This is an exercise, and as such is a bit different from your ordinary question post...


Come up with 50 ways of sending something to the moon. In less than 1 hour. 

I don’t care how stupid they are. My own list included “Slingshot”, “Massive trampoline” and “Bird with spacesuit”.

What matters is that you actually hit 50. I want you to have the experience of thinking that you’re out of ideas, but nonetheless deciding to push yourself, and finding your best idea thus far

This regularly happens to me when I do this exercise. I’ll feel stuck. I’ll feel like giving up. But I force myself to say three more stupid things… “mega tall tree”, “super boomerang”, “railgun” ... and, all of sudden, I have a fourth idea that’s actually not that shabby.

Why do this? 

1) Becoming more creative. 

Coming up with ideas is a bottleneck for me personally. I want to become stronger

I have a very simple model for how to improve. My brain will start generating more ideas if I A) force myself to have ideas, even if they’re bad, and B) reward myself for having them. 

The act of filtering for actually good ideas is a second, different step. First you babble. And only then you prune. I claim that you can train each of those “muscles” separately.

I think that in the past my creativity has been held back by excessive self-criticism. I now think it should be possible to improve by separating the creative and the evaluative step -- at least for practice purposes. 

2) Building a culture of practice on LessWrong

LessWrong currently feels like an unusually intellectual bar. You pop in and grab a drink; instead of watching a stand-up comedian someone does a PowerPoint presentation; and the ensuing conversation is great. That’s a fine thing. 

But what if part of LessWrong was more like a gym? Or a dojo

You come in, bow to the sensei, and then you start practicing. Together. Each of you focusing all your attention on your movements, pushing yourselves to your limits, and trying deliberately to become stronger. 

I want us to have that, but for rationality. 


  • 50 answers or nothing. 

That’s the babble challenge. We’re here to work hard. 

  • Post your answers inside of spoiler tags! (How do I do that?)
  • Celebrate other’s answers. 

This is really important. Sharing babble in public is a scary experience. I don’t want people to leave this having back-chained the experience “If I am creative, people will look down on me”. So be generous with those upvotes. 

If you comment on someone else’s post, focus on making exciting, novel ideas work -- instead of tearing apart worse ideas. 

Reward people for babbling -- don’t punish them for not pruning. 

I might remove comments that break this rule. 

  • Not all your ideas have to work. 

Man, I barely know anything about going to the moon. Yet I did come up with 50 ideas. 

“Bird with spacesuit” is fine. I have some intuition where making these ideas actually helps me become creative. I try to track that intuition. 

  • My main tip: when you’re stuck, say something stupid. 

If you spend 5 min agonising over not having anything to say, you’re doing it wrong. You’re being too critical. Just lower your standards and say something, anything. Soon enough you’ll be back on track. 

This is really, really important. It’s the only way I’m able to complete these exercises (and I’ve done a few of them in the last few days). 


Now, go forth and babble! 50 ways of sending something to the moon!

New Answer
New Comment

40 Answers sorted by

  1. Apollo-style rocket mission.
  2. Space elevator/tether all the way to the moon. (What do you mean, a day doesn't equal a month? Details, details.) Climb it.
  3. Once you've got that, just pull the moon close enough to make the transfer trivial.
  4. Jump really really high.
  5. Discover a material opaque to gravitons, sit on it, and push off lightly in just the right direction. (This is totally how gravity works.)
  6. Pray really hard.
  7. Sell your soul to the devil in exchange for getting your object to the moon. (Note: probably do this one after 6.)
  8. Get abducted by aliens who happen to live on the moon.
  9. Send it to the place where they filmed the fake moon landings.
  10. Put it in an envelope addressed to "The Moon" and let the postal service handle it. They're really good.
  11. Project Orion (huge lead plate, set off nuclear bombs underneath it for thrust).
  12. Just wait. The uncertainty principle, it's a hell of a thing.
  13. Put it on the largest satellite yet made and launch it. Then blow up the moon. "The" moon is presumably now whatever earth's largest satellite now is. Done.
  14. Railgun.
  15. Same idea as 3, but move the earth instead of the moon. Extremely large rockets, perhaps.
  16. EmDrive. (Yeah, maybe this one is too silly to be on the list.)
  17. Make a very large fan and blow it upward.
  18. Throw it very hard.
  19. Write a novel in which the object is on the moon. (Does Sherlock Holmes live at 221b Baker Street? Yes. Is the object on the moon? Yes.)
  20. Just believe really hard that the object will be on the moon. However can that work? I can't tell you, it's a Secret.
  21. Take a photograph of the night sky, showing the moon and stars and whatnot. Place a small coin on Sirius. Place your object on the moon.
  22. Buy a horse and name it "The Moon". Put the object on the horse's back. Or, if you want to stress "sending to", change one letter: buy a house and name it "The Moon", and send the object there.
  23. Birds. Lots and lots and lots of birds.
  24. Hold its hand and kiss it. (Howard, 1954; Sinatra, 1964)
  25. Gigantic peashooter.
  26. Very large hot air balloon.
  27. Tell Donald Trump that Barack Obama went to great lengths to keep this object away from the moon.
  28. Catapult. May require some research into extra-strong elastic.
  29. Make getting it to the moon the largest term in a superintelligent AI's utility function.
  30. Very, very large seesaw. Not clear where the fulcrum should be (cf. Archimedes)
  31. Send spaceships out to the asteroid belt to collect asteroids and bring them to earth. Not to extract valuable minerals, just to make the earth bigger and heavier. Both the increased radius and the increased gravity will bring the moon closer. Eventually it will be close enough that I can just reach out and put my object on the moon.
  32. Star Trek-style teleporters.
  33. Install Diamond Age-style nanofabricators on the moon. Transfer (necessarily destructively) the object's entire quantum state to the moon for reconstruction there.
  34. Write a space-simulation game featuring both the object and the moon. Getting the object to the moon in-game is then straightforward.
  35. The moon was probably formed from bits of the earth. Historically speaking, the earth and the moon are two parts of the same object, and our parcel is therefore already on the moon.
  36. Instead of making the earth bigger heavier as in #31, make the moon bigger and heavier. Again, this will eventually bring the earth close enough to it to make the problem trivial.
  37. Solar sail. (Initial direction will likely be wrong; may need to arrange for slingshot manoeuvres around other planets.)
  38. "Solar" sail, but propulsion not from the sun but from a giant laser on earth. (Easier to get the direction right.)
  39. Attach to branches of an extremely large tree (cf. de St-Exupery 1943).
  40. Same as 10, but without the requirement that the postal service actually finds a way to do it. After all, the challenge was merely to send the thing to the moon and didn't say explicitly that it actually has to arrive.
  41. Give it to Hati Hróðvitnisson who perpetually chases Máni, the moon -- eventually, at Ragnarök, he will catch it.
  42. Wait for the Vietnamese Mid-Autumn festival, when Cuoi, the man in the moon, descends to earth. Hand the package to him.
  43. Send it via Julian Barratt or Noel Fielding. (
  44. Find a copy of the Qur'an and open it to sura 54, The Moon. Place your object thereon.
  45. Persuade David Marks, Matt Moore, Larry Brown, and David Jackson to re-form their psychedelic pop band The Moon. Send the object to them.
  46. Bow and arrow.
  47. Ion thrusters, powered by a small nuclear reactor. (Would need other means to get into orbit; many of the other methods here would do.)
  48. VSIMR (it has "rocket" in the name but is different enough from e.g. Saturn V type rockets to count as a separate method).
  49. Construct a closed timelike curve using, say, a Tipler cylinder. Use it to bring the object back to before the collision that split the moon off from the earth. Place the object on a part of the earth that ended up as Moon. Wait.
  50. Getting the object to the moon is left as an elementary exercise for the reader.

Some comments:

  • I didn't have the experience of getting stuck, writing some stupid things, and then having obviously-good ideas. I mean, I did find some more-plausible answers later on, but I don't think the stupid answers helped me get to them; they just filled in the time before I thought of them. (Of course I could be wrong about that. Introspection is hard.)
  • It felt to me as if getting as far as 50 wasn't so much a matter of thinking further and further outside the box, but of how willing I was to "milk" certain general-purpose techniques. (Things that let you get things high up on earth but obviously wouldn't really get as far as orbit, never mind the moon. Wilful misinterpretation of "the moon". Fiction/imagination/etc. Magic and mythology and religion. Getting someone else to do it and not specifying how they would.) I'm pretty sure it would have been easy to find ten more of most of those, but it would have felt like cheating. (The amount I did felt a bit like cheating too, but I hope it was reasonable. In so far as anything here is supposed to be reasonable.)
  • Getting to 50 ways without feeling too cheaty was difficult, of course.

I'm pretty sure it would have been easy to find ten more of most of those, but it would have felt like cheating.

I felt the same way. It's easy to generate something similar to an existing choice, like I included both catapult and trebuchet, but it feels wrong. But when I think about it feeling wrong, that's premature pruning...

I almost put down #12 in my list as well, I'm glad to see it made yours

13 and 19 are cool

These are much more creative than mine, good job. I especially liked 8, 12, 27, and 29.

This is only seven, one of them incomplete, for reasons that may become apparent.


No imitator I of other men!

(De Guiche has succeeded in getting by, and goes toward Roxane's door. Cyrano follows him, ready to stop him by force):

Six novel methods, all, this brain invented!


DE GUICHE (turning round):



CYRANO (volubly):

First, with body naked as your hand,

Festooned about with crystal flacons, full

O' th' tears the early morning dew distils;

My body to the sun's fierce rays exposed

To let it suck me up, as 't sucks the dew!


DE GUICHE (surprised, making one step toward Cyrano):

Ah! that makes one!


CYRANO (stepping back, and enticing him further away):

And then, the second way,

To generate wind--for my impetus--

To rarefy air, in a cedar case,

By mirrors placed icosahedron-wise.


DE GUICHE (making another step):



CYRANO (still stepping backward):

Or--for I have some mechanic skill--

To make a grasshopper, with springs of steel,

And launch myself by quick succeeding fires

Saltpeter-fed to the stars' pastures blue!


DE GUICHE (unconsciously following him and counting on his fingers):




Or (since fumes have property to mount)--

To charge a globe with fumes, sufficiently

To carry me aloft!


DE GUICHE (same play, more and more astonished):

Well, that makes four!



Or smear myself with marrow from a bull,

Since, at the lowest point of Zodiac,

Phoebus well loves to suck that marrow up!


DE GUICHE (amazed):



CYRANO (who, while speaking, had drawn him to the other side of the square near a bench):

Sitting on an iron platform--thence

To throw a magnet in the air. This is

A method well conceived--the magnet flown,

Infallibly the iron will pursue:

Then quick! relaunch your magnet, and you thus

Can mount and mount unmeasured distances!



Here are six excellent expedients!

Which of the six chose you?



Why, none!--a seventh!



Astonishing! What was it?



I'll recount.



This wild eccentric becomes interesting!


CYRANO (making a noise like the waves, with weird gestures):

Houuh! Houuh!






You have guessed?



Not I!



The tide!

I' th' witching hour when the moon woos the wave,

I laid me, fresh from a sea-bath, on the shore--

And, failing not to put head foremost--for

The hair holds the sea-water in its mesh--

I rose in air, straight! straight! like angel's flight,

And mounted, mounted, gently, effortless,. . .

When lo! a sudden shock! Then. . .


DE GUICHE (overcome by curiosity, sitting down on the bench):




Oh! then. . .

(Suddenly returning to his natural voice):

The quarter's gone--I'll hinder you no more:

The marriage-vows are made.


(This is from Cyrano de Bergerac, and Cyrano is pretending to have fallen from the moon, or perhaps pretending to be a lunatic who thinks he has fallen from the moon, in order to keep de Guiche occupied while the woman he's chasing is getting married to someone else.)

Cyrano comes up frequently enough that I am going to have to actually sit down and watch the play at some point.

Strong upvoted for form factor.

:D If you'll excuse my french, j'adore ce passage

  1. Sending a spaceship.
  2. Jumping really high.
  3. Beaming information with a laser.
  4. Making earth bigger so the moon comes close enough to just place it.
  5. Shouting a really loud sound that reaches the moon.
  6. The Postal service.
  7. shooting a really big gun.
  8. Making an elevator
  9. Attaching a rope to the moon and then hauling it up.
  10. Finding a moon rock and sending something to that.
  11. Asking Elon Musk to do it by sending him a Meme on twitter.
  12. Sending an email to a satellite and then having that send an email to the moon.
  13. Teaching an astronaut something that they'll learn on the moon.
  14. Giving an astronaut a temporary tattoo.
  15. Sneak into NASA and shout my message to an existing moon mission (do they do these anymore?)
  16. A big rubber band/slingshot.
  17. Just get a bunch of explosives and find a high mountain that will send debris towards the moon eventually.
  18. Crowdsourcing
  19. Build a really tall building then throw something from the top of it.
  20. Make a giant fan and blow something to the moon.
  21. 17, but with a Nuclear weapon.
  22. Create a REALLY BIG LIGHT SHOW that can be seen from the moon, and send a message that says "Something"
  23. 22, but instead of a light show just cover the ocean with ships so as to spell a message.
  24. Create a 3d model, then print out it using a 3d printer on the moon.
  25. 24, but with a message and an ordinary printer.
  26. 25, but with arbitrary information on a USB drive.
  27. Add extra fuel to an airplane
  28. Start from the moon, then it's easy.
  29. Take one of Richard Branson's space tourist flights, then at the right moment, throw something out the window.
  30. Name the desk to my left "the moon:, then place something on it.
  31. Make the worlds bounciest pogo stick.
  32. Use a bunch of helium balloons.
  33. Make a really light dirigible
  34. Give a random astronaut a chainletter, and hope it reaches an astronaut on the moon.
  35. Post this question on facebook, and use the best idea.
  36. Post this question on twitter, and use the best idea.
  37. Look at the other answers to this post, and use the best idea.
  38. Attach a rocket to a skateboard, and then activate it at the end of a megaramp.
  39. Use that crazy bat on youtube that explodes when it hits a baseball, and aim at the moon from a really tall mountain.
  40. Break out of the simulation, then reprogram myself to be on the moon.
  41. Put a really strong basketball really deep in the ocean, then have it pop out of the water and land on the moon.
  42. Put a magnet on the moon and throw another magnet at it.
  43. Make a really strong smell and waft it towards the moon.
  44. Send radio signals towards the moon.
  45. Send the moon my love.
  46. Create a highly pressurized squirt gun and squirt it towards the moon.
  47. Add a tiny engine to a paper airplane and throw it towards the moon.
  48. Moon the moon and hope it gets the message.
  49. Strap something to a jetpack and send it in the moon's general direction.
  50. Google "How to send something to the moon" and take the best ideas.

 51. Bonus that I came up with in the shower:  Leave instructions in my will that the contents of this beautiful ornate box goes to my first living relative that opens the box on the moon. When opened, the contents are just a screenshot of this thread.

Huh... Now I'm wondering whether #41 would actually work

Beautiful! #14 and #22 were inspired

I love #24 and #41

Here are my answers: 

  • 1 Slingshot
  • Rocket
  • Railgun
  • Heavy throw
  • 5 Exercise your legs for a massive jump
  • jetpack while wearing astronaut suit
  • Airplane
  • Massive trampoline
  • 10 Swing
  • Balancing swing
  • convince the US gov to run another space program and become an astronaut
  • go through astronaut school and become good enough friends with all of them that they'd do you a favour and bring something with them on the next trip
  • make it profitable to send things to the moon and then have everyone do it and just buy a ticket on one of those things -- maybe building super tiny rockets is somehow cheaper? what's the bottleneck for going to the moon?
  • 15 convince Elon Musk to do a moon mission and bring your item
  • put a bird in a spacesuit and send it off
  • make the moon come to you (or at least bring it close enough it's reachable by plane or so)
    • somehow increase the earth's gravitational pull
    • by flying out spaceships, tying major big strings around it, and just dragging it back
    • by detonating a nuke on the other side of it so it gets enough force to fly toward the earth
  • 20 just send something close enough to the moon that you can fire off your item, have it get into orbit, and then circle the moon for a lot of years until it finally lands
  • build some kind of huge accelerator around the circumference of the earth that could spin something around, gaining more momentum, and then shoot something out of itself and have it go all the way to the moon
  • just send a very tiny and easy thing -- like a neutrino or something, might you be able to just shoot it all the way over there?
  • get NASA to send a 3d printer to the moon, build your thing over there
  • destroy the universe in all worlds where your thing does not get to the moon, and anthropically find yourself in a world with your thing on the moon
  • 25 orchestrate a global 1984 campaign to switch names of the "Earth" and the "Moon" -- voila, most things are at the "Moon"!
  • decide to send information, and use e.g. some kind of mega laser to just etch your message into the surface of the moon from a distance
  • helicopter w/ rocket for steering outside the atmosphere
  • do genetic engineering on an insect until their legs are mega strong enough to jump to the moon
  • forecast moon movements, aim something to appear in front of the moon, and wait for the moon to catch up with it
  • 30 build a super-bouncy material
  • build some sort of uber strong material that withstands detonating a nuke, and then turn it into a long, thin cylinder, and use that to send a force propelling something towards the moon
  • use a super strong fan to send a beam of air
  • somehow expand the earth's atmosphere in such a way that any flying thing could get close enough to the moon's gravitational field
  • make the moon really hot and send a heat-seeking missile there
  • 35 tall tower
  • elevator
  • swing around the sun and use it's gravity to give yourself leverage
  • get shot out by a super volcano
  • attach it to a mega boomerang
  • 40 send off a million copies of your thing in all different directions such that some of them would land on the moon
  • convince the UN to run a program for global peace by 1 million citizens to send an item to the moon on a mission organised jointly by the world's major superpowers
  • convince a philanthropist to help you run a prize competition paying a big bounty to whichever team manages to get your item to the moon
  • genetically engineer trees to grow mega large and have the top be able to survive outside the atmosphere
  • intern at a space company and secretely place it on an upcoming moon probe
  • 45 choose to send some sort of inspirational object (e.g. an olive branch) with high meme-worthiness, and make an inspiring movement such that children grow up wanting to send things to the moon, and soon as the next mission appears, whatever item you created will be the Schelling item to send
  • make your item be the flag of whichever country is most likely to next go to the moon
  • figure out if some substance is surprisingly common in the moon's surface, and build a device that has some sort of magnetic-like attraction to that substance, and get it to drag its way there
  • paper plane made of steel
  • convince the world your particular item is super dangerous and has to be buried under ground on another planet
  • 50 put your thing in a super solid and light box, that's easy to get outside the atmosphere with some cheap basic rocket, and just steer its way to the moon using a remote control from earth -- if necessary, have it be followed by a satellite to carry the signal

Switching the names of the earth and moon is hilarious!

