Ads on the Moon?

When I was a child, I had the same dream as every other child in my generation – the dream of being an astronaut! Indeed, since the dawn of time man has been fascinated with space. The calendar month is based on the moon’s time to circle the earth; ancient religions included the moon, sun, and planets as gods; and even modern radio enthusiasts use the moon as a natural satellite for communicating with people on the opposite side of the planet. Among the earliest of movies ever made was A Trip to the Moon (1902) by Georges MélièsThroughout the centuries, man has been captivated by the beauty of the moon, the stars, and of everything else visible in the night sky.  The night sky has been an inspiration for art, music, poetry, folklore, religion, and just about every other realm of the human experience.

Yesterday, as I was reading the current issue of MIT Technology Review, I came across an article that mentioned putting ads on the moon. Now, I must start by saying that the article didn’t provide any details, but I was disgusted to see such a thing suggested. Imagine a future where lasers are used to project the Nike swoosh onto the moon or the Amazon logo is proudly displayed. Is the moon really nothing but a billboard for corporate use?

Of course, the problem of technology and nature is nothing new. For years there have been battles between people wanting wind farms and nearby landowners who don’t want their view polluted by turbines. Roads, water turbines, railroad tracks, oil pipelines, and countless other technologies threaten the natural beauty of the world we live in. Questions of who owns the land, waterways, and underground resources such as oil and coal are a big deal in the legal realm of land management. Is the moon the next frontier for such legal battles?

Who has the right to deprive mankind of our brightest muse? Are we really willing to destroy the beauty of the moon for a few dollars? I’m a capitalist, but some things are priceless and shouldn’t be destroyed for a quick buck. For me, the moon is one such object. Looking at the night sky to see the moon displaying the Pepsi logo seems like a hellish future I hope we can avoid.

For the record, I may be able to support using the moon to display the bat signal, but don’t tell my daughter – she’s a Marvel fangirl.

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