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The Dark Side of the Moon

When I was younger, no one knew what was on the other side of the Moon.  The Earth’s Moon is tidally locked to the Earth so that much of one side is never visible from the Earth.  This was referred to as the dark side of the Moon.  In this case, dark meant unknown, rather than not illuminated.

So it was possible to imagine anything being on the other side.  If aliens were watching us, the other side of the Moon would be the perfect place for the flying saucer base.  It is like the other planets.  I have read several science fiction books based on the idea that Venus is covered with oceans, or with hot steamy jungles.  Now that it is believed to be much hotter than the boiling point of water, these stories are a bit outdated.

On October the 4th 1959, when I was eight, the unmanned soviet satellite Luna 3 returned to the vicinity of the Earth with the first pictures of the dark side of the moon.  This was a very

dramatic moment in Human history and I still remember something of the excitement of hearing the news about this epic flight.

No alien bases have been discovered.  Of course, if we want to be imaginative,

we can suggest that the aliens observed the progress of Earth technology and moved their base further away, destroying all traces of their former base.

Nowadays if we are interested we can access Google Moon and see the actual features that have been discovered.  We could forget how recent this type of knowledge is, and become blasé about it. 

However, I have a memento of one of these early flights. Many years ago, my brother obtained a copy of one of the pictures taken by a Russian spacecraft and received in America.  This picture shows part of the dark side of the Moon with a crescent Earth in the background.