Jul 16, 2008

Dancing Down the Moon (with apologies to Dianne Sylvan)

In the future, total solar eclipses will no longer be possible... so states an article.
That's because every year the moon drifts 4 cm further away from the earth.

This naturally poses the query: "Will the Moon eventually swing out of earth's orbit?"

Fortunately, (I think), Aerospaceweb.org answers thusly:

"The Moon will eventually move far enough from Earth that its orbit will stabilize and increase no further. Theoretically, the Moon's orbit will eventually stabilize at a distance 1.6 times what it is today in about 15 billion years. I say theoretically since our current understanding of the Sun is that it will expand into a red giant in only five billion years or so and destroy both the Earth and Moon in the process."

It's a cool thing to allay the fears of an event that's 15 billion years away by reminding us that 5 billion years from now the earth will be toast.

It's like being so worried about getting to work in the morning, that we fail to see the stop sign at the intersection, and -- BLAMMO -- we're grill cheese... instantly, getting to work on-time is no longer a big-ass concern.

Of course, this is a much exaggerated analogy, since the difference between getting to work on time, your life, and a few billion years is... well, largely large-ish.

It's easy for a fatalist like 'ol Elbow to dwell on the futile eventuality of it all.
Many more of us human-heads can vidi the extended calendar, realize we have no children, and slowly start wondering how the future could possibly concern us any more than our choice of great-tasting, breakfast cereal.

With factoids like the one mentioned above, even the most zealous "I-believe-that-children-are-our-fucking-future" votarist, thrall can begin to see the bootlessness of our earthly condition.
But, as with so many things that trouble and confuse us, we simply refuse to ponder it too heavily and continue living in the moment. A moment where next week's plans become truly compelling, and the prospect of Star Trekian Utopias seem not only possible, but down-right essential. Where the price of a slurpie can really enrage us and a "dollar off" coupon can bring us back to inner peace.

Meanwhile, the moon slips a little further away, the stock market fluctuates, and another 6.1 billion people take a dump, wipe their ass, then go on to their next meaningless endeavor.

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