From the Moon to the Sun, c. 1765

I don't care what the doubters say. Our orbits will cross some day.

Hi,

You probably won’t get this for another 8 minutes or so.

I just wanted to say hi, see how things are going lately. I noticed I’m not reflecting all that much light right now, so I dunno, I wanted to see if you’re feeling down or something.

Oh man.

Okay, this is more awkward than I expected. Listen, when I reflected light from that guy Alpha Centauri or whatever his name is, it was a mistake. Celestial bodies make mistakes, okay? I thought it was you! I really did! Please forgive me!

I love you.

Anyway, that was like a billion years ago…can’t we just forget about it and move on?

I miss our conversations. You’re such a good listener, and such a passionate speaker. I’m sick of reflecting light all the time but never actually talking. It’s weird.

There’s no one else to talk to out here. Earth’s a twat and Mars is, well, frankly I think he’s not quite all there…upstairs. Lately, he’s been babbling on about some poem he’s writing that’s going to change the universe. Venus is always screwing around with Mercury and those other guys are so gassy, I can’t even stand to be around them.

I know you think I should just hang out with other moons, but Sun, I’m better than them. I know it. They know it. We can’t just crack open a beer and chill.

So. I miss you. And I’m willing to wait. As long as you need. I guess even if you never forgive me, in X billion years you’ll be so large that you’ll consume me in your vastness. I look forward to that.

Yours always,

The Moon (Luna)

Analysis:

When Apollo 11 landed on the moon in 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin spent most of their time there setting up the first lunar post office. Later missions continued the construction, and by the time Apollo 15 blasted off for Earth, the Rocky Colavito United States Post Office was open for business. In addition to being mostly barren and devoid of life, water, or any real atmosphere to speak of, the moon had completely antiquated postal facilities, meaning letters like the one above had been sitting in a bin marked “to file” for hundreds of years.

Astronomers were at first puzzled that not only did it appear the moon had a personality, but was fully aware of its (later determined to be “her”) place in the universe. Ancients had long considered the possibility that celestial bodies had personalities, but scientists had scoffed at the idea since Newton used his newly invented Calculus to prove beyond a doubt that only a trivial number of celestial objects would have even been able to speak. Einstein, however, did suggest that self-aware planets were possible under certain relativistic conditions. No one, however, believed that the moon was one of them. That is, until that fateful summer night:

CMDR Armstrong: That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind

Luna: Ow! Get off my face!

So many letters from the moon to the sun were found that NASA originally assumed that both bodies must have been self-aware. However, further observations from unmanned probes have proven that the Sun is just another boring star. Neil deGrasse Tyson, in his seminal paper on why Black Holes would make passable librarians, concluded that the moon was “not very bright.”

She probably received a misdirected email from Arcturus or even Rigel 3-4 billion years ago and hasn’t been able to let it go. It may seem crazy to us on earth, but in universal timelines, a few billion years is not that long to wait for a response. Galactic pizza delivery takes 800 million years at least, if you want to order from anywhere good. Still, apart from a fairly disastrous 400 million years dating two of Jupiter’s moons, it seems clear to me that our moon is a little bit of a lonely loser.

Donations to Tyson’s “Get the Moon a Date” charity can be sent directly to History of the Letter.

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