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Let’s sort the Earth out first before reaching for other planets | Letters


My husband and I felt a little discombobulated when we read “The moon was once a frontier. But new worlds now beckon” (Journal, 20 July).

On the TV and in the press we are invited to get excited all over again about men landing on the moon 50 years ago. We are told that several incredibly rich men are now busy designing rockets to take equally rich folk on the trip of a lifetime. In the meantime, we are witnessing the despoliation of our own planet to such an extent that in a few decades it will not be fit for human habitation. It seems to us that we’ve so many grave problems to solve here on Earth that all our efforts should be devoted to protecting the marvellous world we live in for us and future generations.
Joan Machin
Pudsey, West Yorkshire

I do worry when respected commentators like Martin Rees extol space tourism. Musk, Bezos and Branson are competing to get paying customers looping the planet, with each flight extravagant in fossil fuel usage, either directly or indirectly through its manufacture. Apollo 11 could send off a rocket with 97% of its weight of 3,000 tons as fuel and no one questioned it. Those were more innocent days. We are now deep in a climate emergency, with astronomy and its practitioners strangely silent on this aspect, in what is regarded as a progressive science. Though is it regressive, in its wish for a continual blast-off to the moon, the planets, for and space tourism? If we are to get anywhere near a 2C rise in temperature, we must get rid of the fossil fuel economy. Space cannot be an exception.
Derek Smith
London

Fifty years ago I worked as a volunteer in what was then East Pakistan, and when the news of the moon landing appeared I posted a photograph and newspaper article on the noticeboard where I worked. The disinterest in the event among local farmers and cooperative managers was palpable: its relevance to their lives was patently negligible. In a world beset by climate crisis, international instability and mutual distrust, I am hard pushed to see whether the memory of the moon landing has any more meaning today.
Dr John Evers
Truro, Cornwall

Technological detritus, a religious tome, clapped-out robots, and bags of poo, urine and vomit (Lunar litter: Junk humans left behind, 20 July). Any aliens landing there would have no trouble identifying who’d been there before them.
Brian Smith
Berlin, Germany

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