Have you ever wondered how much storage could fit on the moon? SelfStorage.com commissioned this new infographic that sheds some interesting light on the topic. And the fact that SelfStorage.com commissioned it at all should tell you something, they’re nothing if not a bastion of scientific truth. And maybe they plan to open an location on the lunar surface.
The question of whether we could, would, or should store anything on the moon is more complicated than it might initially seem. Sure, there’s the prohibitive cost—I mean, you can rent a storage locker on Earth for $19.99 a month. But let’s put cost aside for a minute. Here’s another question: can anyone store anything on the moon? If I had the money, could I put my Garbage Pail Kids collection from the 1980s up there if I wanted to? Or should space on the moon be reserved for valuable and/or historically significant items? Pocari Sweat doesn’t seem to think so, although one could argue that even a can of soda masquerading as a time capsule has its cultural significance.
I recently read about something called the Torah on the Moon project, a “values-driven space initiative” to put a Hebrew Bible scroll on Earth’s biggest satellite. It’s an interesting idea, though would they then have to put a copy of every other holy book there too? The words “values-driven” are interesting, as they imply that most space initiatives aren’t driven by values, which is, I suppose, arguably true. But that opens up a whole slew of other questions—if we’re focusing on value-driven projects in space, then what happens when the KKK or Kim Jong-un wants to put a relic on the moon? If we start trying to decide which projects have the “correct” values, then we’re launching down a pretty slippery slope—who gets to determine what’s valuable enough to be stored on the moon? Although apparently the moon’s storing a bunch of human feces, so maybe it’d be better to get something, anything else up there.
Evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins says the moon could be used as a “cosmic tombstone” to preserve evidence of the human race in case something terrible happens to us. It sounds like he’s talking about something similar to a Golden Record that has a permanent home. I like that idea, although it does raise some of the same questions with regards to who decides what the best hallmarks of the human race are. But experts such as Carl Sagan have tackled that question before. I could see the moon serving as a repository for something with practical, rather than cultural value, such as seeds. There’s a seed vault in the Arctic region of Norway, which seems like a pretty safe place, but I’d venture to say the moon is even safer.
Perhaps the million-dollar question is what should we dowith the moon, if anything? Astronauts, scientists, and politicians have a long-running debate about the merits of returning to the lunar surface. Obama has basically said “been there, done that,” but Neil deGrasse Tyson thinks astronauts should return to the moon as test runs for themselves, equipment, and maneuvers that will eventually be used to put a man on Mars.
Building on the moon also stirs up debate, largely around ownership, and a National Park on the moon raises some similar questions. Still, building a launch pad on the moon may make sense if countries continue to go there, and provided anyone could use it. Solar farms, or a solar-power-generating ring around the moon, seem like sound ideas, although they bring us back around to the money issue.
The moon shouldn’t be the Earth’s walk-on closet, but one can’t deny that there’s plenty of space and potential there. What would you store on the moon?