I think Google’s project to privatise the moon – cutely called Moon 2.0 – is a big mistake.

The Google Lunar X PRIZE seeks to create a global private race to the Moon that excites and involves people around the world and, accelerates space exploration for the benefit of all humanity. The use of space has dramatically enhanced the quality of life and may ultimately lead to solutions to some of the most pressing environmental problems that we face on earth — energy independence and climate change. For more information, please visit www.googlelunarxprize.org

It’s not clear enough quickly enough why landing on the moon will help climate control. Me, I’m of an older generation. It’s cool that Google and a gaggle of companies want to land on the moon. I don’t much care if it helps climate control or not – it’s just another marketing exhibitionism thing and I’m immune to it. They can do what they want. I (with my Boomer/X hat on) might passively watch it all on TV at the office or unblock YouTube at the firewall. Just for the day of the landing itself, mind, just this once. Then, back to work!

l337 powerpoint skills. Yeah I know, you can do better.

But Gen Y? nah. To them it appears like a gimmicky ploy and they won’t take it kindly. They don’t accept what we were spoon fed. They have questions:

  • How can companies spending billions of dollars to race to the moon help climate control? Yep we saw the video and we still don’t get it. How do we explain raping and pillaging yet another astral body to future generations? But we like the Clean Up The Moon part (though it’s not marketed that way) – a treasure hunt from the last (alleged) Landing.
  • Wouldn’t that money be better spent here on Earth? (Yep we saw the video and we still aren’t convinced). How much does, say, Coke spend on advertising each year? Globally. How much does it cost to land on the moon? How much advertising and brand awareness will that Moon 2.0 day generate, given that everyone will be huddled around their TV, YouTube and mobile phone?
  • Why can’t a handful of companies use those resources to work together if it’s really going to help? Think wikinomics (putting intellectual property out in the market to share and collaborate) not competition. Tens or Hundreds of companies reinventing the wheel/rocket, as it were. So divisive. So not how we want companies to work.
  • Why aren’t the consumers engaged and involved? Playing the ‘climate control’ card for marketing purposes simply MUST have us in the conversation, us the network. That’s why it’s our issue, we the people made a star of Al Gore (who cares what he did as Vice P!), we brought climate control to the international agenda, we showed that we were committed and we forced it into Australian politics. Doesn’t matter if that’s true or not, it’s what we think. Anything that companies try without us is going to look like they are playing “follow the consumer”. And yes, it says ‘be involved’ but signing up for an email newsletter and maybe donating isn’t exactly what we had in mind.

Google has lost the plot. RIP Google. They could’ve been great but they just turned into another advertising company. And if I’ve read this project wrong, and it’s going to save the Earth AND the Moon, and it’s not just a bunch of overly rich companies maximising their ROI on space advertising, then it’s cos they didn’t explain it properly to me, quickly enough. Not my fault!!11!!

*starts to hum*:

If you believed they put a man on the moon, man on the moon
If you believe there’s nothing up my sleeve, then nothing is cool

Great, I can’t get that cynical song out of my head now. But gosh, let me share the pain. 🙂

Generated Image

BTW totally awesome Web 2.0 Logo generator here. ‘Cos we consumers have a brand to polish, present and badge with logos – ourselves. Bags me the back of the astronauts’ walking-around-on-the-moon suits. That’s where I’m going to put the SilkCharm 2.0 badge. Right where I stuck the Microsoft/HP logos -why should they have all the fun? *pouts*