by Jim Marrs
Before the Apollo missions, lunar scientists longed for the time when humans could walk on the moon's surface.
By studying the make-up of our satellite, they hoped to
resolve some of the mysteries of how our planet and solar system
came into existence. Six moon landings later, the public perception
was that we had learned all we needed to about the moon. However,
those same lunar scientists were no closer to agreement on how to
answer even the most basic questions - such as how the moon was
Quite the reverse, what we have learned about the moon in the wake of the Apollo missions has only raised more questions.
Science writer Earl Ubell declared,
Harvard's respected astronomy journal
Sky and Telescope reported that at
the Lunar Conference of 1973, it was revealed that one moon
rock was dated at 5.3 billion years old which would make it almost
a billion years older than our planet.
Earl Ubell, a former science editor for CBS television, acknowledged this mystery, saying,
The moon is extremely dry and does not appear to have ever had water in any substantial amounts.
None of the moon rocks, regardless of location found, contained free water or even water molecules bound into the minerals. Yet instruments left behind by Apollo missions sent a signal to Earth on March 7, 1971, indicating a "wind" of water had crossed the moon's surface. Since any water on the airless moon surface vaporizes and behaves like the wind on Earth, the question became where did this water originate? The vapor cloud eruptions lasted 14 hours and covered an area of some 100 square miles.
Some scientists claimed the water vapor came from deep inside the moon, apparently released during a moonquake. NASA officials offered a more mundane, and questionable, explanation. They speculated that two tanks on Apollo descent stages containing between 60 and 100 pounds of water became stressed and ruptured, releasing their contents.
to accept this explanation, pointing out that the two tanks - from
Apollo 12 and 14 - were some 180 kilometers apart yet the water
vapor was detected with the same flux at both sites although the
instruments faced in opposite directions. Skeptics also have
understandably questioned the odds of two separate tanks breaking
simultaneously and how such a small quantity of water could produce
100 square miles of vapor.
So where did the magnetism come from?
The argument that perhaps the moon picked up its magnetism from
close contact with the Earth collapses when one considers that if
the moon got close enough to pick up a magnetic field, it was close
enough to be ripped apart by the Earth's gravitational pull.
Yet there is no indication that the moon has ever been hot enough to produce volcanic eruptions.
Others tried to explain this conundrum
by stating that the moon was volcanically active some billions of
years ago but, being a small world, rapidly lost its heat.
Adding to this mystery are
the mascons - large dense circular masses lying
20 to 40 miles below the center of the moon's maria. The
mascons were discovered because their denseness distorted the
orbits of our spacecraft flying over or near them. One scientist
proposed that the mascons are heavy iron meteorites which
plunged deep into the moon while it was in a soft, formiable stage.
Since the maria appear to have been formed by hot lava, why did not these heavy mascons sink to the bottom?
During the Apollo missions seismographic equipment was placed at six separate sites on the moon.
Between 1969 and 1977, when this equipment ceased operating, up to 3,000 "moonquakes" were detected during each year of operation. Most of the vibrations were quite small and were caused by meteorite strikes or falling booster rockets. But many other quakes were detected deep inside the moon. This internal creaking is believed to be caused by the gravitational pull of our planet as most moonquakes occur when the moon is closest to the Earth.
However, an event occurred in 1958 in the moon's Alphonsus crater which shook the idea that all internal moonquake activity was simply settling rocks.
In November of that year, Soviet astronomer Nikolay A. Kozyrev of the Crimean Astrophysical Observatory set the scientific world on its ear by photographing the first recorded gaseous eruption on the moon near the crater's peak. Kozyrev attributed this to escaping fluorescent gases. He also detected a reddish glow characteristic of carbon compounds which "seemed to move and disappeared after an hour".
Some scientists refused to accept
Kozyrev's findings. However, astronomers at the Lowell
Observatory also saw reddish glows on the crests of ridges in
the Aristarchus region in 1963. Apollo Astronauts Neil
Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin sighted eerie lights
inside a crater near the point on the moon where their lunar lander
was due to touch down in July, 1969.
Something is going on inside the volcanically dead moon.
And whatever it is, it occurs the same way at the same time. As the moon moves closer to the Earth, seismic signals from different stations on the lunar surface detect identical vibrations. Could internal shifting inside the moon always occur the exact same way? Hardly likely.
New York Times writer Walter Sullivan wrote,
The question of identical vibrations made it hard to understand how this could be a natural phenomenon.
However, something artificially constructed could produce the same
identical seismic result, which could occur over and over. For
example, a broken hull plate could shift exactly the same way each
time the moon passed near the Earth.
As far back as 1962, NASA scientist Dr. Gordon MacDonald stated,
Unwilling to believe the moon hollow, MacDonald believed his data may have been faulty.
