In the universe of Captain Scarlet, humanity first reached the Moon in the early 1970s – and, unlike in our own world, lunar exploration continued to the point where a century later more than four thousand people were living and working on the Moon. The two episodes of the show that offered us a glimpse of how they lived (Lunarville 7 and Crater 101) showed that at least some of those four thousand people were housed in self-supporting domed lunar communities known as Lunarvilles, with at least seven such colonies known to be in existence. It appears that certain Lunarvilles were built to serve specific functions for the wider lunar community, with the greenhouses of the briefly seen Lunarville 4 mentioned as being the primary food production centre for the lunar colonies.
In command of Lunarville 7 was a character known only as the Lunar Controller, who also appeared to have total responsibility for the Moon’s entire human community. It was his declaration of the Moon as a neutral and independent world separate from any conflict between the Earth and the Mysterons that first brought Spectrum to the Moon, to investigate reports of unusual activity in the Humboldt Sea – an investigation which would ultimately lead to the discovery of a Mysteron complex being built in crater 101.
Visitors to the lunar colonies were ferried into lunar orbit aboard the XK5 rocket, with the final stage of the journey being carried out aboard the XK3 capsule after it separated from the main body of the craft and touched down on a launch pad in the centre of the Lunarville facility. Upon arriving at Lunarville 7, Captain Scarlet, Captain Blue and Lieutenant Green were escorted by the Lunar Controller’s personal aide Orson for a meeting with the Controller. There they were also introduced the base’s control computer, S.I.D.; Speech Intelligence Decoder. Designed and developed on Earth, but constructed by technicians on the Moon, S.I.D. was responsible for almost all computer functions within Lunarville 7, and visitors to the base were required to wear recognition discs in order to identify themselves to the computer. He would then respond with his own simulated voice, and demonstrated a polite if subservient persona to the visiting Spectrum personnel. It is possible that S.I.D. was an experimental prototype or else an exclusive feature of Lunarville 7, as Lunarville 6 did not appear to have an equivalent control computer nor any requirement for personnel to wear recognition discs.
Although Lunarville 7 incorporated approximately ten domes of varying size, viewers only saw inside the airlock, the control room, and the residential block incorporating the guest quarters and the Lunar Controller’s quarters. Visitors to the base who found the light of the Earth too bright to sleep under could adjust its glare using the polarity window, although the Spectrum team were more concerned with dealing with the listening devices planted in their room by Orson.
Lunarville 7 was subsequently destroyed when the Lunar Controller shot S.I.D. following the discovery of the Mysteron complex, although fortunately most of the base’s personnel had been evacuated prior to this disaster. It should again be noted that although Linda Nolan described the Lunar Controller as a Mysteron agent during her briefing in Crater 101, there is no way to be sure whether or not he (and Orson) were really Mysterons or simply misguided humans in league with them.
Following the destruction of Lunarville 7 the responsibility for investigating the Mysteron activities in crater 101 fell to the personnel of Lunarville 6 under the command of Linda Nolan, former project controller on the first Neptune probe launched from the Moon. Physically this base appeared to be almost identical to Lunarville 7, with a similar control room and its own fleet of Moonmobiles. Among the base’s senior staff were operatives Frazer (who was subsequently Mysteronised) and Shroeder.
In addition to the XR3 landing pad at the heart of the base, Lunarville 6 also had a separate rocket launch facility; presumably the point from which the aerial reconnaissance flights that provided intelligence on the Mysteron activities in crater 101 were launched. However, the only craft we saw launched from this facility was the obsolete CB29 probe used to warn Spectrum’s infiltration team that the bomb that would destroy the Mysteron complex had been set for two hours earlier than scheduled. Why the base would carry a rocket that appeared to be no longer in active service is something of a mystery.
The primary mode of surface exploration used by the residents of the Lunarville colonies was the Moonmobile, a white grasshopper-like vehicle that employed a jumping method of motion that Captain Scarlet described as “a novel method of transportation, and surprisingly smooth” – although not so smooth that it didn’t require its occupants to wear seatbelts. At Lunarville 7 access to Moonmobiles could only be granted to a limited pool of personnel authorised via S.I.D., although the Moonmobiles of Lunarville 6 required no such authorisation.
The Moonmobile was also large enough to carry its own support vehicle, the Lunar Tractor. This yellow tracked vehicle provided the Spectrum team with greater manoeuvrability as they entered crater 101 and approached the Mysteron complex itself – and enough firepower to destroy the Mysteron control vehicle with one shot.
Additionally, Lunarville 6 also carried a vehicle known as the Lunar Tank, another tracked vehicle which was used by the Mysteron agent Frazer. Larger than a Moonmobile, the most notable feature of the Lunar Tank was the large arm on the top of the vehicle used to transport cargo; in this case the atomic device intended to destroy the Mysteron complex in crater 101.
Although we only made two visits to the Moon in the original Captain Scarlet television the so-called ‘Lunarville trilogy’ of Lunarville 7, Crater 101 and Dangerous Rendezvous remain some of the show’s most popular and exciting episodes, and much of that surely must be down to the skill with which the Century 21 creative team painted an intriguing and credible picture of human life on our nearest neighbour in space. Life on the Moon may still only be a dream for us today, but who knows; there’s still 45 years to make the Lunarville colonies a reality!