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Ironic Sans: BUILD MONOLITHS ON THE MOON
January 3, 2011 2:50 PM   Subscribe


 
I would give TWO dollars to this project.
posted by everichon at 2:53 PM on January 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


While the premise sounds like it may have wafted out of one of those novelty bongs shaped like a skull with a jester hat, it raises a lot of really interesting questions. Could you really launch something at the moon like that? Would the rocket get shot down? I can imagine people getting really irate.

Also, obligatory Mister Show and Chairface references.
posted by dubold at 2:54 PM on January 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Correction - Excavate the monolith on the moon. 8)


Sounds like a great idea, but I'd want to have it send a beep via RF every so often with the current weather conditions as telemetry in an amateur radio band so we could all hear it with our own gear.
posted by MikeWarot at 2:55 PM on January 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


oops. i screwed up my mister show and chairface links.
posted by dubold at 2:55 PM on January 3, 2011


Hilarious!

Also: Everyone who donates gets a Monolith Project sticker.

That's comedy gold, I say!
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 2:58 PM on January 3, 2011


Can't we just build a monolith in the monkey house at the zoo and call it a day?
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 3:02 PM on January 3, 2011 [18 favorites]


So where do I sign up for this?
posted by Threeway Handshake at 3:02 PM on January 3, 2011


Andy Griffith is your man!
posted by kingv at 3:04 PM on January 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Can't we just build a monolith in the monkey house at the zoo and call it a day?

This idea screams editing....a monolith in various halls of congress. With the elected officials screaming war and beating shoes on bones.
posted by rough ashlar at 3:05 PM on January 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


What'd I say?
Monolith!

What's it called?
Monolith!

That's right! Monolith!
[crowd chants 'Monolith!' softly and rhythmically]
posted by gurple at 3:05 PM on January 3, 2011 [20 favorites]



Correction - Excavate the monolith on the moon. 8)
Sounds like a great idea, but I'd want to have it send a beep via RF every so often with the current weather conditions as telemetry in an amateur radio band so we could all hear it with our own gear.


I second the excavation idea. But if we have to build one, can we install a camera on it get a live feed from the Monolith 24/7?
posted by Liquidwolf at 3:05 PM on January 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


... I guesstimate this project will require about half a billion dollars. So I only need to find 5 million geeks-like-me worldwide who think this is a cool enough idea to donate 100 bucks.

Apparently, to this author, "geek" is defined as "person who is willing to throw wads of real-world money[/time?/effort?] at projects that accomplish nothing with real-world utility". Sounds a bit cynical, but workable, I guess.
posted by gurple at 3:08 PM on January 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is there a chance the plinth could bend?
posted by explosion at 3:11 PM on January 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Through the power of Google, I found a few estimates on what it would take to get to the moon. They ranged widely. In 2005, a private company estimated that they could send you on a roundtrip fly-by for $100 million, and another private company figured they could land on the moon for $10 billion. My idea doesn’t have to be a manned mission, but it does need to actually land on the moon and erect a monolith.
Does it really? why not just have the monolyth crash land into the moon, like a lawn dart?
posted by delmoi at 3:13 PM on January 3, 2011


Not on your life, my ape-descended friend!
posted by gurple at 3:13 PM on January 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


This has me thinking. Will Facebook be the first back to the moon?
posted by popcassady at 3:13 PM on January 3, 2011


No wonder we don't have flying cars, this thing should have been completed 10 years ago.

That said, design a capsule that would crash on the moon's service at the correct angle and fall apart, revealing the monolith. Per rough ashlar's suggestion, it could be tested on the floors of the House and Senate (Senate first, smaller group of legislators so less collateral damage if it falls over... yes, I'm concerned about harming TOO MANY legislators).

