IT’S NOT MY FAULT, WHAT HAPPENED TO THE MOON.
I merely happened to be filming it, close up, as I often do. Okay, so I’m a nerd, geek and whatever else. But it doesn’t make me a Moon-Wrecker, like they’re saying.
There’s this particular line of mountains, the Apennines, in a great curving ridge of peaks that is almost down the midline of the moon, about two thirds of the way up. As the shadow comes each month, the peaks vanish one by one. You can see the darkness race up the slopes until the pinnacle vanishes – I always think there ought to be a beep or a puff of dust to signify each disappearance. It’s beautiful to watch – I try to do so, every month. It’s as though I’ve been there: I have dozens of photographs, including from ground level – Apollo 15 landed there. And there’s a deep winding valley like a canyon. It’s totally fascinating.
Even more so that night. The peak of Mons Hadley Delta – which Apollo 15’s rover climbed – was vanishing into its monthly shadow when it went altogether – much too quickly. It had gone totally into blackness in an instant. I took my eyes away from the eyepiece to look round for what had caused that. Looked up at the moon through the open skylight. No birds, planes or anything else blocking my view.
I peered back to watch through the lens. The mountains either side were changing, too. As if being sucked into a pit. The pit was widening. Hadley Rille – the sixty-mile valley – was distorting. I reached up to wipe the lens protector and rubbed my eyes. The whole region was swirling, as if into a whirlpool, cracks spreading wider, the moon’s surface layers cracking and splitting apart.
The whirlpool effect was deepening, the spiral of rock and dust speeding up. It was terrible to see. I stopped breathing. So terrible. Unbelievable. The moon, for heaven’s sake. It can’t happen to the moon. Like My Moon.
Looking through the skylight again, there really was a dark patch a little more than half-way up, along the terminator line – the sunset shadow line.
I was torn between watching the real thing up there through the roof, the subjective much loved view. Or the detail through the telescope and camera, the removed, objective view for scientists. Plus dashing to my computer to upload onto my blog live so everybody can be aware of something so momentous.
Somehow, dodging and darting round, I did all three. It’s ten seconds to stream the live feed through on line, not that anyone watches my live videos. A few dozen, maybe. How momentous – the moon doing something! The first time ever, apart from the occasional little gas spouts that are probably caused by solar heating of the ground. But this was big. Huge. I mean, it’s the effin moon! And there was a huge great hole, a swirling mass. So dark. The Hadley Rille had gone, and half the mountains each side of it: they were disintegrating, slipping into it, being sucked in.
It was easily a hundred miles across already, and growing. The cracks had spread so much wider. The moon was being sucked up, or in – into itself.
And it kept going, sucking in and in; massive cracks splitting across the whole sphere. I was nearly crying at the sight – my mountains gone! It couldn’t be real. The Apennines! Gone. They kept on and on, being dragged down.
Then the whirlpool – it must have been two or three hundred miles diameter by then – welled up, like a massive bubble inside it coming to the surface. Black in the middle and moving, it burst up and out. A column of dust and rock rose like a tower. And it thinned out. Stopped. Started to fall back, slowly. Collapsing back towards the surface – the all-smashed-up and cracked and split-open surface. The moon wasn’t ever going to be the same again.
Maybe only a few dozen people saw my Moon Blog live. But millions have seen it since. It’s had more hits than any other video or photograph in the history of the Internet. I’ve been interviewed dozens of times on the television, for the news and for documentaries and for newspapers and magazines.
There’s even a big conspiracy theory circulating – a lot of followers, too: Obviously, I must have done it. I messed up the moon – there’s this vast black pit in the middle where there used to beautiful creamy mountains and craters. Why else would I have a superzoom focus down on the exact spot where it all started? They’ve never heard of coincidence? It just happens to be the spot on the moon that I watch and film the most, especially when the termination line is sweeping across the mountains there. Coincidence – that’s all.
What was it? There’s a whole branch of astro-physics setting itself up to work that out. Initial thinking is the spontaneous appearance of a seedling black hole somewhere inside the moon, or perhaps the other side and burrowing through. They want to send a probe up to look round the far side asap. There’s also the problem of where the black thing went when it exited the surface, with the column of rock and dust spiralling after it. There don’t seem to have been any sensors of anything pointing that way. No gravitic anomalies monitored anything.
It appeared, and vanished. And took an estimated ten percent of the moon with it. Nobody has any idea what it was, where it came from, where it is now, where it’s going – nothing. But that’s a new branch of science for you, eh?
The moon’s surface is settling down; it looks so different – a massive smooth depression; so dark and ominous. And cracks dozens of miles wide, hundreds long, radiating from it. Tides on Earth have diminished in height by, it’s assumed, around ten percent, but it’s too soon to have an accurate long-term picture – it’s messing up harbours, though, with ships stranded.
I really miss my piece of the moon.
And there are still around one million people who are convinced that I did it.
Okay, so I’m a geek – I admit it. But I’m a geek with a fan club. It was started by a really cute, geeky girl with nerdy glasses like mine. She’s the president, and my girlfriend. My first-ever girlfriend. So it’s not all bad, what happened to the moon.