Boston, Mass, February 21 — A science club’s gathering to watch last night’s lunar eclipse turned to horror when the moon suddenly exploded.
A large crowd of astronomy buffs and curious stargazers gathered Wednesday night at Boston Community College of Floral Design to watch the first lunar eclipse of 2008.
A dozen telescopes were set up and about 5000 people took advantage of the opportunity. The eclipse began at about 8:45 p.m., with the best viewing between 10-10:45 p.m.
The crowd murmured its “oohs” and “ahs” as the familiar red shadow of planet Earth fell across the lunar surface.
And then tragedy struck.
“At first, it was a very beautiful event,” Professor Mare Tranquillitatis said of the eclipse. “There were a whole range of colors, from grays, greens and dark green through to the oranges and reds, and fuchsia, and aqua, and then, brilliant blinding white, that burned my retinas.”
Witnesses say that the expected red glow intensified, turned brilliant white, and the Moon was ripped apart in a massive nuclear explosion.
“We knew something was wrong immediately,” said student Theia Regolith. “In a lunar eclipse, the Moon’s appearance changes to orange, blood red, and brown as the Earth moves between the sun and Moon, casting its shadow on the lunar surface — it hardly ever explodes like that.”
Three terrorist groups — “Earth First,” the “Laughing Lunar Lunatics,” and an extreme faction of the “Make Pluto a planet again” cult all claimed responsibility for the destruction of Earth’s Moon.
The CIA issued an immediate statement saying, “This has NOTHING to do with any secret military base in the Sea of Tranquility established in 1972, because there was NO secret military base on the moon and even if there were, the particle accelerator was not even online at the time.”
But the explanation for the Moon’s destruction proved far more mundane — a simple accident caused by poor timing and an over-enthusiastic computer missile guidance system.
As reported previously by CNN, that same night, the United States Navy (NYSE-USN) was working frantically to shoot down an out of control satellite that was threatening to crash back to Earth.
The satellite, known as “Brother Eye,” would be destroyed with a modified missile (M&M;) to prevent a leak of a deadly toxic gas from its fuel tank. The multi-jillion dollar craft, launched in 2006, was due to re-enter Earth’s atmosphere next Tuesday.
Defense officials at Skynet said they feared that the poisonous fuel could kill if it was released into Earth’s atmosphere upon re-entry.
The warship USS Peaceful Meadow launched a single rocket to destroy the plummeting satellite. The single cruise missile hit the out-of-control satellite “approximately 247 kilometers (9 nautical miles) over Easter Island as it traveled in space at more than 7,000 miles per hour,” the Pentagon said.
The US Defense Department confirmed that the interception had been successful, with the missile striking the satellite at 10:26pm Eastern Central Daylight Standard Time (7:56am GMT) last night. The impact broke the satellite apart like so much confetti in a tornado.
But the missile did not explode upon impact — it then continued through the destroyed satellite toward the lunar surface, where it impacted and obliterated the Moon a few minutes later (28:16:00 Moon Standard Time).
Pentagon press secretary CJ Cregg defended the mission to destroy the satellite as a complete success. When pressed about why the missile continued to the moon and demolished it, she added, “You have to understand that the Moon WAS a satellite of Earth, and the missile was programmed to destroy SATELLITES. D’uh.”
NASA officials and Wikipedia confirmed: The moon IS a satellite. Er, WAS a satellite.
Fortunately, effects to Earth will be minimal, as it’s been well known for thousands of years that the Moon had no effect on the Earth whatsoever.
Some debris from the moon MAY survive entry into Earth’s atmosphere, be sure to check back with us at 11:00pm for the forecast and accumulations in your area.