“Well, folks, it looks like this is the end of our modern way of life. This reporter hopes everyone practiced building fires” — News Reporter, Catstronauts: Mission Moon, n. pag.
|Creator(s)||Drew Brockington (author)|
|Publisher||Little, Brown Books for Young Readers|
|Genre||Science Fiction, Fiction|
|Environmental Themes and Issues||Anthropomorphism, Fuel Extraction or Shortages, Sustainable Living|
|Protagonist’s Identity||Nonhuman (Animal) and mixed gender cast|
|Protagonist’s Level of Environmental Agency||Level 5: High Environmental Agency and Activism|
Mission Moon is the first installment in the six-volume Catstronauts series. The comics depict a world populated by anthropomorphic cats, who behave similarly to humans: they speak, wear clothes, and even have occupations like president and astronaut. However, the cats also retain some natural feline behaviors, such as taking catnaps and eating fish.
The first volume begins when a global energy crisis plunges the world into darkness. Searching for a way to address to the crisis, the cat president of the United States contacts the World’s Best Scientist. The Scientist admonishes the president for ignoring earlier warnings about the energy crisis and proposes a drastic, seemingly more environmentally-friendly solution to the problem: “We could fly to the moon and build a solar power plant on the surface. The power plant would collect all the sun’s rays. Then energy from those rays could be sent back to Earth through microwave signals. Once those signals reach Earth, we’ll convert them into clean usable energy!” (Brockington n. pag.). The president approves the plan, and he delegates the moon mission to the four Catstronauts: Blanket, Major Meowser, Pom Pom, and Waffles.
The World’s Best Scientist informs the Catstronauts that the “world only has 60 days of full power left,” requiring them to depart on short notice for the moon (Brockington n. pag.). The Catstronauts train for the mission, while other cat scientists assemble the rocket that will take them to the moon. After these preparations, the Catstronauts fly into space, though they soon run into trouble when their navigation antenna detaches. They manage to successfully navigate to the moon anyway and land on its surface. There, they assemble the solar power plant with improbable speed and return to Earth. The other cats hail them as heroes, with one news reporter declaring that “now, with the reliability of continuous and clean moon power, we can all sleep soundly” (Brockington n. pag.).
While building a solar power plant on the moon is clearly not a realistic solution to the world’s energy crisis, the comic does emphasize the importance of developing new, more sustainable sources of renewable energy. Additionally, the World’s Best Scientist humorously calls attention to the way that humans have largely ignored the threat of impending energy crises, telling the president, “Yes, due to all the new gadgets in the world, there is more energy consumption. We’ve actually been tracking this for quite some time. Did you get the memo I sent?” (Brockington n. pag.). By highlighting the potential consequences of unsustainable energy consumption, the comic promotes solar energy and invites readers to consider the ways that their own use of “gadgets” may contribute to an energy crisis.