The Moon — sometimes Luna — was Earth's largest and only natural satellite. Its mass and gravitic relationship to Earth meant that it had a profound impact on ocean tides, and thus on Earth's weather, generally. It was the first extraterrestrial body on which humankind landed — outside of the times the Doctor or other aliens took individuals on special trips — and was the location of any number of colonies and space stations — perhaps most famously the so-called Moonbase itself.
It was sometimes invaded by alien species, such as the Judoon. (TV: Smith and Jones) On other occasions, it was used as a base from which to thwart alien invasions, like those by the Cybermen, (TV: The Moonbase) Ice Warriors (TV: The Seeds of Death) and the Silents. (TV: Day of the Moon) But, unbeknownst to most humans who lived on Earth until the year 2049, it was itself an alien species — the embryonic form of a gigantic, draconian creature — (TV: Kill the Moon) described by Alice O'Donnell, a native of the year 2119, as a "big bat". (TV: Before the Flood) Its hatching caused what astronaut Lundvik described as the worst natural disaster in Earth's history. Tides swelled, consuming whole cites. Then, after the creature hatched, it laid a new egg — a "new moon" — which seemed very like the one that it had replaced. Accordingly, unlike many other moons circling many other worlds, Earth's moon wasn't comprised of rocks or substantial mineral deposits, according to the Twelfth Doctor's understanding of a Mexican geological survey. Nor was it even a singular entity. (TV: Kill the Moon)
That said, the Twelfth Doctor's understanding of the true nature of the moon in 2049 was not apparently known or shared by others throughout the course of Earth's history. Various other accounts were known to exist which appeared to contradict the Time Lord's findings.
By the reckoning of ArcHivist Farazea's 14 Planet Theory, what would become the Moon initially formed as a double planet with Mercury, Farazea observing that they were almost identical in composition and size. (AUDIO: Origins of the Cybermen)
Another account stated that the Moon originated from outside of the solar system; it was originally the moon of the Cthalctose homeworld around 60,000,000 BC. At that time it housed the Genesis of Cthalctose which was designed to terraform alien worlds (such as, in the future, Earth) into an environment capable of supporting their species. (PROSE: Eternity Weeps)
The Silurians went into hibernation because of the appearance of a "small planet" near Earth, the Silurian home planet, which their scientists calculated would draw off Earth's atmosphere, wiping out "all life". The Third Doctor concluded that this referred to the Moon, and realised that instead of drawing off the atmosphere, the Moon was captured in Earth's orbit. (TV: Doctor Who and the Silurians) The Third Doctor repeated the claim to Marc Marshall that the Silurians built the shelters when they thought the planet would "suck away" Earth's atmosphere as it rushed by. (PROSE: The Scales of Injustice) Conversely, the Fifth Doctor recalled that the Silurian astronomers predicted that Earth was about to be "struck" by the planet at the time, (PROSE: Warriors of the Deep) and the Eleventh Doctor described the trajectory of the planet the astronomers had predicted as a "crash course". (TV: Cold Blood)
The sudden arrival of the Moon between Earth and Mondas also upset the gravitational equilibrium of Mondas, causing it to escape its orbit and drift through space. (AUDIO: Spare Parts) While the life forms on the surface of Earth did not suffocate from a lack of air as predicted, the gravitational force of the Moon created huge tidal waves, caused the eruption of volcanoes, made earthquakes bring mountain ranges down, and caused cyclones to rage. Millions of humanity's ape ancestors drowned or were blown into rocks by the winds, but some survived and multiplied. According to this account, the Silurians first saw the Moon two years before it reached Earth. (PROSE: Doctor Who and the Cave-Monsters)
However, according to another account, the Moon was already in orbit around the Earth circa 450 million BC. Around this time, the Archaeons used caverns beneath the Moon to house vivariums. They seeded the Earth by firing red lightning from this cavern at the Earth, which already had the potential for life, but the lightning caused the "spark" to be engendered, and the vivariums were used to nurture the Earth under controlled conditions. The Archaeons, along with the First Doctor, Susan and Quadrigger Stoyn, were trapped in a stasis field when they tried taking the temporal stasis capacitor from the TARDIS. This account also suggested that only basic primitive life existed on the Earth. The Archaeons at the very least considered the evolution of humans to be an end result of their "experiment". (AUDIO: The Beginning)
In 1590, the Moon had Earth-normal gravity, an atmosphere, water, plants, animals and was inhabited by the Lunaries. That year, they invited ambassadors from every capital city in Europe to the Moon to decide with which nation they would form an alliance. The English delegation was transported by Iris Wildthyme in her TARDIS, while the other nations used their own spaceships. Iris' companion Tom was very confused by the seeming impossibility of it all, as he knew that the Moon in his time was a dead world, but Iris showed little concern and just accepted it. (PROSE: Minions of the Moon)
