Apollo 11, 50 Years Later: 10 Things We Should Have Left on the Moon

We celebrate this week with the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 space mission, the first of its kind to land humans on the moon. Since then, we’ve returned to the moon about a dozen more times, making our indelible mark on a celestial body from which we did not come. In the process, we’ve littered the moon with lots of objects. Here are 10 things we should leave on the moon should alien lifeforms ever visit it.

The Apollo missions were a critical success, often considered the apex of human ingenuity. However, the cultural artifacts found on the moon are expensive and specific- should aliens ever visit the moon, they will find expensive German and Swiss cameras, exploded lunar modules, flags, and more. But none of these things really represent human life as it really is. We propose the following ten times to be left on the moon to be more representative of humanity as a whole, not just the elitist astronauts who had the pleasure of visiting it.

1. Pile of croissants from Whole Foods

Imagine being an alien, arriving on a foreign body. You are weary, yet your adrenaline is high. Soon, from across the moon, you notice is silver tray of warm, flaky croissants from the local Whole Foods. You maneuver your humanoid corporeal self toward the tray, and using your fingers composed of thick tissue, lipids and a highly radioactive goo, you tear off a piece of the buttery pastry. You bring the croissant to your munching hole, where you enjoy the piece of laboriously human culinary art.

2. 1991 Toyota Corolla

The Toyota Corolla from 1991 is uniquely suited to lunar climates. The relatively high ride-height allows for easy crater driving, and the AWD variant allows for even better control over the surface that astronaut Buzz Aldrin referred to as “a fine powder”. The standard AM/FM radio and cassette player would allow the astronauts to enjoy transmissions from outer space with the 4-speaker system. Imagine how much more pleasant (and longer in duration) Neil Armstrong’s spacewalk would have been had he had the comfort of a 1991 Toyota Corolla to help him. He could drive for miles with its easy to use automatic transmission and excellent EPA rating. For the aliens, the car is a delightful way to explore human circumstance. Of course, the 1991 Toyota Corolla does not rust, so if we were to visit the moon again (or our dear alien friends needed to borrow a car), we would find a perfectly suitable commuter car available for use to get to downtown Moon and back.

3. Rake for the Moon’s Zen Garden

Everyone knows the moon has a large zen garden designed by architect Shigeru Ban. The Japanese conducted a little-publicized moon mission in 1974, sending forty-five Buddhist monks (bhikkhu) and the architect to design the 14-acre zen garden, complete with koi pond, tea room, and a granite bench donated by artist Jenny Holzer. The result was a masterful demonstration of taste and reflective minimalism. Of course, part of the pleasure of a zen garden is in its maintenance and, unfortunately, the Japanese did not leave any rakes on the moon for alien visitors or other astronauts to maintain.

4. Newspaper in the Wrong Language

It is important that moments in history are recorded in beautiful and meaningful ways and we can all agree that the the moon is the ultimate time capsule- a timeless place untouched by… broader human tendency like doing meth and polluting rivers for sport. That’s why it is imperative that the newspaper we leave on the moon is in a completely unintelligible language, perhaps Simlish or 1s and 0s. This is ideal because it, in a sense, makes even humans alien in this place. It is equality. So, we must invent a new language that no one really knows (even the authors), so that aliens feel welcome. Ideally, it is a language a computer only knows, but then we must destroy the computer that knows the language. Also this is a good way to throw off the aliens should they get wise and want to visit earth. If they find the newspaper and study it, they may think it is useful when they reach earth. If they shape-shift into humans and only know the language of the newspaper, any real human will be able to identify the faux human because they know the one language no one on earth knows.

5. Fridge Full of Natural ‘Natty’ Lite

By leaving a refrigerator from 1985 (complete with spilled spaghetti stains sliding down the front and a magnet from a vacation to Michigan) packed full of Natural Lite, we can be sure that the aliens or humans that visit will feel welcome. Crack open a cold brew on a hot lunar day? Nothing better, my man. Just plop down on the couch on the front porch of the Moon and revel in the fact it came from Neil Armstrong’s frat club initiation party, and watch the earth go by. Further, we can store expired food in the veggie drawer for when we need a quick snack at midnight. Now that’s a “full moon”!

6. Refried Ectoplasm Switched On Vol. 2 (Double Vinyl 1995) by Stereolab

Enjoy the even-keeled sounds of Stereolab with this important record of rare pieces of music from the experimental band. An essential in any nu-wave, punk, lo-fi, krautrock or kosmische-lover’s collection, Refried Ectoplasm Switched On Vol. 2 was a milestone. The Remastered edition of a compilation of Stereolab singles and rarities, first issued in 1995 is perfect for the moon. Did you know initial copies come on clear vinyl? The one on the moon should include the download card should the alien or human need to get it streaming or want to play it through the aux. It’s part of an anthology but the other volumes suck. Madonna always said, "Music bring the people together,” and by God, does it! This is high-energy, optimistic stuff. Simple Situationist garage-pop from 1968, perfect for dancing in that commune on the barricades.

7. Boeing 737 MAX

This is less about the plane and more about just the idea of putting a plane on the moon just to fuck around and do it. Look, “fuck around and do it” was and still is the operating thesis of the entire NASA program. They would need to install a runway, build an airport, hire alien or human staff, get TSA agents, a put a Hilton Hotel on site as well build a Cinnabon that doubles as a currency exchange. Parked on the tarmac for eternity is a grounded Boeing 737 MAX in United Airlines livery.

8. Lunar Orchard

The fact no one thought to bring a tree to the moon is psychotic. We could really be out here shading ourselves, enjoying a solar flare under the gracious reach of a palm frond. Have you noticed it is always sunny on the moon? Give a girl a break! We want a tree or two to shade ourselves. Further, it’s time to plant an orchard. Rows upon rows of fruit-bearing trees. Did we ever even try to plant something on the Moon? I love the look of trees. I love the concept. The Moon has been loyal. Let’s reward her! Since we’re putting trees, we should also put some squirrels and sloths and maybe a few partridges, plus workers to harvest the orchard and a staircase back to earth for easy commute.

9. Condoms

This is a no-brainer. There are people who believe that after Neil Armstrong said, “This is one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”, the next thing he said (after the recording device was turned off) was, “I want to enjoy safe sex on the moon”. Mile-high club? Never heard of her. We going lunar-high club. Imagine what fantastical creatures could exist if we let aliens and humans enjoy each other’s company in an exotic location? We don’t run the risk of knowing if we have condoms on hand. No question that the Moon itself is an aphrodisiac- that’s why so many people have sex at night. “What will this lead to?” asks the alien over a glass of Robert Mondavi Chardonnay. “Not a child” says the astronaut.

10. One diamond earring separated from its back.

What could be funnier than a multi-million dollar space exploration project derailed because someone found a diamond earring but could not find either the back of it or the other earring. Astronauts for decades hunt for the earring and its back, all over the moon. Passing over ancient rocks and secrets of the universe, in the interest of find earring, the back, and possibly the other earring (which isn’t even on the moon). Astronauts crawling all over the surface of the moon, every once in a while, stopping short, thinking it was the diamond earring, but in reality was merely settled space dust.