December 27, 2019  (Web Review)

Moon Wars

(2019) 52 min. DVD: $39: public libraries; $89: high schools; $195: colleges & universities. DRA. Green Planet Films (www.greenplanetfilms.org). PPR. SDH captioned.

Reviewer rating: 3.0/4

Watching filmmaker Véronique Préault’s documentary, the space race of old looks positively quaint compared to what likely lies before us in years to come. In the 1960s, America and the Soviet Union were in a hurry to outdo one another in sending satellites and men into space, with the ultimate goal of landing astronauts or cosmonauts on the Moon. Now, many more nations want a piece of the action, and mega-billionaires such as Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk are looking to get a jump on the potential profitable aspects of travel to the Moon and beyond. Moon Wars explores the reasons behind all this new activity, which come down to exploration, commerce, and military-political dominance. Part of that agenda is disheartening in its suggestion that the destructive exploitation of our own planet by governments, oligarchs, and science-deniers could easily extend to our treatment of the Moon and, eventually, Mars. But on a brighter note, the film delves into the technology necessary to extract water from icy pits on the dark side of the Moon, as well as how to build permanent stations. Perhaps the most interesting element here is a look at legal precedents on Earth that could keep the Moon from becoming a patchwork of claimed territories by numerous players. Should we treat the Moon as we do our oceans, with limited territorial waters for every coastal nation? Or should we think of it more like Antarctica, where an international treaty prevents the continent from being claimed, but allows some nations to have outposts and scientific facilities. Whatever happens, our return to space seems inevitable, and the Moon will clearly be a part of that. Recommended. Aud: H, C, P. (T. Keogh)