Redditor today posted a provocative question: Could you paint your face on Moon so it is visible from Earth?
Let's suppose that Elon does [go] to moon and paints his visage on it. Read the post before it was removed by trigger-happy mods at r/space. According to the space treaty, no one can claim the moon. So how could anyone get away with something like this?
It is obvious that Musk would do such a thing. He would. Think of the meme potential. It would be amazing, and he could also rule over Jeff Bezos.
It is not clear, however, if SpaceX founder and billionaire SpaceX founder can do it. Three barriers need to be considered:
Technical. The Technical. Legal. The Legal. Is it legal for you to paint your face on a moon? The Ethical. The Ethical.
The technical aspects must first be considered. Is it possible to paint something on the Moon large enough that it is visible from Earth? If you're doomed to failure, there is no reason to consider the two other barriers.
The short answer is that Musk will need a lot of paint if he wants his mug to be visible on all of the Moon's surface during full moons. This might prove prohibitively costly, so let's assume Musk decided to save money by using a clever hack.
Jim Garvin, NASA's chief scientist, spoke to The New York Times about a similar proposal in 2008. It allegedly aimed to project beer advertisements onto the lunar surface. He stated that scientists have indeed used lasers to light up the Moon's surface before, in areas similar to tennis courts.
However, scaling up would be a challenge.
Garvin explained to the NYT that a laser light must cover half of Africa's land area in order to advertise.
Musk would require a dizzyingly many laser systems to illuminate the Moon's surface from Earth, but it is possible, even if it is expensive.
What about the law? The Tesla CEO might be able to make a mess of the Moon with his face, but that's a good thing.
One, the Moon is not owned by any country. This means that laws cannot be enforced by any one governing body.
However, this does not mean you are allowed to do any crime on the lunar surface. Musk would be subject to the extraterritorial jurisdiction principle on the Moon. This means that laws from a person's home country will apply to them even if they are in territory not controlled by their country.
He might not be guilty of any crime if he projects or paints his face onto the Moon's surface. After all, no one owns it. He is probably legal.
The ethical question is: Is it right to put your face all over a celestial body which has been a source for joy and wonder to billions over the life of our species' existence?
This is an unambiguous no. This is a ridiculous question. It would be difficult to come up with an alternative argument. It's the Moon after all! It's not for just one person to use and enjoy. It is for everyone.
Musk could paint a huge picture of himself on the Moon. Yes. He will. We doubt it, even though we wouldn't put a chance to promote him (and the solar system) beyond him.
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