Some of the best questions are ones you never knew you wanted to ask. Like: what would happen if we swapped Mars and Venus? Do octopuses enjoy taking ecstasy? And, most importantly of all, what would have happened if Neil Armstrong was a werewolf?
In earlier, more unenlightened times, this question might have fallen prey to superstitious and unscientific reasoning about unlikely syzygies or some cosmic grisly rite of passage. But we live in the 21st century, and we don’t need folktales to teach us about lunar lycanthropy any more. We have the Internet.
This week, comedian and film-maker Matthew Highton presented Twitter with the following conundrum.
For those of you not up to speed on your cryptozoological lore, the problem here is that traditionally – though not as traditionally as you might expect – it’s the full Moon that causes the requisite transformation from were to wolf.
So what would that mean for some inexplicably Moon-based monster? Would they be permanently exposed to the full Moon? Would they never be affected at all since it would no longer be in the sky? Or would something entirely different happen?
Twitter took to the problem with enthusiasm. One commenter offered the following hypothesis:
Other would-be lycanthropologists took a more physics-based approach to the problem.
However, some people pointed out that it might not be the full Moon itself that would cause a werewolf to change, but the light it reflects. Under this assumption, a few magicobiologists came up with another solution.
One thought-experimenter took this idea a little further, noting that for a lunar observer, there’s something a little closer to home lighting up the night sky.
In fact, some argued that the concept of a “full Moon” is basically meaningless if you’re actually on the Moon.
And another had a proposal for further investigation.
While some other potential hypotheses were a little more... outlandish.
Believe it or not, this isn’t the first time this question has been asked. A couple of years ago, somebody asked the hivemind of Reddit the same question, which led to this fantastic anecdote regarding the lupine impact of Pluto’s ever-controversial demotion:
In fact, how would exoplanetary werewolves work at all?
In any case, there were, of course, quite a few commenters who felt they had to point out the obvious flaw in everybody’s wild theories.
Including genuine scientist and friend of IFLScience, Brian Cox.
Sadly, we’ll never know the result of a lycan lunar landing, as NASA has so far only committed to sending humans to the Moon (as well as some other reasons, we guess). But hey, even if we can't test it in real life, there's definitely an amazing Hollywood adaptation to look forward to here.