Elon Musk holding the Moon hostage is the real threat of SpaceX
It’s been a big week for the Moon. On Sunday night, a movie named after the sun’s reflection off the Earth’s nearest celestial body, Moonlight, won the Academy Award for Best Picture in a stunning and poorly executed upset over the betting favorite, jazz musical La La Land. Then, on Monday, Tesla founder Elon Musk announced that his SpaceX program’s intention to carry two wealthy paying customers around the Moon. Finally, in response to the SpaceX news, Massachusetts Democratic congressional candidate Brianna Wu declared the Moon the most tactically valuable military ground for Earth in a since-deleted tweet:
Wu’s reasoning that defunding NASA and allowing private enterprise to take control of the modern space race is dangerous is, of course, mathematically flawed:
But more importantly, its shortsightedness masks another real problem with private corporations or citizens having sole access to the Moon: namely, the ability to hold the world hostage by threatening the Moon itself.
No one has been able to make commercial space travel feasible in the 48 years since America first (allegedly) landed a man on the Moon. It’s safe to assume, then, that no one has taken the next necessary step in weaponizing the Moon with a Moon-slingshot or Moon-rocket launcher, since the R&D of such a machine would likely need to be funded by the profits of commercial space travel, itself still in the R&D process. Also, testing of a Moon-slingshot or Moon-rocket would be easily visible to the governments of the world through telescopes, making the secret development of the weapons impossible. So, utilization of the Moon and its rocks-as-bombs spoils for military purposes is years away at best and completely unfeasible and insane at worst.
However, that doesn’t mean that use of the Moon for a super villain plot is out of the question. Consider this: the Moon controls the tides, has a stabilizing effect on the Earth’s orbit, and allows for the monthly superhuman feats of strength by werewolves that are responsible for the Egyptian pyramids, the Great Wall of China, and untold other of mankind’s accomplishments. SpaceX doesn’t have the technology to weaponize the Moon, but considering the fact that nine countries, including North Korea, have nuclear bombs, it’s not impossible that Elon Musk does as well. Using one to blow up the Moon, rather than a city on Earth, would allow him to hold the entire Earth ransom without directly targeting and angering any one country.
Blowing up the Moon would have several terrifying effects. First, calmer seas would lead to a catastrohic drop off in surfing, causing a rift in future generations between those who understand movies like Johnny Tsunami and Surfer, Dude and those who view surfing as a fantasy akin to flying reindeer and winter. Second, the deep-sea crabbing industry would become far less dangerous, leading a drop in wages and overfishing of crabs. Third, lycanthropy would be cured, slowing down construction crews who rely on a monthly boost in efficiency from employed werewolves and adding the werewolf to the endangered species list alongside the crab. Finally, SpaceX could potentially spark an uptick in public acceptance of conspiracy theories by proving that the 1969 Moon landing was staged, giving a platform to people like Alex Jones and publications like Breitbart and causing even non-drug users to question reality in a really time-consuming and pedantic way.
The confluence of these outcomes, along with their ripple effects, could throw the world into turmoil; their potential alone would put Earth at the mercy of Musk completely. He could demand any ransom he wanted and the people of Earth would be forced to pay it, like a professional sports team’s local fans being forced to pay for a new arena because a villainous owner is threatening to move the team to Los Angeles or Seattle otherwise.
There is, however, a best-case scenario to this admittedly realistic and scary possibility. In fact it’s the same as the best-case scenario many hoped for upon Donald Trump’s election as President of the United States: that Musk’s clear bad guy-ness will accidentally Herb Brooks his fractious opposition into a unified coalition capable of greatness.
Such a united humanity, popular in works of science fiction that feature an aggressive alien threat like Ender’s Game and Independence Day, would be eerily reminiscent of the groundbreaking graphic novel The Watchmen, which I won’t spoil but involves a rich guy, a nefarious plot, and humanity coming together, and it’s pretty good, check it out if you get a chance. However, the idea of America coming together under Trump hasn’t come to fruition, given the continued finger-pointing between liberals and the far left and the impotent supplication to Trump by the right.
Maybe a richer, smarter bad guy would force the world to finally gather itself and fight back together. Or maybe Musk would just become the literal King of the World. Honestly, it’s always smarter to bet on rich guys than humanity as a whole when it comes to controlling the future of the world.