Nearly 42 years ago, NASA sucked out some of the romance between the earth and its moon. Never again would a person be able to gaze up at the night sky and moondream in the same way. Unless of course you don’t believe that any moon landings actually took place. Then keep dreaming away.
The gravitational pull between the earth and the moon was not enough, we had to possess this nearby heavenly body and put our machines, our experiments, our footprint on it.
The moon couldn’t be missed by the human eye since there were human eyes. Telescopes allowed us to snoop more intimately on our neighbor. The man in the moon was not found. The green cheese theory could not be proved.
Many people swear that the moon brings out the crazy in people like nothing else. If your workplace gets outlandish phone calls, check the calendar and check out the phase of the moon. Blame the full moon.
Police forces find eerie parallels between the phases of the moon and certain kinds of criminal behavior; different phase of the moon, different crimes being committed. Hospitals draw conclusions between the kinds of injuries that come into emergency rooms and the moon.
Now that we are eyeing Mars, the moon seems less exotic. A trip to the moon lasts a few days, a trip to Mars could take years. The moon may become too common, too accessible. When NASA leaves the space program and private enterprises takes over, will the future see a Trump Tower on the moon?
In “The Man Who Was Thursday,” G. K. Chesterton wrote, “But even the moon is only poetical because there is a man in the moon.”
Perhaps romance is dead. Yet the light and dark sides of the moon reflect human nature. Humankind can’t help but view the universe in an egocentric way. Cartoon mice and rocks in space; our eyes want to see it anthropomorphically.