The Earths’ nearest neighbour, circling a mere 300,000 miles away, has to date been more elusive than Mars or Venus. Ethereal navigators have been put to the test merely setting down on a world with no atmosphere, and Luna has no discernable attractions, mineral or otherwise.
Luna is a barren world without atmosphere or water, 2160 miles in diameter with a surface area of 14.5 million square miles. Its terrain is pitted and mountainous, impacted by meteorite strikes, and with a gravity 1/6 of earth.
Ether flyers generally take advantage of world atmospheres to get from orbit to surface, with both Liftwood and hydrogen making the vessel “lighter than air”, using the atmosphere as a buoyancy medium. However, Luna has no atmosphere, making Liftwood and hydrogen useless. The only alternative is to use the Ether Propeller, a device whose speeds are measured in millions of miles per day, to navigate the surface. The typical Ether Propeller is nowhere near sensitive enough, and only a very daring or foolhardy pilot would attempt it.
Luna was first visited by Sir William Otterbein in an Ether Flyer designed by his assistant, Luigi Piachetti, and financed by industrialist seeking cheap sources of iron ore. He determined only that the surface suffers from “moonquakes”, that the surface is dusty and difficult to traverse, and that the gravity is low and atmosphere non existent. He found no mineral deposits and his backers pulled their funding. He never returned to Luna.
Others have tried, including Brian Masterly of Great Britain, the Davis brothers of Philadelphia, and Vladimir Tereshkovitch of Russia. He made five trips for the Czar, failing to return from his last trip in 1887. No permanent facilities have been established.
None of this prevents mariners rumours of great wealth in diamonds, or a hidden race of Moonmen or Selenites.They insist that there is more to the Moon than meets the eye.
“The Glow” is a persistent phenomenon which many claim to have witnessed, and which only serves to add fuel to these rumours. Allegedly if one is in the right orbital position, a faint glow can be seen on a particular part of the far side. The glow is barely a pinprick as seen with the naked eye, but telescopic observers claim that it might be something like a mile across. It’s greenish white light has never been examined. There is rumour that the Russians know more than they’re telling, and that this might have had something with Tereshkovitch’s dissappearence.