I also love the supervolcano idea, even aside from humor; I had several that boiled down to hijacking natural phenomena or building artificial versions of them.

:)  Also, friendly admin reminder to put things in spoiler tags!

Love it.#28 is my favorite. Would make a great XKCD what if, seeing as every reaction has an equal and opposite reaction.


I'm very entertained by the amount of items our lists converged on

#24 made me laugh

About halfway through I forgot that I was only meant to be bringing something to the moon rather than having to visit it myself, and some of my items are very broad (the first one could make up a whole list in itself).

This was very fun!


space elevator

jump really, really hard

electromagnetic cannon

accelerate the spin of the earth until it falls apart

decelerate the orbit of the moon until it falls, by flying comets past it

or by painting one side of the moon black

or by using a giant rocket

or by detonating enough antimatter weaponry

flap your arms, again really, really hard

shine a torch at the moon (photons reach there)

start in space and use an ion drive

project orion nuclear bomb detonated below you

program an AGI and ask the AGI how to get to the moon

build a very tall ladder


wings made of wax

throw it really, really hard

spin around and let go

stand under an asteroid strike and join the ejecta

wait for quantum fluctuations to teleport you there

wait for random gravitational solar system pertubations to bring the moon to you

wait for another civilisation to bring you to the moon

time travel to before Theia hit and join the original moon


add mass to the moon until it becomes the planet and you are on the moon

find the space rocks the apollo astronauts brought back and stand on them

project orion but with fusion

project orion but with antimatter

trigger false vacuum collapse with particle accelerator and use new physics to develop as yet unknowable way of travelling to moon

astral projection

bird with a spacesuit

space helicopter

vacuum-filled zepellin

submarine with reactionless thruster inside

perpetual motion machine

buy a ticket on musk's starship

invest in dogecoin, use billions from dogecoin to start space program

stand above a supervolcano and hope ejecta takes you high enough

run very very fast reaching orbital velocity

very long space elevator reaching down from moon

very very long space elevator reaching down from mars

create microscopic black hole and use gravitational slingshot

carefully warp space to make a staircase built from the metric

make a normal staircase


very, very fast bicycle with a ramp

add mass to moon until gravitational tide from moon lifts you from the surface of the earth

deorbit the earth-moon system into the sun and join it in the molten iron in the sun's core

apollo 11 mission

my favorite is "add mass to the moon"; genius! '^^

I also particularly like: ladder, spinning the Earth, spin around and let go, time travel, find the space rocks, false vacuum collapse, bird with a spacesuit, zeppelin, buy a tick on Musk's starship, run very fast, microscope black hole, deorbit in the Sun :)

great list!

Hey Mati -- friendly admin reminder to put stuff in spoiler tags!
oops, right, thanks for the reminder

Okay well it took me more than an hour to get to 50, but still a great exercise!

1. Chemical rocket

2. Launch off of space elevator beyond geosync

3. Giant balloon (aim carefully you can't steer)

4. Coilgun

5. Launch loop (seriously how has nobody built this yet)

6. Railgun

7. Nuclear thermal rocket

8. Electric (ion) rocket powered by capacitors or batteries (ok might be a little heavy)

9. Electric (ion) rocket powered by lasers from the ground

10. Ablation rocket powered by lasers from the ground

11. Spaceplane combined with any of the rocket types, especially ablation rocket

12. Giant crossbow

13. One of those extending boxing glove toys with all the struts forming parallelograms (apparently this mechanism is called a "pantograph")

14. Series of nested giant crossbows: each one shoots a smaller crossbow

15. Hitch a ride on a passing asteroid using a tether

16. Use superconductors to levitate a flux-pinned magnet to the moon

17. Fusion rocket

18. Project Orion-style nuclear bomb rocket

19. Run a tether from the moon to the earth, and just let the tip drag along the ground and you can attach climbers to it as it goes by every day

20. Antimatter rocket

21. Ramjet

22. Bussard ramjet

23. Trebuchet

24. Bubble cavitation in a vacuum (could launch a tiny particle at high velocity from LEO)

25. Light gas gun

26. Plasma gun? Is that a thing?

27. Combination balloon and solar sail. The balloon lifts the solar sail until the air is too thin to keep rising, and then the sail takes off.

28. Build a giant radiotelescope to contact space aliens and ask them to carry something to the moon for you.

29. Ablation rocket powered by the sun (using dry ice maybe)

30. Hack the simulation and add code to teleport stuff on your command

31. Build a space elevator on the moon and use it to launch chunks of rock constantly towards earth, which you catch with a see-saw contraption to launch something smaller back the other way

32. Nuclear explosion underground that launches a big chunk of steel through a borehole, like in Operation Plumbob (have to use something longer and tungsten-coated so it doesn't vaporize)

33. Light sail powered by lasers from the ground

34. Use lightning to superheat pressurized gas in a massive gun chamber

35. Kite that turns into solar sail once it clears most of the atmosphere

36. Build a giant tower from Earth that reaches almost to the moon, with a vacuum chamber inside so it can be supported by an electron beam, and then just toss things from the top

37-39. Practice, practice, practice

40. Get that arm surgery that lets pitchers throw faster than they did before they were injured, but like 50 times

41. Stow away on the next moon launch

42. Bring the moon to you: rob the Earth of its rotational energy by over-using your space elevator, and the moon will slowly drift closer due to tidal locking (I think)

43. Fake a Dr. Evil-style terrorist threat to force the government to send people to the moon to stop you.

44. Rename your home to "the moon"

45. Something with carbon nanotubes (grow them to the moon I guess?)

46. Great great great great great pyramid

47. Drink way too much coffee in order to come up with more ideas (recursive self-improvement technique?)

48. Nuclear-powered jet engine that builds up momentum by circling the Earth a bunch of times like superman, at slightly higher altitude each time

49. Some kind of reactionless drive based on Hawking radiation

50. Just send neutrinos to the moon, nothing will stop them. (You are already doing this.)

Fun exercise, thanks for suggesting it!

I can't figure out multi-line spoiler tags, so I've put my 50 in here (a lot of these are blatantly cheating, but 50 is surprisingly hard!)

Okay I went ahead and implemented #39... 

I did it via the OpenAI API. My prompts are in bold. I used about 5 restarts in total to generate this sequence. 

I, as a student with no budget, devise the following plan to get to the Moon, and it works! Yes, it is a little far-fetched but this is an example of the creativity that is at the heart of the game. 
The game is simple to play, just two dice are required. 
By the end of the game you will see how I made it to the Moon using the following: 
A cardboard box 
A sheet of tin foil 

... (read more)

Love it! #22 was my favorite, the image is awesome.

Woop! Really excited to have you join Neel! In case you wrote 50 I think you only copied a 8 of them, and if not -- looking forward to the other 42 ;)

1Neel Nanda3y
Ah, sorry, the original comment was an experiment with multi-line spoiler tags. I've now given up on that, and linked to a Google doc
I literally laughed out loud while reading your ideas in bed. Some of them are just beautiful!

I'm amazed. If i compare my work to yours i realize i still have a very long way to go which is pretty exciting, i guess i'll have to read some more post here...

Loved #11 btw

22 and 42 are awesome!

  1. rocket
  2. catapult
  3. cannon
  4. nuclear propelled spaceship
  5. wait for civilization to advance a lot and then just mail the item
  6. throw the item up into the sky and be okay with failure
  7. note that the earth is the sun's moon, you're on the moon now
  8. scan, destroy, rebuild on the moon
  9. put a note on the item promising a bounty to the first person who takes it to the moon
  10. extremely long tube
  11. time travel to a time when the moon was where you are now
  12. gravity manipulation
  13. climb to the top of mount everest and just keep going
  14. hit the item very hard
  15. genetic engineering to become taller until you reach the moon
  16. teleport spell
  17. have the item split in two in opposite directions, repeat until 1/2^n of the thing reaches the moon, repeat 2^n times
  18. survive the death of the sun and wait for the moon to fall to earth
  19. uplift the item to sentience and motivate it to take itself to the moon
  20. ask the lords of the matrix to edit the item's location property
  21. wait for a particularly powerful volcano
  22. magical rope
  23. wait for a full moon, full enough to reach the earth
  24. drag the moon to earth with a rope
  25. wormhole
  26. kill the item, then use necromancy to resurrect it on the moon
  27. telekinesis
  28. attach the item to the fabric of spacetime and move the earth-moon system down until the moon is where you started
  29. start the problem in a state where the item is already on the moon
  30. giant longbow
  31. giant blowgun
  32. uplift the moon to sentience and motivate it to come get the item
  33. shrink the earth and grow the moon until the moon is the earth and the earth is the moon
  34. ask some aliens to abduct the item
  35. attach the item to a long stick, then keep adding new stick parts to the bottom of the stick
  36. meditate until all is one, including the moon and the earth
  37. laser sail
  38. wait for the item to quantum tunnel to the moon by coincidence
  39. wait for the big crunch, when everything will be in the same place, including the item and the moon
  40. make the item very sturdy and keep shooting it with a gun
  41. find some moon dust that astronauts took to earth and put the item on the moon dust
  42. attain godhood and use omnipotence somehow
  43. emit greenhouse gases until sea level rise takes the item to the moon
  44. very tall elevator
  45. very tall escalator
  46. delegate to all other humans so everyone only has to transport the item a few centimeters
  47. attach the item to a balloon filled with a gas lighter than vacuum
  48. gender reveal party
  49. temporarily move all of earth's mountains to the same location
  50. artificial geyser

Great job, I thought #33, #35, #36 were great

  1. Pay for it to be sent on a rocket
  2. Railgun
  3. Space elevator
  4. Air balloon + rocket
  5. Hit the moon with comet and have it impact Earth
  6. Use force of nuclear explosion
  7. Sneak it into someone else's moon mission
  8. Convince billionnaire that going to the moon is cool, then piggyback
  9. Make item so common and useful that it will certainly be brought to the moon if it is ever colonized
  10. Bring a 3D printer to the moon, then print it.
  11. Convince government to make the moon a criminal base (like Australia). Get sent.
  12. Bribe an astronaut
  13. Nerdsnipe a collective at MIT to do it for you
  14. Use many conventional explosives
  15. Use an Alcubierre drive
  16. Controlled matter-antimatter explosion
  17. Laser propelled balloon
  18. Really big spring.
  19. Really big sling
  20. If thing is small, use particle accelerator
  21. Put big magnet on Moon
  22. Reorient a hurricane to sling it.
  23. Invent anti-gravity propulsor
  24. Cancel gravitational field of Earth
  25. Make Moon bigger than Earth
  26. Put rockets on Moon so that it crashes into earth
  27. Otherwise destabilize Moon orbit
  28. Get fragment of Moon
  29. Large pyramid on Earth which reaches Moon
  30. Destroy Moon into smaller fragments which are easier to reach
  31. Explode Earth and be in a fragment which reaches Moon.
  32. Blackmail Musk
  33. Take someone important to Musk hostage
  34. Large Mentos+CocaCola chemical reaction
  35. Position oneself strategically before volcanic eruption
  36. Channel energy of earthquake into jump
  37. Create powerful instantaneous earthquake
  38. Make Earth bigger
  39. Big spring board
  40. Large catapult
  41. Amplify earthquake
  42. Manipulate Earth's electromagnetic field to propel you
  43. Become best petrol engineer. Create rumors of oil in Moon.
  44. Become astronaut
  45. Impersonate astronaut
  46. Take someone important to an astronaut hostage
  47. Create new space race. Profit.
  48. Get money to go to mars but use it to go to the Moon instead.
  49. Make rockets cheaper, then buy a ticket.
  50. Use powerful sound wave.

I like 22 and 24, but the 42 is genius! Did you intend to put the best under the 42?

Not in particular; I'm actually most fond of 43 ;). Also, #12 is based on a real incident, and it's probably how I'd actually do it:

Good to see you hear Nuno, I know I can always count on you for joining experimental rationality projects! :)


  1. pyramid

2. slingshot

3. catapult

4. teeter totter

5. transporter beam

6. psychic projection

7. cannon

8. car ramp

9. sitting on a bomb

10. breeding a tall dinosaur

11. super tall tree

12. skyscraper

13. wait for tectonic plates to make mountains

14. bouncy chihuaha

15. geyser

16. supercollider (point it at moon)

17. asking aliens for help

18. shooting rope to moon with crossbow

19. giant tsunami

20. pile  of army ants

21. wishing really hard

22. in a dream

23. centrifugal force from big rotating thing

24. quantum fluctuation

25. the man in the moon reaches down

26. pole vault

27. shoes with big springs

28. flatulence rocket

29. solar sail (and laser?)

30. giant escalator

31. redefining kansas to be part of the moon

32. giant stilts

33. take lsd

34. Wizard of Oz tornado puts house on moon

35. threaten to hold your breath until someone puts you on the moon

36. produce more atmosphere and fly there on a plane

37. call an Uber

38. medieval siege tower

39. reconstruct the tower of babel

40. practice jumping really really high

41. pass a tax break for property on the moon and wait for a rich guy to claim it

42. ask Superman to do it

43. propeller beanie on space suit

44. ejaculate really hard

45. atomic powered tennis racket and ball

46. giant beanstalk

47. giant Jenga game        

48. get energetic cat. point laser at moon.

49. send it by UPS and let them figure it out

50. get punched by Jackie Gleason

(Took me 30 minutes. I was really sleepy which may have hurt or helped.)

31 Is also fun

Nice job, I really like #36 and #41!

I didn't read others' answers before answering.

My favorite from my list are 1, 30, and 39

First things first

  1. Create this LessWrong post

Bring object to the Moon

  1. elevator
  2. vertical hyperloop
  3. stairs XD
  4. wormhole
  5. attach magnet on object and on both celestial object
  6. artificial gravity
  7. astro-catapult
  8. nuclear-fusion rocket
  9. nuclear-fission rocket
  10. chemical reaction rocket
  11. solar energy rocket
  12. orbiting asteroid
  13. light a giant candle going from the Moon to Earth, put the object on it, and wait for the candle to burn down

Bring object information to the Moon

  1. disassembled and send structural information with photons
  2. disassembled and send through particle accelerator
  3. disassembled and send through electric wire
  4. disassembled and send with gravitons
  5. make a giant QR code on Earth surface for Moon-based people to scan with a telescope

Bring the Moon to the object

  1. bring the Moon on Earth through a wormhole
  2. bring the Moon on Earth using gravity
  3. bring the Moon on Earth by disassembling it in smaller pieces, and reassembling it on Earth

Bring the Moon information to the object

  1. anthropic(?) capture: simulate the moon on Earth

Meta: create incentives for other humans to do it

  1. fund a prize for bring things on the moon
  2. advocate the government to create a road to the moon

Meta: create incentives for non-humans to do it

  1. make a deal with simulators
  2. make a deal with superintelligent aliens
  3. pre-commit to acausal trade

Meta: create other minds to do it

  1. breed human until they can fly in space
  2. breed interstellar non-human animals to do it
  3. create AIs that will solve the problem
  4. genetic engineering to create smart humans to solve the problem
  5. have children, and train them for the task

Meta: wait

  1. wait for random quantum fluctuation to bring the object there
  2. wait long enough until the Moon is now on Earth
  3. wait for someone else to do it

Other: genius

  1. create an object big enough that it will be both on Earth and on the Moon
  2. send a non-existing object
  3. create a quantum coin that makes you do something different in each branch in such a way that you do all possible actions; one of them is likely to send something on the Moon.

Make no sense

  1. blow strongly on it
  2. use wishful thinking
  3. use non-violent communication to share your feelings to the object
  4. threaten the object
  5. offer to fulfill the objects deepest desires
  6. ask a monkey to do it
  7. sing a song while dancing
  8. walk in a straight line until you stumble upon the Moon
  9. create a time paradox if no objects gets to the Moon
  10. pray that Rick & Morty show up and get them to help you
  11. use more nukes... make Earth uninhabitable so people go on the Moon

14 is really creative, 19 is hilarious!

thanks!:) I was inspired by 14 because I had one in my field of vision ^_^ ; 19, yeah XD
I also had a candle in my field of view and a very strong belief that it could somehow help get me to the moon. There's something powerful about candles.
fun fact: "spark plug" and "candle" is the same word in French ^_^

ideas I got from reading others' list:

