A Reading List of Stories About the Moon

For the 45th anniversary of the lunar landing, we dipped into the archives. 
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What is it about the moon that inspires people so?

It's gorgeous and glowing—oh, and by the way, humans totally walked on that thing. Nothing like gazing at the moon to make a person marvel at the universe, the wonderfully astounding bigness and smallness of humanity and existence and life and all of it. 

Which is at least part of why the moon comes up in our writing so much.

And so, to commemorate the moment—45 years ago this weekend!—that some brave men in a rocket finally landed on the lunar surface, we're revisiting some of our favorite moon stories. 

If there's something we've forgotten, or other moon reads you think should be on this list, please share links in the comments section. 

* * *

Why Land on the Moon? The moon is the Rosetta stone of the solar system.

What Were the Last Words Spoken on the Moon? Probably not, alas, "let's get this mother out of here"... 

Doomsday Speeches: If D-Day and the Moon Landing Had Failed If these landmark events had ended in tragedy, here's what General Eisenhower and President Nixon planned to say.

How the Moon Became a Real Place Once humans stepped on, smelled, and tasted the lunar surface—our relationship with it changed forever. 

What Space Smells Like Meat, metal, raspberries, rum 

How the Moon Was Born New evidence solves an old mystery about the origins of Earth's largest satellite.

Communion on the Moon: The Religious Experience in Space Our secular endeavor of space exploration is flush with religious observance. Why is that?

No, the Moon Did Not Sink the Titanic That the ship was downed by the alignment of celestial bodies is an alluring theory, but it's not, alas, a plausible one.

Here's a Climate-Change Fix: a Giant Solar-Power Plant on the Moon Imagined by Japan, staffed by robots

The Trash We've Left on the Moon The lunar surface is strewn with hundreds of manmade items, from spacecraft to bags of urine to monumental plaques.

Not Sleeping Well? Blame the Moon Lunar phases seem to affect the length and quality of our sleep.

How Going to Space Can Mess With the Astronaut Brain A new study finds that deep-space travel could warp reaction time.

1 Small Step for a Cam: How Astronauts Shot Video of the Moon Landing On July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 beamed video from the moon back to Earth, live. Here's how they did it.

We Just Sent the Mona Lisa to the Moon... With Lasers The first time anyone has achieved one-way laser communication at planetary distances

How Do We Welcome Astronauts Back to Earth? By Making Them Go Through Customs Triumphant returns are also a triumph for bureaucracy.

Buzz Aldrin on the Moon: 'More Desolate Than Any Place on Earth' The second man to set foot on the lunar surface answers the Internet's questions.

Gil Scott-Heron's Poem, 'Whitey on the Moon' It changed the way I thought about the space race forever.

Who Was First in the Race to the Moon? The tortoise

Presented by

Adrienne LaFrance

Adrienne LaFrance is a senior associate editor at The Atlantic, where she oversees the Technology Channel. Previously she worked as an investigative reporter for Honolulu Civil Beat, Nieman Journalism Lab, and WBURMore

Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Gawker, The Awl, and several other publications. 

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