story of moon mission

There will probably always be people who don’t believe that the Americans went to the moon. It’s a free world you’re allowed to believe it’s flat if you like. There are probably some people who believe the moon is flat, too.

But in the early 19th century there were those who believed there were already people on the moon! A couple of European astronomers reported seeing road, forts and other constructions, and in the Great Moon Hoax of 1835 a New York newspaper took advantage of the confusion to run a series of articles describing the beaches, trees and unicorns to be found on the moon. They later claimed their observatory was destroyed when the sun shone through the telecope and set everything on fire.

But other, older cultures have always believed there was life on the moon.

When the astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were training for the Apollo mission they were driving their buggy around the Nevada Desert, the nearest thing we have to a lunar landscape on earth, and the story goes they happened upon an old Native American wandering around on his own. He asked them what the hell they were doing there. They explained and he grew thoughtful for a moment before saying:

‘My people believe there are spirits on the moon. Would you please take them a message from me?’

The astronauts agreed and he made them learn by heart a series of phrases in his native language. He wouldn’t let them go until they had got it just right. But he wouldn’t tell them what the message was. Naturally, they were dying of curiousity but it took them a week or two to find someone who knew the indigenous language, and to add to their impatience, when the translator heard the message he cracked up laughing for a minute before telling them what the words meant.

The message said: ‘These people have come to steal your lands. Don’t believe anything they say.’