows coming out all the time – they have a huge new problem every week to tackle, and there’s a lot of jerks floating around up there. Even when we fantasize about space, we can’t help but take our little earthly baggage with us.
Running out of ideas down here
Granted, space can obviously help us solve all sorts of shenanigans on this giant blue marble, which is why astronomers are conducting a lot of experiments up there where they can get some peace and quiet.
But our reliance on space solutions is also a slight indication of a lack of imagination here on Earth (which reminds me of the old monologue about imagination in the play SIX DEGREES OF SEPARATION). The tendency to look to the stars for answers to our problems betrays the feeling that we are out of ideas and have given up on the ground.
Think about that friend you have who loves pets too much – it’s partly because at some point he was so disappointed in people that his dog is the only creature he can trust. And yes, I know I am using too many different analogies to make the same point in this article.
Space certainly has its place, and I want to get up there and cover the Earth in the distance with my thumb as much as the next person. When approaching a problem, however, it may be best to exhaust all possibilities on Earth where we can breathe without a helmet and go for a walk.
Because that big black void up there won’t solve any of the fundamental problems inherent in human nature, and if we rely on it too much, we’ll screw up the doggie up there as much as we did down here.
So where are we going? Another dimension, probably.
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