The Moon, a previously inhabited planet

Robert Heinlein’s Future History Series

Book Two: The Man Who Sold the Moon

(con’t from the last post)

The Man Who Sold the MoonGoing back to the atomic energy plant that was deemed unsafe for humankind in one of the 3 stories that make up this book, there was one point where an expert explains his theory about the moon being previously inhabited. He points out that the craters on the moon could not have been created by volcanic means nor by bombardment.  He explains:

“I want you to imagine the moon as she might have been sometime in the past. Dark areas we call the seas are actual oceans. It has an atmosphere, perhaps a heavier gas than oxygen and nitrogen. But an active gas, capable of supporting some conceivable form of life. For this is an inhabited planet, inhabited by intelligent beings, beings capable of discovering atomic power and exploiting it.”

He points to an image of the moon, to a shape that has “rays” radiating from a crater (on right, an image of the Tycho Crater by Joe Huber via Wikipedia).Tycho formation on the moon

“Here, here at Tycho was located their main atomic plant.”

And then he points to some other craters that have rays near the equator and names them and says:

“And here at Copernicus and at Kepler, on islands in the middle of a great ocean, were secondary power stations… perhaps they knew the danger they ran but wanted power so badly that they were willing to gamble the life of their race. Perhaps they were ignorant of the ruinous possibilities of their little machines. Or, perhaps their mathematicians assured them that it could not happen. But we will never know. No one can ever know, for it blew up and killed them. And it killed their planet. It whisked off the gassy envelope and blew it into outer space. It may even have set up a chain reaction in that atmosphere. It blasted great chunks of the planet’s crust and perhaps some of that escaped completely too. But all that did not reach the speed of escape fell back down in time and splashed great rim-shaped craters in the land….only the most massive fragments formed craters through the water.”

And he says that it resulted in a planet dead, dead by suicide.

Fantastical story, but a strong and relevant warning.

And turns out, scientists have recently made a discovery related to the moon’s “craters” and you can read about it here, on the Nature.com website.

One more post to come on this book.

(I am not sure where the mutant mice on the cover come from.  Either I don’t remember them in the story, or they are imagined to be some kind of critter that could have lived on the moon, I’m not sure.)

8 thoughts on “The Moon, a previously inhabited planet

  1. I wish Heinlein had been cloned. We could use more creativity and science fiction madness that he dispensed. He was/is a game changer. Read some of his greats and it will change how you digest everything else in the genre.

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      1. I really liked…tunnel in the sky. I think that was the title. All other books with power armor are based on starship troopers which I loved. Written in first person and I got more out of the story as a tale of an interesting form of government than anything else.

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    1. I would argue that there plenty (better) SF authors were creative and took those ideas in crazy directions… I have some serious problems with his “great” works. I understand why people found them inspiring.

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