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MoonPop: "WALL-E" (News) July 13, 2008

Posted by Nick Azer in Apollo, Current News, Fusion Power, Google Moon, Helium-3, lunar land use planning, Mare Tranquillitatis, MoonPop.

“Outlet Mall, coming soon!”
-A ‘Buy N Large Corp’. billboard on the Moon, next to the American Flag at Mare Tranquillitatis, in the film “WALL-E

I had a chance last week to finally catch Pixar’s latest masterwork, “WALL-E”. Much like with “Iron Man” earlier this summer, a movie that a whole heck of a lot of people ended up seeing happened to also be a movie with a look at the Moon; and in WALL-E’s case, a look specifically at the Moon colonization and the potential outcomes of it.

It’s a simple, and brief, moment in the film, but a memorable one: In a fly-by of the Moon, the site of the American flag in the Sea of Tranquility is seen as having a billboard adjacent to it advertising a future outlet mall (which, given the circumstances and setting of the film, the builders apparently never did get around to).

The placement of the sign directly next to the flag site could suggest that the fictional Buy N Large Corporation in the film was intending to plow right over the site for their new mall; or that they simply plopped that sign down there for attention.

The strange thing about all of this is that this isn’t really that far from the truth, as things are developing now. The Sea of Tranquility is rich in Helium-3, a resource extremely rare on Earth but plentiful on the Moon that could be valuable for fusion power. So within 15-20 years, we could very well be seeing mining operations going up right next to the Apollo landing sites.

With the generation of kids seeing WALL-E today being the ones who will have the newscasts of their lives dominated by Moon colonization, it should be interesting to see how this one moment in an extremely visible film gets referenced and remembered, as commerical development of the Sea of Tranquility and the rest of the Moon becomes an imminent reality (and potentially, a major public debate).


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