Welcome, puny humans, to a true tale about life on the Moon.
Relax, this isn’t some freshly woven piece of conspiracy theory fit for a post-truth world; everything in this piece is 100% based on science and contains no trace of nuts.
Sure, my housemate may repeatedly tell me how he read ‘on the internet’ that the moon landings were faked—which would be far more interesting if he was talking about how the moon landings were faked… on the moon… but no, he doesn’t go there. And as much as we can be certain of anything right now, men—of course, only men and white men at that—did walk on the moon.
It turns out they made more of an impact on that ‘dead world’ than we previously realised. For SCIENTISTS just solved a mystery of their own making: how the hell did the moon get hotter after we visited it?
Well, it turns out that just walking around—taking those ‘giant steps’ Sting sang about—on the freaking Moon fucked it up just a tad. And the irony is that those astronauts were walking around installing the very temperature sensors that would later detect the after-effects of their installation. Who knew that even if you ‘take only photos and leave only footprints’ it’s still a bad idea?
Those poor moon men, scooping up their moon poop and bringing it back home like a good explorer of virgin territories unspoilt by humanity should…
And yet… now we know! Which is prolly a good thing, since talk of colonising the place is hip again with the technocratic set.
But it turns out… ikr!… that we weren’t the first to colonise it—and no, I ain’t talking about DEM ALIENS or faked moon landings, or that Transformers movie either.
But hold those questions for a beat, first we need to talk about dinosaurs—no, not DinoBots—on the Moon.
Instantly you’re wondering: how dafuq did goddamn dinos get on the freaking Moon? A piece at a time. (Some reassembly may be required.)
That’s right folx, the killer asteroid that was the death of Earth’s then-reigning champions was so powerful it projected chunks of earth—and dinosaurs (hold that image in ur head for a while)—up into the sky with sufficient force to land on the Moon… or elsewhere.
The Moon is a time capsule stocked with relics from Jurassic Park—just exit through the gift shop, it’s the first natural satellite on the left—and it’s all thanks to killer asteroids.
My god, it’s full of fossils!!!
Okay, now sure, most of them have prolly since been ground to dust by the constant impact of micrometeorites… which is a handy thing the Moon does for us, acting as a buffer between us and the galaxy; without it all those space rocks would be raining down on us, making the planet decidedly less habitable.
Also, having tides is sure handy.
Good job, Moon! We should really rethink ‘lunatic’ being a pejorative, huh?
Now for the very best part, thanks for waiting:
PANSPERMIA ON THE MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOON!
Panspermia is, of course, the idea that life hitch-hikes around the solar system, galaxy or whole goddamned universe on asteroids, comets and whatever in the void ‘Oumuamua was/is—speeding onto the next solar system it’ll prank, maybe with a piece of Terran biology it picked while it was passing through.
As you know, because science is so well respected and emphasised these days, there was a period billions of years ago that we call the Late Heavy Bombardment; Elon Musk would’ve shit a brick if he was trying to build an empire in spaaaaaaaaaaace back then, because the existential risk factors were like… off the charts.
Like, a planet the size of Mars crashed into the freaking Earth and birthed… ummmmmmm, what was it again?
Oh yeah, THE FUCKING MOON!
And the hits kept on coming. It was, I presume, an exciting time to be alive.
Especially if you were the little microbe that could, disrupting a whole damn planet, spewing out this weird, foreign gas called Oxygen that would come to be so popular with the children.
Now, that Elon guy, he likes to go on and on and on about how life needs to become multiplanetary—well, another bunch of those awesome scientists did like, maths and stuff, and figured out that THE MOON was ‘transiently habitable’ way back when.
Which is to say, cyanobacteria, as those world changing microbes are known, could have… in theory, Marge… settled on the Moon in the same way those dino chunks would later come to rest on our sole natural satellite.
That’s right, long, looooooong before ‘Whitey on the moon’, the then-highest lifeform on Earth was—just maybe, I mean I haven’t jumped in a time machine to check just yet—colonising the moon.
For a time—whose length, no matter what it is, be it mere thousands or millions of years is equally incomprehensible to our puny human brains (or climate change wouldn’t weird us out so, and we’d have done something about it by now and I wouldn’t have to read to weird heavy philosophical books about HyberObjects’n’stuff)—life, probably, spanned worlds.
Our most ambitious plans were realised billions of years ago—and we only just noticed.
Way to level up, humanity! How crazily science-fictional is the past, yo?!
Brace yourself now, as I reveal to you the most likely candidate to be enlisted as an advance force for the colonisation of Mars. You’ll never guess who it is.
No, sorry, it’s not you, don’t check under your chair for a SpaceX jumpsuit: it’s cyanobacteria! That is, if they aren’t already there; delivered by the same awesome celestial mechanics that, for a cosmic second, seeded the moon.
Hell, it’s not entirely impossible that there’s dino chunks too… or that we’ll find the Loch Ness monster living under the ice on Saturn’s moon, Enceladus.
Ok, that might be a bridge too far … but really, now that you know all this nothing can be written off completely… can it? Can it?
I really don’t know. I’m packing my bags for the moon. It looks safer there.
If I was smart though, I’d hibernate. And wait.
Wait for some far off future, on the kinda timescale Cixin Liu writes (minus the alien invasion), where humanity genuinely levels up, becomes Stewards of the Earth and all that jazz… and I skip through time to say:
hey, let’s make the Moon habitable again!
Then share with our (post)human descendants the rough sketch Greg Benford made. And tell them all about the cool lifeforms on Earth that across time found themselves on the Moon. You know how that goes.
Imagine gardening an alien earth back to full health, then carrying the fire of life across the void.
It’s easy if you try…