In The Moon’s Darkest Depths

The Far Side of the MoonAs we move into winter’s darkness here in Earth’s northern hemisphere, I am reminded of my favorite place for scary stories on the Moon. That would be Aitken Basin, one of the biggest excavations on any world in our solar system. No one–robot or human–has traveled there yet, but when they do they will be descending into a dark and foreboding place.

Aitken Basin was blasted out of the far side of the Moon by a huge asteroid impact several billion years ago. It has changed little since then, and so remains a stark reminder of the power of the universe to alter worlds almost at a whim. It is said that five miles of the Moon’s surface were blasted away, exposing interior portions that would otherwise never have seen the light of the sun. And sunlight only comes on a monthly schedule as the Moon orbits the Earth and changes phases. While we watch the Moon wax and wane before and after its glorious full phase, the far side and Aitken are experiencing a night that lasts fourteen days. Then, Aiken is one of the darkest, coldest, and loneliest places in the solar system.

Aitken up closeNo wonder then that I turn to Aitken Basin to inspire tales of darkness, danger, and adventure. In my short story The Treasure of Purgatory Crater, astronauts carry out a desperate mission to rescue the last surviving member of a crew stationed in the depths of Aitken. But they soon find that the deaths there may not have been accidental. Trouble is, they are isolated on the far side in the dark with, well, perhaps, a murderous madman? You can’t phone home for help in Aitken.

And just on the rim of Aitken, at the south pole of the Moon, scientists have discovered ice frozen in the dark depths of craters that never see the sun at all. Now, that’s a great setting for an alien Moonbase. And a great setting for some frightful tales like those I told in books 1, 2, and 3 of the Dinosaur Wars series. While writing those chillers, I figured, where better to face off in a laser-blasting duel with dinosaurian aliens than right there in our local grotto of darkness?

Thank you Luna, for giving me such a fabulously dark and chilling place to set my stories!

About Tom Hopp

Thomas P Hopp is a scientist and author living in Seattle. He writes Peyton McKean mystery stories and the Dinosaur Wars science fiction series.
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