hell year in review

The Moon Had a Very Exciting Year

The moon over San Felice Circeo at night.
Our big, beautiful girl. Photo: Getty Images

Out of the Earth’s 4.54 billion years, this past one was not among its finest. Between the unfettered spread of a deadly virus, the record wildfires that scorched millions of acres across the globe, and a severe economic downturn, things have been pretty grim.

But why recount all the devastating earthly occurrences of the past interminable year when they’re still so fresh in the collective psyche? Especially when we could alternatively revisit how 2020 has treated another divine celestial body: our glorious, wet, resilient moon.

She has certainly had an eventful year. Let’s look back:

A billionaire tried to use her to find a girlfriend

In early January, lonely billionaire Yusaku Maezawa (44/M/Japan) had an ingenious thought: Perhaps he could find a girlfriend and take her on a free trip to the moon. Conveniently, he already had a lunar trip penciled in for 2023 and had even secured a deal with a television network to chronicle his blossoming romance on a show called Full Moon Lovers. He just needed applicants — specifically, as he described on the show’s application website, “single women aged 20 or over” who are “always positive” and who “wish for world peace.”

The ladies were enticed. In just two weeks, more than 27,700 applied for Maezawa’s consideration — a number the bachelor revealed on Twitter mere moments after he announced that he was, unfortunately, dropping out of the TV show due to “personal reasons,” effectively dumping tens of thousands of women at once. “To think that 27,722 women, with earnest intentions and courage, had used their precious time to apply makes me feel extremely remorseful to conclude and inform everyone with this selfish decision of mine,” Maezawa wrote in a series of self-flagellating tweets. “I am truly sorry from the bottom of my heart.”

A rogue coven of “baby witches” apparently tried to hex her

In the middle of July, a Twitter user with a modest following tossed a rhetorical question into the void: “WHAT’S GOING ON WITH THE MOON?” While the question certainly seemed intriguing, none of us could’ve anticipated the disconcerting news the user would go on to deliver, which roiled the witch community at large.

“BASICALLY,” @sleepybur wrote in an ensuing tweet thread, a rogue coven of four “baby” (inexperienced) witches on TikTok had tried to hex the moon, as well as fairy-type creatures known as the fae. Though it was unclear where this person learned of the rumored hex, wiser witches and Marianne Williamson wasted no time decrying their alleged behavior. “Am I wrong for wanting to witness the destruction that will become their lives?” one person wrote in a witchcraft subreddit. Another asked the community how they could support the moon during her difficult time.

“If the gods are merciful, their hex will be sent back to them AND they will be hexed BY the gods,” @sleepybur tweeted. “Yeah, that’s mercy. If there’s no mercy? A curse. Lifelong, at least. Probably on their bloodline.”

To this day, we still do not have confirmation that any witches actually attempted something so reckless as performing dark magic against a celestial body and, if so, whether they’ve been smote. May we take comfort in the assurance that, regardless of what happened, we’ll be fine. “The Gods will take care of it,” @chaoticwitchaunt said of the rumored hex. “They also won’t take some kid’s stupidity out on the entire human race.”

We found out she’s wet

At precisely 12 p.m. on October 26, NASA finally announced an “exciting” lunar discovery: The moon, once believed to be dry as a bone, is wet all over. While scientists already knew that the moon had evidence of ice and H2O in its colder, shadowy regions, they didn’t have hard evidence that the sunlit side of the moon was capable of sustaining water — they only had “indications,” according to Paul Hertz, the director of NASA’s astrophysics division in the Science Mission Directorate.

That is, until the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy detected preserved-water molecules outside the moon’s nether regions, which confirmed scientists’ long-held suspicions.

On Halloween, she went all out

A full moon on Halloween is rare: It only happens every 19 years or so, and, even when the celestial bodies align, typically only a few U.S. time zones get to admire the moon’s mesmerizing glow on Halloween proper. This past Halloween, the moon was visible across every U.S. time zone, which hasn’t happened since the year the Allies invaded Normandy (1944). The moon was also a blue moon, which has absolutely nothing to do with the body’s recently confirmed wetness but instead signifies that it was the second full moon to occur in a single month.

And what a remarkable way for the moon to take a bow at the end of an eventful year. (China did just land an unmanned spacecraft on the moon and plant its flag on the lunar surface, but whatever.) While we mere humans had a markedly boring Halloween, canceling our plans in the name of public health, the moon glistened in the night sky. She truly went off.

The Moon Had a Very Exciting Year