  • lower the Moon's orbit so you can reach it with your arm

50 Ways to the Moon

  1. Put 3D printer on moon, print the things you want on the moon
  2. Bring the moon to us
  3. Not original idea: Use a battery-powered rocket that expels water instead of exhaust
  4. Use a nuclear bomb, contained within a very robust containment, and point the firey end down
  5. Use a magnetic vehicle, and create a very strong EM field to push the vehicle away from earth
  6. Not original idea: Use a space yeeter (Rotating object in orbit which has a tether, a vehicle in low orbit attatches to tether, and the space yeeter’s angular momentum brings the vehicle to a much higher altitude)
  7. Take the object to a very high place (Burj Khalifa? Mt Everest? A Burj built on top of Everest [Burj Everista]?), then launch the vehicle using a railgun, and only start burning fuel once its launched
  8. Use some mechanism (or series of mechanisms) that catches other vehicles that are entering orbit from space, and redirects their kinetic energy to bring outgoing vehicles to space
  9. Create a wormhole that links Moon’s surface to Earth’s surface
  10. Breed birds, testing how high altitudes they can reach, and their ability to survive in low pressures, changing what we breed for (pure max height? height sustained for a certain amount of time? maximum upgoing velocity? Low oxygen performance? etc) when birds reach a plateau in performance, and see if we can breed birds that can get to space
  11. If I want to get an object to the moon, I should just give it to the Artemis astronauts when they launch
  12. Create so much gas (probably N2 with appropriate levels of O2, or whatever is convenient to create enough) that the Earth’s atmosphere extends to the Moon, and fly an airplane up to the moon
  13. Start from north pole, and ride the Earth’s magnetic field into space
  14. Create a multi-piece space elevator, which starts with a very high structure attached to Earth, which terminates above the atmosphere, then it transitions vehicles to an orbiting object which occasionally gets close enough to receive vehicles, the vehicles then climb that object, which then passes off vehicles to another orbiting object. Since each piece is smaller than a full-size space elevator, it won’t have to withstand the same stresses the space elevator would
  15. Absurd: Create a strong-force colour field, and have a colour-charged vehicle which gets propelled by the colour field
  16. Launch the object into low-earth orbit, wait for an asteroid to come nearby, manuever the object such that it crashes into the asteroid in such a way, that the momentum of the object is cancelled out relative to the Moon, so the Moon’s gravity can pull it in
  17. Ask the object to please go to the Moon
  18. Like the battery-powered water syringe, except instead of using batteries, we use nuclear power
  19. Hack the universe’s source code, so that gravity is 10x weaker
  20. Get recruited as an astronaut, go on a mission to the moon, and bring the object with me
  21. Pay SpaceX to put my object on the moon
  22. Redefine the word “Moon” to actually refer to my basement
  23. Get so, so, so buff, that I can do a jump squat, and land on the moon (Aka the “Chuck Norris manuever”)
  24. Search deep in my soul, discover the reasons why I want to get this object on the moon, and realize that I never actually ever wanted to get it to the moon in the first place (Aka the “Bhudda manuever”)
  25. Create an airplane whose wings can become so big (and lightweight), that it can generate lift simply by interacting with solar wind
  26. Publish a blog post encouraging people to come up with ways to get my object on the Moon
  27. Take inspiration from Breath of the Wild speedrunners, and use Stasis to freeze a metal cube in place, whack it with an industrial-grade whacker a billion times, get inside the cube, wait for the stasis to wear off, and get launched at absurd speeds in the direction of the Moon (Edit: apparently the new meta [involves shield surfing, precisely timed super attacks, and archery-based time warping](, so we’ll do that instead)
  28. Take inspiration from Orcas, which start underwater, then launch into the air. Likewise, we will start from the air like a regular airplane, and once we have maximum height and altitude obtainable with a plane, we will launch the rocket phase
  29. Develop a chemical substance which has a higher specific energy (Joules per kilogram) than hydrolox fuel
  30. Get bitten by a spider, then use my newfound superpowers to fly to the moon
  31. Ironman suit that can go to space
  32. Hold a moondance, and by worshipping and honoring the moon, the moon god will allow us to visit and bring our object to the moon
  33. Eat so much black pepper and wasabi, that I sneeze so hard I get launched to the moon
  34. Imagine myself and the object already being on the moon. If I imagine it hard enough, it will become true
  35. Remove the atmosphere of the Earth, so I can launch rockets without having to get through the atmosphere
  36. Start with the object already in space, far from Earth’s gravitational influence - then manuever the object towards the Moon
  37. Print out a picture of the object, and bring that to space. This way, we don’t have to waste precious capacity on the physical object itself
  38. Not original: Use a railgun. On top of Burj Everista. (Edit: I didn't realize I had already mentioned a railgun in #7 when introducing Burj Everista)
  39. Use EM field particle manipulation, so that the atoms and nucleons on the Moon arrange themselves into the shape of the object
  40. Build a giant factory on the Moon, and manufacture the object there (variation on idea #1)
  41. Discover that the universe actually has a hidden four-spatial-dimensional structure underlying it, and build a pathway utilizing the fourth dimension
  42. Build a very, very, very powerful trebuchet on the Earth, powerful enough to launch an object to the moon
  43. Create a dense cloud of space debris between the Earth and Moon, and climb the space debris as if you were climbing El Capitan
  44. Like idea #14, build a multi-piece series of structures in successively higher orbits leading to the Moon. But this time, it’s like a little track that the vehicles can ride on like a road
  45. Like idea #14, except each piece propels the vehicle like a maglev train
  46. Like idea #14, except there are no vehicles (beyond transer from one structure to the next). People will climb up each piece like they climb stairs
  47. Put rockets on the Earth, and make the Earth accelerate so fast, that it gets far away from you (and the moon) before you can fall back to it, so now the only gravity acting on you is from the moon
  48. Photoshop a picture of you standing on the moon, and post it on the internet, so everybody thinks you actually got there
  49. It’s a rocket, except instead of simply propelling fuel exhaust downwards (to obtain equal and opposite momentum), it launches packages back towards earth. This technique is called the “Jeff Bezos manuever”
  50. Kidnap Santa Claus, and use his magic reindeer to get to the moon

This was pretty fun, though man, it took quite a bit to come up with all 50. Some of them are maybe plausible, some of them for sure are not

Kudos for persevering! #43 and #47 are pretty cool, along with many others :) 

50 ways to send something to the moon. Although it ended up more like 25 ways to send something to the moon and 25 ways to avoid sending something to the moon.

  1. Mail it.
  2. Where will the moon end up in 1 billion years? Invent time travel, put something there in the future, then send it back in time to today's moon.
  3. Rail gun.
  4. Space elevator to get it to space, then nudge it. Assuming it can deal with the landing.
  5. Giant slingshot. By which I mean spin, then release. This isn't silly, there's a serious startup doing it right now. (To get things to space, not the moon, but shouldn't be very different.)
  6. Space elevator, then give it a parachute, then nudge it to the moon.
  7. Big cannon, with gunpowder.
  8. Put it on a rocket. Rocket to take off & rocket to land.
  9. Invent teleportation, and teleport it.
  10. Does the thing really have to start on earth? Make it on the moon. Makes shipping much easier.
  11. Compressed air cannon.
  12. Land bridge, that's connected to the moon but not the earth. It gets within a few miles of earth.
  13. Big tree on earth. At the right time of day, its highest point gets close to the moon.
  14. Earth is in such a big gravity well. Maybe make the thing on a moon like phobos (which I know from UT), then send it via one of these methods to the moon.
  15. Make it in space, then drop it to the moon.
  16. Is it digital? I hope it's digital. Email it!
  17. Send it through the IPFS. Because it's digital.
  18. Ok, it's not digital. But it can be 3d-printed right? Email the design to an automated printer!
  19. Seriously, you don't want to physically send the thing to the moon. Start a manufactoring service on the moon. It taAlthough this turned more into 50 ways to avoid sending something to the moon.kes instructions to make something, and makes it, and ships it. All very automated. You send them a JSON file and some dollars and they make the thing.
  20. Is it audio? Is it a song? Call them up and sing.
  21. Why are you still trying to physically send it? Is it because you feel that if the thing is also on Earth, you haven't really sent it to the moon after manufacturing it there? How about manufacturing it there, then destroying the copy on Earth? Is that satisfactory?
  22. Ok maybe the thing is very expensive. Like a big diamond. Don't send it on its own. You don't need a dedicated rocket to send a diamond! Bulk shipments! Group it with the next hundred items.
  23. Wait 50 years until we have better technology, then send it.
  24. Get someone to inadvertently bring it to the moon. Like Musk is going there because he likes space, slip it in his pocket. Might need to pay a lunar pick-pocket to get it back after.
  25. Convince a big company that they want to advertise the thing on the moon, and get them to foot the shipping bill. Ok, maybe there is no manufacturing capabilities on the moon, and that's why you're so insistent on shipping this thing. Maybe it is the manufacturing facilities.
  26. NANITES. Send nanites. Have them make the manufacturing facilities.
  27. Take the thing, turn it into magical goop, and haphazardly slingshot the goop. Then tell the goop to return to its original form.
  28. Invent AGI and ask it to ship the thing to the moon.
  29. Magic. Literal magic. Wave your wand and speak in latin.
  30. Does it really have to be the moon, or do you just need people to think its on the moon? Send it to a film set that looks like the moon.
  31. Pay the moon people to say you sent it to them even though you didn't.
  32. Fake the moon transmissions to make it sound like the moon people got the thing even though they didn't.
  33. If it's a plant, grow it on the moon.
  34. If it's a plant, send the seed, then grow it on the moon.
  35. In general, instead of sending X, send a generator for X. Ok I'm going to actually thing about how to get matter from Earth to the Moon again.
  36. Strap a rocket on it.
  37. Warp space so that the moon is 20 feet away, then toss it.
  38. Turn its matter into energy, beam it via microwaves, then turn the energy back into matter.
  39. Turn it into plasma, stream it over, turn it back.
  40. Put it in a big bouncy ball, and toss that over (say with a slingshot or railgun as previously mentioned). Like we did with that mars rover.
  41. Have a space station between the earth and moon, with long ropes (read: cararbon nanotube ropes). Lift it up one rope, and down the other.
  42. Take a chunk out of the moon, and send it to earth. Then ship everything you want there.
  43. Take a chunk out of the earth (say around a big factory city), and send it to the moon. Then ship from earth-chunk to moon-desination. Right, physically moving a thing from one place to another. Back on track.
  44. Space train. I'm just now feeling out of ideas.
  45. Regular slingshot. Like with big stretchy cables. With a big foamy spot for it to land.
  46. Defeat gravity. Then use a gravity-ignoring spaceship with tiny little compressed-air jets.
  47. Rocket, powered by nuclear explosions. Probably not good for the environment.
  48. Big see-saw. When a shipment comes in from the moon, it lands on one end. It is on the other end, and gets flung to the moon.
  49. Same idea for space elevator. For balance, an object from the earth and an object from the moon of the same weight are pulled in unison to meet at the middle, then lowered on the other side.
  50. Really big fans. Fast enough to send the thing out of Earth's gravity. Though that probably wouldn't be good for the environment.
  51. Compressed air tube.

This was a really fun exercise and i kind of feel like i cheated with some of these ones but i agree with you that this could be a great exercise for your brain to stimuli creativity. If you come up with some new activity i'll gladly get into them.

Here are my answers

45 is my favorite

Nice! #13 is my favourite

  1. Saturn V rocket
  2. SpaceX Starship
  3. Shine a torch (the something you are sending is light photons)
  4. Point a radioactive source towards the moon
  5. Point a neutrino emitter
  6. Send data by interfacing with the satelites around the moon
  7. Invent teleportation, and then teleport there
  8. Create a machine that can exactly copy your object and then destroy the 'original', use it to get the object to the moon, and then resolve the resulting dilemma about whether it's the 'same' object with your choice of counterargument
  9. Space elevator
  10. Just walk
  11. Sit on a nuke, and then detonate it
  12. Actually, just detonate a nuke anywhere in an atmosphere, and statistically speaking at least one air particle is likely to make it
  13. Project Orion Battleship (possible overlap with previous two)
  14. Jump really high
  15. Make a seesaw, stand on one end, and have a heavy object fall from lunar orbit onto the other end
  16. Climb a ladder
  17. Ohvyq n gbjre bs onory, ohg fgbc jura vg ernpurf gur zbba
  18. Decelerate the moon until it crashes into earth, so that everything on the earth is also on the moon
  19. Wait for a quantum event of negligable probability to take it there
  20. Promise someone £1 billion conditional on them getting the object to the moon
  21. Use that one company whose thing is sending products to the moon so they can say that there's one of those products on the moon
  22. Wait for someone else to attempt a lunar landing mission, and sneak the object onboard (fun fact: it's already been done with the lunar art museum
  23. Reclassify Earth as the moon
  24. Reclassify anything reachable as the moon, and then place the object on that
  25. Place the object on the Apollo lunar samples
  26. Monorail
  27. Regular rail
  28. Rail, but with more than two rails
  29. Use a plane to accelerate really fast in-atmophere, and use that momentum to get to the moon
  30. Ditto, but with running
  31. Cannon
  32. Trebuchet
  33. Catapult
  34. Make something that disables Earth's relative gravitational field for an object, and turn it on at the right time
  35. Accelerate really fast in a submarine, and use that momentum to get to the moon
  36. Use a fishing rod to tether the moon, and reel it in until it's close enough
  37. Use a fishing rod to tether the moon, and reel yourslef towards it
  38. Use a fishing rod to tether another celestial body, and reel yourself towards it until you're in the path of the moon, then wait for it to arrive
  39. Stand on a mirror that faces downwards, which rises upwards on a stream of photons bouncing between this mirror and another mirror on earth that faces skywards
  40. Project Sea Dragon
  41. A tower comprised of Delta-V stages
  42. A space shuttle, with more stages
  43. Make a bridge that spirals from earth to the moon, and then walk
  44. Ditto, but with a road vehicle
  45. Fold an A4 piece of paper 45 times, and then climb up the resulting stack
  46. Climb up a rope
  47. Climb up a fireman's pole, and then slide down the last fraction to the moon
  48. Gather a large number of golf balls, and hit each one away from yourself to accelerate
  49. Use a spray can

And finally, the most impractial item on the list

     50. SLS

I understood the prompt as "get your ass to the moon" (Buzz Aldrin reference), and there are actually quite a few solutions here that are interesting because of that extra constraint. I would suggest scrolling ahead after the obvious solutions: 

  1. Tower of fire: find something very flammable and put it within a cylinder of something not flammable, then push the fire in the right direction and exploit Newton’s third law
  2. Giant slingshot: nobody really cares about your organs anyway (well the black market does but we’re remaining strictly legal here) so we’re just gonna use that, ey? The same disclaimer applies for whatever comes next.
  3. Very very very large piece of rope attached to a stone and catapulted up with the slingshot (or a catapult). Once the rock lands (it’ll blend in nicely with the other craters) you’ll have a very solid piece of rope spinning all over the place, so hang on tight.
  4. Easier option: use that last strategy to hook yourself to the ISS (you may kill a few astronauts in the process but that’s okay the ends justify the means) and then pull yourself up. Bring the slingshot along with you, and throw yourself from the ISS toward the Moon.
  5. Get a very big plaque of metal and then head over to Los Alamos and drag a few dusty rice cookers (“rice cookers” is a euphemism) out of the basement and aim for the moon before detonating.
  6. Take a whole lot of drugs and then stare at the moon and think There’s no place like the moon there’s no place like the moon there’s no place like the moon
  7. A very large balloon filled with absolute emptiness. ABSOLUTE emptiness. Now wait till you are gradually sucked up into the sky until you reach lunar orbit. 
  8. Pray to the soul of Neil Armstrong and use dark magic to bring him back to life: then use his ghost, which is naturally attracted to it, to bring you to the moon. Alternatively, use whatever machine they used in Nolan’s Tenet to reverse Neil’s entropy, and then hitch a ride with him as he reverse-lands on the moon.
  9. Head over to CIA headquarters, break into their basement, and walk onto the moon landing set. 
  10. Alternatively, break into Roscosmos headquarters and look up top secret projects for getting to the moon. They probably have a set there too, they just couldn’t fake it in time because in all things Hollywood, the US beat them.
  11. Get a degree in genetics and engineer a dragon. Who hasn’t dreamt of getting to the moon on the back of a dragon? The dragon can use Newton’s third law to push itself forward once wings no longer work. 
  12. Alternatively, build a space squid. Science fiction novels love imagining space as an ocean (think of Carl Sagan as well) and so why not make it a reality? A vacuum-defying squid it is! You can design its esophagus to be habitable so that it can keep you nice and warm!
  13. Go to France and bring Cyrano de Bergerac back from the dead using dark rituals. He may have only devised 6 methods to get to the moon, but he’ll be invaluable in your brainstorming process. Yeah, don’t forget the meta-problem; if you can’t figure out how to get to the moon, then find someone who can!
  14. You know those long sticks they use in the olympics? In French that’s saut à la perche. So yeah, find a very long stick and push yourself up and bam! 
  15. Find that one cow that jumped over the moon I forgot whomst it was.
  16. Use that occult dark magic again (you should be used to it by now) to bring Archimedes back to the realm of the living, and find sufficient leverage and a place for him to sit in order for him to move the world. Have him move Earth toward the moon. Why go to the moon when the moon can come to you?
  17. Don’t bring Shakespeare back from the dead. Rather, apply this Orwell quote: “if there is such a thing as turning in your grave, then Shakespeare must be getting a lot of exercise”. Harness the perpetual motion machine that is William Shakespeare to push yourself toward the stars! 
  18. Make the tides more extreme. Build a giant magnetic engine and make the tides so extreme that when the oceans are pulled toward the moon, they get all the way there. Because you will be within a giant plume of outstretched seawater, you will be safe from the vacuum of space. People will call you super-Moses for the rest of time. 
  19. Summon the dinosaurs again using occult genetic techniques, and harness their legendary bad luck to attract another asteroid. Put the dinos in the right place, though, so that the asteroid veers into the moon and pushes it toward us!
  20. Yo mama’s so fat, that she’s gravitationally pulling the moon toward her. Keep it up, mama!
  21. Get the fertility rate in turtles to go up (think of old Diego) and then draw inspiration from Dr.Seuss to build a very large pile of turtles.
  22. Those people back in biblical Babylon seem pretty good at engineering large buildings. Find their graves and have a corpse-summoning palooza, before getting them to work again. Google Translate makes the eternal curse of the wrath of the Almighty a trifle. 
  23. Summon Jesus. This presumably does not require dark magic. I think he can fly. 
  24. Summon the Devil. Have him open a gate to hell in lake Baikal, and then position yourself on a boat on that lake. The extreme heat of Hell will make the water boil suddenly, and you will find yourself projected towards the moon. 
  25. Bring Rapunzel back from non-existence using occult dark magic and then harness the power of her hair to build a sturdy bridge to the moon. 
  26. Did you know trees literally never stop growing? Genetically modify one for it to grow reeaaaally fast and ta-dah, a bridge! Ideally, Lao Tzu would argue, this would be a giant blade of grass instead of a tree. 
  27. Continue pumping gas into the atmosphere! Convert metals (astronomy definition of “metal”) from the Earth’s core into gasses, and then inject them into the atmosphere. After enough time, the atmosphere will become so wide a bubble around the Earth that the moon will be brought down through constant friction. 
  28. Have a Paperclip Maximizer produce a very large pile of paperclips for you. Then, assemble millions of fellow humans to painstakingly unfold these paperclips and turn them into a large bridge to connect to the moon with. 
  29. Use lasers on Earth to carve a silicon microchip (lunar regolith is composed of 20% silicon) from afar, and then program that chip, again from afar, to run your consciousness on it. (If you are worried about this not being “you” on the moon, then go the ship of Theseus route and gradually turn your brain into a microchip on the moon. :D) 
  30. You know those CEOs and those kindergarteners from the spaghetti experiment that were so good at building towers of spaghetti? Yeah, hire those to be your chief architects and build a spaghetti tower to the moon (Lao Tzu would be proud because spaghetti, at least when boiled in lake Baikal, is flexible). Disclaimer: this plan may require you to take over Italy, which might add some coordination problems to your original problem. 
  31. Blood is thicker than water, is it not? Use blood to pressurize a water cannon to an excessive degree, and then shoot yourself out the other end. The things we  do for puns smh.
  32. Break into an insane asylum and find a lunatic. They’ve already been on the moon.
  33. Get yourself a gigantic army of wolves, and then find a few million ledges for them to stand on. Then, all in sync, have them howl at the moon in such a way that the air will become highly pressurized and will allow you to propulse yourself to it. 
  34. Hear me out here: A GIANT FROG. Build a giant frog and hop to the moon! Kangaroos work alternatively, but because their mating cycles (get it, cause it’s Australia mate?) take more time, breeding them into giants will take a while more.
  35. Harness the hardly believable and incredible power of pseudoscience to use Lamark’s theory of transformism and wait till a giraffe stretches it neck toward the moon enough for its neck to be long enough for you to get to the moon.
  36. Contact the little-known alien city of Zgroobulon, which can be found in the Sea of Tranquility, and dare them to do the “find 50 ways to get to Earth” challenge, then shamelessly steal their best idea and reverse it.
  37. What is the largest champagne bottle ever made? If your capsule were to take the place of the cork, could you send yourself to the moon as a simple byproduct of humanity doing what it does best? Disclaimer: this may involve taking over France, which might be a great deal more difficult than taking over Italy because contrary to popular knowledge, the guillotines in their museums have not yet rusted and are perfectly functional. 
  38. You know how Apollo left a few mirrors on the moon for our lasers to bounce off of? Well send much more powerful lasers now in order for the moon to start spinning on itself faster. If you spin it for long enough, it will flatten out into a very thin disk, thin enough that it will touch Earth and all you have to do is walk onto it! As a bonus, you can even use your lasers from the microchip idea to program a song onto the Moon and turn it into the largest record there every was!
  39. Convince all established academics in the world that we got it all wrong; the moon isn’t orbiting Earth; Earth is orbiting the moon! Therefore, one can argue, we are the moon and it is the planet. Welcome to the moon! 
  40. You know how DNA is very thin and if you stretched all the DNA out in your body it would be longer than the 150,000 round trips to the moon? Yeah, just program your consciousness onto some DNA, and then send that to the moon with a few bacteria to develop life there; with 150,000 round trips, you’ll have some backup, too. Wait until the extremophiles you sent there develop into an intelligent civilisation: then, when the scientists of this lunar civilisation are peering into their genetic code to see what it looks like, have them discover the inscribed words “never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down” and then activate the procedure which reprograms all their brains into your consciousness, based on the information you programmed. Now you have an entire civilisation of hive-minded lunar inhabitants at your disposal, too! 
  41. Set off a bout of Kessler syndrome in just the right way for a shower of debris to hit lake Baikal and comically hurl you toward the moon as a consequence. 
  42. Click the button on your Infinite Improbability Drive until it gives you space whales able to fly to the moon using roller skates.
  43. Set up vast testing facilities to empirically test every oil lamp in Iraq in order to find a lamp with a genie inside. Ask that genie to transport you to the moon. Disclaimer: This may involve invading Iraq, but there’s precedent for that so you’ll probably be fine.
  44. Find an obscure but legit voodoo sorcerer and have him build a voodoo doll of you. Then slingshot that voodoo doll to the moon and call it a day!
  45. If that doesn’t work, further question the voodoo sorcerer until he tells you, with a flare of melodramatic lightning, where you are going to die. Then destroy that place and repeat, until you get “the moon” for your death place. To die there, you have to get there first, right? Exploit the formidable power of the Charlie Munger quote: “all I want to know is where I’m going to die, so that I can avoid it forever.” 
  46. Using a kugelblitz black hole (or a neutron star bullet) to get attracted by the immediate gravitational pull of it, and then have some magnets or something push the black hole toward the moon. Make sure to ignore the tremendous amount of energy the black hole is giving off, and also ignore the fact that its pulling at your organs in different ways and also that you are experiencing time slower than those around you and the fact that your organs are each experiencing a different time zone, so to speak. 
  47. Use occult dark magic to possess the body of a tardigrade, and then slingshot it to the moon. 
  48. Use a graviton machine to twist the very fabric of spacetime in a way that makes you “slide” toward the moon for no other reason than the very geometry of the universe!
  49. Use rocket engines or something to speed up Earth’s rotation to insane levels, and then just stop the thing at once. Ignore the obscenely large winds and tsunamis that put Interstellar to shame and then climb the giant mountain chain that will at this point spontaneously and temporarily appear on the equator as Earth’s innards are gutlessly expunged toward the outside. The mountains, if you’ve spinned Earth fast enough, will be tall enough to reach the moon. Centrifugal force rocks!
  50. Become a monk that has such mental discipline and rigor that they are able to levitate. Then, get enough additional discipline and rigor to push yourself all the way to the moon. You’ll get insane spiritual enlightenment as a bonus, enough to put idea 6 to shame.
  51. I’m sure they have interesting objects you can exploit in Area 51. 
  52. Organize humans around you and build the Apollo project. Duh. Also smile at yourself because it’s people who shared 99.99% of your DNA, so basically you let’s be honest here, that got the moon for real

