Email From The Moon, Tourism, Fiction

Dear Laura:

Talking about new faces last week reminded me of tourists. As in, we don’t have any.

The original habitat builders certainly expected Lunar Tourism to take off. So to speak. We have the Welcome Center that I mentioned. Other than Landing Day, it doesn’t see a lot of traffic.

Then there is that awful atrium in the lobby of the main bubble. Someone was definitely channeling Earth Corporate when that was designed. They’ve tried to make it better by sealing off the upper section so it doesn’t have to waste breathable air. It’s still way bigger than it needs to be.

Conspicuous consumption falls flat when waste is a matter of life and death. That will probably change as lunar society grows. We will export our vices along with our virtues.

But I was talking about tourists.

The training is just too long. It takes six months. That’s just for come up, look around, don’t die, go home. Anything more complicated takes correspondingly longer. Most people don’t want to spend that much time for a short pleasure cruise.

And then there is that lecture on All The Ways You Can Die on your Lunar Jaunt. They tend to show that in the first or second session of training for everyone. Scares off the indecisive. Gets the rest of us to take the training even more seriously. Those photos of explosive decompression stay with you.

If you want bragging rights that you’ve been to space, if you want to stare at planet earth and think deep thoughts about how ‘we are all one,’ there is always the orbiting space stations. There & back again in fewer days with less training.

Or, there’s all of the virtual tours and VR experiences. Aside from the change in gravity, you can see everything from the comfort of your own couch and screen. Actually, you probably see more on a virtual tour. It’s all cleaned up with the boring bits skipped. Kinda the way animal documentaries show you the exciting chase scenes without all the waiting around. Plus, far less chance of choking on your own carbon dioxide.

This has gotten morbid today. Do I spend the day worrying about turning into a colorful illustration of What Not To Do? Not really. Humans can get used to anything.

It’s on your mind. You do what you can to prevent, avoid, lessen problems, then you get on with your life. The way one would do if you lived in an earthquake zone. I liken it to the automobile era. Everyone knew they could die in a flaming wreck any time they got in a car, but they still swarmed all over the roads.

Well, I say I’m used to it, then I lie in bed and count the number of steps to the nearest airlocked emergency shelter or calculate how many layers of material are between me and vacuum. I wonder if submarine sailors felt this way when they were surrounded by crushing water pressure?

On that cheery note, I must get back to work.


~~~ curtain~~~

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