The above photo, taken as the Apollo 17 astronauts orbited the Moon in 1972, depicts the stark lunar surface around the Eratosthenes and Copernicus craters. Many similar images of a Moon devoid of life are familiar to denizens of the space age. Contrary to this modern perception, life on the Moon was reported in August of 1835 in a series of sensational stories first published by the New York Sun - apparently intended to improve the paper's circulation. These descriptions of lunar life received broad credence and became one of the most spectacular hoaxes in history. Supposedly based on telescopic observations, the stories featured full, lavish accounts of a Moon with oceans and beaches, teeming with plant and animal life and climaxing with the report of sightings of groups of winged, furry, human-like creatures resembling bats! Within a month the hoax had been revealed but the newspaper continued to enjoy an increased readership. Though barren, the Moon remains a popular setting for science fiction stories and extra-terrestrial adventures.
NASA Web Site Statements, Warnings, and Disclaimers
NASA Official: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA / GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.
Based on Astronomy Picture Of the Day
Publications with keywords: Moon
Publications with words: Moon
- APOD: 2023 September 17 Á Moon Mountains Magnified during Ring of Fire Eclipse
- APOD: 2023 September 5 Á Blue Supermoon Beyond Syracuse
- APOD: 2023 June 12 Á The Largest Satellites of Earth
- APOD: 2023 May 24 Á Observatory Aligned with Moon Occulting Jupiter
- Shackleton from ShadowCam
- APOD: 2023 April 26 Á The Moon through the Arc de Triomphe
- APOD: 2023 February 28 Á Crescent Moon Beyond Greek Temple