In this blog’s long and storied history, I’ve been a consistent advocate of space exploration, with a particular interest in lunar colonization. An enduring frustration of this blog is that the United States has satiated its thirst for exploration with the numbing effects of consumer technologies. Yes, we can FaceTime one another from halfway around the globe and can set our thermostats remotely so the house is cooled down before we arrive—all wonderful conveniences—but is that truly the apex of human endeavor? Is being comfortable really the point of it all?
There was a time when we dreamed of exploring the stars, or at least of visiting our nearest celestial neighbors. But that drive for adventure dissipated—or, perhaps, exploded—sometime in the 1980s. The Age of The Virus further highlights our society’s obsession with safety, an obsession anathema to the derring-do necessary to explore the stars.
To paraphrase Bill Whittle, we’ll know we’re serious about space exploration when our graveyards are filled with astronauts.
Therefore, I was excited to learn that President Trump issued an executive order last month encouraging the development and harvesting of lunar resources—moon mining, in other words. The executive order calls for the creation and negotiation of the so-called “Artemis Accords,” which will create an international framework for lunar development.
Naturally, Leftists are in a fit, as the comment sections of one piece demonstrate. They’re worried about the “human parasite” ruining another “environment.” Note the anti-human rhetoric, as well as the anti-scientific nature of their complaints. The moon doesn’t have any environment, at least not one that we could materially ruin (maybe all those greenhouse gas emissions could terraform the moon—but I’ll stop before I demonstrate my scientific ignorance).
Nevertheless, it’s exciting news, and the kind of thing likely to escape the notice of Leftists for awhile. Contra their hysterical claims of American imperialism on the moon, the Artemis Accords seek to allow companies from all over the world to reap the benefits of lunar development, not just American ones.
The Artemis Accords will cut through the thicket of confusing international laws and United Nations mandates surrounding the moon, which President Trump notes in his order have served to dissuade lunar development. The executive order also makes an important point about lunar property (emphasis added):
Americans should have the right to engage in commercial exploration, recovery, and use of resources in outer space, consistent with applicable law. Outer space is a legally and physically unique domain of human activity, and the United States does not view it as a global commons. Accordingly, it shall be the policy of the United States to encourage international support for the public and private recovery and use of resources in outer space, consistent with applicable law.
There exists this fuzzy, feel-good sense that the moon belongs to all of humanity. That’s all well and good from a poetic sense, but if the moon is going to remain open to all of humanity, the United States must take the lead. I’ve been making this argument for over a decade: if we don’t develop the moon, the Chinese will—and they will not hesitate to abuse it. Chinese dominance of the moon, or any celestial orb, would be make the moon potentially inaccessible to anyone that didn’t kowtow to the Chi-Coms.
And, c’mon—you know the Chinese would build some kind of death laser as soon as they were capable of doing so.
But I digress. The Artemis Accords present a positive, America First approach to lunar development and exploration. If we’re ever going to see the moon become a habitable zone for human endeavors—much less a launching pad for exploration and development deeper into our Solar System—it will be done through private innovation and investment, with the proper public and legal infrastructure in place.
So it is I repeat my call: “To the Moon!”