Retrofuturist Flashback: Lunar Avalanche, 1960


Lunar exploration. Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago/Getty

Here's a rather captivating artist's conception of a lunar avalanche. The artist is sadly unknown, but Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry displayed the piece in 1960 to illustrate the future of manned moon exploration.

The first humans didn't arrive on the lunar surface till 1969, and our species last visited in 1972. Interestingly enough, that final mission did feature an avalanche site. Apollo 17 touched down int he lunar valley Taurus-Littrow, which contained ancient avalanche deposits. Thankfully, the episode was not as action-packed as the illustration above.

Naturally, avalanches do occur on the moon -- they occur anywhere there's sufficient gravity, material and flux. Saturn's moon Iapetus boasts massive ice avalanches and you should see the ones they have on Mars.


About the Author: Robert Lamb spent his childhood reading books and staring into the woods — first in Newfoundland, Canada and then in rural Tennessee. There was also a long stretch in which he was terrified of alien abduction. He earned a degree in creative writing. He taught high school and then attended journalism school. He wrote for the smallest of small-town newspapers before finally becoming a full-time science writer and podcaster. He’s currently a senior writer at HowStuffWorks and has co-hosted the science podcast Stuff to Blow Your Mind since its inception in 2010. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling with his wife Bonnie, discussing dinosaurs with his son Bastian and crafting the occasional work of fiction.