Apparently, to this author, "geek" is defined as "person who is willing to throw wads of real-world money[/time?/effort?] at projects that accomplish nothing with real-world utility".
Just call it an iMonolith and have Steve Jobs introduce it at CES.
posted by oneswellfoop at 3:15 PM on January 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


Hmmm... I'm thinkin', mooncrete? But you'd have to find water. Laser-sintered moon dust? But you'd have to get lots of power somehow. He talks in the post about making it on Earth, hollow for minimizing weight, and transporting it to the moon from here. That is going to be one cheap piece o' crap monolith... the "-lith" part means "stone", but this would be made of tin foil. I suppose I might donate to a project to make some sort of lasting monument, but this would basically be spending half a billion dollars to litter on the moon.
posted by XMLicious at 3:15 PM on January 3, 2011


Yawn. Call me when we send up an orbiting fetus.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 3:17 PM on January 3, 2011 [8 favorites]


delmoi has it even easier, put a point on the top of the monolith and have it anchor itself. They should get this done in under $50 million, a couple bucks per iPhone.
posted by oneswellfoop at 3:18 PM on January 3, 2011


I'd like somebody to go back to the Moon. Anybody! Now, something like this might sound silly and lolzy - until you make the monolith an automated probe and load it with science experiments. When you got a privately funded project to land a probe (and maybe a rover) on the Moon it gets much cooler, and begins to sound like the sort of thing five million people might invest in.

The Artemis Project shall live again!
posted by Kevin Street at 3:20 PM on January 3, 2011


Call me when we send up an orbiting fetus.
That'll be funded by Glenn Beck's audience.
posted by oneswellfoop at 3:20 PM on January 3, 2011


why not just have the monolyth crash land into the moon, like a lawn dart?

Hell yeah. Go for a rod from god approach, and drive that sucker in there a couple of hundred feet, so only the monolith end is visible.

That way in a billion years, when it is visited by alien life forms, they can look at it and go "Wow, humans really didn't want this moved, huh?"
posted by quin at 3:22 PM on January 3, 2011 [1 favorite]



Well you got trouble my friend, trouble right here on the fucking Moon

Why sure you can send a giant phallus to the moon and drop it
on the surface with a parachute

Mothers of the earth
Heed my warning before it's too late
Does your son spend time on the internet with
his pants around his knees?

Lets build us a monolith
right here on the Moon
With a capital M, that rhymes with Flem, that stands for fool!
posted by bukharin at 3:23 PM on January 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


It would cost billions and billions. Billions and billions that could be used for better purposes.
posted by Ironmouth at 3:27 PM on January 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


... like putting a geodesic dome on Mars!
posted by Kevin Street at 3:29 PM on January 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'll send you a Monolith Project sticker for a mere $20, whether a monolith is erected or not.
posted by hermitosis at 3:31 PM on January 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yeah, we're earthlings, let's build monoliths on Earth things!
posted by muddgirl at 3:31 PM on January 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


I get that this is more a thought experiment than a serious project, but...

Why not look at sending a rover to the moon, or something with a great camera? Our technology has improved- why not drop some cameras that can transmit video or pictures back to Earth where anyone can log onto a website and see? At least that -does- something and might have scientific value.

(or, you know, why not put a half billion dollars towards education, or health care, or fighting malaria, or setting up solar & wind farms...)
posted by yeloson at 3:38 PM on January 3, 2011


I'd be perfectly happy with a geostationary banana over Texas.
posted by Ron Thanagar at 3:40 PM on January 3, 2011 [7 favorites]


Hell yeah. Go for a rod from god approach, and drive that sucker in there a couple of hundred feet, so only the monolith end is visible.

Hmm, Ve of the Moon is 2.4km/sec. Assume a 100kg projectile, that's 5.76x1015 ergs, or 576MJ, or about the same energy release as 280 pounds of TNT.

That'll leave a bit of a hole, but I'm trying to figure out how it leaves a monolith.
posted by eriko at 3:43 PM on January 3, 2011


In all seriousness, a crowd-funded scientific probe to the Moon would be the frickin' bees knees. Talk about democracy in action! This would be people directly funding scientific advancement that they'd like to see. There's all kinds of cool designs floating around out there.
posted by Kevin Street at 3:44 PM on January 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


XMLicious writes "That is going to be one cheap piece o' crap monolith... the "-lith" part means "stone", but this would be made of tin foil. I suppose I might donate to a project to make some sort of lasting monument, but this would basically be spending half a billion dollars to litter on the moon."

