A perspective on the Earth from the Moon

Dr. Scott, A perspective on the Earth from the Moon, EARTH MOON, 85-6, 2001, pp. 411-418
Categorie Soggetti
Space Sciences
Journal title
ISSN journal
0167-9295 → ACNP
Year of publication
411 - 418
SICI code
"What was most significant about the lunar voyage was not that men set foot on the Moon, but that they set eye on the Earth''. This statement, by Mr. Norman Cousins, Editor of the Saturday Review, summarizes the most signific ant aspect of the first departure of humans from the environment in which t hey were born, and in which they must survive. Looking back at the Earth fr om the Moon, the view is both splendid and overwhelming. This small blue ba ll in the vastness of black space, dotted with millions of marvellous stars , is an oasis that we must understand and protect. For, if one searches the heavens, one will find no other island for life as we understand it. If we humans do not protect and nurture this environment, it will disappear - ju st as quickly as the Earth will disappear from behind an outstretched thumb of a man on the Moon. Everything that has meaning disappears: science, his tory, music, poetry, art, literature, all of it on this small, fragile, and precious little spot out there in the vastness of the universe. From the M oon, we see many new and fascinating visions of the Earth. These views chan ge not only our perspective of the Earth but our value system as well. As a n example, from the Earth, we see the Moon track across the sky from horizo n to horizon, always the same face, always the same features. But from the Moon, we see the Earth at the same point in the sky, day after day, but alw ays turning, showing us new faces and changing features as the hours pass. We become aware of how much the physical features of the Earth are interrel ated. And in a sense, we can "see the future'' as the Earth turns in our vi ew. From the Moon we see the Earth as a "whole'' - we see no borders, we se e no boundaries, we see all humankind together and interrelated on this sin gle small sphere. This perspective from the Moon makes us realize that the Earth is dynamic and alive and evolving for the human presence - and we rea lize that if we care not for the life of the Earth itself, we care not for the life of its inhabitants. With this new perspective of the Earth and its place in human life, we must think of bold and visionary ideas to preserve our so limited and fragile environment. Temporary solutions to the problem s of our times must be replaced by permanent solutions for future generatio ns. For our generation did not inherit this marvelous environment in which we live, we borrowed it from our children, and children's children. We owe them the best we can achieve; we owe them a conscious and substantial retur n on their investment in us.