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Is the Moon really as barren as we're told? The makers of Apollo 18 are not the first to suggest something might be up there.

In 1835, hopes were high that life would eventually be discovered on our satellite. So when a series of six articles claiming precisely that appeared in the New York Sun newspaper some readers were willing to believe it was true. In what has become known as "The Great Moon Hoax" it was announced that the English astronomer Sir John Herschel had made astounding discoveries.

Asserting that the astronomer had examined the Moon through an advanced new telescope, the articles described vast forests and verdant valleys, herds of alien bison, blue unicorns and numerous species of lunar trees. There were beaver-like beings that dwelled in huts, and winged humanoids that Herschel had supposedly named Vespertilio-homo, or "man-bat". The final article claimed discovery of an angelically beautiful species of the man-bats who enjoyed a highly advanced civilisation.

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