Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Why Africa Must Go to the Moon


There are many reasons why the nations of Africa should set aside their religious conflicts,  invite the African Diaspora to return home,  create a common currency and go to the Moon. India just launched a probe to Mars. The Chinese are planning a space station and an effort to put an installation for humans on the Moon. The Western powers are retooling to reach out to the distant moons of Jupiter and Saturn. There is even talk of colonizing Venus and building cloud cities. The Japanese seek to go to Earth's moon and  build a power station to beam electricity back to our planet. International corporations have formed collaborations to go into deep space and capture asteroids that can be mined for metals and minerals as well as precious water valuable for fuel and breathing.

Space agencies exist on every continent except Antarctica. However, if there is a race to the Moon, or any moon, sadly, Africa is sitting on the bleachers in the cheap seats watching other players commit to winning on the playing field. But that could change dramatically, once  Black people are inspired to setting higher goals in today's rapidly evolving global society.

There is an entire solar system within our grasp to explore and exploit (hopefully, there will be no intelligent life that we can abuse). Incredible possibilities exist. But how do we influence subsistence farmers, fishermen, bus drivers, students, housewives, and dictators to focus on the big bright orb that we see almost every night.

We can use science fiction to inspire people of all ages and backgrounds to set their sights on a lofty goal. We need stories. We need movies. We need music and art. An effort to establish a base on the moon would create millions of jobs (or at least thousands). The technologies developed would greatly benefit all people. We are talking more than just making space juice such as Tang. But we have to inspire people to think bigger-- there is more than one moon, there is more than one dream.

This is the breakdown of planets with moons (but subject to change as  humans stretch out into their local solar neighborhood).

Mercury and Venus-0
Earth-1
Mars-2
Jupiter-63
Saturn-60
Uranus-27
Neptune-13

Pluto which has been demoted from full planet status to dwarf planet has five moons. And Pluto sits on the edge of the solar system where billions of bodies possessing the riches of the universe orbit the sun.

Ganymede circling Jupiter is the largest moon in the solar system whereas our Moon is only the fifth largest. Several other moons may have buried under miles of ice, liquid oceans bigger than anything we see on earth.  Some moons are volcanic. Some have huge seas of liquid methane.

So, why should Africa go to the Moon or travel to  any of the moons that this solar system is blessed with?  Resources are the answer. Africa has most of the mineral resources that the space-faring nations are desperate for. However, those resource are finite and more difficult to obtain each year. Also, there are critical environmental concerns. We have to plan for our future. We must not foul our nest. We have to take flight.

Africa must go to the moon, if for nothing else than to improve living conditions that people have today. Building a technology for a grand goal, means having more schools and encouraging people  to invent and play a significant role in the space race. This also means increased incomes, infrastructure development, innovation in food and shelter as well as a commitment to do things more efficiently without endangering our health or ruining our landscapes.

Africa needs to go to the moon to earn its rightful place in the modern world -- graduating from a developing economy and becoming a full partner among the superpowers  (a feat that India, China and Japan have accomplished).

A shout-out has to go to a Black Science Fiction book: Discovery which is the first installment of the Darkside Trilogy by William Hayashi.  The Darkside Universe is a speculative world which tells the tale of what happens in the United Sates of America when the country discovers that African Americans have been secretly living on the backside of the moon since before Neil Armstrong arrived. (Purchase the book at Amazon.)

I haven't read or reviewed it yet, but we need more tales like this to help Africa go to the moon.