Wednesday, 9 January 2019

The Lost Moon of Mercury

Long-term readers will know I have a fascination with the solar system as a place for SF adventures. I was recently browsing wikipedia when I came across this article about a hypothetical moon of Mercury which was briefly thought to exist in the mid 70s.

Naturally enough, my first thought was: let's imagine there was a moon of Mercury in the mid 70s, but it disappeared. This is because:

a) Aliens took it
b) It is the ghost of a destroyed moon which only appears at certain times or in certain circumstances
c) It is a demigod
d) "That's no moon - it's a space station" (but possibly long dormant and only recently reactivated?)
e) It's a moon which has been turned into a spacecraft a la The Sparrow

Either way, room I think for an interesting scenario combining near-future hard-SF and horror in the vein of Event Horizon or Sunshine?


  1. Back in the 19th century, due to seeming aberrations in the orbit of Mercury, there was something of a search for a "Planet Vulcan" existing inside that orbit. There were a number of reported sightings, but nothing definitive. Ultimately, incorporating Einstein's theory of relativity into the orbital calculations made the "aberration" go away.

    Nevertheless, we're left with the alleged sightings. Were they just sunspots? Interstellar transients like "Oumuamua"? Or, continuing in that vein, was there some sort of large spacecraft orbiting the sun during that period, which later ducked out of sight behind the sun, and still later turned up orbiting Mercury itself?

    And I'm pleased to note your return. ;)

    1. And then suddenly one day it turns up orbiting our moon...

  2. Maybe it’s a space station. It could be Amalthea, the little Jovian moon, traveling to and fro.

    Maybe it’s a round crystalline being or a colony of beings held fast by gravity.

  3. Charles Fort devoted a big chunk of his first book to phantom planets reported by astronomers. Might be worth checking out.