It's bad enough when some bad guy tries to put his John Hancock into the moon, it becomes really serious when it's destroyed. This happens in many continuities in many shows many times. Think of an Earth-Shattering Kaboom, only on the moon.
A sister trope to Deface of the Moon. Compare with Grasp the Sun for a symbolic use of celestial bodies. Expect there to be No Endor Holocaust. If the destruction of the moon does result in serious damage to Earth or nearby planets it may overlap with Colony Drop, especially if done on purpose. Sometimes results in a Shattered World.
Something that is only occasionally referenced is that a satellite body does affect the surface of the parent object. Destroying or otherwise removing the moon from its orbit would cause serious trouble.
Punning on the 1950 SF classic Destination Moon.
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A 7-Up commercial had the spokesman attempt to project the 7-Up logo onto the moon with a laser. Unfortunately, the laser was a little too powerful, and... well, boom.
Orlando Jones: OK! Who has been messing with my laser?!
In the manga of AKIRA, Tetsuo teleports to the moon and blasts a huge hole in it, then shapes the resulting debris into a ring around the moon. The damage alters the tides on Earth.
In Assassination Classroom, Korosensei has destroyed 70% of the moon, leaving it forever a crescent, and has announced that he intends to do same to the Earth in one year.
Aldnoah.Zero had this happen to the Earth in the middle of a war between Earth and Mars. A gate on the Moon that allowed travel to Mars (sparking a colonization effort that later declared independence and sparked a war) exploded, destroying half the moon and sending large numbers of shards raining down on Earth, killing millions and drastically altering the landscape, as well as leaving a ring of asteroids in Earth's orbit. This event is known in the show as Heaven's Fall.
Cowboy Bebop has this as a background event, where the damage to the moon◊ in a gate research accident killed the bulk of humanity and drove most of the rest to colonize the Solar System. Earth itself is largely a wasteland now, meaning No Endor Holocaust is largely averted here: The initial shockwave devastated the portion of Earth facing the moon and debris continues to rain down on the damaged landscape. Meteor showers are treated like a weather event by the survivors who live in underground bunkers. The surface can't even be mapped due to the constant creation of new impact craters.
Master Roshi also blew up the moon in Dragon Ball before it was put back into place some years later. He got yelled at afterwards, but he, like Piccolo only did it to stop a giant monkey attack (it was restored by Kami between those two times on the condition that Goku had his tail removed).
This happens some times in Dr Slump, it being a gag manga with no realism at all. Usually it's Arale who destroys the Moon with her Super Strength, by chucking boulders at it. Afterwards we see the Moon all patched up, like a broken vase.
In Fairy Tail, a village asks the heroes to destroy the moon, which has turned purple and started turning the villagers into demons at night. Subverted, as they only had to remove the aftermath of a ritual that took place on the island, which made the moon look purple and messed with the memories of the villagers, who really were demons to begin with.
Medaka does this to prevent the moon from crashing into the Earth, by herself. How she manages to do it is never explained. Unless "she's Medaka" is considered sufficient explanation.
A test of the Von Braun's Tandem Mirror engine in Planetes reduced a significant area of the Moon into dust. Judging from the artwork, the damage covered a region larger than the state of California.
The Sonic X adaptation of Sonic Adventure 2 also shows the moon getting blown up, though while the games never explain how the moon presumably gets fixed, in Sonic X Eggman fixes it himself, dubbing it the "Eggmoon". He then uses the repaired moon to try and block out the sun.
In Star Blazers, the Comet Empire, after defeating Earth's space navy, puts the cherry on its sundae of conquest by destroying the moon.
Z does this in Tenchi Muyo!, after he destroyed half the earth, for no other purpose than getting Tenchi's attention. Like the majority of the events in the third OVA, this is subjected to a Reset Button.
In Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, Anti-Spiral uses the moon to attempt to destroy the earth, causing the Gurren Brigade to attempt to destroy the moon. Notable in that the otherwise VERY soft sci-fi makes it abundantly clear that the approach of the moon and it's removal would have a negative effect on the planet (In the end, the descent can be stopped and the moon is revealed to be a giant spacecraft named "Cathedral Terra". The spacecraft is repossessed by the heroes and the real moon is pulled out of a Pocket Dimension to avoid damage to the Earth).
In Yu-Gi-Oh!, Yugi has one of his monsters stab the moon to destroy it. Yes, it was a moon generated by another card and not the actual moon, but it still has the tide-changing effects...and it wasn't a monster card so he shouldn't have been able to attack it.note At the time, the real-life Yu-Gi-Oh! card game hadn't been invented yet, and the creators hadn't bothered to establish a coherent set of rules for the fictional version. For the next story arc, at which point the real card game had been established, they began using a modified version of the real-life rules.
There is now a real-life card that references this scene - and allows a player to reenact it in the right circumstances.
The Doctor Who comic strip "The Love Invasion" featured an alien who intended to improve the lives of the human race and his (in the long run) with the first item on his agenda being "destroy the moon". He nearly goes through with it.
The moon gets destroyed in the "Five Years Later" period of Legion of Super-Heroes. In this case there is an Endor Holocaust, with lunar fragments being a serious threat to Earth for some time afterwards (until Earth got destroyed as well).
The moon of the planet Sakaar (from Planet Hulk) is broken into pieces. By the end of the storyline, the same thing happens to Sakaar.
In a What If? story about the Avengers' enemy Korvac, Korvac and the Stranger become involved in a shoving match, with the moon itself as the object being shoved. The moon, behaving at least somewhat according to the laws of physics, gets ripped to shreds by tidal forces and forms a debris ring around the Earth. There is No Endor Holocaust, but it doesn't matter because Korvac ends the universe with the Ultimate Nullifier.
Flash Gordon (1980), Ming pokes the moon out of orbit so it is sent on a collision course with Earth.
Man of Steel: In one of the scenery shots of Krypton, you can see its moon partially blown up.
This is a Continuity Nod to the Silver Age comics' justification for Krypton having forbidden rocketry. Krypton's principal moon, Wegthor, had their first space colony — until scientist Jax-Ur's nuclear missile missed the meteor he was aiming at.
A torn-apart moon is a constant sight during night sequences in Oblivion (2013) . MalcolmBeech reminisces when it was blown apart to cripple the human race pre-invasion.
In Star Trek Into Darkness, one of the moons of the Klingon homeworld (Praxis) has apparently blown up; interestingly, in this timeline this seems to have happened 30 years before the event in the Prime universe, where it was a major plot point in Star Trek VI and was the event that paved the way for the end of formal hostilities between the Federation and the Klingon Empire in the TNG-era.
One could infer this was due to the Klingon's having studied the Narada from the previous film during the 25 years they held Nero and his crew prisoner. Presumably, by studying the technology of the mining ship, the Klingons inadvertently accelerated the accident that lead to the destruction of the moon in the Prime-verse, which was caused by over-mining.
This happens in the not-too-distant future in the 2002 film of The Time Machine, when some genius decided that using nuclear weapons to dig caverns beneath the surface was a good idea. It causes a bit of an armageddon. The moon's still there despite their effort, but only about half or so is intact, the rest having settled into orbit or hit the Earth.
In Transformers: The Movie, one of Cybertron's moons is blown up while Unicron is eating it, in an attempt to kill him. This attempt does not work.
The novel Die dunkle Seite des Mondes (The Dark Side of the Moon) of the Charity series by Wolfgang Hohlbein ends with the Moon being shattered by a massive hyperspace wave, as a result of something that was done in one of the previous novels in the series. Considering the wave was about to do the same to Earth, the destruction of the Moon is considerably more preferable. One of the characters mentions that humans will have to learn to live without the tides, while another character points out that the tides will still be there, as the main mass of the moon is still in orbit.
Happens offscreen between the first and second Empire from the Ashes books. Fortunately, it is replaced with a gravity generator to avoid problems with tides.
