Is there a clandestine
designed to save the elite
from a global catastrophe?
In 1977, Anglia TV in the UK broadcast
an edition of its popular Science Report strand that uncovered a
story so colossal it would change the world.
The episode was titled
Alternative 3 and began with an
investigation into a string of mysterious disappearances amongst top
scientists. What followed was sensational.
The scientists, the show discovered, had been recruited into a top
secret clandestine space program, designed to build a
base on Mars in anticipation of a
forthcoming ecological catastrophe on Earth.
Anglia TV was immediately bombarded with calls from alarmed viewers.
The alarm was unwarranted they were told because, like Orson Welles'
War of the Worlds in 1938,
Alternative 3 was a hoax.
Produced in a documentary style, and originally intended to be
broadcast on April 1st, the program was a skillful
fiction written by award-winning screenwriter David Ambrose.
Americans and Russians
had secretly built a
base on the Moon
Although relatively obscure, Alternative 3 has had a lasting and
deep impact since it was first broadcast in 1977. Many now believe
the fictional events portrayed in the show reflect reality.
It has inspired hundreds of conspiracy theories about secret space
missions, bases on the Moon and Mars and even off-world fleets of
The fictional Alternative 3 culminates
with the reporter decoding a video tape which reveals footage of a
joint US/USSR mission to Mars in 1962.
In 2001, British hacker
Gary McKinnon claimed to have
found astonishing evidence that such an out of this world program
really does exist.
Hacking into top secret Pentagon military computers, McKinnon says
he found a crew manifest file detailing 'non-terrestrial' officers.
Perhaps this was, at last, the smoking gun that proved Alternative 3
wasn't entirely fictional.
Is there a
secret space program?
'Parallel space programs'
As far as the general public are concerned, the American space
program is run by NASA - the National Aeronautics and Space
Signed into existence by Dwight D Eisenhower in 1958, NASA
was primarily a civilian organization built upon earlier military
space programs. It's many high profile projects like,
...were subject to much publicity and
Despite this, the US Air Force continued to operate an almost
entirely unknown, vast and clandestine parallel space program even
after the formation of NASA.
This program rivaled, if not exceeded, the ambition of Apollo and
the Space Shuttle.
It operated under almost total secrecy,
its scale, scope, and objectives were obscure and only the
occasional low-key press release hinted at its existence at all.
The USAF has long since run black
projects that were so secret the public, and sometimes even
congress, were completely unaware of their existence.
Various aircraft, such as the
F-117A Nighthawk, were financed,
developed, built and operated under total secrecy. The Nighthawk's
existence wasn't revealed publicly until 1988, some 11 years after
its first flight.
The F-117 was a total
for over a decade
Could they have similar top secret space projects that remain
entirely unknown to the public?
A look at those plans that were
acknowledged reveals a curious pattern.
In the late 1950s, the USAF
spent billions of dollars on
Dyna-Soar, an advanced,
reusable space plane. They then quietly announced its
cancelation in 1963.
In the mid-60s, they canceled
plans for a space station called
the MOL - manned orbital
Project Horizon was an
ambitious plan for a manned moon base that predates NASA's
first moon landing in 1969. It too was discretely canceled
before it could come to fruition.
In 1989, the New York Times
reported that the Air Force had shut down yet another
planned manned space program, with a staff of 32 astronauts
and a space shuttle launching facility in Colorado.
Until the announcement, which
appeared in just one newspaper, the existence of this
massive, non-NASA space project was completely unknown.
It doesn't seem credible that the USAF
would spend so many hundreds of billions of dollars on multiple
manned space programs and then quietly mothball them all with no
MOL was the USAF's
for a space station
Could it be they were never
canceled at all but continued in secret?
And were there other, even more
secret black projects we still know nothing about?
If so, these programs would have been
far more advanced than anything NASA publically achieved and move
the prospect of the kind of secret space program envisaged in
Alternative 3 closer to fact than fiction.
A curious diary entry by president Ronald Reagan in 1985
suggests such a possibility may not be so far-fetched. In the
diaries, published long after his presidency, Reagan recounts a
meeting at the White House with several top space scientists.
On page 334 he states,
"It was fascinating. Space truly is
the last frontier and some of the developments there in
astronomy etc. are like science fiction, except they are real. I
learned that our shuttle capacity is such that we could orbit
Presuming Reagan wasn't simply confused
or mistaken, this claim is impossible without the prospect of a
secret space program.
America's space shuttle has a capacity of 8 people, and only 5 were
ever built. The U.S. does not, and never has had, at least
officially, the technology to put 300 people into space.
The science fiction reference seemed apt.
However, in 2001, a computer hacker from
the UK found evidence that cast this obscure entry in Reagan's diary
in a sensational new light.
Evidence for 'The
In 2002, Scottish computer enthusiast
was accused by the US government of the,
"the biggest military computer hack
of all time".
Under the guise of 'Solo', McKinnon
hacked into dozens of Pentagon, USAF, and NASA computers between
2001 and 2002.