In 1878, as Queen Victoria watched, three British spacecraft - the Cygnus, the Draco and the Lynx - were launched in secret from rural Scotland. The subsequent expedition to the dark side of the moon resulted in the discovery of a lunar park erected by an unknown alien civilisation for the purpose of hunting. During the expedition's efforts to rescue their missing commander - aided by the Fifth Doctor, Turlough and (secretly) Kamelion - the park was destroyed after the death of the park's Warden. The last surviving inhabitants of the Park were the ruthless Vrall, who tricked the humans into bringing them to Earth only to subsequently be destroyed by the Doctor and his companions using weapons salvaged from the park. After Kamelion visited Victoria in disguise as Prince Albert, Victoria was convinced to end the British Imperial Spacefleet due to the potential dangers of space travel, the Doctor having concluded that Victorian mentality was ill-suited for the pressures of space travel at this time. (PROSE: Imperial Moon)
Strax claimed that he had "declared war on the Moon," asserting that it had gone unsuspected long enough to gain "an enormous tactical advantage," and that striking now would catch the "Moonites" off guard, though Jenny Flint claimed there was "no one living there." (TV: The Great Detective)
Early 20th century
Circa 1959, a species landed on the Moon and sent a transmission to Earth. They requested a meeting with the humans so they could share technology. The American government intercepted the transmission and started NASA's moon project to meet them. (PROSE: Blue Moon)
In the 1960s, the United States government built a moonbase on the far side of the Moon using alien technology. It was named after former U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower. The moonbase was designed to contain a viable minimum population. In the event of a nuclear war, the plan was for its inhabitants to eventually return to Earth and rebuild human civilisation. It was destroyed by the Sixth Doctor on 23 November 1963. (AUDIO: 1963: The Space Race)
The Apollo 11 landing
- Main article: Apollo 11
Following the Apollo landing
In the 1970s, the newly-regenerated Fourth Doctor intended to take Harry Sullivan to the Moon, to prove to him that the TARDIS could travel in space. Instead, because of Harry's "messing around with the helmic regulator," they ended up on the Ark, millennia ahead of his intended destination. (TV: The Ark in Space)
Later 20th century
By the late 20th century, the Cybermen of the "Early CyberFaction" from Planet 14 had established a base on the dark side of the Moon. The base served as the staging area for a fleet poised to invade Earth. It also could fire missiles at approaching craft, such as the Doctor's TARDIS, which briefly materialised in space nearby. (TV: The Invasion, AUDIO: The Ultimate Cybermen)
In the 1970s, the Daleks established a base on the Moon and contacted Professor Pillbright. They offered him use of their disintegrator weapon in exchange for his servitude. The Third Doctor went to the Moon and destroyed their base with a neutron bomb. (COMIC: The Disintegrator)
Another Moonbase was established by time travelling CyberNeomorphs, using a stolen timeship from Hatre Sedtry, in 1985. (TV: Attack of the Cybermen, PROSE: Attack of the Cybermen, AUDIO: The Ultimate Cybermen )
In 1988, the Isomorph Cyber-Fleet orbited the Moon and waited for the Cyber-Leader, already on Earth, to acquire the Nemesis so that the Fleet could land, conquer Earth and convert the planet into New Mondas. The Nemesis, sent to rendezvous with the Fleet, exploded and destroyed the entire fleet. (TV: Silver Nemesis, AUDIO: The Ultimate Cybermen)
In the 21st century, the Moon was considered neutral ground under galactic law. This meant law-enforcement agents such as the Judoon, who would have broken galactic law to conduct their affairs on Earth, had free rein to do so on its satellite.
In 2008 the Moon nearly collided with the Earth as part of Mr Smith's plan to destroy Earth using Luke Smith, whose natural power of telekinesis a device named MITRE had amplified. Earth's weather was affected worldwide. However, with Mr Smith "reprogrammed" by a computer virus, the moon slowly went back. (TV: The Lost Boy) The movement of the Moon caused the Earth's, the Moon's and the Sun's orbits to be in a mess. Clyde Langer and Mr Smith had to set the orbits right and did so shortly afterwards. (GAME: Earth, Sun and Moon)
The following year, in 2009, Earth was relocated to the Medusa Cascade by the Daleks. The Moon remained behind, though somehow maintaining its position until Earth was returned. It then resumed orbiting Earth. (TV: The Stolen Earth/Journey's End)
At some point, the Eleventh Doctor arrived with Rory Williams, near the US flag left by Apollo 11, and set up two lawn chairs to enjoy a couple of beers. They were trying to navigate the TARDIS back to London, 17 October 1814, and had made many stops along the way. While there, the TARDIS provided an air shell.
