29 May 2008
Holiday on the Moon Anyone?
At a time when it is entirely self-evident to anyone who takes an interest in these things that the Age of Cheap Oil is over, that the world is about to enter an unprecedented energy transition and that we are led by people with no idea what to do about it, I was intrigued to be given a clipping from the Daily Star which somehow embodies the depths of denial at work out there in the world. Accompanied by a wonderful, Viz-like image of a spaceman taking a stroll outside a Premier Inn on the lunar surface with the Earth in the background (see left), the article runs as follows. You’re going to enjoy this…
THIS is the view that guests will get when they check in to the first hotel to be built on the Moon.
British chain Premier Inn has bought more than 40,000 square feet of lunar land and asked designers to plan a motel.
The company announced its GBP 1m purchase yesterday and said the hotel – complete with Moon buggies, spacesuits and robot maids – will be open by 2033.
Managing director Patrick Dempsey said space holidays are becoming “more feasible” now.
And he added: “We wanted to steal a march on our rivals and be the first hotel chain to offer people comfortable and affordable lunar accommodation.”
I’ll bet you’re tempted to invest in that aren’t you? The bit I like is the “space holidays are becoming ‘more feasible’ now” bit. More feasible? Can any of you imagine anything less feasible? How could going to the moon on holiday be ‘feasible’, when we are struggling even to afford to run the lorries that sustain our present-day, just-in-time delivery systems down here on boring old Earth? Which bit do they think is ‘more feasible’? The eyewatering energy implications of such a ridiculous idea, or perhaps the rising cost of all the energy intensive materials such a daft project would entail?
It is extraordinary that at a time when what hotel chains need to be really thinking about is how to survive a major recession, how to dramatically reduce their energy dependence, how to use the amount of food they buy to support local growers and thereby incentivise the growth of the local food economy on which they will depend, how to become truly rooted in the local economy and how to perhaps even generate more power than they consume, one truly idiotic MD has so failed to read the situation around him as to come up with this idea.
I was also puzzled at which canny soul it is who pocketed the £1m for the building plot on the moon? Who is authorised to sell land on the moon and by whom? Perhaps Transition Initiatives out there struggling to find funding for their work could do very well by setting up a side-enterprise in Lunar Real Estate?
Let me make a prediction here. I know that predicting the future is very uncertain, and it is hard to really pin down future trents, but I predict here, today, that there will be no hotels on the Moon. Ever. It’s not going to happen. Mind you, I do hear that for some people, spending millions of pounds, using the last dregs of the world’s hydrocarbons, spending days in a cramped rocket flying to a barren, treeless world with no atmosphere (literally and metaphorically) might be the only thing that it will take for some people to actually take the quiet time out to sit and look at our precious planet and actually appreciate what a unique, wonderous gem we are fortunate enough to inhabit. It’s the robot maids that worry me. And talk about ‘food miles’…
With thanks to Ben for the clipping….