and you’ll get the idea.)

“These scenes where we just pop off to the Moon, and the Moon is a sort of theme-park-golf-course-type thing with lots of Las Vegas-type billboarding,” says Milligan. “That would be an ethical failure.” (Milligan was not involved in the lunar soccer panel.)

To counter these scenarios, experts have suggested the establishment of Planetary Parks, similar to the American National Parks system, which would segment certain regions of space to preserve their pristine wilderness. Milligan proposes a “1/8th principle” for space development, which would limit our economic expansion of space to one-eighth of all available resources. This might sound conservative, but it’s actually huge — one-eighth of the iron in the asteroid belt is more than a million times all of the Earth’s iron ore reserves — while still ensuring a reasonable “breaking distance” before space becomes “super-exploited.”

“In principle, you could try this,” says Milligan. “But it’s difficult to apply in the case of the Moon because we’re going to get there so quickly.”

“This is a record of billions of years of history, that’s relatively unchanged over vast periods of time,” says Milligan. “Would you really want to have damage to that being a bundle of people playing soccer on it?”

“I think that we can miss the main game, and that’s Lunar Science. We desperately need Lunar Science.”

It’s limited (and limiting) to think of humans as completely separate entities from the rest of the galaxy, says Milligan, “I don’t see it as odd at all. Think of the Moon and Earth as a single system, in which case, it makes sense to be there. But what should we be doing there? That’s where the problem of attention comes in.”

Playing soccer on the moon is the sort of thing you could do “but probably shouldn’t,” says Milligan. “There’s good reasons for us to be in places, but those good reasons aren’t football. I think that we can miss the main game, and that’s Lunar Science. We desperately need Lunar Science.”

But is there also room for some fun distractions to go with that science? It’s probably inevitable that once humans are living on the Moon or elsewhere in space, other human inventions like soccer (and McDonald’s) will follow. For the time being, the Lunar Football Rule Book is just a thought experiment: a way to get kids excited about science and engineering, not part one in a plan to host a future World Cup on the Moon.

Neither Lia Lewis nor any other professional soccer players have been actually training to go up to the Moon or have any real plans to make that happen. Still, she likes to wonder what good her skills could be up there.

“While some of the tricks I’ve perfected here on Earth may become redundant, there would be more that could be created thanks to the different conditions on the Moon,” says Lewis. “It would be a whole new ball game.”

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