Why Is America Going Back To The Moon In 2024?

I really hope the space people don’t come for me, but I don’t understand why we’re going back to the Moon

I get that the Moon landing in 1969 was a monumental event. Despite it being a symptom of the Cold War with the US desperately wanting to beat Russia up there, it did push the boundaries of science and humanity. But now it seems like a redundant task and one that doesn’t really serve any real point beyond boosting US and private corporate interests. 

In case you missed it, the Odysseus lunar robot landed on the Moon last Friday (before tipping on its side) making it the first privately built vehicle to soft land on the surface. It was launched by Elon Musk’s SpaceX and carried exploration instruments for NASA. Immediately anything involving Elon Musk is a red flag to me. 

Come to think of it, the whole concept of space exploration and travel not only confuses me, but terrifies me. I used to be obsessed with space as a child, as many of us were, but now as an adult I can’t spend more than five minutes thinking about space without spiralling into a black hole. We’re just mere beings flying around on one tiny rock in one tiny section of a much bigger galaxy which itself isn’t even that big compared to other galaxies. It’s deeply depressing. 

Trying to ignore my own insignificance for a moment, space exploration appears to have been nothing more than an attempt to establish political and economic control and show off a nation’s power. During the Space Race, the goal wasn’t to explore space with genuine curiosity but to see who would be the first to the moon. The winner would be seen as the most scientific and powerful nation while the loser would hide in the shadows. It was a cosmic pissing contest, so to speak. 

NASA believes that space exploration is of great benefit to the human race, particularly in the advancement of scientific knowledge. I can’t tell you one time I’ve directly benefited from someone (or something) breaking through the thermosphere and telling us what’s going on up there. If anything, I’m worse off. Space doom spiral, remember? Don’t even get me started on people wanting to colonise Mars. Colonising half the world wasn’t enough? 

It makes me a little angry that we’ve pushed this planet to such extreme lengths but instead of wanting to fix it we’re pumping money into trying to find another one to destroy? You know what I want people to explore? The ocean. It covers 71 percent of Earth and we’ve only explored five percent of it. Although, much like space exploration, modern oceanography only kicked off because the US wanted to learn how to weaponise it with submarines, I think learning about the causes and impacts climate change is having on our ocean systems is far more urgent than sending something to the moon. But what do I know? I’m still scared to know what is swimming beneath me at the beach. 

Let’s just leave the Moon alone. She’s been through enough. I don’t blame her for distancing herself from us.

Ky is a proud Kamilaroi and Dharug person and writer at Junkee. Follow them on Instagram or on X.

Image: Getty

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