Here's a doc, since I haven't figured out how to do spoilers.

(That didn't work -- to use that formatting, make sure you're in the markdown editor).

Started at 22:46:30

Finished at 23:24:25

 1. Chemical combustion rocketship

2. Solar sail rocketship

3. Interplanetary tether

4. Slingshot / Materials based launcher

5. Catapult / Tension based launcher

6. Cannon / Propulsion based launcher

7. Very large balloon (get to space, then release material)

8. A gun with A LOT of bullets (there is a problem with launch mass though)

9. Acoustic launcher (Similar to "Acoustic levitator" ideas)

10. Untethered tower built up from surface (the "Minecraft" technique)

11. Runway + plane + no air resistance in space

12. Jumping / Single self-contained force at surface@13. Stored tension (think of a two-state button)

14. Trebuchet / Counterweight based launcher

15. Small rocket + gravitational assist from Earth

16. Railgun / Magnetic based launcher

17. One of those things that spins rafts in lakes on its side spinning at 10,000% speed

18. VERY sturdy container and a lot of bombs

19. Harnessing hurricane/tornado energy using pulleys and tethers

20. A very high pulley, a light shuttle, and a heavy weight very high up

21. A very high pulley, a light shuttle, and a tether tied to a very fast car

22. A very high pulley, a light shuttle, and a motor that turns very fast

23. The galaxy's largest teeter-totter and a heavy weight

24. A lot of precisely arranged repelling magnets packed very closely together and an astronaut with no pacemaker

25. A mechanism that can transfer energy from a flyweight to a pole and a mechanism that can translate rotational energy into upward movement

26. A bullet train pointed up

27. "The sore arm", a terribly high ladder (made more feasible as a train rail that extends upwards all the way) (say goodbye to trees)

28. A steep decline, a high incline, 4 sets of frictionless bearings, and a skateboard

29. A **very** large flashlight

30. Every person in the world working together (thanks to levers or something equivalent in moving force a distance to coordinate)

31. A mountain, a trampoline at the Earth's core, an aerodynamic shuttle in a wingsuit that can jump straight down towards the trampoline

32. Bird harnessing machine (ditch them VERY QUICKLY as ballast once you get high enough up to push yourself into space)

33. Someone throwing a baseball straight down VERY fast

34. Portals

35. Divine intervention

36. A counterweight system set up with the help of a group already on the moon

37. A rope tied to the moon's surface that you can grab onto

38. The bouncy ball formally known as the Eastern Hemisphere

39. A very strong laser pointed down (can be equivalent to a hot air balloon if it's a good enough laser, but different in that the material is not part of the craft)

40. Everyone in the world making a technically/physically/culturally improbable human pyramid

41. Someone throwing a shuttle straight up VERY fast (See 33)

42. A very large magnet on the room and some iron spacesuits

43. Some cheatcodes for the simulation that the universe is in for the purposes of this list item

44. Some large rockets on the other side of the Earth (it gets our object closer to them moon, it just moves the other things)

45. A harpoon gun on the moon and a VERY good aim

46. Matter scanner, radio, and matter replicator (the "hard scifi teleporter" method)

47. A very strong wind (you might need one of those nice bladeless fans)

48. A very strong wave and a sailboat (we're going for escape velocity here)

49. A racecar that can go very fast and a road that happens to be aligned with the moon

50. A balloon under pressure with the soon-to-be-open end pointed straight up in a line that intersects our shuttle and the moon

51. Something with gyroscopes (This is #51, I'm allowed a joke)

Note: For the purposes of this challenge, I largely assumed we are capable of perfect coordination. That is, reaching space = reaching the moon. I understand this is not feasible, but the prompt said "Bird with spacesuit" is fine, so I think I'm in the clear here.

Your initial spoiler didn't work, so I edited it to insert the spoiler protection. 

Kudos on your submission! 

2Ben Pace3y
I edited it at the same time to insert the spoiler protection ;)


  1. Rail gun
  2. Write a letter to NASA
  3. Write a letter to China
  4. Write a letter to Russia
  5. Write a letter to SpaceX
  6. Ask [Redacted 1] to ask Elon Musk
  7. Ask [Redacted 2] to ask Elon Musk
  8. Ask [Redacted 2] to get me invited to a party where Elon Musk will be so I can ask them
  9. Travel back in time and kidnap Wener Von Braun to recruit him to my space program instead
  10. Send item back in time and hide it in Apollo 11 landing module
  11. Start my own rocketry company
  12. Does EU have a space program? Write to them.
  13. Get really good at Kerbal Space Program until I can start my own rocketry company
  14. Give money to KSP devs and see if they can make a real rocketry company
  15. Cannon (won't work because escape velocity)
  16. Cannot on ISS.
  17. Invent teleportation myself
  18. Fund invention of teleportation
  19. Develop psychic powers, steal secret of teleportation from someone who already knows.
  20. Ask for ideas on twitter
  21. Ask for ideas on FB
  22. Ask for ideas on LW
  23. Ask for ideas on my blog
  24. Ask [Redacted 3] in particular, he seems good at interacting with the physical world.
  25. Recruit top rocketry dude at Space X to my own program
  26. Have child, raise to be rocket scientist, polgar style.
  27. Kick it really hard
  28. Bring enough moon rocks down to Earth to make it count as "The Moon", walk to it and place item
  29. blow up moon, let dust settle on Earth, making it "the Moon", place anywhere
  30. Drone but better
  31. Hang around by NASA campus and make small talk till I find someone who can help.
  32. Find the guy who wrote the moon jujitsu class poem, maybe he has ideas.
  33. Portal gun
  34. Convince DARPA/IARPA to fund teleportation to the moon
  35. Endow a prize to whoever gets item to the moon, see what turns up.
  36. Convince someone else to endow said prize.
  37. Get 3D printer on moon, send information to spin up my item.
  38. Invent nanobots, send to moon on a spaceship, have them assemble item.
  39. Invent flying nanobots, let them get to the moon themselves, assemble item.
  40. Flying nanobots carry item to moon.
  41. Get EM to build space elevator, launch from top
  42. Get NASA to build space elevator...
  43. Get China to build space elevator...
  44. Get EU to build space elevator...
  45. Get Russia to build space elevator...
  46. Start moon tourism company, include item as payload
  47. Start prison colony on moon, send item up as payload
  48. Plant idea to place item on moon in EM's head, Inception style.
  49. Convince China US is about to do it, see if they beat us to it
  50. Will that cannon from Moon is a Harsh Mistress work in reverse? Seems like it could, especially if it was a guided missile instead of a rock.


Congrats on almost completing your first Babble challenge! Though as the gamemaster, I am obliged to point out that combinatorial variations (like #41-46, or #2-5) don't count, so you still have a few to go to reach 50. 

I reject your reality and substitute my own. More constructively, I am confused as to the model behind rules. There are two main confusions: * Rejecting variants requires pruning, and this is purely a babble challenge, so why don't variants count? I think coaxing variants out is pretty integral to getting my brain in a babble mode. * Why do some things that clearly won't work (bird in a space suit) count while others (watching Tiger King) don't?
Combinatorial variations don't count because they're too easy. They're an algorithm for writing a program to complete any babble challenge for you, but without actually generating much creativity. Put another way, I can come up with one babble, and then move into a different mode, and start generating combinatorial substitutions. (Perhaps it's not different, but just strictly easier.) This feels less like "striking at the enemy" to me. So, if you need do some combinatorial variations to "keep the wheels spinning": consider batching many combinatorial variations into one entry, or just going to 60 or 70 in total to compensate for the variations. You don't need to literally prevent yourself from writing them down.  Boring answer: I have an intuition about what helps me push the boundaries of my creativity, and also some explicit models about how this works. I try to make the rules of the challenge to track that intuition, even though I haven't been able to make it fully legible yet.  When I write "bird in a space suit" my brain is at least trying to gesture in the direction of the problem. You could also imagine works of fiction where this is a way of getting to the moon. (And I think that accomplished fiction authors likely have high levels of creativity, in a way where gradient descenting a bit towards what they're doing seems good.) When I write "watch Tiger King", however, it doesn't feel like I'm even trying to do the challenge. 

1. Gyro arm in the Grand Canyon

2. Chemical Rockets

3. Laser-heated steam rockets

4. Steam catapult like in aircraft carriers

5. Sonic resonance saucer

6. Ground laser targeting steam chamber on a rocket

7. Zoggin’ ‘uge cannon

8. Make a super fast airplane that skips off the upper atmosphere on purpose

9. Plasma rocket

10. Fusion rocket

11. Rocket raft on the back of a tsunami

12. Tsunami crash redirection, launching with water pressure

13. Control system redirects normal waves, launching with water pressure

14. Use tsunami redirection to compress air, launching with air pressure

15. Control system redirects normal waves to compress air, launching with air pressure

16. Tornado drives a blower, launching with air pressure

17. Huge vortex engine to create a stable atmospheric column for simpler launch

18. Vortex engine drives a blower, launching with air pressure

19. Ride (or surf) the vortex engine upwards

20. Ride (or surf) a natural tornado upwards

21. Rube Goldberg launch

The Rube Goldberg launch became a style of idea generation that produced a crapton of ideas in short order. The basic idea is that NASA launches use stages, where they get off the ground with one chemical fuel tank, drop that one and then escape the atmosphere with secondary fuel tanks. I reasoned that some of the ideas I had could work as a stage rather than as the whole shebang, like the atmospheric skipping one. I wrote about 45 of these before deciding writing it all out was stupid and hard to read, so here are the components of the Rube Goldberg Launch:

Launch Set[13]: steam catapult, gyro arm, zoggin' ‘uge cannon, chem rocket, plasma rocket, fusion rocket, laser-steam, ground laser, sonic resonance, wave pressure (water), wave pressure (air), vortex blower, vortex surf

Staging Set[8]: chem rocket, plasma rocket, fusion rocket, laser-steam, ground laser, sonic resonance, big glider, atmospheric balloon

Escape Set[6]: chem rocket, plasma rocket, fusion rocket, laser-steam, ground laser, atmospheric skipping

Combining these gives 13x8x6=624 ideas, which puts me over the hump.

Lots of good stuff (I though so #17 was quite neat). 

Though you lose a point for the combinatorial hack. Let's see if you can do all 50 next time!

Naturally, I helped GPT3 make a submission. Bold text are my prompts. I probably did ~10 restarts and some parameter adjustments to generate these outputs. I didn't edit any of the GPT3 outputs (but occasionally removed some that weren't very moon focused...).

This is an exercise in creativity. 
Come up with 50 ways of sending something to the moon. In less than 1 hour. 
I don’t care how stupid they are. My own list included “Slingshot”, “Massive trampoline” and “Bird with spacesuit”. 
What matters is that you actually hit 50. I want you to have the experience of thinking that you’re out of ideas, but nonetheless deciding to push yourself, and finding your best idea thus far. 
This regularly happens to me when I do this exercise. I’ll feel stuck. I’ll feel like giving up. But I force myself to say three more stupid things… “mega tall tree”, “super boomerang”, “railgun” ... and, all of sudden, I have a fourth idea that’s actually not that shabby. 


Submission 1: 

1. Sending a spaceship with your item. 
2. Jumping really high and throwing the item. 
3. Beaming information with a laser. 
4. Making earth bigger so the moon comes close enough to just place the item on it. 
5. Shouting a really loud sound that reaches the moon. 
6. Shouting a really loud sound that reaches the moon and makes it vibrate and fall into the ocean. 
7. Shouting a really loud sound that reaches the sun and makes it explode, which then creates an interstellar cloud of gas that moves towards earth, catches on fire, and burns up in the atmosphere, forming a rainbow that spells out your name. 
8. Skipping rope until the rope is long enough to reach the moon. 
9. Taking a boat on a very big lake that lasts for one month, one mile wide and 5000 miles long, until it reaches the land on the other side of the world where you can see the moon from that perspective. 
10. Bouncing a tennis ball to hit it with a baseball bat to hit it with a table tennis paddle to bounce it with an elbow to fling it up in the air with your hands to throw it with your mouth to grab it with your hand so you can stick it on the moon with a magnet. 
11. Calling all of your friends to have them take turns taking one grain of sand at a time out of an hourglass until they have taken them all out, causing all of them together to fill up an hourglass and when you hold it up towards the moon, its reflection shines into space like a spotlight (it is very bright). 
12. Shooting something out of a cannon that flies into space in such a way that when it comes close enough to hit something, it causes an explosion (because of air being in space) which causes another explosion which causes another explosion which causes another explosion… until finally you see something flying from earth into space that looks like fireworks coming from earth into space so you decide to name this thing “the fireworks show” and as you throw this into space, you say “Go watch this show in front of our friend moon!” 
13. Telling the moon that you appreciate all of the times when it has been there for you, the times when you have looked at it and thought about it and appreciated that it is there, even in blackness, even in clouds, even during rain, even during a nuclear winter. 
14. Building a rocket with all of your friends and then taking a picture of yourself with all of your friends while looking up to the moon as you are sending this rocket into space to make a picture on the surface of the moon that says “thank you” to show that you are thankful for everything that the moon has given to you. 
15. Taking a walk outside at night where there is no moon because there are clouds covering it up and as you’re walking outside at night, saying that if there’s no moon, then I’m going to build my own. 
16. Taking a walk outside at night where there is no moon because there are clouds covering it up and as you’re walking outside at night looking up into space where there IS a moon (because its not covered by clouds)and pointing to the moon saying “Hey look! There’s a moon up in space right now!” 
17. Taking a picture of the moon and then taking the picture to photoshop and removing the moon from the picture and then showing the moon the picture of the moon with no moon in it so that when it sees itself in this picture, it will realize that its gone and then when it realizes that its gone, it will think to itself “hey I’m missing” and then you can tell it “I know! I took you out!” 
18. Taking a walk outside at night where there is no moon because there are clouds covering it up and as you’re walking outside at night, saying that if there’s no moon, then I’m going to build my own. 

Okay, focus, back to generating ideas for sending items to the moon. 

