Man in the Moon has a speck in his eye

Did you know that the Man in the Moon, as of Dec. 15, 2013, now has a tiny speck in his right eye? And hardly anybody even noticed.

Did you know that the Man in the Moon, as of Dec. 15, 2013, now has a tiny speck in his right eye? And hardly anybody even noticed.

So what’s the big hairy deal, you may ask though I doubt if you would say “big hairy deal” because hardly anyone uses that dumb expression anymore. More likely, you are saying to yourself, as usual, what on earth (or the moon) is he talking about?

Maybe I should explain.

The Man in the Moon is apparently a geographical feature that moon scientists and other “looney” people with their heads in the starry night sky use to map out the surface of Earth’s personal lunar satellite, our moon.

And who hasn’t looked up at that glowing orb on a wondrous clear night and noticed that the shadows and craters and discarded Russian and American moon exploration spaced junk form, if you use enough imagination, what looks like the face of, say, Winston Churchill.

This face is the Man in the Moon, and his right eye contains a large flat volcanic crater called the Bay of Rainbows.

All of which begs the question: “Who on earth names these things?” and also: “Rainbows? The moon has rainbows?”

Be that as it may, the thing is, what I’m getting at is, is the fact that, as reported by The Japan Times, in December China landed an unmanned space craft lunar probe thingy right on the moon. In fact, the 2,000 pound (907,000 gram) craft landed “in the right eye of the lunar feature dubbed the Man in the Moon.”

This is significant on account of this was the first soft landing on the moon in 37 years and also, the landing craft’s name is The Jade Rabbit, and the rover’s name is Yutu.

(Not to be confused with the popular Irish rock band called U2).

And the reason the shiny silver and gold lander and the small six-wheeled rover robot have such cute names is, and I quote: “The lander and the rover are named for a Chinese myth about a woman named Chang’e who swallowed magic pills and took her pet rabbit, Yutu, to the moon, where she has lived as a goddess ever since.”

Well, of course, that makes perfect sense. After all, the moon has always been a romantic, mysterious, highly mystical chunk of dead rock to us Earthlings, and don’t you think after nearly 40 years, it’s high time we got back to the moon?

And by we, I mean the Chinese. Maybe they can do what the Americans and Russians couldn’t or wouldn’t do — find out for once and for all if the moon really is made of green cheese.

The Jade Rabbit moniker is also important because it makes it possible for bored and jaded (sorry) newspaper and interweb writer folks to make up excellent headlines and bylines like the one posted yesterday on Nature.com: “China’s Moon rover Yutu, or Jade Rabbit, has stopped hopping.

But its ears are still twitching — and communicating with Earth.”

And therein lays this week’s news.

The mission for Yutu was to roam around collecting samples in a 10 km (217 mile) area, samples that will (somehow) help the Chinese use the moon to develop it’s “space program,” by which everybody else on Earth hopes they don’t mean “lunar military base.”

Thing is the diminutive Yutu only made it 100 metres (several feet) before it stubbornly stopped bunny hopping.

This was in late January. It is reported that it was the frigid “two week lunar night” that froze Yutu’s little butt.

But, the good news this week is that it can still send information from where it’s stuck somewhere in the eye of the Man in the Moon.

Which means it can keep probing the same spot over and over again and send back the vital scientific space data that confirms the moon is still in fact made up of a bunch of extremely cold rock and dust.

But at least there really is a rabbit on the moon now.

You see, moon bunnies are not strictly limited to Chinese fairy tales. It turns out that there are a number of ancient mythical legends and traditions including Buddhism and Native American folklore that tell tales of a rabbit that lives on the moon. (Honest.)

This is also significant on account of it proves that the Chinese weren’t the only early civilizations to actively engage in mind altering substances such as opium.

But as a matter of fact the rabbit/moon legend has long been so pervasive that according to History.com when Apollo 11 was descending to a first-ever landing on the moon in 1969 Mission Control radioed that there were headlines asking them to “watch for a lovely girl with a big rabbit.”

Apparently they said this in jest; possibly to lighten the mood in the middle of quit possibly the most knuckle-biting, sphincter-tightening landing ever attempted.

But command pilot Michael Collins was as cool as a cucumber.

He replied, ”OK. We’ll keep a close eye out for the bunny girl.”

Well, she’s there now, only 45 years too late for Apollo 11.

But you know what rabbits are like. If they can ever get Yutu moving again, she might hook up with some of the other abandoned moon rovers and pretty soon there could just be a whole bunch of new little Yutus hippity hopping around the Man on the Moon.

And maybe, just maybe they’ll discover Goddess Chang’e and her magic pills.

Now that would be news.

Harley Hay is a local freelance writer, award-winning author, filmmaker and musician. His column appears on Saturdays in the Advocate. His books can be found at Chapters, Coles and Sunworks in Red Deer.

Just Posted

Women’s marches underway in Canadian cities, a year after Trump inauguration

Women are gathering in dozens of communities across the country today to… Continue reading

Red Deer councillor balks at city getting stuck with more funding responsibilities

Volunteer Central seeks municipal funding after being cut off by government

Olds chicken barn burns to the ground, no livestock harmed

More than 100,000 chickens were saved as fire crews prevent the blaze from spreading

Bear video meant to promote conservation: zoo owner

Discovery Wildlife Park says it will look at other ways to promote its conservation message

Red Deer’s Soundhouse closing its doors on Record Store Day

The owners of The Soundhouse want to shut down their store on… Continue reading

WATCH: Property taxes in Red Deer will go up 2.02 per cent in 2018

City council passes a “tough” budget that maintains most service levels

In photos: Get ready for Western Canadian Championships

Haywood NorAm Western Canadian Championships and Peavey Mart Alberta Cup 5/6 start… Continue reading

WATCH: Red Deer city council debates cost-savings versus quality of life

Majority of councillors decide certain services are worth preserving

Got milk? Highway reopened near Millet

A southbound truck hauling milk and cartons collided with a bridge

Stettler’s newest residents overcame fear, bloodshed to come here

Daniel Kwizera, Diane Mukasine and kids now permanent residents

Giddy up: Red Deer to host Canadian Finals Rodeo in 2018

The CFR is expected to bring $20-30 million annually to Red Deer and region

Ice dancers Virtue and Moir to carry flag at Pyeongchang Olympics

Not since Kurt Browning at the 1994 Lillehammer Games has a figure… Continue reading

Beer Canada calls on feds to axe increasing beer tax as consumption trends down

OTTAWA — A trade association for Canada’s beer industry wants the federal… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month