The only erosive forces are solar wind and micro meteors so it wouldn't have to be anything even close to solid rock to last thousands of years.
posted by Mitheral at 3:44 PM on January 3, 2011


I will donate $20.01 towards this project.
posted by Faint of Butt at 3:45 PM on January 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'd rather us spend the money on making Jupiter our personal fusion reactor (other than the one we already have 95 million miles away, I mean).
posted by sourwookie at 3:46 PM on January 3, 2011


And if it worked, other groups could use the same method to fund to fund things like medical or alternate energy research.
posted by Kevin Street at 3:46 PM on January 3, 2011


This reminds me of the guy in Spoul Plaza on the UC Berkeley campus during the 70's who had gotten himself all up in silver, including body paint, and was selling acreage on the moon. You could buy an acre for a dollar, or at least buy the certificate for a dollar.
posted by Danf at 3:48 PM on January 3, 2011


>>Call me when we send up an orbiting fetus.

>That'll be funded by Glenn Beck's audience.


It'll be funded by me if the fetus is Glenn Beck.
posted by speedo at 3:51 PM on January 3, 2011


What about a really small monolith?
posted by swift at 3:53 PM on January 3, 2011


"But I want to eat that lemur..."

"You can kill it with a femur!"
posted by ricochet biscuit at 3:55 PM on January 3, 2011 [5 favorites]


Hmm, Ve of the Moon is 2.4km/sec. Assume a 100kg projectile, that's 5.76x1015 ergs, or 576MJ, or about the same energy release as 280 pounds of TNT.

Just make a hollow carbon fiber shell. It's not like anyone is going to check.
posted by delmoi at 3:56 PM on January 3, 2011


If it's sufficiently expensive, it may end up being cheaper to just build a space elevator.... Which would be awesome, and have enough add-on benefits to make the original project (no matter how stupid) actually worth it.
posted by kaibutsu at 4:09 PM on January 3, 2011


"That pod just cut my air supply..."

"Sorry Frank! You have to die!"
posted by Ratio at 4:14 PM on January 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


I like the "Artist's Rendition".
posted by brundlefly at 4:29 PM on January 3, 2011


Should incentivize by saying that everyone who donates gets their name etched onto the monolith. Larger donations = larger font size, scaled by expected number of contributors and expected dimensions of the monolith. What could be cooler to a nerd than chipping in 200 bucks to have your name on a monolith on the moon?
posted by lazaruslong at 4:34 PM on January 3, 2011


Restricted to a certain amount of characters, of course, so the Ramachandrans or, in the case of my partner, Rechtschaffens of the world don't hog up precious space.
posted by lazaruslong at 4:34 PM on January 3, 2011


The monolith can by any size, but the proportions have to be 1:4:9. It actually needs to be infinitely dimensional, so the dimensions are 1:4:9:16:25:36:49, etc. These are squares of the whole numbers.

It needs to be planted into the crater Tycho. Tycho is the one that has all the streaks shooting from it on any picture of the moon, like a bunch of arrows saying find the monolith here if you can just get to the moon. And any time the sun shines on it, it has to send out a signal to the whole galaxy saying: this civilization is sufficiently advanced enough that they can get to the moon.

And, my god, it's got to be full of stars!
posted by Xoc at 4:40 PM on January 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


I say, if we're going to go to all that trouble, let's use a different movie prop and really make future generations say "WTF?"
posted by Greg_Ace at 4:47 PM on January 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


OK, I'm in. Now we only need 4,999,998 more backers.
posted by spilon at 4:58 PM on January 3, 2011


How about a robot builds one from mooncrete, and we just rocket a can of really black paint up to the Moon?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:59 PM on January 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Greg_Ace: "I say, if we're going to go to all that trouble, let's use a different movie prop and really make future generations say "WTF?"

You Maniacs! You blew it up! You -- oh, wait. There it is.
posted by brundlefly at 5:02 PM on January 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


"Will it reduce our need for cars?"

"My good sir, it's full of stars!"
posted by sourwookie at 5:25 PM on January 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


"I guess it should be hollow so that it’s light and requires less fuel to carry"

Call me picky, but that feels like we're doing it on the cheap. Like when a marble fireplace turns out to be marble 'effect'.
posted by ivorbuk at 5:25 PM on January 3, 2011


Is there a chance the plinth could bend?

Not at all my MeFite friend!
posted by Relay at 5:45 PM on January 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


The only erosive forces are solar wind and micro meteors so it wouldn't have to be anything even close to solid rock to last thousands of years.