19. Telling the moon that you have a friend on earth who really likes looking at the moon, so he’s going to send something to you. 19a. Telling the moon that you have a friend on earth who really dislikes looking at the moon, so he’s going to send something to you. 
20. Throwing a bird in the air and launching it into space with a rocket strapped to its back and when it gets close enough to the moon it will explode, creating a beautiful fireworks display. 
21. Asking for scientists from all over the world to come together and build a giant mirror that reflects so much light onto the surface of the moon that it melts all of the ice on its surface making it look like lava
22. Building a bunch of snowmen on the surface of the moon and when you are done, saying “thank you for the good times moon I’m leaving now.” 
23. Taking a really long time to make an epic movie about humankind’s journey throughout history, starting in the beginning of time and working your way up to the present day, while fighting aliens and saving earth and defeating superpowers from within and all of the good stuff. 
24. Teaching the moon how to play a song that you used to hear as a child, on a piano, that you loved but then forgot. 
25. Taking a bunch of paper airplanes and throwing them into space at different angles and with different speeds and with different types of paper airplanes to see which ones fly the best into space. 
26. Letting the moon know that he’s being replaced by a robot moon with more features that can do everything better. He’s pretty upset about it but eventually becomes okay with it. 
27. Telling the moon that you are going to help it look more interesting like by putting a mustache on it or a mustache on a picture of the moon or putting a hat on the picture of the moon or putting a hat on the moon itself or putting a mustache on the face of the scientist who is going to build a giant mirror that reflects so much light onto the surface of the moon that it melts all of the ice on its surface making it look like lava. 
28. Sending an enormous 3D object into space that self-assembles when it gets near enough to the moon, which then creates an enormous 3D sculpture of what you want it to be, which then remains there as a monument for thousands of years. 

Yes, see, that's what I'm talking about it! Look at 28. You need to write those silly ideas in order to find a great one! That one at least actually brings your item to the moon, like the exercise instructions requested. 

We're just about halfway in generating 50 ideas for sending an item to the moon. Let's keep going. 

29. Build a giant computer with all of the most advanced processors, storage and memory available, that has an internet connection, a phone, a camera… and then just let it run for a long time so that eventually it will be able to think about things. And then it realizes that you are thinking about it, because this giant super computer is using its vast amounts of processing power to think about you, and then it sends you a message on its giant screen saying “Hi”. 
30. Taking the cheese from the moon. 
31. Taking the cheese from the moon. 
32. Take the cheese from the moon and then when you get back to earth, make yourself a grilled cheese sandwich with that cheese! 
33. Building a large trampoline (50 feet wide by 100 feet

(At this point I reached the max prompt length for the API. So I cut out everything from submission 18 onwards, and replaced it with the following prompt in bold. Also, yes, GPT3 ended by itself after submission 50, and added its little vignette about coffee...)

(I'm leaving out some prompts in the middle, as they were less moon focused. We'll start again from the 34th prompt, at which point I started to come up with some ideas that actually might get an item to the moon, shipping it all those 239000 miles.) 

34. Place an item where the moon can see it. 
35. Take a picture of yourself in front of the moon and then print it out really big and ship it to space. 
36. Shipping an empty box with your item in it, but without any packaging material. 37. Shipping a ridiculously huge package that takes up tons of space on two planes to get to the moon (with your item inside). 
38. Building a giant magnet and sticking it to the side of the moon so when your item comes close enough, it will be pulled into space. 
39. Pushing your item with a bulldozer all the way into space (wind resistance is an issue). 
40. Using a helicopter to drop your item onto the surface of the moon. 
41. Sticking it to the moon with a giant magnet. 
42. Using a giant crane to pick your item up and put in on the moon. 
43. Another giant crane but bigger, wider, longer, with more power (shipment is still an issue). 
44. Taking a parachute with your item attached to it and jumping out of an airplane so that you float towards the moon when you open the parachute on the way down, because you cannot fly. 
45. You spin around on a spot real fast until you build up enough momentum so that you can fly. You fly towards the moon and you chuck your item out in front of you at high speed so that it builds up speed and goes into space. 
46. You spin around on a spot real fast until you build up enough momentum so that you can fly. You fly to the moon and chuck your item at a very fast speed. It comes close enough to the moon so that it picks up speed and slams into the surface of the moon. 
47. Shipping something with a lot of hair (cat fur, hairy animals [such as horses]). The moon becomes covered with this hair and looks like a hairy moon. 
48. Shipping something with feathers (birds). The moon becomes covered with feathers and looks like a feathery moon. 
49. Shipping a log. The log is made into furniture and the furniture is put on the moon. 
50. Shipping something that flies really well (butterfly, paper plane, paper plane with parachute). The item goes into space and lands on the moon. 


I can do the same exercise with any topic I can think of. 

This one is humor related: 

I start by picking an off-beat word. Like “Coffee: 50 Ways to Make it Better” 

And I jot down 50 examples of “ways to make coffee better”, silly or otherwise. 

(For example, I came up with things like “With less caffeine” or “as a smoothie”, “with more cream”, “with more sugar”, “with chocolate syrup”, “with ice cubes”, “as a piece of food like pie or cake” and so on.)

Wow, those are some pretty brilliant coffee ideas! Just imagine: an iced "less caffeine" mocha!  Surgary coffee smoothies! Coffee cake! I can't believe I've never tried any of these before!

(But seriously though, thanks for having GPT do the excercise. I always like reading GPT stuff)

  1. Pay SpaceX to send it for me.

  2. Purchase the space shuttle and relaunch it, crash land on moon.

  3. Pray to God to teleport the object to the moon.

  4. Find a wormhole to moon somewhere on Earth.

  5. Turn off the Large Hadron Collider when the particle is pointed on an intercept course for the moon.

  6. Steal rocket from SpaceX and use it.

  7. Get a really fast jet to go very fast and high into the air then fire a very fast bullet at our highest point towards the moon.

  8. Very large cannon.

  9. Cut a hole through the Earth, drop object through, slowly accelerate it with periodic explosions as it falls and then rises, object exits other side of hole at velocity required to reach moon.

  10. Pay a rocket scientist and some engineers to design and build me a rocket.

  11. Use very strong genetic selection pressure on animals with fitness being maximum throw speed; after many generations have animal with best throw launch ball at moon.

  12. Ask on Quora, "How do I cheaply send an object to the moon" and follow the highest rated response.

  13. Dropping a very large rock from a very tall height on a very long seesaw.

  14. Very strong nuclear explosion with object placed on top.

  15. Use cryonics to travel to the future and use cheap space travel there to get to the moon.

  16. Use Predict-O-Matic to determine what objects on Earth will go to the moon soon and select one of them.

  17. Become president of USA or another moon landing-capable country and then have space agency send object to moon.

  18. Very strong spring.

  19. Very sturdy and bendy tree branch.

  20. Build a very large tower then use any of the applicable previous tricks from the top (i.e. fire Very Large Cannon from top of the tower).

  21. Very strong chemical explosion with object placed on top.

  22. Really fast merry-go-round/centrifuge.

  23. Really hot fire sends hot air balloon soaring.

  24. Steal a good answer from somebody else in this thread.

  25. Compress water.

  26. Shine laser at moon; photons are objects.

  27. Create myth that something important is on moon and this particular object needs to go to moon to complete important ritual; somebody else will do it.

  28. Buy many model rockets, construct them in a larger rocket in different stages, fire.

  29. Make perfectly elastic+1 object and let it bounce infinitely to moon.

  30. Fast train.

  31. Long snake.

  32. Make Earth spin faster, velocity to reach moon easier to reach.

  33. Move Earth to the moon with massive Earth Engines.

  34. Wait for Aliens to come to Earth, steal Alien ship, reach moon.

  35. Make a very strong commitment to send an object to the moon when it's easy, force this commitment on my children and convince them to force the same commitment on their children, eventually space travel will be easy enough for one generation to reach the moon with the object easily.

  36. Stand on top of very large chair.

  37. Air gun with a lot of air.

  38. Multi-stage cannon.

  39. Get Netflix to sponsor a TV mini-series taking place on the moon, use budget to get to the moon.

  40. Marry an astronaut, have her take the object to the moon.

  41. Become an astronaut myself and take the object to the moon.

  42. Develop Psychic powers and launch object to the moon.

  43. Become president of a country not capable of a moon landing, improve their economy and technology, then have improved space program send object to moon.

  44. Large electrical explosion with object on top.

  45. Abuse the strong nuclear force to push an object with sufficient velocity to reach the moon.

  46. Claim that the many worlds interpretation means that the object is already on the moon in at least one worldine.

  47. Make a really fast jet and have it continually gain speed until it can reach the moon.

  48. Make a stick long enough to reach earth orbit then send an object at low impulse to the moon.

  49. Give up and claim that I don't even want to send that object to the moon at all.

  50. Just make some money and create a conventional rocket and launch it at the moon.

  launch a impulse drive spaceship

  1. Shoot a cannon
  2. Launch a mountain into orbit making a moon to which landing is easier
  3. Launch a solar sail that widens its orbit over decades
  4. Make a nuclear explosion stage rocket, like an expendable orion drived
  5. Orion drive
  6. Make a solid mountain out of exotic materials
  7. Use a counterweight to hold up a rope
  8. Split earth into two bodies one of which is the moon of the other
  9. Nuke the moon to stop its orbit and have it land on earth
  10. Install solar panels and ion drive on moon breaking its orbit to bring it down slowly
  11. Dig a hole through earth to have a big acceleration period for a launch vechicle
  12. Wait for asteroid to swing by earth and collide with it to gain its momentum
  13. Use a laser to build a small computer on moon which can receive radio. Keep controlling to make it build itself faster until yiou have a VR telepresence on the moon.
  14. Wait until the sun burns out and use the radiation pressure to raide it up
  15. Slingshot
  16. Build a quantum fluctation detector and freeze yourself waiting for yourself to fluctuate onto the moon
  17. Separate earth into two bodies in order to have big free-fall distancde to use for propulsion
  18. build a vacuum tube high on the athmosphere to have momentum build up to launch into moon (by exiting the tube)
  19. Build a vacum tube high in order to stuff it with more momentum and materials to eventually extednd the ring to be as big as moons orbit
  20. Reclassify earth as a moon instead of a planet
  21. Evolve into a light and resistant enough organism that you can jump to the moon
  22. Speed up rotation of earth high enough that everything that gets unbolted centrifuges out
  23. Satellite version of 23, launch a satellite that uses ion drive to spin up and then suuddenly releases a smaller launch vechicle
  24. Blow up earth to ride the explosion wave
  25. Use a volcano to form a canon (mini version of 25)
  26. Buy a ticket to moon from the earths biggest superpower (let somebody else figure it out)
  27. Ask a friend (more extreme version of 27)
  28. Build earth into a more follower and follower ball until it encompasses moon orbit (more extreme version of 20)
  29. Promise to the universe that you will build a time machine if you get transported to the moon
  30. Make a very elastic jojo-string and start to swing attached to earth to eventually stretch to moon lengths
  31. Shed body weight to have a lighter cannon ball (brain weigh less than head weighs lessd than torso)
  32. Become an upload and hack equipment already on moon
  33. Discover dark matter forces and make use them to make a new kind of propulsion system
  34. Make lots of satellites to collect solar energy which one uses to laser to a disk into the moon
  35. Contracting and expanding sail to differentially interact with solar wind to make ones orbit larger and larger
  36. Wait until galaxy merger to have moon in an easier orbit in the hopes that stars collide.
  37. Pass law for moons surface to encompass parts of earth and then walk there
  38. Buy the moon and therefore have occupancy
  39. Lauch babies at moon to colonise it and make it easier for you to arrive
  40. Invent time machine in order to go back to the separation of moon and earth and walk into moon there and wait
  41. Study gravity and make gravitational waves that decay the orbit of the moon
  42. Nuke the moon in order for fragment of it to land on earth and step on it
  43. Use laser to spin the moon so it starts to fragments and maybe hurls some of it into earth
  44. use lasers to slam asteroids into moon and have it land
  45. Use computer droids to go assemble spacdedust to build a spaceship or bring down moon
  46. Launch some stuff into moon that it start interacting with solar wind more and drops down or collides with earth
  47. Make a magnetic device that pulls the moon to earth or you to moon via magnets
  48. Use magnetic fields to gather solar wind into the earth-moon system to make a sparse athmosphere in which you can swim/fly
  49. Invent a gas with which you increase the radius of earths athmosphere enough to be able to fly to moon
  50. Balloon the earth so it doesn't lose gas to be able to grow earth radius and make the 50 strategy easier and retain a life friendly layer

I was positively surprised that I managed to find 50 ways, and for that discovery I'm grateful and looking forward to the next exercises.

Of course most of my answers are rubbish, but I did find some interesting ideas near the end. I find an idea can be interesting even if it is highly unpractical or would actually be only a part of the solution at most (see answer 47). Conversely, an idea can give the full steps toward the solution and be completely useless because it's just a password (see answer 28).

1) rocket

2) moon elevator (spring-shaped)

3) giant spring

4) remotely controlled 3d printer (teleportation)

5) crash moon on earth (by slowing it down)

6) plane

7) breed space whales

8) mini-wormholes

9) alternate universe where the Earth is the moon and vice-versa

10) go back in time to when moon was ripped from the Earth

11) go back in time to put something in Apollo

12) miniaturize the Moon and put in on Earth

13) antigravity

14) spaceship

15) meet aliens then ask them to do it for us

16) engineer super-geniuses who find the best way to do it

17) blow up the moon via a laser then send something on a fragment that lands on Earth

18) grow trees that go to the moon

19) master out-of-body experiences to go to the moon

20) do it in dream/in a simulation

21) rename my garden 'the Moon' then send something to it

22) mail it

23) leave it on Earth ; eventually, in 4 billion years, the sun will have absorbed both the thing and the Moon and hopefully some parts of both will mix

24) garden hose throwing water to rise

25) wind and light sails

26) cannon

27) orbital stations and a little push

28) telekinesis

29) move through higher dimension

30) use cosmic planet alignment to cancel gravity

31) air balloon then air propulsion

32) already be on the Moon

33) send it by hand then fail

34) if it's information, send it as waves

35) become immortal and wait until someone else does it

36) produce air until the atmosphere gets close enough to the moon to go by aircraft

37) leave it, there's an infinitesimal chance it gets on the moon by itself

38) blowdart

39) ask Lego builders to build a mountain that goes to the moon

40) make tunnel through Earth to fling it to the Moon

41) send it in thought, maybe it's enough

42) create a billion dollar prize for whoever does it first

43) use a Tesla car, fling around the sun

44) naturally select birds that can live in deep space

45) consecrate a temple to the moon and burn the thing to send as offering

46) elevator fixed in moon rather than Earth

47) super tornadoes to get outside atmosphere and get some propulsion

48) magnetohydrodynamics

49) plane that meets a rocket halfway

50) grow moon to greatly increase its gravity

I'm really glad you had that experience, I hoped the exercise would allow others to have it!


  1. rocket
  2. slingshot
  3. hulk throw
  4. throw a bunch of money on a bounty to get something there
  5. lazer etch it into the surface
  6. embed it in/on the next-planned rover/astronaut to go there
  7. bring the moon to the earth
  8. steal moon rocks from Space Johnson and bring them to the object
  9. railgun
  10. the nuclear-manhole-cover method
  11. make a wish foundation
  12. giant wave-spike maker
  13. thoughts and prayers
  14. very many dynamites
  15. send replicator nanobots up there to assemble it
  16. huge centrifugal force on a rope
  17. trebuchet (scaled way up)
  18. go into cryo-sleep (dead cold brain) until The Future makes it easier
  19. scream at the object Very Loudly
  20. harold and the purple crayon a UFO around it
  21. gift it to the Moon Aliens
  22. [have-already-always-been-using] time-travel to make it come from the moon
  23. all combinations of the above; ( slingshot into a rocket which then railguns it to the moon ...
  24. (first consume earths atmosphere to decrease air resistance, change the shape of the earth such that at least one end it stretches up to the moon)
  25. repeatedly shoot it with increasingly powerful sniper rifles such that it increases both vertical and horizontal velocity
  26. take a long walk
  27. grow a supertall tree
  28. lava-flow-tunnel-printer-bot-army (using lava as both the structure and as power source (temp diffs))
  29. three giant hot air balloons with elastic-slingshot-like-ribbons connected to the ground
  30. capture a hurricane and turbine-gearbox/tree (increasing-speed-decreasing-torque) it down to a single pipe that shoots things to the moon (sry idk what I mean by this)
  31. very large card-tower made of business cards (an infinite resource)
  32. use the power of friendship to punch it to the moon
  33. hulk smash everything else that exists
  34. use a supervolcano and the best luck
  35. accidentally teleport it there via Quantum Magick
  36. rewrite history books to make its being there into Common Knowledge
  37. tie a long rope to it and drag it up
  38. pizza delivery service
  39. make something with really long legs
  40. essentially the wave-flow-pool idea but with a graph of solid/structural components/legs/edges that propogate the force
  41. genie wish (+ the genie wish that it would have net positive effects through history)
  42. <all the faking/redefining it is the moon ideas>
  43. <all the bringing fake/redefined moons to it ideas>
  44. <all the future magitech>
  45. chain of double-sided helicopters/fans/drones (pushing atmosphere up towards the moon)
  46. bubble that contains/is-inflated-by a large chunk of the earth's mass
  47. consume 32 cups of coffee, then Telekenesis it
  48. run a paperclip-maximizer for the object or the moon
  49. create religion around making pilgrimages to the moon with the object
  50. destroy the fabric of spacetime or whatever fundamental-distance-substrate between the moon and the object ||

Can't help but think I missed a lot of obvious-in-retrospect and mostly-realistic ways to get something there.


comments/notes after reading others' answers:

  • Project Orion! That's a big one I missed
  • There's a lot of repetition of ideas between people, even in the creative [not-first-order-of-obviousness] answers
  • It becomes more challenging and the ideas become more interesting if [when you notice a class-of-idea] you count it as a single idea.

The word is 'spoiler' not 'spoilers' :) (Fixed it for you.)

There's a lot of repetition of ideas between people, even in the creative [not-first-order-of-obviousness] answers

Agreed! For example, things like: 

3D printer on moon; and bring moon to earth were "surprisingly" common. 

It becomes more challenging and the ideas become more interesting if [when you notice a class-of-idea] you count it as a single idea.

Totally. You can munchkin the exercise pretty hard if you choose super fine-grained routes and systematically get all variations. 
I think you just need to remain aligned, internally, with what y

... (read more)

Hi everyone! First of all, thanks for the training opportunity! I did eventually come up with 50 ideas, but I took longer than an hour. I expect almost all of them to be very very very unpractical (but that's apparently not an issue); some of them are more or less deliberately absurd (in the vein of "technically, it's not excluded by the rules..."). I do want to ask around: I personally would be in favor of a "culture of practice" here. What do you think?

