COM = Cross on the Moon
It was our first month for COM on the Internet and awareness is building. Our web site added a store-front where one can receive a tee shirt for a minimum $30 donation with no shipping charge. We added several cool videos from NASA and Google Lunar X prize. Sam wrote a post on how one goes to the moon and we added a new section: Faith. PayPal recognized COM as a charitable non-profit organization. This was important because more of your donation goes to cover the space mission instead of transaction fees.
We anticipated low volumes of donations for the first month but were surprised when less than 20 provided support. Large volumes of micro-donations ($1-2) will break the September inertia. To put fund raising in perspective, COM needs evidence of popular support to negotiate with private space-transportation companies. COM is an all volunteer organization and has no corporate or foundation sponsors.
In space industry news, India’s lunar mission completed most of its photo mapping before they lost control of the space craft. NASA continues to wrestle with funding for manned space flight telling Congress $3B more is needed. The JPL reports that the Martian rover that was stuck in the soil received unexpected help from a Martian wind storm. Closer to home, the private company Space X had a last second abort for their Utah full test of their solid rocket motor. The Regolith Challenge is next month in California where several teams are competing for $500K first prize to move at least 300 pounds of lunar soil (regolith) in 30 minutes. No one won last year but the potential to capture the prize is high next month.
I look forward to updating you again in October.
M. N. Clark, President
Cross on the Moon
Pittsburgh Pa – Sep 2009
Most of us know the English rock band Led Zeppelin’s 1971 song “Stairway to Heaven”. It portrays a woman trying to buy her way to Heaven. Some might say that placing a cross on the moon falls into a category of similar, self-serving needs. This post counters that position on several fronts.
‘There’s a lady is sure [sic], all that glitters is gold, and she’s buying a stairway to heaven’.
Robert Plant’s own explanation of the lyrics was that it “was some cynical aside about a woman getting everything she wanted all the time without giving back any thought or consideration.”
Cross on the Moon is not about buying a stairway to Heaven. Buying passage to the moon is not going to Heaven but entering a harsh, airless place that only 12 men have set space-suited feet upon. Forget the NASA conspiracy theories. Men really went there. It is certainly not “Heaven”.
Perhaps in a metaphorical way we are trying to buy forgiveness. Christians know that price was already paid. The Gospel can help us distinguish going to Heaven from buying our way there. Simply: 1) You have to be perfect to go to Heaven. 2) No one is perfect. 3) That’s why you need a Savior.
To be clear, we are asking for public support to buy a one-way ticket to the farthest accessible place from where Jesus was crucified. A machine will place it for us and machines will be our eyes to the event. The mission will not be a trivial accomplishment and only historic in a reverence sense when God’s people can say they were united in placing it there.
Diving a bit deeper into our motivation: It takes strong character to make the right decisions when, as a people and as individuals, we face hard challenges. Much like the Labrador that loves to fetch the stick or salmon that return to spawn, we are wired to explore. We have a wonderful ability to use logic to advance our collective knowledge. Faith and science are not at odds. In fact, they balance each other. When we don’t have a base for making ethical and moral decisions, horrible things happen. Dr. Bruce Bickel, former pastor and published motivational speaker, said “Character precedes conduct; who we are determines what we will do.”
Cross on the Moon Foundation acts in reverence to put a symbol of Christian faith, that is, a tangible thing to acknowledge that God makes all human achievement possible. Remembering the cross should precede mankind’s advances into the Universe. Our mission doesn’t center on a specific religion. Charities like caring for the homeless, curing the sick, comforting the aged are hugely important. God makes those acts possible because of the spiritual gifts He gives us. But consider that God also gives us the gift to explore. Cross on the Moon is about praising God as we go forward. In a recent post on www.rfe/rl.org: Faith and Reason in The Year of Astronomy-Jan 17 2009 , Guy Castelgandolfo, a Jesuit trained at MIT, said: “Religion tells me about Who created the Universe. Science tells me how He did it.”
The Cross on the Moon Foundation believes it is better to receive a million $1 contributions than one $1,000,000 donation. The real mission is about honoring God. All things originated from Him, including the ability to use scientific reasoning. It should be our hearts desire to give this glory to Him.
Size really doesn’t matter here. A small cross on the Moon means nothing to God. Our web site can’t show how large the Universe is. But as small as we are, God cares for me and for you and all creatures, no matter how much we don’t get it right. While not politically acceptable in an age of “self”, our purpose is to please Him. What “pleases” God is when we gather to honor Him. That’s what Cross on the Moon is about. The first Commandment is honoring God with all your heart, mind, and spirit. This is found in the Old Testament and is the first of the two Commandments Jesus states in the New Testament. All 10 Commandments appear in Christianity, Islam, and the Jewish faiths. These are essential to society and form the foundation of our moral compasses. No one can buy a stairway to Heaven, but God has equipped us to praise Him wherever we go.