One of the most remarkable books of the last 30 years is The Anthropic Cosmological Principle by John Barrow and Frank Tipler. The “principle” is really nothing more than a statement that the laws governing how the universe operates seem to be arranged so as to require our existence and participation. In other words, the human race is not some accidental byproduct of creation, but an essential component of the way the universe is put together. This philosophical gem came up recently during a wide-ranging discussion of ideas at a post-lecture dinner with media/journalism honors students and their advisors at the University of Texas at Tyler. Though we discussed many things, the anthropic principle came up during questions regarding lunar development. And as good conversation always does, it made me think deeper.

I hadn’t previously connected the Barrow-Tipler principle with a quote (in the same vein) that I use in my lunar development talks. This quote comes from Krafft Ehricke, a member of Wernher von Braun’s original rocket design team from Peenemunde. Ehricke spent a lifetime thinking about the broader, philosophical aspects of space travel and the colonization of other worlds. Ehricke remarked in 1984 that, “If God wanted man to become a spacefaring species, He would have given man a Moon.” Ehricke’s quote distills down to its essence the truth about the Moon’s utility—its singular value in developing new spaceflight capabilities and our ability to travel throughout space. I’m tempted to call Ehricke’s statement “the lunar anthropic principle.”

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Category: Science