  1. Are you actually on board with "building a culture of practice"?
  2. If at all, how often should there be such practices? Daily? Weekly? Biweekly? Monthly?
  3. What, if existing, would you prefer to practice? I kept wondering how such a "culture of practice" could look like, and I came up with practicing (1) Fermi estimates and (2) bets. Perhaps something akin to (3) creating quizzes might also be interesting. Also I remember (4) induction games in the style of "2-4-6". More work, but possibly fun, might be (5) tasks akin to the "shut up and do the impossible" Eliezer Yudkowsky pulled at the publication of HPMOR. I hadn't the honor of seeing that one live, so I don't actually know if it was fun for everyone, but it did seem like it got massive responses... (my list of ideas is not exhaustive)
  4. I also remember that there were threads for study partners. The Hammertime sequence might also be relevant. I'm not sure if I'm under the impression that those articles are very frequented, but I also didn't look yet for that specific information (I will hopefully until tomorrow). I did start with Bug Hunt some time ago, though. If(f?) these threads turn out to be not very frequented, that may or may not be a problem for building a culture of practice, but then it might be reasonable to figure out reasons for why they lack visitors/participants.     My ideas were:
1. Fly by rocket
2. Build a giant space elevator
3. Build a giant staircase
4. get pulled up in a spacesuit by thousands of electric pseudo-birds
5. genetically engineer yourself and others to be able to breathe in universe and build a tower of people who lift each other up
6. take a really gigantic piece of wood that is capable of carrying the entire earth, pull away another planet from its orbit (maybe Jupiter?) as fulcrum and somehow manage to exert a lot of force on the effort arm in order to push earth itself up to the moon.
7. Manipulate the moon‘s orbit to collide it with earth (safely). Send whom- or whatever to the new land resulting from the moon. Problem solved.
8. Build teleporters and install both one at earth and one on the moon.
9. Humans have sent someone (and something) to the moon before. Build a time machine, travel back in time and send whom- or whatever it is you want to send to the moon with those.
10. Build a large enough cannon that can shoot a bullet to the moon.
11. Find large enough planets and a large enough stick to play space billiard with earth and/or moon.
12. Somehow build engines that can turn something to photons and back. Keep one of those engines at earth, get one to the moon. Sending photons to a very specific point at the moon is probably not a big problem. In doubt, try imitating the sun, it can do it.
13. Create a benevolent and allmighty AI and convince it to do it for you
14. Build a network of satellites able to transmit a specific information protocol built for that purpose, send them information to transmit to the moon, where stands a 3D-Printer capable of receiving and processing commands from those satellites. Sending information to satellites isn‘t a problem, we do it already all day for GPS navigation.
15. Build lots and lots and lots of intermediate stations in and out of the atmosphere and in space. Build with them a network of transportation, perhaps even with the moon as just one of multiple destinations. The transportation system knows automatically if to keep the packet or pass it on (and to where), thanks to a special number on each packet (perhaps similar to how computer networks send information in and out of their respective networks)
16. Build a highway to the moon
17. Build a giant robust thread or yarn for people on the moon to pull stuff up from earth and put stuff there to be pulled up
18. Genetically engineer or modify some animal species both capable of flying and surviving both in and out of the atmosphere, teach them to fly to the moon and back and use them as transport animals.
19. Create specific packages capable of being lifted up by light and robust enough for the purpose; and use those as transportation method. Perhaps a orientation method is necessary. Perhaps use satellites to cartograph the known universe into coordinates and to transmit signals to those packages where they are and where their destination is
20. Build a giant pile of plush sheep high enough to reach the moon, take a spacesuit and climb the pile.
21. Take disco disks, modify them to make them robuster and to have a motor (and perhaps a navigation system) and use those as transportation method
22. Invent brain up- and downloading, build loads of robots (or other vessels) on the moon, load up your brain on a server for moontransport and let yourself be downloaded on the moon
23. Build robust robots that are also capable of flying and navigating through space and let them transport stuff to the moon.
24. Discover magic that is capable of sending any object or person to any location with the right words and use that. (Also possible with instead of „sending …“ „sending a copy of...“)
25. Discover magic that is capable of creating portals between any two places. Create one on earth and one on the moon.
26. Convince arriving aliens, perhaps through trading with them, to do the transporting for you. They might have the tech. (Note: you might also threaten or blackmail the aliens into doing that)
27. Discover magic that makes water flow uphill instead of downhill and use it to create a regular waterrise from earth to the moon.
28. Create windstreams even in space and create a tunnel system of windstreams from earth to the moon and possibly to other destinations in space and use that as transportation.
29. Discover angels who will do the transportation for you

-- -- Aaaaaaaand then the 1 hour timer was up (I‘m saying that for the sake of fairness). With another one I eventually came up with the following:

  1. Hire a really good disco thrower to throw the object on the moon
  2. Jump really high
  3. Swing yourself up with a really good liana.
  4. Engineer sequoia-trees that grow sufficiently high and put your object on top of it once it has sufficiently grown but not yet fully.
  5. Engineer a really big grappler either on earth or on the moon.
  6. Build a stuff-on-the-moon-maximizer
  7. Organize a contest who can come up with the best solution to get your stuff on the moon
  8. Convince people with rockets right now to fly you or your stuff to the moon. If that fails, hack them to get control over the rockets
  9. Use a sufficiently good slingshot
  10. Put your stuff on a chair. Then stack this chair on top of another chair. Somehow come up with a method to continue building that stack of chairs up to the moon.
  11. Get people on the moon and get them to build a giant fishing-rod. Put your object on the hook to that fishing-rod
  12. Create a package format that's very flexible outward in the sense that it easily bounces off of anything and then build intermediate stations between earth and moon to bounce off of, so that the packages reach the moon
  13. Create some material so flexible, that something that falls on it bounces off of it and gets higher than the height it fell from (similar to a trampoline) – drop your stuff from very high onto that material
  14. Discover magic that lets you summon any specific object from anywhere (similar to „accio“) and get a person on the moon to summon your object
  15. Discover that the universe is actually a matrix, hack it to modify the source-code of reality to specifying that your object is not at its current location but on the moon.
  16. Somehow convince the people on the moon that they want your object very badly and let them get it themselves
  17. Create flying bicycles that work in space, take a spacesuit, and bring yourself or your stuff to the moon.
  18. Create flying cars that work in space, take a spacesuit, and bring yourself or your stuff to the moon
  19. Smuggle your object into a robot tasked with exploring the moon
  20. Set „object“ to „baseball“ and try striking it on the moon with a basketball bat.
  21. Build a rocket-propelled spacesuit, perhaps with some control-system, and use that to send yourself to the moon

Best regards!

[Edit: tried to improve formatting a bit] [Edit 2: tried to improve formatting some more]

  1. Yes. :) I partially made this post as an experiment to see if others wanted this to. And I think the answer is a resounding "yes". I might announce the next steps soon!
  2. I see multiple parts to this.
  • How often should you practice on your own?
  • How often should you practice together as a group?
  • What's the optimal trade-off between practicing and doing other things (e.g. just doing your job, doing research, "executing" on the skills you previously practiced)?
  • How fast do you hit diminishing returns for practicing various skills?

I think it could be cool if LessWrong... (read more)

Weird, but it took me exactly an hour. 

UPD: I just realized that the task wasn't to get myself to the moon. Works as an exercise, anyway

  1. Jump
  2. Build a high building on the equator and blow it up
  3. Zipline through a vacuum tunnel-like hyperloop
  4. Meditate until you learn to levitate and hibernate simultaneously
  5. Build a human tower
  6. Blow up the moon until it lands
  7. Blow up Earth until the tectonic plate we stand on collides with the moon
  8. Teleport via future technology
  9. Wish yourself to appear there
  10. Placebomanically convince the reality that I actually am there
  11. Pray
  12. Upload myself to Equestria Online and go to the moon with my unicorn magic
  13. Bend a palm tree and launch myself. Don’t forget to put an aquarium on my head
  14. Get a time machine and go into the moment of time when my absolute coordinates are close enough
  15. Achieve immortality and buy a ticket for a commercial flight
  16. Upload myself into a spaceship body
  17. Chinese believed that one can alter reality with music. So, let’s jam in different scales and music systems
  18. Get punched by Captain America
  19. Accio Moon
  20. Wingardium leviosa myself+immortality
  21. Broomstick magic on my bones+immortality
  22. Immortality+Just wait until it fails on me? I’m not big on astronomy
  23. Wait until the sun explodes and my atoms mix with Moon atoms and we’re technically in the same object
  24. Get on hyperloop and blow it up
  25. Get a heart stimulator and fuck so hard like in Crank and just run there
  26. Ask Sonic the Hedgehog to launch me
  27. Spaceship
  28. Actually, in some very improbable realities, I’m just spontaneously appearing there
  29. Become an Erogamer and wait until the plot takes me there
  30. Pay someone to select the wildest stupid and conspiracy stuff and then ask some performer to read it in a most butthurt-provoking way and watch it on my phone until I fly to the moon. Afterward, get a Guinness record for the largest and the hottest anus.
  31. Become a saint and wait for wings to be granted and fly there
  32. Go to a bod mod surgeon an ask to add me skin between my legs and hands and train until I can fly
  33. Use nanobots to enforce my genitourinary system and come so fast that I can fly as a rocket.
  34. Shout down really hard
  35. Fart and ignite (Thunderpants)
  36. Shit fast
  37. Become really small and fast and position myself just right when the next meteor comes down so that I fly to the moon
  38. Become a firebender and fly there
  39. Get a small and VERY powerful perpetuum mobile and an energy-mass converter and launch that mass down
  40. Wake up and realize I’m Goku from the Optimal Wish project and I can shoot ki-beams from any point on my body. Imma rocket, dudes
  41. Adapt Project Orion to fly on a supervolcano and wait/provoke a supervolcano
  42. Become immortal, arrange the moon to be a new Australia(prison-vise) and get convicted for embezzlement
  43. Just commit to get to the moon, trust my future self to get there and for now - expand my capabilities
  44. Get a time machine, go back and replace Neil Armstrong
  45. Make friends with someone who flies there, instigate a planet-moon battle, and cast Ally Swap
  46. Become flat and therefore, loose mass and ask someone to throw me very precisely
  47. Shake lots of cola and mentos, pointing downwards, in a gas tank, while hugging it (Is it the same as “Build a spaceship”?)
  48. Command nanobots to turn Earth into me, then just grab the moon
  49. Find a philosophy that can explain why I’m already there(Probably the most anti-rationalist while not being cartoonish stupid)
  50. Accept open individualism and realize I’m identical to all conscious beings ever and I was and will be there anyway

Loved the lack of filter, #46 was inspired.

I just realized that the task wasn't to get myself to the moon

I think you count as something.

Two years ago I spent 24 hours to write 100 paperclip uses. In Russian here

I can easily relax my prunes and babble a lot - generate names, interpretations, whatever. But I'm quite disappointed that the babble is still of a low quality. What's the point of generating 100 names for my startup if all of them are bad? @jacobjacob Are there any exercises specifically for that?

(Should I reread the sequence?)

This week's exercise was very unconstrained. My hypothesis for when really powerful things happen is when you learn to do constrained babble: "Here are 5 constraints: you must not destroy anything important as a side effect or going to the moon, your item weighs about 1kg, you must get there within 50 years,...". I think there's a skill of holding all the constraints in working memory and letting them guide your babble.

Really love the idea of having more exercise/dojo-posts. I discovered this challenge a little late and then I put it off, but I always meant to come back:

  1. rocket
  2. slingshot
  3. gun
  4. trampoline
  5. giant swing
  6. giant vacuum pipe (I believe to have read about something like that on xkcd to bring water to mars)
  7. throw it with your arms
  8. "something" includes light, so you can send light to the moon using a small laser or a flashlight
  9. build a tower/space elevator
  10. grow a tree
  11. use your magic wand
  12. balloon
  13. make a bridge out of legos
  14. fly up there with your magic wings
  15. get the moon to you -> get the moon out of its current orbit and crash it into the earth (or just get it closer)
    1. throw a big rock to get the moon out of its orbit
    2. use a giant laser to get the moon out of its orbit
    3. pull the moon toward the earth with a giant string
    4. Turn the earth into a giant magnet and pull the moon toward you.
    5. wait for the tides to pull the moon closer to you, then throw.
    6. frown at the moon hard enough to make it complacent then let it smash into earth
  16. throw it through a wormhole
  17. use a solar sail
  18. trick yourself into believing you made it to the moon
  19. rebuild the moon on earth
  20. smash a giant meteor into the earth, so that some debris reaches the moon
  21. pay Nasa/SpaceX to brainstorm for you
  22. use a giant hook
  23. put a small stone on top of an atomic bomb
  24. make an icecream tower
  25. freeze the seas and make a giant jumping hill
  26. water a plant and let it grow until it grows toward the moon
  27. genetically engineer a frog to jump to the moon from mount Everest.
  28. throw many tomatoes hard enough to accelerate yourself toward the moon
  29. build a giant ice bridge toward the moon
  30. frown at the moon hard enough to ma
  31. tell your hamster about it
  32. find the strongest human you can find and let him throw a juggling ball
  33. use a pencil as a catapult
  34. use something with negative mass to launch it to the moon
  35. wait for future generations/superintelligence to find a cheap way to do it for you
  36. build a particle accelerator with the radius of the earth with a small hole to throw particles to the moon
  37. wait for the neutrinos of your nuclear fusion reactor to reach the moon
  38. become the leader of your country and start a space program
  39. turn mount Everest into jelly and throw something on it
  40. build a giant rollercoaster
  41. make a tornado/typhoon/some other big wind thingy
  42. put it into a volcano
  43. use an enormous ventilator
  44. travel back in time when the moon and the earth were still one and put your thing at the right spot so it will be at the moon in the present
  45. use venus or mars as a gravity slingshot
  1. Put it on a rocket and light the fuel.
  2. Use a big catapult.
  3. Give it to a gigantic bird.
  4. Eat it then eat lots of beans and fart while in a handstand.
  5. Put it on the hand of a clock, then speed time up a whole bunch so it's flug really fast off the end.
  6. Hot air balloon.
  7. Blimp.
  8. Hold it and jump really high.
  9. Go around back of the moon and shove the moon into the Earth.
  10. Use an airplane.
  11. Throw it hard with your arm.
  12. Put something really heavy at the end of a slide, put that slide end on the moon, and send the thing down the slide.
  13. Smash an asteroid into the Earth so the part of Earth the object's on breaks off and smashes into the moon.
  14. Use a portal gun and shove the thing through the portal.
  15. Use a shrink ray so the thing's so small that... something something particle physics, waveforms, everywhere all at once.
  16. Locate the parallel dimension where the thing's already on the moon and go there.
  17. Drop something really heavy on the other end of a teeter totter. 
  18. Trebuchet.
  19. Fire it from a big gun.
  20. Gigantic bow and arrow.
  21. Use one of those toys with the yoyo thing on rails until it goes so fast it's flung off the end all the way to the moon.
  22. Eat it, then eat a super poisonous mushroom, then vomit upward.
  23. Send it to exactly the right star then explode the star in such a way that the object is propelled toward the moon.
  24. Put it on a comet that's headed for the moon.
  25. Put it inside of a soccer ball and kick it really hard.
  26. Pick it up off of the ground way harder than you meant to.
  27. Put it in a Chalmers book then make me read the Chalmers book.
  28. Drop it on the best trampoline ever.
  29. Put it on a ferris wheel that spins really super fast.
  30. Locate a time when it's already there, then time travel to that time.
  31. Put it on a barbell and give the barbell to one of those guys who drops barbells really loudly at the gym to show off, but dose him with insecurity juice so he drops the barbell so hard it goes all the way through the center of the Earth and out the other side and to the moon.
  32. Tie it to the foot of a gymnast before she does a super flippy flip so she flings it off of the end of her foot and to the moon.
  33. Give the idea to Atrus or one of the other D'ni Myst characters and ask them to write a detailed description of it being on the moon.
  34. Put it in the straw of my water bottle, seal the lid on, and send the bottle from sea level to the top of a tall mountain really fast so the pressure change launches the object to the moon.
  35. Go find a bit of moon rock and put the object on it.
  36. Make a ladder from the Earth to the moon and climb the ladder while holding the object.
  37. Elevator to the moon.
  38. Escalator to the moon.
  39. Staircase to the moon.
  40. Float it on the surface of a pot of water, then heat the water super hot super quickly so it's exploded off the surface.
  41. Sneak it into an astronaut's luggage.
  42. Give it to a USPS mail carrier with a moon address and a shittton of stamps.
  43. Put it in an elephant's trunk, then give him sneezing powder.
  44. Put it in the ocean, then make an enormous wave.
  45. Shove it in a super duper volcano then block up all the other volcanoes so there's only one way for the pressure to escape.
  46. Put it in a car and tell Yahoo Maps to send it to the bottom of the ocean.
  47. Give it to GPT5 and ask the robot to send it to the moon.
  48. Go back in time to retrieve DaVinci and give him a million dollars to send it to the moon.
  49. Put it on the negative pole of a gigantic magnet and shove the positive pole of another gigantic magnet against it.
  50. Put it on one side of a pancake and flip the pancake way too hard.

Jacob I like this post and I had a good time. Thanks :)

I don't know what it says about me that

"Eat it then eat lots of beans then fart while in a handstand." 

was the fourth thing I thought of. Wtf brain.

Whoa. I also thought of this, though for me it was like thing 24 or something, and I was too embarrassed to actually include it in my post.

I started out with the procedure I describe here, as a warmup. I got to number 11 in the first three minutes, then when I started the second half of the procedure I just kept going. 

