There’s something reassuring about gazing up at night to see the Moon, whether she is waxing, waning, or showing her full body. It’s as if she watches over us and acts as silent witness to things that go on during her shift. While the stars are unattainable, the Moon often feels within our reach. She has also been romanticized, written about, sung about, gazed upon, sacrificed to, cursed upon, worshipped, feared, and walked upon.
While writing my latest sci-fi novel about aliens occupying Earth and the need for a rebel station, I chose to base this rebel station on the Moon. It was a lot of fun researching the Moon so I could provide descriptions as accurate as possible, not simply because I wanted to create a level of credibility, but out of respect for the Moon. I’m not the only person who is fascinated by her. She is one celestial being that appears in real life events, superstition, mythology and folklore, as well as science fiction and fantasy fiction.
Here are a few facts about the Moon and how she has got a firm hold in our real daily lives.
The Moon in science
- The Moon only shows one face to the earth.
- It is slowly drifting away. Initially, it was 22,000 kilometers from Earth’s surface, and now it is almost 400,000 kilometers away.
- It looks the same size as the sun.
- The Moon causes most of the tides, but not all.
- Gravity on the Moon is only 17% of the earth.
- It’s the fifth largest natural satellite in the Solar System.
- Only 12 people have ever stepped on the surface of the Moon.
- NASA has been given the mission to return to the Moon and plan to do this in 2019.
- The first map of the Moon was drawn by Thomas Harriot in 1609.
- Do not leave your washing out at night – if the moonlight shines upon it, it shines upon clothes for a funeral.
- If you touch a silver coin when you see the Moon, it will bring you good luck.
- Move house on a new moon.
- It is considered unlucky to marry during the month of May or during any of the waning/dark quarters. It is considered lucky to marry in June and during the waxing or full moon phase but do not let the light of the moon fall on your marriage bed, or you will be courting bad luck.
- A baby that is born at the time of a full moon is a child of fortune.
- It is lucky to hold a newborn child up to the light of a new moon and give thanks as well as offer up prayers for a long life.
- The Greek goddess of the Moon is said to have kept the company of wolves.
- The North America Seneca tribes believed the wolves sang the Moon into existence.
- The ancient Chinese believe the moon rabbit is a rabbit who lives on the Moon.
- The NASA flight to the Moon in 1969 made reference to the Chinese rabbit who had lived there for 4,000 years after being banished to the Moon because she stole the pill of immortality from her husband.
- Witches in Greek and Roman literature were regularly accused of “drawing down the moon” by use of a magic spell.
- The cow did not really jump over the Moon. It is an expression of joy that is still used today.
The Moon in science fiction
- The Moon became the setting of many early science fiction works, though mostly these were satirical stories.
- ‘The Man in the Moon,’ by Francis Goodwin influenced many science fiction writers including Jules Verne.
- ‘The First Men in the Moon’ by H.G. Wells is the only book he wrote that wasn’t set on Earth.
- C.S Lewis, famous for ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’ wrote a trilogy of science fiction novels, and the third book takes place on the Moon.
- The actual landing on the Moon in 1969 killed science fiction stories about the Moon because it was considered to be science fact, not fiction. After which, the Moon became a sort of way station between Earth and other planets, until recently…
- Novels set on the Moon are making a comeback, such as Andy Weir’s ‘Artemis’ and Kim Stanley Robinson’s ‘Red Moon’.
- The dark side of the Moon is often considered to be malevolent.
The Moon in fantasy fiction
- Witches cast spells according to the phase of the Moon.
- The full moon is the trigger for the metamorphosis of werewolves.
- The Moon, in astrology, is the ruler of Cancer.
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