US prosecutors sought his extradition and charged him with 7 counts
of computer-related crime which could have seen McKinnon receive a
70-year prison sentence.
claimed to have found
for a secret space
His roll call of alleged crimes was impressive:
disabling critical systems at a
navy airbase not long after 9/11
bringing down an entire network
of 2000 US Army computers
copying, changing and deleting
McKinnon himself maintains his actions
were not malicious and he was merely searching for
evidence of UFOs and suppressed
free energy technology.
If he can be believed, what he found was
The first find was spreadsheet detailing a list of USAF officers,
with their names and ranks. What was interesting about this was the
file was titled,
Based on what else he found, McKinnon
does not think this is a reference to aliens, but human
officers serving in space.
Also in the file was information about ship-to-ship transfers. What
made this file doubly strange was none of the ship names, or indeed
officers, seemed to exist.
McKinnon was aware of the case of
Donna Hare, an ex-NASA employee
who said the agency had a department in building 8 at the Johnson
Space Centre whose job was to airbrush UFOs out of space images.
McKinnon found an unguarded computer at building 8 and looked for
evidence to corroborate Hare's story. Incredibly, he says he found
it. There were a series of folders on the computer labeled 'raw' and
Inside the raw folder, he found an image
of large, silvery, cigar-shaped craft pictured in orbit over the
McKinnon hacked into
at the Johnson Space
Could this be a spacecraft developed by a secret space program of
the kind proposed in Alternative 3?
Critics of Gary McKinnon's case question why he didn't download or
screen capture any of these images. The hacker himself also admits
he was often high on marijuana and drunk when he hacked the
Caveats aside, McKinnnon had provided some tantalizing evidence in
support for a secret space program. But it was still weak.
Was there anyone else to corroborate his claims?
Some ex-employees of NASA, the military, and its defense contractors
have come forward in recent years with evidence that supports the
secret space program theory.
Whilst some of these whistleblowers tell stories so bizarre and
incredible they have to be discounted, others are more credible.
In 1965, Sgt
Karl Wolfe was a young
electronics expert at USAF tactical air command at Langley in
Virginia. One day he was called over to an NSA facility to examine a
fault in some photographic equipment.
The lab was processing images of the
moon's surface taken by the lunar orbiter.
One thing immediately struck Wolfe. There were hundreds of
scientists from all over he world at the facility, speaking dozens
of different languages. Wolfe felt this peculiar, especially at the
height of the cold war.
He got talking with a photographic technician processing the lunar
The man appeared disturbed.
found a base on the backside of
the moon", he said.
Some witnesses recall
on the Moon
Wolfe was stunned.
The technician then showed him contact
prints that showed the base. Wolfe observed large domes, towers and
what looked like radar dishes. The fictional Alternative 3 suggested
the secret space program had built a moon base as a staging point
for a mission to Mars.
Was this it...?
Donna Hare tells a similar story. As a NASA contractor in the 1970s,
she encountered an employee whose job it was to airbrush UFOs out of
Intrigued, Hare sniffed around for more information. She heard
chatter that the Apollo astronauts
had observed artificial structures
and even spacecraft on the moon.
John Schuessler spent 36 years as an aerospace engineer at
Boeing and worked on numerous NASA projects. He too recalled seeing
Apollo images containing UFOs.
However, when accessing NASA's official photo archive of the
mission, he was unable to find the photos. The numerically indexed
images had been removed from the collection.
Perhaps the most unlikely whistleblower for a secret space program
is the military of France. In 2007, Col. Yves Blin of the
French Department of Defence announced some very intriguing data
gathered by their Graves space radar system.
Some 20-30 satellites were detected that appeared not to exist.
The U.S. Defense Department maintains a
list of all satellites in orbit, including the classified military
satellites of other countries, and none of these were listed.
The U.S. has secretly
dozens of satellites
These mysterious satellites were, then, almost certainly launched by
the U.S. themselves.
Whilst not evidence for Alternative 3,
it did prove the existence of a clandestine space program of a kind.
Whatever the purpose of these satellites, they would require a large
infrastructure back on earth - facilities, funding, technology,
staff, rockets and launch pads, all operating in secret.
Is it too much of a stretch to suppose this infrastructure had
achieved far more than just launching satellites? Could it have been
responsible for the UFO's and structures observed on the moon by
Projects such as
Lunex envisaged military bases on
the moon that predated Apollo.
Officially they were shut down but...,
did they in fact continue to operate as
deep black projects?
The idea that the US military may have secretly established a base
on the moon is far-fetched but not so outrageous as to be entirely
dismissed. But in Alternative 3, a moon base was simply a staging
point for a mission
In terms of scale, ambition and
complexity this would be far in excess of a moon base.
claims she was
invited to join a colony on Mars
However, in 2010, evidence that such a mission has already occurred
came from the most unlikely source.