In Incarceron, it's mentioned that the Years of Rage have taken their toll on the moon. It still appears to be in orbit, but its innards have been hollowed and its face is pockmarked, effectively killing the tides.
In the novel Moonfall by Jack McDevitt the moon is smashed into itty-bitty bits by a mysterious giant comet just days after a commercial moonbase has been built there.
In the Star Wars Expanded Universe, at one point a prototype Death Star aims at the planet Kessel, misses, and blows up its moon instead. Mako Spince was expelled from the Imperial Military Academy when he attempted to blow the Imperial seal off one of Carida's moons as a joke but used too much antimatter.
In one of Stephen Baxter's more nonsensical stories, the US government executes "operation Sunday Punch" to blow a huge chunk out of the moon, in order to intimidate the other nations of the world. It doesn't end well.
Live Action TV
In the cartoon segments of The Aquabats! Super Show!, the moon blows up after the Aquabats succeed at rescuing Jimmy from a collapsing underwater city beneath the moon's surface.
On The Big Bang Theory The guys are bouncing a laser off the moon to see if it's viewable from Earth and Penny's dim-witted date is worried the moon will blow up. Leonard reassures him that they set the laser to stun.
Doctor Who discusses it extensively in the Series 8 episode "Kill the Moon". Strange happenings on the moon (fault lines enlarging, a sudden but inexplicable increase in mass, and resulting disastrous effects on Earth tides) causes humanity to launch a mission to blow up the moon with a bunch of nukes. By the end of the episode, they discover that the moon is actually an egg that's about to hatch, and they subvert the trope by stopping the countdown at the last second. Then played with even further—the newborn... thing... immediatelylays a new Moon-egg, which explains why we still have a moon in episodes that take place further into the future.
On Mr. Show, there's a sketch wherein America inexplicably decides to blow up the moon and is met with huge approval, with people writing patriotic country songs and throwing parties in honor of the event. When the monkey assigned to guide the missile that will blow up the moon asks (via sign language) why they're doing it, America erupts into controversy, until the monkey is fired and the destruction of the moon goes through as planned.
Inverted in Space: 1999 where the Moon gets blasted into space but survives more or less intact, but the Earth suffers devastating effects from the loss of their tide-control device.
In a later episode it's revealed that the Earth survived, but humanity screwed the environment anyway.
The ABC Family dramady, Three Moons Over Milford, in which the moon was shattered into three pieces by an asteroid, leaving people uncertain about the future of life on Earth.
Gunpowder Tim, Master-at-Arms of The Mechanisms, was found by the crew floating in the midst of the shattered remains of the Moon, his eyes burned out by the blaze of the explosion. As revealed in Gunpowder Tim vs the Moon Kaiser, he was entirely responsible.
In Lost Episode 2 of Asura's Wrath, Oni Punches Mantra Asura so hard the moon splits in half, and they start blowing up more of it as they start fighting more.
In BlazBlue, Makoto Nanaya's Astral Finish ends with her uppercutting her opponent into the sky. The force of the punch makes him hit the moon and shatter it.
Zetta'sZetta Beeeam Neo attack in Disgaea 4 causes the Netherworld's moon and the asteroid belt near it to detonate in a glorious screen-filling explosion with every use.
The end of Kirby's Adventure sees the pink guy fly after Nightmare, eventually ending up on the moon's surface. Before the battle, the moon is whole; after the battle, it becomes permanently crescent, which is retained for every subsequent game in the series.
Not to mention it was one of Nemo's plans to destroy Earth.
In Rogue Trip you can use a teleporter on the flying saucer level to warp to the moon. If you placed a remote bomb at the crashed saucer and blew it up from the moon, the earth would explode, shortly followed by a hail of flaming rocks that destroys the moon and kills you. And all that for a cheap vacation.
In Shattered Horizon, a mining accident on the moon has caused billions of tons of rocky debris and mining equipment to be thrown out in orbit around earth, essentially leaving a huge hole in the moon, as well as a ring of rocks and debris around the earth.
