By Scott Sullivan
A Giant Leap
Why does the Space Age seem so yesterday? It was. Neil Armstrong took “one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind” onto the moon 50 years ago and we leapt backward not long after.
Why? Getting there wasn’t cheap or easy. The Saturn V rocket that took the astronauts stood 363 feet, taller than the Statue of Liberty. Fully fueled, 85 percent of its mass was propellant to escape earth’s gravity. Only 4 percent of a car’s mass is fuel.
Once we got there, then what? Buzz Aldrin called the moon’s dead, gray landscape “magnificent desolation.” Minus “magnificent,” that’s day-to-day life for me.
Why is there now renewed interest in the moon? Money’s evergreen. Speculators see opportunities as infinite as the cosmos to mine gold, silver and the Helium-3 isotope used in nuclear fusion from the moon’s base and nearby asteroids.
Plus we’ve learned there is water on the moon. Hydrogen and oxygen can be used as fuel to send spacecraft back to earth or beyond to seek further riches.
Congress said in the 2015 Space Act these are there for the taking. Got a few spare billion? NASA says it will partner with entry-level investors so, in the end, they make out even better.
We’re not talking soup-kitchen welfare here; we are talking taxpayers ladling out billions for Jeff Bezos, Larry Page, Elon Musk and such.
We are not alone. China and India also hope to make big yuan or rupees out of moon dust. An Israeli lander launched last week is set to touch down on the moon in April.
Who writes laws to decide who has rights in space? Even here lawyers find a universe of gray areas to explore and exploit. Why not ship them en masse but “accidentally” miss the moon so they just keep going? Opportunities abound!
We who can’t ante up can console ourselves noting March is No Makeup Month. The Fierce and Female Project has followed No Shave November with this event to help women celebrate sans glop who they really are.
By not wearing lipstick, rouge and such, Fierce and Female spokesfolks say, “we can start to change our culture that says women need makeup to be attractive, well liked, confident and successful.”
I’ve never been any of those, but I’ve never worn makeup either. If I start, will I cave in to stereotypes that say all actors — male and female — only look acceptable on camera or stage by altering what we look like?
“Put a bag over your head,” my wife advised. “Then it won’t make a difference if you shave, wear makeup, brush your teeth, have leprosy … Cinch the drawstring around your neck really tight.”
So it doesn’t fall off?
What about dogs? I asked.
The American Kennel Club dictates that many breeds’ ears be cropped and tails docked before they compete in show rings.
Why not celebrate who they are without lopping off body parts?
“We are talking women, not dogs.” What about guys needing fast cars, money, 6-pack abs, money, Brad Pitt looks and money to feel women value us?
“Good luck with those,” she said.
Back to the moon. “This time,” says NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine, “when we go, we’ll stay.”
“Go!” my wife said.
And come back with minerals?
“Just send them,” she said.
The 1849 Gold Rush brought 300,000-plus prospectors to California to push natives off their land, plant Knott’s Berry Farm and now bury residents in so much debt even the moon can’t save them.
I’m doing fine so far without makeup but feel my self-concept has no foundation. All you love me for is my money, I told my wife.
“Nothing equals nothing. Do the math,” she said.
Should I trade cosmetics for the cosmos and go in with guys like Page, Musk and Bezos? They don’t need the guise of blush to glow about their self worth.