This list took me about 30 minutes, so it's probably not the same as "the best 50 ideas I can come up with in an hour". If I were going to do another 30 minutes to make a better list, I think I'd highlight my favorite ideas so far, ask myself what it was like to come up with those ones in particular, and try to adopt more of whatever mental postures those are for the rest ... (read more)

from ChatGPT

Sounds like a fun challenge! Here are 50 ways 

to send something to the moon:

1. Catapult
2. Giant crossbow
3. Balloon with an endless supply of helium
4. A giant seesaw
5. Sky elevator
6. Beam of light (if the object can ride light)
7. Teleportation device
8. Moon magnet
9. Whale blowhole
10. Bubble with a perfect vacuum inside
11. Tornado creator
12. Inflatable space tube
13. A jump by the Hulk
14. Sonic boom from a supersonic plane
15. Floating on a cloud machine
16. Warp drive
17. Ice cannon
18. Rocket rollercoaster
19. A super springboard
20. Fling via a giant trebuchet
21. Antigravity boots
22. Pneumatic tube system
23. Ride on a meteor
24. Build stairs to the moon
25. Giant hamster wheel that propels forward
26. Human pyramid
27. Bounce house to the moon
28. A moon hook and pull system
29. Jetpack
30. Superfast elevator
31. A gigantic yo-yo system
32. Umbrella carried by solar winds
33. Giant's throw
34. Rocket sneakers
35. Bungee cord to the moon
36. Space swing set
37. Moon vacuum
38. Space surfboard
39. Massive drone
40. Launch via space trebuchet
41. Space pogo stick
42. Inflatable space mountain
43. Magnetic repulsion system
44. Time travel to when the moon was closer
45. Huge space slingshot
46. Giant space slinky
47. An extremely powerful fan
48. A chain of trampolines
49. Magic carpet
50. Use a giant's bow and arrow

fast plane and steer up
rocket ship
throw it really hard
extremely light balloon
wait for an upwards gust of wind
tall skyscraper
space elevator
earthquake energy storage
really big tsunami
asteroid impact launch
wait for the sun to engulf both
increase mass of earth enough to make moon crash
elevator pulley system with counterweight
rename earth to "the moon"
take it to a moon replica on earth
touch it to a moon rock on earth
really big air rifle
wait for tectonic drift to make a big enough mountain
point a particle accelerator upwards
attach to passing neutrino
solar sail
nuclear pulse propulsion
hack the universe
hit it really hard with a golf club
drop a heavy weight on a see-saw
attach to dolphin leaping
high buoyancy object in deep ocean
put on top of erupting volcano
diet coke and mentos
nuclear meltdown
turn a continent sideways
project an image of it onto the moon
build a large sand pile
coordinate an inverse droplet ring wave
throw it with one of those dog ball launchers
mail it
attach to next NASA mission
wait for the big crunch
large lasso
system of ropes in orbit
death star
miniaturize and inject into that lizard that shoots blood out of its eye, but mutated so it can shoot blood to the moon
insult it so much it leaves the planet
attach to Japanese paper balloon
that thing the asgardians use to travel between planets
inverse parachute
turn off gravity
use negative mass

  1. find the moon's postal code and mail
  2. catapult
  3. shot-put style
  4. by waterslide - to the moon
  5. hack the package's location value
  6. bring the moon to the package
  7. create a children's book "how the package reached the moon" with a choose your own ending page, and use the most promising submission
  8. space escalator
  9. photoshop the package on the moon
  10. trebuchet - superior to the catapult
  11. just build a bridge
  12. look at the moon, hold up the package, close one eye, and position it just right
  13. close my eyes and imagine the package is on the moon, then leave the room
  14. name your house "the moon"
  15. email the moon announcing their package has been delivered, and ignore any responses
  16. disguise the package as a baseball and hope
  17. just hope
  18. rocket
  19. hot air balloon rising in escape velocity
  20. moon portal (remember airlock)
  21. pully system
  22. E.T. bike
  23. the package is already at the moon
  24. ask the moon to come pick it up from a local post office
  25. jump on a see-saw with the package on the other side
  26. tie it to a homing pigeon in a homing pigeon space suit
  27. put it on a boat, and then raise the water level
  28. jump down from the moon, onto a trampoline, and carry the package on the way back up
  29. pledge 50$ to whoever delivers the package to the moon
  30. cannon
  31. cannon, thrown by a trebuchet, on a rocket
  32. smuggle it in past moon customs
  33. give the package to a sea turtle
  34. attach a curb to the moon and olley up it
  35. tie to balloon and consider job done
  36. put it on the moon-train
  37. flubber
  38. remove the earth and let gravity do it
  39. stack boxes to climb up
  40. up strong the package from the top platform
  41. bet someone they can't get the package to the moon. Call them chicken if necessary.
  42. wait for the moon to fall into the earth
  43. get a full 3d scan of the particles in the package, have it digitized and reproduced on the moon
  44. flick it with a giant hand
  45. roll the package into an extremely long and thin baton and just hand it over
  46. go to the past and sneak it into the shuttle
  47. go to the past and sneak it into astronaut food
  48. cast "Deliver to Moon"
  49. put the package on the moon's christmas list
  50. ball and chain flail around the earth
  51. offer the package to the moon as a purely symbolic gesture
  52. find a place on earth called moon and bring it there
  1. Hire SpaceX to send it
  2. Bribe an astronaut on the next manned moon mission to bring it with them
  3. Bribe an engineer on the next robotic moon mission to send it with the rover
  4. Get on a manned mars mission, and throw it out the airlock at just the right speed
  5. Massive evacuated sphere (like a balloon but arbitrarily light), aimed very carefully
  6. Catapult
  7. Send instructions on how to build a copy of the thing, and where to put it, such that an alien race will do it as a gesture of goodwill
  8. Same, but with an incentive of some kind
  9. Same, but do it acausally
  10. Make a miniature moon and put the thing on that
  11. Build an AGI with the goal of putting the thing on the moon with 99% confidence, with minimum impact to other things
  12. Carve the thing out of the moon's surface, using lasers from satellites around Earth
  13. Build a reverse space elevator: the earth is in a luno-stationary orbit due to tidal locking, so you could in principle build an extremely tall tower on the moon's surface that came relatively close to earth. Then, you could lower objects down that tower after launching them a relatively short distance, exchanging them for moonrock ballast.
  14. Quantum-bogo-send it: check to see if the thing has materialized on the moon. If it hasn't, destroy this everett branch.
  15. Tegmark-1-bogo-send it: check to see if the thing has materialized on the moon. If it hasn't, destroy a large local region of space.
  16. Tegmark-4-bogo-send it: check to see if the thing has materialized on the moon. If it hasn't, derive a logical contradiction
  17. Pray for God to send the thing to the moon
  18. Offer to sell your soul to the devil in exchange for the thing being sent to the moon
  19. Ask everyone on LessWrong to generate 50 ideas each on how to send a thing to the moon, and do the best one
  20. Ask everyone on LessWrong to generate 50 ideas each on how to send a thing to the moon, and do the worst one
  21. Ask everyone on LessWrong to generate 50 ideas each on how to send a thing to the moon, and do all of them
  22. Ask everyone on LessWrong to generate 50 ideas each on how to send a thing to the moon, put all the letters from all the answers into a big bag, and shake it and draw from it repeatedly until you draw a sentence that describes a strategy for sending a thing to the moon, and then do that
  23. Somehow annihilate the earth (except for the thing). The thing will then probably fall to the moon? Probably, figure out whether that's right before annihilating the earth
  24. Pull a Raymond-Smullyan-style "will you answer my next question honestly?" scam on the director of NASA, forcing him to kiss you... er... I mean, send the thing to the moon
  25. Wait until moon tourism is cheap
  26. Start a religion whose central tenets include the belief that this thing being on the moon is a prerequisite for the creation of a universal utopia
  27. Non-reverse-space-elevator: build a space elevator, and then throw the thing off the top when the moon is nearby
  28. Big ol' rocket
  29. Nuclear explosion based craft
  30. Wormhole
  31. Unrealistically-good weather control, allowing you to harness the motion of the molecules in the atmosphere to propel objects however you want via extremely careful placement.
  32. Redefine or reconceptualize "the moon" to mean wherever the thing is already
  33. Redefine or reconceptualize "thing" to mean a thing that's already on the moon
  34. Redefine or reconceptualize "send" to mean keeping the sent thing away from the target
  35. Build an extremely detailed simulation of the moon with the thing on it
  36. Wait for the sun to engulf the earth-moon system, mixing what's-left-of-the-thing up with what's-left-of-the-moon
  37. Propel the earth, "wandering earth"-style, to become a moon of Jupiter. Now at least the thing is on a moon.
  38. Propel the earth, "wandering earth"-style, to collide with the moon, and be sure the thing is located at the point of collision
  39. Throw it really hard
  40. Gun
  41. Put your face between a really big grapefruit and the moon, put the thing in the grapefruit, and then insert a spoon into the grapefruit. When the grapefruit squirts at your face, pull away quickly
  42. Make a popular movie that involves the thing being sent to the moon, in a very memeable way, and hope Elon takes the bait
  43. Name the thing "420 69 Doge To The Moon" and hope Elon takes the bait
  44. So, y'know how you can levitate things in ultrasonic standing waves? Can you do that with light waves on a super small scale? I think you can, and I think I've seen some IBM animation that was made this way? "optical tweezers", was it called? So, do that, with the standing waves slowly drifting up toward the moon
  45. Eh; things seeming to retain a particular identity over time is just a useful fiction - "the thing" next year is just a subset of the causal results of the thing as it is now, not really any more special than any other causal results of the thing as it is now. So since the moon is in the thing's future light cone already, the job is more-or-less already accomplished.
  46. Turn back time to the moment when the parts of the thing were most recently intermixed with the parts of the moon. Maybe the big bang? or maybe some more recent time.
  47. Starting somewhere on the equator, move the thing upward by one foot. Tomorrow, move it up by another foot. Continue until you reach the moon. Surely it's never all that hard to just move the thing one more foot, right?
  48. Kick it really hard
  49. Nanobot swarm
  50. Adult-sized stomp rocket

Some thoughts after doing this exercise:

I did the exercise because I couldn't sleep; I didn't keep careful count of the time, and I didn't do it all in one sitting. I'd guess I spent about an hour on it total, but I think there's a case to be made that this was cheating. However, "fresh eyes" is actually a really killer trick when doing this kind of exercise, in my experience, and it's usually available in practice. So I don't feel too bad about it.

I really really dislike the experience of saying things I think are totally stupid, and I currently don't buy... (read more)

First: people are different, so, like, definitely do the version of this you think actually helps you. (I've updated that "reflect afterward about what worked and didn't work for you" is a generally important part of cognitive exercises, and should be a part of the Babble exercises) But I want to flag the reasons I personally think it's important to have access to the dumb thoughts, and why it at least works for me. 1. I personally frequently have the experience of feeling totally stuck, writing down "list of strategies for X?", still feeling totally stuck, and then writing down "bad reasons for X", and this just totally unsticks me. I typically generate 1-2 bad ideas and then start generating good ideas again. 2. They're... free? Nothing bad happens when I generate them. I ignore them and move on and consolidate the good ideas later.  3. The goal here is train myself to have an easier time generating ideas on the fly. In real life, I don't generate 50 ideas when babbling, I typically generate like 10. The point of the practice IMO is to sort of overtrain such that the 10 good ideas come easily when you need them and you never feel stuck. You might not share the experience in #1, in which case, for sure, do what seems good. (To be clear, if you found "actually generate good ideas tho" a prompt that generated useful stuff, seems good to notice and have that prompt in your toolkit) But FYI my crux for "whether I personally think BenWr benefits from generating bad ideas" is whether you ended up generating more good ideas faster-than-otherwise (which might or might not be true, but you didn't really address). ((though note: "whether it's useful to generate bad ideas" is a different question from "whether it's useful to use the prompt 'only generate good ideas'. It's possible for them both to be useful)) I agree that "stop and come back to it later" is often an important aspect of this sort of skill, but in general if I can generate the good ideas in the first pl
>They're... free? Nothing bad happens when you generate them. You ignore them and move on and consolidate the good ideas later.  I understood BenWr to be suggesting this was false. His pruner is rejecting "bad ideas" for a reason, and perhaps it is a good reason; perhaps bad things do happen if he deliberately lets in more "bad ideas". If that were true for people in general, or for a significant minority of people, I'd definitely want to understand what the bad thing is, how it works, whether "having bad ideas" tends to be good on net anyway, and how to mitigate the bad thing if so.  I do think that lots of people—at least 85% of people, in my experiences running this kind of exercise with others—experience some kind of pain or suffering when "trying to have bad ideas", at least at first. (I did a series of mnemonics workshops before I even started using this kind of thing in rationality training, so n is somewhere around... 350?)  It has always appeared to me that the painful parts of the experience are coming from a combination of "doing new things is hard", "doing things I've trained myself not to do is uncomfortable", and "social image-based stuff like 'what if people see this and think I'm bad' or 'what if I see this and think I'm bad". All of these concerns are important to address in some way, I claim, for a person to get really good at this. I haven't actually seen anybody investigate what's going on for them and then decide that they do not want to gain the skillset. (There certainly are people who decide not to use negatively-valenced emotions when committing things to memory, and who decide to keep their "thinking like a villain" knob turned down pretty low, and these decisions seem similar to "try not to have bad ideas"; but I think they're not dealbreakers for the central skill, and I think "try not to have bad ideas" probably is.) However, I think I was much, much worse ten years ago at making space for the people I'm teaching to find their own w
fyi I updated the section to say "I" instead of "you" (I'd set myself the goal of talking about my own experience since this seemed like the sort of thing it was important not to assume too much of others, but then slipped up out of habit. I meant it more in a form "hey, here's how it is for me, consider whether this is also true of you?'") (in general I've gotten feedback or picked up vibes that I'm kinda pushy with my frame in a way that's tramply to people trying to articulate or figure out their own way of doing things, which I'm still trying to figure out) A line I edited in towards the end, which I think was maybe the most important one, was to distinguish the difference between "explicitly trying to generate good ideas and not accept bad ideas" in a particular way, vs "allowing yourself to generate bad ideas" (which I still don't know enough to know if it resonates with benwr, but, seemed like the sort of thing that'd be easy to conflate, since the difference is subtle)

A thing that was going through my head but I wasn't sure how to turn into a real idea (vulgar language from a movie):

Perhaps you would like me to stop the car and you two can fuck yourselves to Lutsk!

Here's my attempt. I was only able to get to 25, and some of these ideas may have significant overlap. Also I couldn't figure out spoiler tags.


  • Rocketship/whatever Apollo did
  • BIG space elevator
  • Bunch of nukes in succession
  • EM Railgun
  • Acausal trade with future space colonizers/aliens on the moon to form the thing I want to have on the moon
  • Hack the simulation, add stuff to moon
  • Crash an asteroid to the moon
  • Solve aging and xrisk, wait a very long time so the moon and the Earth would join
  • Extremely precise lasers to form the thing I want on the moon
  • Solar sail/glider plus a mechanism that continuously fires objects downwards (to get recoil)
  • Create science and engineering AI, delegate problem
  • Make billions of dollars, delegate problem
  • Bend space to make it easier to travel between Earth and Moon
  • Genetically engineer smarter humans, delegate problem
  • Figure out nootropics to make myself smarter, delegate problem
  • Solve science academia, delegate problem
  • Create new research agency, delegate problem
  • Ask NASA/SpaceX nicely
  • Simulate the Earth, delegate problem
  • Fusion engine that pumps exhaust backwards
  • Subtly shift gravity (maybe with many nuclear explosions???) so that the moon and earth will collide more quickly
  • Cast a spell, like from (SPOILERS book) so aliens will take care of the problem for us
  • Reverse railgun that just keeps firing projectiles backwards
  • Giant slingshot into space (might be too similar to 4)
  • Multi-stage cannons, like matryoshka dolls.

Helium Balloon

Hot air balloon



A solid and powerful throw

A very bouncy ball

A bird wearing a spacesuit

A missile

A very tall and bouncy trampoline

A diving board with rocket propellers

A giraffe with genes only useful in long necks


A helicopter

A plane

A massive anti-gravity simulator 

A giant robot with piston arms

A very tall building 

An elevator

A paper folded x number of times

A long crane

An object propelled by an atomic explosion

A roller coaster 

A wind seeker that launches you at a very high speed

A windmill 

A ladder

An uphill river

A mountain compressed into a vertical line

A hologram 

A mirror reflecting an object

A gravitational pull grabbing the earth and colliding it with the moon

A shooting star

A laser

A superhero

An escalator

A massive tree

A bird sled

A baseball bat hitting it

A slapshot (hockey)

A javelin

An arrow

A human web with a foundation strong enough to push someone to the moon

A rope throw

A fishing rod and line

A jumpy shoe

A gun

A tornado

A magnet that repels another magnet far enough to send it to the moon

A wave pushing something high

A grasshopper that never skipped leg day

An elephant tusk launching something

Good challenge. I thought I could do this quickly, but it took ~45 minutes.
I looked things up when clarifying/writing out answers, but not in coming up with them.
Some of my answers are indirect, with the assumed completion "and then it'll be much easier to find an actual method". Some (a bigger some) are stupid.
Any otherwise-unclarified mention of "it" refers to the object which we want to send to the moon. Any otherwise-unclarified implicit reference to a task/goal refers to this task of sending it to the moon.

1 to 10: rocket, space elevator, catapult, make Earth bigger, bring moon closer, kick it really hard, outsource task to [other person/agent], build an unreasonably tall skyscraper, drive it there (find a way to grip tires onto near-vacuum?), direction-selective gravity disable + walking
11 to 20: set off explosives under it, machine-teleport, be on the moon already and pull it on a rope, motivate it to get away itself (if it's intelligent/independent), pray really hard, trebuchet, pump it up a pipe, move Earth towards moon, destroy Earth so rocketry etc is easier, swim
21 to 30: figure out something with graphene (it does enough other crazy things), wind-up spinny launch thing, booming force of loud noise, figure out where someone with name "Moon" lives and use conventional Earth travel, transfigure with tension, revolve it on a flywheel and release, send it into orbit so it is the moon, jump to an alternate universe where it's already on the moon, shoot matter against it to push it away, break apart the moon so its fragments land on Earth and you can access them by conventional travel
31 to 40: vaporise the moon so anywhere is technically "on all zero the-moons", make a knowingly-perversely-incentivised prediction market, break it to atoms which will all eventually diffuse to the moon (but probably not at the same time), quantum-teleport, let a nearby Earth-disaster blast it away to the moon, get people to collaboratively throw it, burn it (??? cf atomic diffusion maybe???), set a bounty, stretch it out by a factor of many thousands, plant something that grows indefinitely under it
41 to 50: stretch Earth, corrugate spacetime (yeah idk; ask my Babble), throw a rope to connect to the moon and climb, pile up a sufficiently-large mountain under it, climb a ladder, wait for red-giant Sun to make things "convenient", get a machine that'll turn it (and only it) into paperclips on the moon, establish a trend of sending Earthly things to the moon which will include it eventually, contrive your incentives/reward/emotion/utility function to want it harder, inflate a bubble under it

  • Rocket
  • Space elevator
  • Rename your group house "The Moon"
  • Recognize that distance is an illusion.
  • Create a trust that sends your item to the moon in what future time that such a service is easily accessible.
  • Bribe an astronaut + relevant govt officials
  • Befriend Elon
  • Hire a Russian space tourism company
  • Steal a moon rock. The part contains the whole.
  • Prove the moon landing was hoax, thus restarting the space race. (Plus bribe astronaut)
  • That company that sends your DNA to the moon ... Talk to them.
  • Toss it really hard.
  • Bring the moon to the earth. (Step 1: invent how to move moons)
  • Teleportation
  • Join the Air Force. Get on UFO team. Get aliens to take my item in exchange for their freedom.
  • Massive human pyramid.
  • Pony Express
  • Send a package via USPS addressed to the moon
  • Already be on the moon
  • Genetically engineered jumping spiders. .
  • Become president of USA
  • Create a moon time capsule program "for the children".
  • Bequeath item to my great great grandkids, and make moon transportation THEIR problem. They do not get rest of their inheritance until item is on moon.
  • Produce a Big budget film, shot "on location" on the moon
  • Create viral meme about sending this item to the moon.
  • Create actual parasitic virus that makes people really want to get this item to the moon.
  • Crowdfunding
  • Transhumanism -> Super stretchy arms
  • Transhumanism -> Rocket man
  • Look through other people's answers to this question and do whichever makes the most sense.
  • "Get my item to the moon" auction
  • UFAI whose only purpose is to put item on moon.
  • Blow up the moon, thus nullifying ask.
  • Let go of all desires, including the desire for item to be on moon
  • Lasso the moon
  • Create a lucid dream world in which you can fly through space.
  • Big slingshot.
  • Ask really nicely
  • Helium balloon
  • Red Bull commercial .
  • Something something quantum
  • Wormhole
  • Convince everyone they are already on the moon
  • Fairies
  • Really big baseball bat
  • Really tall ladder
  • pneumatic tube
  • Read a lot of sci Fi books and do whatever seems coolest
  • Ability to manipulate gravity
  • Forced perspective.