In Skies of Arcadia, the six Moons bombarding the planet with meteors plays an important role in the game's backstory. More ridiculously, there's an Limit Break that allows you to smash one of them into the enemy... naturally, this is ignored once the battle's over.
In Sonic Adventure 2, Eggman blows up half of the moon with the Eclipse Cannon to show the world he's not messing around when he announces he's conquering the world. Fans have all sorts of theories why the moon seems none the worse for the wear in all following games, including one where the final battle happens on the surface.
In Touhou Soccer, one of Youmu Konpaku's better shots has her completely ignore the ball, fly up into the air, and to one side of the moon. She then slices the Japanese characters for her shot into the moon, and then SLICE IT IN HALF. Explosion and everything. She then apparently remembers the ball, and comes down and whacks the ball with her sword. The soccer ball, to its credit, handles a slash that cleaved the moon in two very well, as it may well be Made of Indestructium .
In Darths & Droids, Naboo's moon is destroyed in order to interfere with the Gungans' battle tactics.
In the distant past of Drowtales the wars between the elves managed to damageone of the nine moons resulting in a large piece impacting the surface and creating the Underworld where the elves eventually fled once they had wrecked the surface too much to survive.
In Homestuck, Jack Noir does this to Prospit's (inhabited) moon. Technically, he only broke the chain connecting it to Prospit and crashed it into Skaia, but the idea is the same.
Richard managed this in Looking for Group while trying to extinguish a burning village. He wanted a high five afterward.
Another example of a different moon, the UNS of Schlock Mercenary accidentally broke Io while strip mining it. The nickel-iron core popped out and crashed into Jupiter, hence the saying "not for all the nickels in Jupiter".
In Colour My Dreams, you need to do this after solving a puzzle to get past the endless hallway.
Frank J. Fleming of the blog IMAO, advocates the United States Nuking the Moon to convince other coutries that the U.S. is crazy and not to be messed with.
Tech Infantry has the Moon blown up in order to have the broken pieces rain down upon the Earth and make in uninhabitable.
Almost happens in Avatar: The Last Airbender, when Zhao plots to kill the moon spirit. It's not clear if the moon was physically destroyed/wiped from existence, but at the very least he got it to stop reflecting light. Somewhat averts No Endor Holocaust in that they make it clear the moon's death would be a very bad thing. As it stands, however, all it did was force a Heroic Sacrifice to fix the moon and create one very pissed off ocean spirit kaiju.
In Beast Wars, the planet the Maximals and Predacons land on has two moons. At the end of season 1, one of them turns out to be an alien Kill Sat, which Optimus Primal ends up destroying by Heroic Sacrifice.
Buzz Lightyear of Star Command: "Wirewolf" Booster and Mira flew Star Cruister 42 into the moon, blowing it up so as to revert Wirewolf back to Ty Parsec.
Project A119. The US during the Cold War had a plan to detonate a nuclear weapon on the moon during the 1950's. Officially called the much less insane-sounding "A Study of Lunar Research Flights". Cancelled in lieu of a better idea of landing a ship there instead.
The rings orbiting the planet Saturn may have formed when a moon orbiting it broke up either by straying too close to its parent planet or was destroyed in a collision with another moon.
Uranus' moon Miranda has bizarre terrain and its thought that long ago it was completely shattered has since reformed.
Some planets may eventually lose their moons billions of years from now. Because it is orbiting the Red Planet faster than that planet can spin, the Martian moon Phobos may eventually collide with Mars; and even though the Moon is actually moving away from the Earth until it slows down so much that it it literally stuck above one side of our planet permanently, the dying and expanding Sun will eventually cause the Moon to spiral back toward Earth, causing it to shatter and collide with our own planet (ironically, this was also how our Moon was born).
Triton, Neptune's largest moon, is spiraling towards its host planet, and will eventually enter the planet's Roche Limit in about 3.6 billion years. Once this happens, Triton will actually disintergrate because of Neptune's tidal forces; Triton will become a huge set of visible rings around Neptune (Triton out-masses Saturn's rings several hundred times over).