The pair later returned to the same spot, and the Doctor set up a temporary air shell while the TARDIS was elsewhere, in sleep mode, recovering. The Doctor and Rory set up camp and built a fire this time, roasting marshmallows and hot dogs while they waited. When the TARDIS finally returned, Rory was sleeping on the ground in a sleeping bag, and the Doctor was reading a book. (COMIC: The Doctor and the Nurse)
Human colonisation of the Moon
According to Greta, the first lunar colony was Giant Leap Base. Some time after its construction, Dr Maguire discovered the stasis field and the Archaeon cavern, unfreezing the First Doctor, Susan, Stoyn and the Archaeons from time. The Archaeons considered their seeding of the planet a failure; they discovered their idea of order and formal beauty was disrupted, and felt that life had run "rampant" through their "garden". They attempted to "purge" all life from the planet and on the Moon with their cannon. The humans struck back with missiles which destroyed the cannon and breached the atmosphere of the cavern. The Archaeons were pulled into the vacuum and the First Doctor and Susan left Stoyn behind as they escaped in the TARDIS. (AUDIO: The Beginning)
At some point, a group of scientists established a quantum tunnel linking Base Diana, a secret military base on the moon with part of the Nevada Desert. This base was being used to carry out mind experiments on dangerous criminals. (PROSE: Apollo 23)
By 7 June 2015, when the Fifth Doctor and Turlough visited it, humans had established Moon Village One. While there, they stopped a pair of Dryrth criminals looking for treasure left on the Moon by their people. (COMIC: The Lunar Strangers)
In 2039 the crew of Minera Luna San Pedro, a Mexican moonbase, founded to search for minerals, disappeared. By the year 2049, giant vicious red and black spider-like creatures with sharp teeth inhabited the Moon, living in the caves on the surface and killing every astronaut visiting the Moon, and covering moonbases in web. The Twelfth Doctor, Clara Oswald, Courtney Woods and Lundvik discovered these creatures on a mission to find out why the gravity had increased, with Courtney managing to kill one. They were connected to the organism that had been growing for millions of years inside the Moon, which hatched soon after. It laid another egg, which replaced the original Moon. The original moon then flew off to roam all of space. (TV: Kill the Moon) To the general populace of Earth, this event would be, in the words of 2119 native Alice O'Donnell, remembered as the time when "the Moon [exploded] and the big bat [came] out". (TV: Before the Flood)
The Moon's egg/child
Later 21st century
Since the 2050s, a Moonbase housed the Gravitron, a machine that regulated Earth's weather. In 2070, Telosian Cybermen tried to invade and control it. (TV: The Moonbase) This base was later refurbished as the central T-Mat relay, co-ordinating T-Mat on Earth. A T-Mat link enabled a person to travel from Earth to the Moon in seconds, until a group of Ice Warriors decided to sabotage the relay. (TV: The Seeds of Death)
By 2144, the Icelandic government had established a lunar colony where they shipped their criminals. Inspector Jill Sveinsdóttir almost sentenced the Fifth Doctor and Vislor Turlough to a 30 year sentence on the lunar colony when she believed them to be responsible for a series of murders committed by the Bratanian Shroud. (AUDIO: Repeat Offender)
From the 2150s to the late 2180s, many humans were left on the moon without access to the Earth due to the 22nd century Dalek invasion of Earth. Susan Campbell and, to a lesser extent, her son Alex were a part of several official public functions involving the return of the stranded colonists. (AUDIO: An Earthly Child, Quinnis)
In 2400, the Daleks blocked the Moon's scanners to prevent their invasion of the solar system from being detected. (COMIC: Invasion of the Daleks) After the invasion was defeated, a group of Daleks planned to use their Megla-Ray and the old nuclear bombs dumped on the Moon to destroy Earth, but were defeated by Jeff, Andy and Mary Stone. (COMIC: Battle for the Moon)
By 2540, the Moon served as a penal colony for dissidents against the war between the Earth Empire and the Draconian Empire. The colony was presumably discontinued when the war was later resolved through peace talks. (TV: Frontier in Space)
By the 27th century, the Moon had a large city, which Bernice Summerfield described as "one of the most impressive cities in human space." Half of the city was a theme park. (AUDIO: Resurrecting the Past)
Circa the 53rd century, the Threshold, who had a longstanding base inside the Moon, had established Wormwood, a replica of a late 19th century American frontier town on the surface. They maintained there a superweapon known as the Eye of Disharmony. The Eighth Doctor's companions Izzy Sinclair and Feyde sabotaged the Eye of Disharmony and the resulting feedback destroyed the satellite. (COMIC: Wormwood)
Effects on Earth
Werewolves, such as the Host, were transformed from their human form into their wolf form under moonlight. The Tenth Doctor, through a telescope at Torchwood House, concentrated moonlight into a laser-like beam which killed the Host. This saved Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom. (TV: Tooth and Claw)
Behind the scenes
Doctor in a Dash
The lunar surface appears in the online game Doctor In A Dash as the setting of Level 3 where, as with all levels, the Doctor's TARDIS (the player) races against a Dalek flying saucer, a Judoon rocket, and a Slitheen craft to find a Space-Time Manipulator. Satellites act as obstacles to the ships.
Torchwood House website
The Torchwood House website had access to the Torchwood House observatory to look at the Moon's surface, with clickable pieces of information about various locations on the Moon that the cursor could hover over. It said that in 1924, William H. Pickering had reported "dark patches" moving across the Erastothenes Crater. According to the website, this suggested "active life forms". It also said that since 2001, the Tycho Crater had been the source of "unusual signals", which had increased in "recent months".