50 ways to get to the moon:


  1. Project Orion-style nuclear pulse drive
  2. Use a spinning, orbiting tether to fling yourself to orbit from a low altitude reachable by plane, then use use rockets for guidance and landing. Use the same tether to get back down to earth, imparting your momentum back onto it and keeping it stable.
  3. Take a plain ol' vanilla rocket
  4. Ascend on Santa Claus's sleigh and get space suits for the reindeer and people
  5. Hack the simulation we're living in and set your location to the moon.
  6. One-box Newcomb's problem, then use the money to buy a ticket.
  7. Redirect astroids to hit the moon and lower its orbit until it breaks up into rings, then wait for some of the material to come to Earth. 
  8. Closed cycle nuclear thermal rocket all the way there 
  9. Rocket Alignment Problem– solve it.
  10. Use an orbital ring to reach orbit, then take a rocket to the moon.
  11. X-rays! Upload your mind and use x-rays to transmit it to a receiver on the moon.
  12. Orbital ring around the earth with a track on it. Hang a tether down from the moon to connect with the ring via a train that moves around the earth a little less than once per day. Take one of the elevators to the top. Match velocity with the train via another train. Get on the main train. Get on the tether climbing elevator. Climb the tether. Arrive on the moon. 
  13. Nuclear Salt Water Rocket
  14. Take a space elevator to Geosynchronous orbit, then take rocket to moon.
  15. Hop across the Einstein-Rosen Bridge.
  16. Electromagnet–like the ones used to pick up cars, just a lot bigger.
  17. Linger around till the moon's orbit decays and it hits the earth.
  18. Upload your mind to a specially designed computer capable of surviving like 100Gs of acceleration, then shoot yourself in a big cannon. 
  19. Nuclear fusion drive
  20. Ask the Lizard People Of Alpha Draconis 1 for an ansible to transmit information faster than light. Then use the ansible to time travel since its the same thing, back to when the earth and moon were the same planet.
  21. Redefine the words "Earth" and "Moon" to refer to the celestial bodies now known as "Pluto" and "Charon". Build a bridge directly across the already tidally locked worlds. 
  22. Linger around until the moon's tidal energy transfer slows it down until it's tidally locked, then build the bridge.
  23. Ask Omega.
  24. Nanotech! Create nanotech capable of rearranging the Earth and Moon to become one planet.
  25. Do the same as #12 except use the train to slow down the relative rotation of the Earth to the Moon. Dissipate the train's brake's heat energy via water pumped up from the ocean and vaporized. Use the energy to pump the water. Then build a bridge straight to the moon after it becomes tidally locked. 
  26. Elastagirl can do it. Just turn into her and grab the moon and pull yourself up.
  27. Rip the Earth apart and be on one of the rocks that collides with the moon.
  28. Put up two spinning tethers, one in the orbit of each planet. Ride them back and forth all you want.
  29. Lasso the moon
  30. Actually become Omega.
  31. Quietly waait for a small black hole to pass close to Earth. Steer your vacuum-hardened airplane to cross its path and get a gravity assist sling to the moon.
  32. Use a grappling hook.
  33. Eh, you could probably just print out the sequences and read them one page at a time, standing atop the last read page until you reach the moon.
  34. Shuttle rocket to orbit, then nuclear or solar electric tug to ferry you to the moon
  35. Shuttle to orbit, then open cycle nuclear thermal rocket to moon.
  36. Shuttle to orbit, then use space-based solar power stations to concentrate light into a pushing laser and use a solar sail to reach the moon. Use similar lasers around the moon to slow down.
  37. Use active support (like balloons) to extend the barrel of the cannon to lower the maximum acceleration while still achieving escape velocity. 
  38. Make another rotating tether which orbits the earth at half the moon's distance. It rotates to deliver payloads between the planets, which are delivered to it by big tethers or chains of tethers on each planet.
  39. Build a giant array of mirrors to concentrate energy to vaporize part of the moon's surface and send material in the opposite direction, changing the course of the moon's orbit to where it's tidally locked with Earth (1 month = 24 hours). Then build a tether elevator to bridge the planets.
  40. Do the same as #39, except changing Earth's spin to 1 rotation per month; then build the bridge.
  41. Spread word of building a big rail gun on the moon to hurl down one giant moon rock for every year after 2050 that it didn't exist. 
  42. Use the threat of #41 on a smaller group of people to compel them to make you a moon rocket with a robot and cannon-materials. 
  43. Use #42 to make the canon, fulfilling #41.
  44. Use people's understanding of #43 to make doing #42 unnecessary.
  45. Use people's condemnation of (and thus pre commitment to not complying with) the methods #41-44 to banish you to the world's newest one person extraterrestrial penal colony. 
  46. Get Scotty to beam you up.
  47. Already be the clone of an astronaut on a one year shift on a mining settlement on the moon. "Come up to the moon" when it's time to change shifts. 
  48. Create your own kugelblitz black hole drive.
  49. Follow the yellow brick road.
  50. Use the hidden message in my answer! 


I didn't want to spend time agonising over whether any idea was original enough and not a duplicate of another (I have a lot of combinations and variations of similar things), so decided to just keep writing until an hour had elapsed instead of stopping at 50.

  1. Conventional rocket

  2. Giant space elevator, but instead of going just to orbit, it connects all the way to the moon!

  3. Magnetically excelerate a capsule along a giant tube, until it reaches the moon.

  4. Magically/somehow teleport it there

  5. Jetpack (but isn't that just another rocket?)

  6. Airplane to get to orbit, then a nuclear rocket or ion thruster to get to the moon.

  7. Balloon to get to orbit, then nuclear rocket or ion thruster to get to the moon.

  8. Noraml space elevator to get to orbit, then nuclear rocket or ion thruster to get to the moon.

  9. Extremely powerful nuclear-powered steam generator compresses steam to an incredibly hot degree until it is released, pushing the capsule towards the moon.

  10. Have the object you want to send to the moon invest in <latest cryptocurrency fad>

  11. Take a railgun, and fly it up to orbit with planes, then use a rocket type that works well in space to launch it off.

  12. Put a bunch of nuclear bombs under a rocker to launch it to orbit and to the moon.

  13. Make a simulated "moon" room. It is now on the "moon".

  14. Make a huge ramp all the way to orbit, and have an autonomous, pressure-resistant, very fast electric car drive off it. Maybe would need some rocket or magnetic boosters to actually go fast enough even still, though.

  15. Don't just make an elevator. Make an actual road to the moon. Would probably be quite temporary.

  16. Make a space elevator on Earth, a space elevator on the moon, and a railroad not connected to either, floating in space. Go up the space elevator, take a shuttle to the railroad, take the train towards the other space elevator, then take a shuttle to the other space elevator and go down to the moon. Railroad may need thrusters to stay down.

  17. Previous concept, but use a road and drive there instead.

  18. Instead of road, train somehow going into orbit and all the way to the moon. Probably would also be quite temporary.

  19. Make something that jumps really high, and put it on Mount Everest. Attach rocket propulsion to get to moon.

  20. Previous idea, but instead use that method where one shoots a bunch of light at something to propel it.

  21. Instead of a normal chemical-powered rocket, make one that shoots out a bunch of steam.

  22. Even less practical, don't even heat it up! Just shoot water out to get to the moon, from the top of Mount Everest, heated so it does not get frozen.

  23. Make a giant (very temporary) tube of water all the way from Earth to the Moon. Drive a submarine through it.

  24. Make the submarine magnetically propelled by the tube, so it is another rail gun/maglev type system, just going all the way there.

  25. More practically (but still totally impractical), don't put water in it, literally just make a giant maglev/railgun track going all the way to the moon.

  26. Make yet another giant, totally impractical path to orbit, and ride a horse or something to the moon.

  27. Really really loud speaker has volume so high it launches you to the moon.

  28. Pull yourselves up by your own bootstraps, lazy! Except very literally, using this impossible method of propulsion, to get all the way to the moon.

  29. Use an extremely powerful wave generator to make force so strong it is somehow able to launch you to the moon.

  30. Put a giant rocket on Earth and push it towards the moon? Not sure if the moon would just orbit out of the way though.

  31. Put a rocket on the moon to push it towards Earth. Moon is now at you! (And everything probably destroyed from the impact).

  32. Send a lot of rockets to the asteroid belt, and push so many asteroids at the moon that the moon crashes to Earth.

  33. Same as previous, by try to bring Earth to the moon.

  34. Cause massive super powerful volcanic eruption and ride the thrust generated from that all the way to the moon.

  35. Giant piston pushes thing in air all the way to the moon.

  36. Instead of launching something to orbit and using light-propulsion to push it, just generate so much light to push it with light all the way.

  37. Speaking of which, forgot to mention that existing concept, where one uses a normal rocket to get to the orbit, then shoots a bunch of light at it to get it further.

  38. That, but with space elevator.

  39. Really, any methods of getting to orbit mentioned previously combined with light to actually get to the moon. Use railgun with light, giant wave with light, anything, really.

  40. Use such a huge amount of radio waves, that it is able to push something just like light.

  41. Really really big fan pushes something outside Earth gravity well. Use nuclear, ion, or light-based thrust to get it the rest of the way.

  42. Use Amazon's shipping network to send it. Their shipping network is very good, so I'm sure they'll figure it out somehow.

  43. That person from comedy who gets is so comically bad with directions that they somehow end up on the moon when going to the grocery store? Ask them to bring the thing to your friend's house accross the street, and then they will end up on the moon instead. Tell them they can leave it there.

  44. Make a fart so powerful, it propels you to the moon. Bring what needs to be brought there with you.

  45. Put a treat on the moon (this requires you already went to the moon, lol =(m)= ), put a package on a dog, and have the dog figure out how to get there.

  46. Climb Mount Everest, then jump. No augmentations. Literally just jump (with the package).

  47. Stoweaway your package onto another rocket already going to orbit and releasing a payload. Then, rocket it away once it goes outside.

  48. That, but just pay for it to be on the rocket instead.

  49. Just pay a company like SpaceX to take your package all the way to the moon.

  50. Point a really powerful laser at the moon. You have now sent "something" to the moon – light.

  51. Somehow cause a solar flare, in such a way that it launches to the moon.

  52. Nudge asteroids towards the moon to send them there.

  53. Make a giant 0 G factory in space. Send whatever you want from there to the moon, easily.

  54. Go to moon. Move a moon rock from the moon to the moon. You have now sent the moon rock to the moon.

  55. Set up a giant factory on the moon, and send things from the factory from the moon to the moon.

  56. Instead of releasing CO² into the atmosphere, causing climate change, instead put it all into a compressed container. Then, use that compressed container of CO² to a capsule with the thing you want to send to the moon.

  57. Same as previous, except store the CO² on the capsule as a rocket.

  58. Use radio waves to send the schematic of the thing you want to send to someone/something on the moon with manufacturing capabilities, and have them make the thing there.

  59. As a plant, make an extremely powerful burst of spores, so powerful they reach all the way to the moon.

  60. Same as previous, but then, grow trees so huge as to be able to form a space elevator or even full path.

  61. Grow giant, twisting tree so tall as to make space elevator. Use Amazon to take your package to the tree. Pick up package, ride mule in space suit all the way up tree. Attach orbital facility to top of tree, far enough away that rocket exhaust does not burn the tree (Not sure that would even matter with lack of oxygen though). Electric vehicles and maglev trains are used to get around facility. Use these methods of transport to go to space capsule. The space capsule is initially accelerated by am massive rail gun, then propelled by nuclear powered ion thrusters combined with a large burst of light all the way towards yet another space elevator on the moon. Take a comfortable elevator down, and put your capsule on the moon.

  62. Ride a space whale (those exist, right?).

  63. Make a wormhole on Earth that connects to the moon, and go through it.

  64. To avoid leakage of atmosphere, put the Earth womrmhole in space, accessible through a space elevator.

  65. Create very large rotational energy (like spinning a lasso, or like Thor's hammer), that, in some physics-defying feat, launches one to the moon.

  66. "Just walk there!" (and I'm not telling you how)

  67. Put a space elevator on the Earth and the moon. Take a really, really long space walk from one to the other.

  68. Make huge amount of really strong balloons. Make a huge tornado so powerful that it launches all of them out of Earth. If that can possibly work, and you make enough balloons, one of them might end up on the moon by pure chance.

  69. Huge nuclear explosion underground launches capsule all the way to the moon.

  70. Hitch a ride with extraterrestrials. Or anyone else who has a spare method of getting to space.

  71. Ride on a SPACE DRAGON!!!! (Where do you find dragons that can fly in space? No idea. Also, not talking about the SpaceX dragon capsule, that was already, wait, actually...)

  72. Take a tourist trip to the moon. Bring the package with you.

  73. Take tourist trip around the moon, Bring package with you.

  74. Move to moon for permanent residency. Again, bring package.

  75. Make space station near moon. Drop package from it.

  76. On a trip to Mars, launch the package from the vehicle you are travelling in towards moon while you are still near Earth.

  77. Launch package via rail gun from space station in between Earth and the moon.

  78. Make a magic portal from the outside of your space station to the moon, and put the package through it.

  79. Instead of using SpaceX, use Blue Origin to get your package to the moon. Which I guess is probably what would happen in practice with the Amazon idea.

  80. Giant trampoline made from packaging tape. Or more likely, a much stronger, more bouncy tape that can take the force necessary to do that.

  81. Make a sling shot out of tape.

  82. Something something carbon fiber. Or carbon nanotubes. Something carbon. Probably more of a material detail for previous ideas though.

  83. Make a thread on LessWrong asking for people to write 50 ideas to get something to the moon to generate ideas. Use the best one.

  84. Previous idea, but use another platform like Reddit or Twitter.

  85. Study methods to get to destinations in space online, and use your knowledge to choose the best one.

Additional ideas I thought of while taking out the trash after an hour had already passed:

  1. Have someone else already going to the moon drop the package off.

  2. Take public transit there (whenever a line is made).

Another note, in some ideas, especially early ones, I was thinking as if going to the moon is like going to Mars, with distances constantly shifting drastically, but IIRC the moon has a bit more of a stable orbit relative to Earth than that, so maybe

  • Maybe some kind of giant tether with a flexible base, maybe on rails so it can rotate to different parts of the Earth, could work?
9 comments, sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 2:18 AM

I think practical posts with exercises are underprovided on LessWrong, and that this sequence in particular inculcated a useful habit. Babble wasn't a totally new idea, but I see people use it more now than they did before this sequence.

Announcement: there was enough interest that I'm definitely doing another Babble challenge next week! :) 

Will be posted here on LessWrong around the same time, Wednesday evening Pacific time. If you want to make sure to get notified, subscribe to the Exercises tag. (If the challenges keep going I'll probably give them their own tag down the line). 

Feel free to suggest next week's prompts by replying to this comment!

I'll also be thinking about whether there should be any modifications to the format, following people's comments around this post. 

Once this is done, we should compare the lists. I propose the following procedure:
1. Eliminate the ones that obviously can't work.

2. Eliminate the ones that lots of people thought of.

3. Pitch Elon Musk on the rest.

After writing my own set of 50 and reading some others', I noticed an ambiguity in the challenge that I hadn't noticed before.

"Find 50 ways of sending something to the moon" could mean (1) "There's something, never mind exactly what. Find 50 ways of sending it to the moon". (Same something every time, and you don't get to pick what.) Or (2) "Find 50 somethings and ways of sending them to the moon". (Different something each time, and you get to pick what.) Or, in between those, (3) "Choose something and find 50 ways of sending it to the moon".

I interpreted the challenge as #1. At least one person interpreted it as #3. For the avoidance of doubt, I think taking it as #3 is absolutely fine; at any rate, it doesn't stretch the rules any further than some of the things I did in pursuit of #1. But my initial reaction on reading one other answer was "wait, that's not even trying to do what the challenge demands" ... until I actually went back, read more carefully, and saw the ambiguity. There's an obvious moral to be drawn here, though in most real-life situations the right answer is to get the requirements clarified rather than to interpret them as loosely as possible :-).

My tendency is to look at the goals of the task I'm given (which were included in the original post) then interpret the constraints as liberally as possible to reach that goal.  I suppose this is why I've spent most of my life as an entrepreneur, and very little as an employee :D.

Yeah, I deliberately avoided operationalising it a lot, to not make it too hard. 

Though it just occurred to me today that you might honestly get a lot of the value even if you're allowing magic and fiction. It is a creativity exercise after all. Just as it takes genuine skill to be a SpaceX engineer, I think it takes genuine skill to do world-building like J. K. Rowling. 

Still, I do think there's a lot of value in creativity given constraints. In finding ways to aim your creativity to actually strike the enemy (12th virtue). We could experiment with something more strict next week. 

I got a bit stuck around halfway through, and started to interpret it more and more liberally to squeeze out some more angles on it

I just had to share this, one person in a similar task imagined that a brick is a toy coffin in a puppet show.