The 16th of July 2019 was the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11’s launch from Cape Canaveral to land men on the moon. Unfortunately, the Moon had not been briefed on what to expect from NASA’s Apollo programme. What he saw was strange objects periodically crashing onto his surface from 1969 onwards, scorching and blowing up his dusty regolith. Even stranger things emerged from some of them, each shrouded in white with a reflective, bowl-shaped lump on top. He had no idea that these had come from the beautiful blue planet which he has been orbiting these last 4½ billion years, and saw no reason to celebrate. Especially when he discovered what they had left behind . . .
Said the Man in the Moon, “Are you coming back soon
To collect all the junk you rejected?
All those stages and probes (and, maybe, microbes?)
And stuff that I hadn’t expected:
“Bags of urine and poo, a telescope too,
Two golf balls, three buggies, a feather,
Six flags, a shot of the Duke family lot1,
Twelve Hasselblads, dumped here for ever2.
“And you bowl-headed creatures, whose internal features
Are shrouded in shiny white skin,
Pinched some of the dust that covers my crust
And a 3-metre core from within.3
“I dread the hot burn of your rocket’s return:
I don’t want to be a space tip.
Things here don’t erode, wash away or corrode –
Please keep that in mind on your next trip.
“Things were peaceful before you arrived to explore,
As quietly in orbit I’d roam;
But my brain’s been set stirring and a thought keeps recurring:
I wonder where you lot call home?
“When I look out at space, I can see a nice place:
A beautiful dot, white and blue,
So pristine and pure. Too good, to be sure,
To be home to such vandals as you . . .”
- A photo of Apollo 16’s crew member Charlie Duke’s family
- ripleys.com, bbc.com and newscientist.com