Laura Eisenhower, the
great-granddaughter of former president Dwight D. Eisenhower,
says she was approached in 2006 to take part in a mission to the red
She was told she would be joining a base on Mars, set up as a
survival colony in the event of a catastrophe on Earth. This was
then, the exact same scenario proposed in Alternative 3.
Eisenhower's incredible story was
ridiculed by most people. However, she seems sincere and no doubt
believes what happened was genuine.
The possibility that she was the target
of some kind of hoax or intelligence operation cannot therefore be
Alternative 3 is a very skillfully produced piece of television,
weaving together news stories from the headlines of the time into a
fiction credible enough it has convinced many it is fact.
As its name suggests, Alternative 3 was the third of three proposed
schemes to avert a forthcoming ecological catastrophe on Earth.
Alternative 3 was
as part of Anglia
TV's Science Report
for video Click above
The first two of these proposals, at least, were directly based on
real projects undertaken in the United States.
Alternative 1 was to use nuclear
bombs to blow holes in the stratosphere from which
greenhouse gases could escape. Whilst it may sound absurd, a
controversial experiment in 1950s did fire nuclear missiles
into the atmosphere.
Project Argus was
ostensibly set up to measure the effects of radiation on
Earth's upper atmosphere and involved the detonation of 3
nuclear warheads hundreds of miles over the south Atlantic
Alternative 2 was to build a
vast network of underground tunnels and bases in which a
select group of people could maintain the human race.
Over a hundred
such installations exist in
the North America alone. Bases such as Site R in
Pennsylvania and Mount Weather in Virginia are so vast they
have their own rail networks, hospitals, and television
One of the most potent ideas in
Alternative 3 was the prospect that mankind was 'on the verge' of
an ecological cataclysm.
This was a worrying concept at the
forefront of the public consciousness when the program was broadcast
in 1977. Alarmist stories had begun to emerge about both
global warming and global cooling.
Dire warnings of extreme weather and
environmental chaos were all over the newspapers.
The book of
expanded on the TV
Click above image for
Much of Alternative 3 then, was based in fact. Could the more
outrageous aspects of the plot be true too?
Author Leslie Watkins came to
believe so. Watkins was hired to write a novelization of Alternative
3 in 1978 that greatly expanded upon the story presented in the TV
After its publication, he received hundreds of letters from what he
regarded as credible sources confirming the basic premise behind of
The book is fiction
based on fact.
But I now feel that I
very close to a secret truth.
Watkins decided to use some of the evidence sent to him to begin a
non-fiction sequel to Alternative 3, but backed out after he came to
suspect his phone and correspondence was been monitored by the
Watkins started to believe he had stumbled upon something deep and
In 1989, he wrote,
"the book is fiction based on fact.
But I now feel that I inadvertently got very close to a secret
'Follow the money'
Critics of the idea of a secret space program point out the vast
amount of money that would be required to mount such an operation.
Whilst the U.S. military has long run black budgets, the amount of
unaccounted money that would be required to construct bases on the
and Mars would be eye-wateringly
Such a program would completely dwarf the Apollo moon missions,
which cost, in current prices, $110 billion dollars.
Could such huge sums be generated 'off the books'?
Bill Sweetman, editor of
Defense Technology International, estimated the U.S. military 'black
budget' to be $50 billion in 2010.
To put that into context, NASA's budget in the same year was just
$17 billion. So huge amounts of money are available, but much of
that is already spent on conventional black military projects -
planes, missiles, bombs and so forth.
Other sources of revenue would still be needed beyond the
traditional black budget dollars. And even if such funding could be
secured, could it really be spent without anyone noticing?
A project on the scale of Alternative 3 would generate millions of
financial transactions, employ 10s or 100,000s of people and involve
hundreds of technology and engineering companies.
Could this really be done under absolute secrecy, without more
people coming forward and admitting involvement? It's doubtful that
what would effectively be the biggest undertaking in human history
could really be kept so secret.
"Where's the hardware?"
If a large spaceship was really orbiting over the northern
hemisphere as McKinnon claimed, wouldn't it be noticed?
There are hundreds of satellites in orbit from dozens of countries
around the world, yet none appeared to have detected the presence of
such a craft. Nor have any of the millions of amateur astronomers on
Earth observed the craft with their telescopes.
An orbiting space ship and bases on the Moon and Mars would require
hundreds of launches from Earth to construct, all of which would
have to occur in complete secrecy and remain unobserved by anyone.
Could such a vast
be kept secret from
Furthermore, countries with a traditional enmity to the West such as
Russia, North Korea, China, and Iran have all launched their own
satellites and probes to both the Moon and Mars.
How could the craft and the bases be
concealed from them?
Alternative 3 proposes that governments from around the world would
conspire together, but this would suggest that the evident
hostility of such rival countries is actually a public
Could it really be that the Cold War, which brought the world to the
brink of nuclear armageddon on more than one occasion, was a sham
and the U.S.S.R. and U.S. were secretly working together all