As will all of the other junk that has been left on the moon, as will lots of trash that's here on Earth for that matter. If we were going to bother to build a monument on the moon it ought to be something that's still around millions of years in the future and at that point it should still stand out from all the random discarded crap that's there now and which will continue to accumulate over the coming centuries.
posted by XMLicious at 6:13 PM on January 3, 2011


Xoc - I thought it was meant to be the squares of the first 3 primes, not the first 3 natural numbers (though that doesn't really fit with the "1" in there)... and it can be sorta hard to tell those short sequences apart...
posted by russm at 6:18 PM on January 3, 2011


Extra points if they succeed and write a message on the monolith like "fuck you, poor people."
posted by Joey Michaels at 6:33 PM on January 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


I got yer erect monolith right here...
posted by Joe Beese at 7:05 PM on January 3, 2011


You wanna make a mark on the moon, you do it with private money.

Like I did.
posted by chairface at 7:05 PM on January 3, 2011 [6 favorites]


Internetty's on the moon.
posted by ND¢ at 7:05 PM on January 3, 2011


So I only need to find 5 million geeks-like-me worldwide who think this is a cool enough idea to donate 100 bucks. That seems pretty doable

Dude, the internet couldn't find enough geeks willing to sit on their asses an hour a week to keep Firefly on the air.
posted by nanojath at 8:28 PM on January 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


I got yer erect monolith right here...

And for merely $100 I will send it to the moon... by which I mean, in the classic Honeymooners sense, that I will punch it as hard as I can.
posted by nanojath at 8:29 PM on January 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


Is the economy sufficiently recovered to the point where we can spend an emperor's ransom on highly-derivative art projects? Spiffy! I'd like to make an "art rocket"; it will require a shitload of Legos, a sufficient quantity of superglue, and a Saturn V.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:31 PM on January 3, 2011


nanojath writes "Dude, the internet couldn't find enough geeks willing to sit on their asses an hour a week to keep Firefly on the air."

Even with Fox's smegged up handling of the show Firefly was still averaging 4.5 million viewers when it was cancelled; and that's just in the US.
posted by Mitheral at 10:46 PM on January 3, 2011


I selflessly volunteer to tend the money until it is needed for this worthy venture.
posted by Cranberry at 10:53 PM on January 3, 2011


So I only need to find 5 million geeks-like-me worldwide who think this is a cool enough idea to donate 100 bucks. That seems pretty doable

...and it's so much easier than getting up and going outside to burn cash in the faces of the poor.
posted by pompomtom at 2:30 AM on January 4, 2011


Will it drop down on a parachute and land in one piece?

Yeah. I'm giving this guy money.
posted by Splunge at 5:25 AM on January 4, 2011


I will donate $20.01 towards this project.

I'll donate $20.10 towards the next project, where we put a monolith in orbit around Jupiter.
posted by armage at 5:49 AM on January 4, 2011


But if Jupiter turns into a star I want my money back.
posted by armage at 5:50 AM on January 4, 2011


pompomtom writes "...and it's so much easier than getting up and going outside to burn cash in the faces of the poor."

Geez, a 100 bucks is like a year of netflix at the lowest tier or one month of top tier cable. It's 4 months of internet access for me or ten hockey games. It's like two weeks of StarBucks; 4 Metafilter shirts (with shipping); a bare minimum plane ticket to someplace relatively close; 3 console titles; two years of xbox live; less than a hundred iTunes tracks; eight paperback books or three hardcovers; a few months of cellular service or a couple of bottles of alcohol. Are all the people who spend their disposable income on the above activities burning cash in the face of the poor or just the people spending it on space?
posted by Mitheral at 7:09 AM on January 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's got to be full of stars!

I recommend Shia LaBeouf and the entire cast of Twilight. Gotta get rid of them somehow...
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 11:50 AM on January 4, 2011


Geez, a 100 bucks is like a year of netflix at the lowest tier

or enough to, eg, provide medicines to a village in Laos for a year. Of course, I don't know that there are five million villages in Laos, but I suppose we're going with the "US$100" price on the 'sale' sticker, rather than the half a billion USD that we're actually talking about.

Are all the people who spend their disposable income on the above activities burning cash in the face of the poor or just the people spending it on space?

Well, I'd say 'some of them', but given that this is about a bloke attempting to manufacture demand (on a fairly large scale) for a product which returns nothing to humans but smugness and greenhouse gasses, I'm going to say: "just the people spending it on graffiti in space". I suppose I'm a terrible pragmatist who doesn't 'get' art. Or, perhaps, just lazy rich-bastard art.
posted by pompomtom at 6:59 PM on January 4, 2011


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