However, other studies tended to confirm his findings. M.I.T.'s Dr. Sean C. Solomon wrote,
The significance was stated by astronomer Carl Sagan way back in his 1966 work Intelligent Life in the Universe, "A natural satellite cannot be a hollow object." The most startling evidence that the moon could be hollow came on November 20, 1969, when the Apollo 12 crew, after returning to their command ship, sent the lunar module (LM) ascent stage crashing back onto the moon creating an artificial moonquake.
The LM struck the surface about 40 miles from the Apollo 12 landing
site where ultra-sensitive seismic equipment recorded something both
unexpected and astounding - the moon reverberated like a bell for
more than an hour. The vibration wave took almost t eight minutes to
reach a peak, then decreased in intensity.
Dr. Frank Press of M.I.T. added,
The phenomenon was repeated when the Apollo 13's third stage was sent crashing onto the moon by radio command, striking with the equivalent of 11 tons of TNT.
According to NASA, this time the moon "reacted like a gong". Although seismic equipment was more than 108 miles from the crash site, recordings showed reverberations lasted for three hours and 20 minutes and traveled to a depth of 22 to 25 miles.
Subsequent studies of man-made crashes on the moon yielded similar results. After one impact the moon reverberated for four hours. This ringing coupled with the density problem on the moon led some to conclude the moon may have an unusually light - or even no - core.
They hoped to record the
impact of a meteor large enough to send shock waves to the moon's
core and back and settle the issue. That opportunity came on May 13,
1972, when a large meteor stuck the moon with the equivalent force
of 200 tons of TNT.
Dr. Farouk El Baz was quoted as saying,
The results of these experiments have not been made public.
It seems apparent that the moon has a tough,
hard outer shell and a light or nonexistent interior. The moon's
shell contains dark minerals such as titanium, used on Earth
in the construction of aircraft and space vehicles. Many people
still recall watching our astronauts on TV as they vainly tried to
drill through the crust of a moon maria. Their specially
designed drills could only penetrate a few inches.
A more recent theory had the moon created out of space
debris left over from the creation of the Earth. This concept proved
untenable in light of current gravitational theory which indicates
that one large object will accumulate all loose material, leaving
none for the formation of another large body.
Neither of these theories are especially compelling because of the lack of evidence that either the Earth or the moon has been physically disrupted by a past close encounter.
There is no debris in space indicating a past collision and it does not appear that the Earth and the moon developed during the same time period.
A current encyclopedia stated,
As for the "capture" theory, even scientist Isaac Asimov, so well known for his works of fiction, has written,
Asimov was right to consider the moon's orbit - it is not only nearly a perfect circle but stationary, one side always facing the Earth with only the slightest variation.
As far as we know, it's the only natural satellite with such an orbit. This circular orbit is especially odd considering that the moon's center of mass lies more than a mile closer to the Earth than its geometric center. This fact alone should produce an unstable, wobbly orbit, much as a ball with its mass off center will not roll in a straight line. Additionally, almost all of the other satellites in our solar system orbit in the plane of their planet's equator.
Not so the moon, whose orbit lies strangely nearer the Earth's orbit around the sun or inclined to the Earth's ecliptic by more than five degrees. Add to this the fact that the moon's bulge - located on the side facing away from Earth - thus negating the idea that it was caused by the Earth's gravitational pull - makes for an off-balanced world. It seems impossible that such an oddity could naturally fall into such a precise and circular orbit.
It is a fascinating conundrum as articulated by science writer William Roy Shelton, who wrote,
If the precise and stationary orbit of the moon is seen as sheer coincidence, is it also coincidence that the moon is at just the right distance from the Earth to completely cover the sun during an eclipse?
While the diameter of the moon is a mere 2,160 miles against the sun's gigantic 864,000 miles, it is nevertheless in just the proper position to blockout all but the sun's flaming corona when it moves between the sun and the Earth.
How does one explain these and many other moon mysteries?
Scientists are a conservative lot who all too often tend to ignore any data not pertaining to their own particular area of expertise. They are as lost at explaining our nearest satellite as they are at explaining tektites - small glassy extraterrestrial blobs found only at a few sites on Earth.
Little notice was taken when Michael Vasin
and Alexander Shcherbakov published an article in the Soviet
journal Sputnik entitled "Is
the Moon the Creation of Alien Intelligence?" After all,
who could take seriously such an outrageous concept?
Huge machines were used to melt
rock and form large cavities within the moon, spewing the molten
refuse onto the surface. Protected by a hull-like inner shell plus a
reconstructed outer shell of metallic rocky junk, this gigantic
craft was steered through the cosmos and finally parked in orbit
around the Earth.