Wired to the moon

Sep 27th, 2007 | By | Category: Personal Columns

Sometimes a long drive would be good;  the chance to sit in the car and hear whole radio programmes; never to have to hear a snippet of an interview and think, “That person sounded interesting, I wonder who she was”.

Laurie Anderson was on the radio this afternoon, talking about her work, and about being artist  in residence for NASA.  How many people knew that NASA had an artist in residence?

In the few minutes’ interview,  Ms Anderson talked of a vision at NASA to relocate all manufacturing on the Earth to the Moon and to Mars, allowing the Earth to return to an “Eden-like” state.  This would not be achieved in the short-term, but would be part of a 5000 year project.

If this sounded odd, the comments that a dispute had arisen about who owned the Moon sounded even odder.  China, it seems, has staked its own claim, disputing the right of the Americans.  The Russians also lay claim to the Moon, being the first in space.  The Italians might claim it, having invented the telescope through which it was first examined.

I nearly missed a red light at this point.  Who gave anyone the right to claim the Moon?

This is bad as companies claiming copyright over colours or claiming patents over crops.  It’s worse, it’s people putting themselves in the place of God.

Driving along, the words of the old British Liberal Party anthem came to mind:

“Sound the call for freedom boys, and sound it far and wide,
March along to victory, for God is on our side,
While the voice of nature thunders o’er the rising tide:
“God gave the land to the people.”

The land, the land,
‘Twas God who made the land,
The land, the land,
The ground on which we stand,
Why should we be beggars
With a ballot in our hand?
God gave the land to the people.

Hark! The sound is spreading from the east and from the west!
Why should we work hard and let the landlords take the best?
Make them pay their taxes on the land just like the rest!
The land was meant for the people.

Clear the way for liberty, the land must all be free,
None of us shall falter from the fight tho’ stern shall be.
‘Til the flag we love so well shall fly from sea to sea,
O’er the land that is free for the people.

The army now is marching on, the battle to begin,
The standard now is raised on high to face the battle din,
We’ll never cease from fighting ’til the victory we win,
And the land is free for the people”.

As idealistic as the song is, it’s no more absurd than China owning the moon or factories on Mars!

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