03 September 2006

Not so Smart

Conservative blogs typically don't discuss non-terrestrial matters, and I risk being lumped in with Lembit Öpik for doing so (mind you, I wouldn't mind having a go at Siân Lloyd). But here we go anyway...

Smart 1 is the European Space Agency's lunar probe. This morning, it was deliberately crashed into the surface of the Moon. It sent back invaluable data on the Moon's composition, geography, etc, etc.

Let me recap: a publicly-funded agency deliberately smashed a man-made object into a celestial body, causing irreversible damage to a landscape that had been naturally forming for billions of years. I do think that the time will come when we look back on this era and wonder whether we could have avoided such vandalism.

IMR (not PT)


Jock Coats said...

Despite my politics, I am not so up on these things as our air ace from Montgomery, but I thought the moon was, and as far as anyone could fathom had always been, geologically dead. And that the only thing that has caused it to "form" for billions of years had been impacts of other celestial travellers. Whilst I'm probably with you on the value of doing it, I'm not sure it's really wanton vandalism...:)

Praguetory said...

The difference between this and other impacts is that it was deliberately planned by humans, as opposed to it being a natural event. Now part of the Moon is strewn with circuit-boards, solar panels and goodness knows what else.

When the first person climbed Everest, it was a great achievement. Now, the running water there is so polluted you can't drink it. Sometimes, we don't think of the long-term consequences of short-term exploration. We should avoid extending our abuse of parts of the Earth to elsewhere.

IMR (not PT)

Jock Coats said...

I'd be surprised if it was strewn with anything. They're all just atoms after all, and at 5000kmh surely the intention was to create an impact that would vapourise the ship, no? But I take your point. Though I'll bet the only human debris on the moon is still some 30 years old.