In 1969, humans sent a tiny vessel carrying three brave souls into the endless sea of outer space with the mission of landing safely on Earth’s only natural satellite: the Moon. On July 20, shortly after the feet of the lunar module touched the white rock below, the first humans to venture to another celestial body proudly planted a flag into the lunar regolith. There, before God and all creation, stood fast the flag of the city of Wapakoneta, Ohio.
So maybe that’s not exactly what happened.
We all know that the flag planted on the Moon by the crew of the Apollo 11 was the flag of the United States of America. We’ve seen the pictures, and it’s a point of pride for all Americans that we were the first humans to arrive there.
Since then, we’ve haven’t bothered to go back, and we still haven’t found any conclusive proof of extraterrestrial life out in the cosmos. It’s just been us, floating silent and alone on this great, big, blue marble, and we’ve gotten so bored.
But say there is life outside our own in the universe. Let’s even say it’s as close as our own galaxy. And let’s go one further and say there are hundreds of highly intelligent species spanning the Milky Way. Mankind has become but one in an entire galactic community of life. When we introduce ourselves, how do we do it?
We have this bad habit of allowing division amongst our one race here on Earth. Despite all of us being human, we classify and categorize based on completely arbitrary features, like geographic location, skin color, and gender. I’m not simply a human, I’m a caucasian male American. To break it down further, I’m a caucasian male American with English, Irish, and Scottish ancestry. You might be an African-American female or a French male or a Chinese female. What does this sound like to our neighbors among the stars?
Sounds an awful lot like going to the moon and planting the flag for a small town in Ohio sounds to us.
In the grand scheme of just our own galaxy, our entire planet– even our entire solar system— is a teeny, tiny drop in a massive bucket. Our neighbors would rightfully scoff at how petty our divisions are compared to the vastness of the galaxy. It would be like putting ten people in a room and trying to guess which one lived in a blue house with a red door in Virginia based solely on how they look.
So if we drop all the names and simply adopt a “one species” mantra, what banner do we unite under?
The project was started by Oskar Pernefelt, and according to the website, was a graduation project for Beckmans College of Design in Stockholm, Sweden. Be that as it may, it caught the attention of NASA, who said they support the idea of exploring the universe with this flag in tow.
Not that I am any sort of big player in this, but I support the idea as well. To the universe, we are simply the most advanced species living among a host of other life clinging to a tiny blue gem that’s orbiting an itty bitty little star. Sure, amongst ourselves we can be proud of our uniqueness, as I am proud to be an American, but we should together be proud to be human, be proud of this little sapphire of ours, be proud of each other. Your accomplishments are mine, and mine are yours. When we advance our species, we do it together. That’s what the universe wants to see. Not arguments over which skin color is best, not arguments over which political party is right or wrong.
We’ll have a whole new set of people to annoy in the cosmos, we can argue with them.