Seminal space golf and the incalculable boosting a nation’s pride—old school products of big proud government—are passé of course. Silicon Valley is buying the moon (George Bailey’s stock/moonrock options having apparently expired: “You want the moon, Mary? I’ll getcha the moon.”) The new space race is a dreamy, ferocious capital affair. Who knew that the man in the moon is smiling because he’s rich!
Whoever wins this private enterprise derby is expected to land on our dear bright dreamed-on satellite by 2014. It will net them $30 million from Google (the Lunar X prize). But the vision goes beyond the prize: ambitious technepreneurs hope to mine la luna for minerals like platinum, and they sneer at the logistics. Failing that, there is always the redoubtable tourism industry. And also a simpler idea: one company is already promising to take your ashes up and scatter them. They can’t do it yet but they’re taking orders. It’s ten-thousand-bucks but so much closer to heaven.