Here’s an overview of how the endeavor of running a niche project on lunar science has been so far and the road ahead.
Why Moon Monday?
The aim with Moon Monday is simple – popularize lunar science and get people to look up to the Moon again. As someone who was fascinated by the Moon’s geological diversity, introduced to me while working on Moon Missions, I wanted to share the excitement with everyone. While also conveying the impending need to go back to the Moon.
The journey so far
The real 50 shades of gray!
Gosh, we’ve visited so many places! From big & weird craters to huge mountains, to different types of lava-flown valleys and rilles, and even enigmatic lunar swirls, a vast spectrum of lunar features have been covered. There’s also landing sites of lunar missions and interesting discoveries made possible by them. These, my friends, are the real 50 shades on gray. 😉
My personal favorites are the mountain ring of Schrödinger, bright swirls of Reiner Gamma, massive crater chains of Orientale, the stark Hell Q crater, a lava-carved valley that cuts through the mountains, the bizarre patch of Ina and the fluid lava flows at Prinz. Oh, and a sunken crust!
Here’s a quick video (my first!) I made on some of the awesome lunar features covered on Moon Monday.
All the featured images on Moon Monday are sourced from a variety of lunar exploration missions, like NASA LRO, Apollo, ESA SMART-1, Lunar Orbiter missions, etc. So a special thanks to all of the projects and people behind them without which Moon Monday wouldn’t be possible.
How has Moon Monday fared so far?
Well, in terms of measurable quantities at least, Moon Monday performed decently.
Given my first time experience running a niche project and building an audience from scratch, I’m satisfied enough with the output.
Notably, many of the Twitter followers are planetary scientists, particularly lunar geologists, so that’s a relief (pun intended)! I was pleasantly surprised when Noah Petro, Project Scientist for NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) followed Moon Monday. And again when Sarah Noble, Program Scientist at NASA and David Portree, a recognized science communicator who writes for the LRO blog, also chimed in on the following! Elsewhere on the Web, the project became popular on Reddit.
What didn’t go well?
However, in terms of engaging people consistently, I’d say the project failed. I had hoped to get the average social media user interested in and excited about the Moon. I even tried using pop culture references like “Not a fault in our stars, but a fault on the Moon!”. But time and again, I failed to get the average joe excited, and certainly to get them to interact. Basically, my social media skills aren’t all that good.
I guess, a lot of the failure could be associated to the niche nature of the project. And that it may run better only within the bounds of the relevant communities. But that is also where something that I expected would work didn’t. I had hoped that with time, there would be feature suggestions and contributions from the community itself.
So the takeaway for me is that I need to improve how I communicate and engage with the communities and people I want to reach out to. Any suggestions you’d like to give to me on the same are most welcome.
On to the 2nd year
Honestly, I had been thinking about sun-setting Moon Monday at the end of one year. There are several reasons for closing off Moon Monday:
a) Having learnt most of what I originally intended to with the project
b) Getting new ideas for future projects while executing this one
c) The difficulty of producing an article every single Monday without fail.
But, upon some external inspiration from friends and further self musings, I’ve decided to continue it for now.
What will be new going forward? New places on the Moon! 😉 And features I haven’t covered before, like specific rocks imaged by rovers and astronauts. For the more curious minds, I’m going to put up a few special pages highlighting good resources I came across on the web while prepping Moon Monday posts.
Invitation to collaborate
Want to see a lunar feature you love covered on Moon Monday? Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I hope that in the 2nd year of Moon Monday, I’m able to get the lunar community more involved. Of course, if you are writing the article, you’ll get due credit.
Eventually, my goal is for Moon Monday to run as a community-sustained project, beyond the limiting bounds of my understanding and abilities.
A Creative Commons work
All of Moon Monday’s contents are published under the freedom-respecting Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 license, minus the media files credited independently.
That means you are free to use information from Moon Monday posts for any purpose, be it editing Wikipedia or translating Moon Monday to another language. So long as you give credit and link back. 🙂
Donate and help me sustain
I run Moon Monday completely free of cost. In addition to producing articles for free, I pay for the (awesome) moonmonday.space domain. I even pay to remove ads from the WordPress.com based site, so that readers can enjoy an ad-free, tracking-free experience. Even with the ads, it’s not me who earns, it’s WordPress.
So, if you like Moon Monday and my work, please consider donating and help me run the project sustainably. As noted elsewhere on the site, you can donate to me via UPI (preferred) or PayPal. And if you want to help me sustain, fund me via Liberapay (preferred) or Patreon. Thanks a lot! 🙂
I started Moon Monday with the goal of engaging people to learn more about lunar science and get them to look up to the Moon again! Here’s my extension to NASA’s tagline “Moon 2 Mars”, which keeps the long-term goal of our species in mind and puts into perspective the Moon’s place in it.
From the Moon to Mars,
then on to the stars!– Jatan Mehta