I read this morning that NASA is planning to build a permanent base on the moon. COOL! My nerd-boy juices immediately started flowing, imagining what life bouncing around in 1/6th gravity would be like, or the joy of watching the Earth rise in the morning. But more importantly, it reminded me of humanity's need to look beyond the silliness of day-to-day life
and cast our eyes forward to what's best for our long-term survival.
One of the things I love about scientists is how visionary and politically agnostic they are. They spend their time focusing on possibilities, posing giant questions like "Can we cure illness?" or "Can we travel through time?" then probing and testing in an earnest attempt to answer those questions. Name another field where professionals from competing nations cooperate without thought to the commercial or political ramifications of working together. With only the rare exception, they work together to make the world a better place, uncovering truths we need to know and bravely standing up to ignorance and misunderstanding. They may be socially awkward, and but imagine where we'd be without them.
I'm sure most people dismiss the idea of a moon-base as science fiction, an unnecessary waste of energy and money on a flight of fancy. As a species the Earth has always been able to provide the resources we needed to survive and flourish. Realistically, though, that cannot last, and it may not be long before wars are fought over fresh water instead of ideology (or, god forbid, the Gamalons attack). Setting up residence on the moon is more than a quest for cheese or a monolith; it's a first step in our long-term survival.