Tycho Magnetic Anomaly One, TMA-1, or the Tycho Monolith is a large, black, crystalline monolith found on the moon in 1999, near the crater Tycho. The exact origin, purpose, and composition are unknown, though the monolith was presumably placed on the moon by an unseen alien race.
TMA-1 is fashioned to the exact proportions of 1:4:9; that is to say the height is 9 times the depth and the depth is one-fourth of the width. Such exact dimensions ruled out any naturally occurring phenomena, and because the monolith was four million years old, it would have been impossible to have been forged by humans, since there were no humans at the time the monolith was placed. This left only one possibility, that an alien race passed through the solar system four million years ago and placed the monolith on the moon.
The Tycho Monolith was first discovered in 2001. American survey satellites discovered a strong magnetic field near the crater, Tycho. It was first assumed to be a giant nickel-iron meteorite, but not even that could produce such an intense field. Excavation at the site unveiled the three million year old black monolith, buried 20 feet below the lunar surface. The Tycho Monolith was officially dubbed Tycho Magnetic Anomaly One, or TMA-1.A cover story was produced by the National Committee for Astronautics, as the knowledge of TMA-1 would most certainly cause some cultural shock. The cover story was that an epidemic of unknown origins had broken out at Clavius Base, though most members of the NCA found this cover story to be rather embarrassing. All communication with Clavius had been cut for several days, and a Soviet shuttle had been denied an emergency landing at Clavius, only causing the atmosphere of mystery to escalate.
Dr. Heywood Floyd, chairman of the NCA, was taken up to Clavius to investigate the monolith. Soon after arrival at Clavius, he was shuttled to the excavation site of TMA-1. When he arrived, he approached the black enigma and reached out to touch it. The crew then gathered together for a photograph to be taken of them in front of the monolith. Soon after the picture was taken, the sun rose up from behind the lunar horizon. The Tycho Monolith gave off a single, very powerful, radio emission, aimed directly at Saturn (Jupiter in the film). "After three million years of darkness, TMA-1 greeted the lunar dawn."
Scientists hypothesized about what the purpose of the monolith might be. Several theories were put out, such as the monolith might be a storage unit, or perhaps some solar powered energy generator. However, the most plausible theory, and perhaps the most frightening, is that the monolith is some sort of alarm, and it has been triggered, sending a message to the alien intelligence that created the Tycho Monolith, and alerting it to our presence.
By the year 3001, the Tycho monolith had been moved to the United Nations building on Earth, where it served as a reminder that mankind is not alone in the cosmos.
Though the monolith could be touched by bare hands, most people found that their fingers skidded across the surface, repelled from the monolith by some invisible barrier, making it impossible to actually touch the monolith itself.