Buzz Aldrin’s footprint on the moon (via Hyperallergic >>NASA)
As I read The New Frontier, Allsion Meier's article in Hyperallergic about concerns over historical preservation of our first footprints and other artifacts of our earliest moon landing, I couldn't help thinking we're perhaps overly navel-gazing in going to such lengths. After all, our own impact on the universe, at the end of billions of years, and the beginning of billions more, is but a nanosecond in the long run.
Yet in the more graspable, immediate sense, nothing could be more important. As we venture deeper and more ambitiously into space, the obvious is already clear: We bring our messy selves with us.
In this light, it can't be a bad thing to practice archaeological care and preservationist thinking as a counter to our rapacious appetites for acquisition, exploitation and all too often, destruction of new environments.
Otherwise we risk repeating the past, becoming the modern day, space-explorer equivalents of our recent ancestors who dug up dinosaurs and tombs and removed them from their contexts, destroying whole stories and troves of information in the process.
Perhaps if we set the tone now and move to preserve our history in space so far, it will encourage whoever develops those new frontiers to approach their exploration and development in ways more thoughtful than the ones we've used on earth.