Created By: savage on May 29, 2011 Last Edited By: savage on September 25, 2014

Tranquility Base

Scene on the surface of the moon is at or near Tranquility Base.

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Trope
The total surface area of the Moon is 37.9 million square kilometers: that is, if you were to spread the surface of the Moon out onto the Earth, it would cover an area of land larger than Africa, though not quite as large as Asia. But whenever media calls for a shot of the surface of the moon, it's nearly always at 00°41′15″N, 23°26′00″E: Tranquility Base.

The Apollo 11 moon landing is etched into our collective pop-culture memory, and with good reason; actually landing upon an extraterrestrial body and exploring it for the first time was arguably one of the greatest achievements of the human race, and it was broadcast on live television. It also helps to give a human connection to the scene, as well as livening up a scene that would otherwise consist entirely of grey rocks and more grey rocks. Of course, even if there -is- something else interesting on the moon in the work (like a moon base) many works will still find a way to work a Tranquility Base shot in somewhere.

The location is -always- supposed to be Tranquility Base, and not any of the six other landing sites: the flag raised by Armstrong and Aldrin is always present in the shot, and occasionally the plaque left behind upon the moon is shown.

Oftentimes will contain various glaring inaccuracies: two of the most frequent are having the Lunar Module's Ascent phase still connected (despite that section being what the astronauts used to return to the command module) or having a Lunar Roving Vehicle (commonly referred to in the vernacular as a 'moon buggy') present at the site, despite no LRV being deployed on the moon until Apollo 15.

Examples:

  • Independence Day starts with a shot of an alien spacecraft passing the moon, from the point of view of Tranquility Base.
  • Futurama has an episode where Fry and Leela are stranded on the moon and take shelter in the Apollo 11 lander.
  • In Exosquad the story briefly has the Able Squad visit Tranquility Base.
Community Feedback Replies: 21
  • May 29, 2011
    SNES
    • In Portal 2, the portal Chell makes on the moon at the end of the final boss battle shows up right in the middle of Tranquility Base, regardless of where you actually click on the moon.
  • May 29, 2011
    dalek955
    • In Gamma World, Tranquility Base is now a robotic helium-3 mining station. It has life-support capacity but no inhabitants, so characters who could find a way to reach the moon could conceivably found a utopia there, free of the perils of Gamma Terra.
  • May 29, 2011
    PaulA
  • June 9, 2011
    JonnyB
    ^^^ Complete with moon buggy. (Though they do get the ascent stage part right.)
  • June 9, 2011
    Fanra
    Futurama has an episode where Fry and Leela are stranded on the moon and take shelter in the Apollo 11 lander.

    Note that they shelter in the Lunar Module's Ascent phase, still connected (despite that section being what the astronauts used to return to the command module). But that part of the trope is averted by the show with a plaque that we see that says the Ascent phase was replaced there by the Nitpicker's Society.
  • June 9, 2011
    TonyG
    In Wall E the space pod carrying our hero passes by the landing site... and a holographic billboard for an upcoming mall.
  • June 9, 2011
    Catinthewall
    Seems rather specific, when you can find examples of suspiciously convenient monuments or landmarks on earth as well. For example, in Dr. Who, out of all the buildings in London, the out of control UFO collides with the most recognizable building there, big ben.
  • August 8, 2011
    JonnyB
    In the Sy Fy web series, The Mercury Men, when the Mercury men turn on their Gravity Engine, you see Tranquility Base, the famous footprint and the flag begin to tremble, dust begins to rise, then the flag is pulled out of the lunar surface and flies up into space.
  • August 8, 2011
    randomsurfer
    Watchmen: in the Opening Montage the astronauts put up the flag as Dr. Manhattan stands nearby, and they wave to him.
  • August 8, 2011
    JonnyB
    The opening credits for Star Trek Enterprise showed the astronaut planting the flag on the moon at one point. Not sure if that fits since it's supposed to be showing historical events. Although they had a two part episode set in the mirror universe, where the astronaut was wearing a different space suit and planting a different flag at Tranquility Base, that probably fits.
  • August 9, 2011
    arromdee
    I don't think the mirror universe one counts, because there's an in-story reason (parallel world) why it's happening at Tranquility Base--it's not just a coincidence.
  • August 14, 2011
    regresal
    bump
  • September 18, 2014
    jormis29
    • Battle Zone 1998 opens with a pan shot around the Apollo lander - then a massive military base in the background full of Hover Tanks comes into veiw in the background.
  • September 18, 2014
    marcoasalazarm
    The battle between Superman and Nuclear Man on Superman IV The Quest For Peace on the moon occurred at Tranquility Base (although the picture's quality stopped the lunar lander from being shown, the flag was still there. It is a minor Crowning Moment Of Awesome for Supes when he straightens it up after it was knocked down during the fight).
  • September 18, 2014
    Generality
    Elaborating on the Futurama example:

    • Double subverted in Futurama. In the second episode, "The Series Has Landed", the crew visits the moon and the cheap, gaudy theme park that has been built there. Fry wants to see the moon landing, but Leela insists it's been lost for centuries. However, after being kicked out of the park, a few hours' wandering brings them to the Apollo 11 landing site just in time to take shelter through the cold lunar night.
  • September 18, 2014
    MorningStar1337
    Names The Same is in effect here. the link Tranquility Base, redirects to a web-comic called Tranquility Base
  • September 19, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ it's okay, the Main namespace just needs to be fixed
  • September 19, 2014
    randomsurfer
    Get Smart: In a Teaser Max & the Chief are meeting on the Moon and the Chief says that they'll have to find a new place for their secret meetings now that the astrnauts have landed there.
  • September 19, 2014
    Dalillama
    Literature:
  • September 19, 2014
    SvartiKotturinn
  • September 25, 2014
    PaulA
    • In the Sam And Max Freelance Police episode "Bright Side of the Moon", Sam and Max travel to the villain's base on the moon, which is right next to Tranquility Base (complete with intact Ascent module and anachronistic LRV).
    • Averted in The Art of Arrow Cutting by Stephen Dedman. At the end of the novel, the protagonist tests the limits of his powers by teleporting to the Moon and back, but the location he chooses is the Taurus–Littrow landing site used by Apollo 17, the last manned mission to the Moon.
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