A Fall of Moondust

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A Fall of Moondust is a science fiction novel written by Arthur C. Clarke. It was first published in 1961 and has been reprinted many times.

Plot[change | change source]

The story takes place on the Moon in the near future. A group of tourists are travelling on the surface of the moon, which is covered by a thin layer of very fine dust, a fine powder drier (it contains less water) than a desert on Earth. The tourists are travelling in a vessel called Selene, that skims along the surface.

A 'moonquake' (similar to an earthquake) causes the dust to collapse, and Selene sinks below the surface. They cannot make contact with Control to call for help, and they only have enough air for a few days. The people are also generating heat, which is dangerous.

Captain Pat Harris and his stewardess Sue Wilkins try to keep the passengers occupied while waiting to be rescued. They are helped by a retired explorer, Commodore Hansteen.

Back at control, Chief Engineer Lawrence prepares to search for the lost tourists, although he doesn't think it can be done in time. But the trail left by Selene is seen by telescope from a satellite high above the Moon. The rescue attempt goes ahead.

Lawrence and his team do find the sunken ship and dig down through the dust to cut a hole in the hull. The tourists are able to climb out to safety, but with seconds to spare before Selene fills with dust and also catches fire.

Pat Harris and Sue Wilkins get married.