Homesick blues

Imagine the rich men’s dreams come true, and you are standing out there one day on whatever planet or moon has become the new frontier, goldrush town or out-of-town fulfillment centre. Do you know what it is, the thing you would miss the most?

It won’t be gravity – without a useful amount of it no long-term settlement would work. However distracting the thought of null-gravity porn might be, a huge range of survival activities won’t work without it. Things like smelting, and surgery. Childbirth.

You will miss individual people, and places; but that’s part of any human life regardless of where it happens. Solitude might be hard to come by but if you’re determined you can find it.

Probably not the sights and sounds of Earth, either, even if you were raised here. VR immersion will likely be mandatory in a psychologist-advised effort to stop everyone beating each other to death with space rocks, so wide open spaces will be piped straight to your brain at regular intervals.

It will quite possibly be something you or the best scientific or strategic minds are only started to find out about now, never considered or even knew about. An obscure fungus spread by migrating birds that regulates some bacterial action in the soil, or your guts; or a mineral rock that stops enzyme cascades or speeds them up by slowly dissolving in the ocean; a cell reaction dependent on a particular level of magnetism or radioactivity, or a hormone that needs activating by a wavelength of light.

As much as we are in, on or of the Earth, it is in, on and of us. All boundaries are porous at some level whether we recognise them or not. Sometimes, like Joni says, you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone.