Chapter Twelve

Where the Titans Slept...

I In January 14, 2004, right in the midst of the Spirit and Opportunity Rover Missions, President George W. Bush traveled the few blocks from the White House to NASA headquarters, in Washington, D.C. to make a momentous announcement.

 

More than thirty years after Mankind had last set foot upon the surface of another world, Bush had come to NASA HQ to announce a new direction for the Space Agency. We were, finally, going back to the Moon and then on to Mars.
 

At the NASA Announcement Ceremony for his "Vision for Space Exploration," Bush outlined three specific goals.

1. Complete the International Space Station (ISS) by 2010, and then retire the Space Shuttle.
2. Develop a new Crew Exploration Vehicle, or CEV, to carry astronauts to the Space Station and then on to the Moon and Mars by 2008, with manned missions to start no later than 2014.
3. Return to the Moon with a manned mission by 2015, if possible, but no later than 2020.

In order to accomplish this, the President siphoned off $11 billion over a five-year period from the existing NASA budget, and then went to Congress to ask for an additional billion dollars to complete the funding. This was a considerably more modest proposal than the so-called "Space Exploration Initiative" proposed by his father, President George H. W. Bush, in 1989.

 

That program had met with resistance over its large budgetary requirements and was subsequently killed by his successor, President Clinton. "W," it seemed, had learned from the mistakes of Bush the Elder and made a proposal that would ultimately receive almost unanimous support in political circles.


Bush 43, of course, had made something of a habit of paying back Bush 41's political debts, and finishing his unfinished business.


1 CO
As readers of our web-based "Millennium" series will note, Bush 43 seems to be playing the role of the avenging son Horus to his father's "Osiris." Almost from the day of his fathers loss to Bill Clinton in the 1992 presidential election, George W. Bush began plotting his own path to the White House, vanquishing along the way most of his fathers' most prominent political enemies.


He started in his home state of Texas in 1994, running against the one-term incumbent Democratic Governor, Ann Richards. Richards had attained national prominence at the 1988 Democratic National Convention by mocking his father, the first President Bush. Further, she had been equally disrespectful when the elder Bush left office.

 

However, two years later, it was Richards whose political career was over. Bush the younger won a surprisingly easy victory over Richards, who was considered popular and was heavily favored to win re-election. After a landslide victory in his first attempt at reelection in 1998, Bush set his sights on his father's old job at the White House.


Although the 22nd amendment to the U.S. constitution prevented him from running against President Clinton himself, Bush could run against Clinton's hand picked successor and political protege', Vice President Al Gore. In the summer of 2000, both men swept easily to their respective parties nominations for president, and then faced off in the fall campaign.

 

Gore, like Richards before him, was considered a heavy favorite over the supposedly "light-weight" Bush, but soon found he had all he could handle in his opponent. Bush deftly exposed some of Gore's less pleasing personality traits by goading him in the three presidential debates, and Gore's slim lead had faded away by the weekend before the election. Then, Fox News broke a story that Saturday night about Bush's arrest 25 years earlier for drunk driving. Bush's momentum stalled and the election became a toss-up.


Election night 2000 was certainly one of the most memorable for Americans in their modern history. Using exit polls gathered by a consortium called the "Voter News Service" rather than actual returns, the various news networks called a number of states early for Gore, and he seemed to have a solid lead. When they called the State of Florida for Gore before the polls had even closed in the panhandle section of the state, it seemed to put him over the top. Bush however quickly went on national television and stated that he did not agree with the projections giving the state to Gore, and that he fully expected to win Florida.

 

As the evening wore on and the returns flowed in, Gore's lead in the State was not nearly as large as the exit polls had predicted. When the polls closed in the panhandle, the networks retracted their calls for Gore, and as the returns came in more fully, called the State for Bush.

 

As the final returns came in, Bush's lead shrank to about 1,700 votes, making Florida too close to call and forcing the networks to retract their earlier calls for Bush. Gore, who had already conceded the election to Bush, immediately retracted his concession and proceeded to initiate legal action to force a hand recount.

 

A machine recount also showed Bush the winner by a slim margin, but Gore requested a hand recount only in selected counties of the State. After a month of litigation back and forth, the Supreme Court of the United States declared on a 7-2 vote that the hand recounts were unconstitutional, and ordered the recounts stopped. Gore then conceded and Bush was inaugurated in January 2001.


Having vanquished his father's domestic political foes, it would not be long before Bush 43 would have to face off against his fathers old international opponents as well. After the devastating terrorist attacks of 9-11, 2001, Bush made a speech to Congress declaring a "war on terror" and promising to take the battle not just to the terror groups themselves - but also to the nation-states that supported them. Iraq and its dictator, Saddam Hussein, were first on this list.

 

After being left in power by Bush 41 at the conclusion of the first Gulf War, Saddam had sponsored and financed several attacks against the United States, including the first World Trade Center bombing. He was also strongly implicated in the Oklahoma City bombing of the Murrah Federal Building.

 

He had attempted to assassinate Bush 41 in 1993, and George W. Bush was determined to take him down. The U.S. and a loose coalition of other nations invaded Iraq in 2003 and captured Hussein in 2004. He was tried for crimes against humanity in Iraq and executed in late 2006.


With all of his father's geo-political foes swept aside, all that was left Was for George W. Bush to complete his father's one other unfinished task - a workable Mars Program. While the Space Exploration Initiative might not be the most significant memory most Americans have of the first Bush Presidency, there is considerable evidence it was of paramount importance to the President himself.


In fact, it was the first major policy initiative of his Presidency.


George Herbert Walker Bush announced the Space Exploration Initiative on the occasion of the Twentieth Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Manned Moon Landing. "The U.S. is the richest nation on Earth, with the most powerful economy in the world. And our goal is nothing less than to establish the United States as the pre-eminent spacefaring Nation," he stated. "And next for the New Century, back to the Moon, back to the future, and this time back to stay. And then, a journey into tomorrow, a journey to another planet, a manned mission to Mars."159


His announcement at a Smithsonian Air and Space Museum ceremony honoring the Apollo 11 crew caught many by surprise, since as late as a few days before the ceremony reporters were convinced that Bush would not be announcing any new space programs. The secrecy enabled Bush to gain a brief political advantage, but that momentum quickly faded as the President made several tactical mistakes along the way.


First, he re-created the National Space Council, an Agency that had once been led by Lyndon Johnson when he was Vice President. Bush appointed his own Vice President, the much-maligned Dan Quayle, to head the Council and make recommendations on executing the President's vision. He gave the Council ninety days to establish "realistic" goals and milestones for the new initiative.


However, both NASA and the Congress viewed the Council as an Executive Branch usurpation of both entities' authority. The lack of communication between the Council and the Space Agency led to the ninety-day study becoming a bloated, incoherent wish list of NASA whims rather than a minimalist, cost-sensitive blueprint for practically achieving the President's goals (one over-the-top-proposal even called for a crane to be built on the Moon, at a cost equivalent to an entire aircraft carrier group).


When all of the items on the NASA "wish list" were added up, the cost came to a staggering $541 billion over several decades.


With a price tag like that, the President's space vision was dead on arrival in a hostile Congress controlled by the Democrats. To many, it seemed that NASA had gone out of its way to kill the President's Space Initiative, when they ought to have been embracing it. However, this seeming inconsistency takes on a very different political light when we consider the elder Bush S stated motivations for creating the Program in the first place.


As we showed in Chapter Three, the first President Bush overtly stated on at least one occasion his view that the work of Richard C. Hoagland (and the then-"Mars Mission") was a primary impetus behind his SEI program. In fact, on the very day of Bush's announcement (July 20, 1989) of his dramatic new thirty-year plan, CNN called Hoagland for an interview. The producers of the political program Crossfire specifically wanted Hoagland, of all the possible NASA Mars experts they could have called upon, to present "the case for Mars," following the President's surprise announcement on the steps of the National Air and Space Museum earlier that day.


This raises two immediate questions: Who recommended Hoagland for this gig; and, what do you imagine they thought he'd talk about on CNN...?


On the first question, the answer seems obvious - the White House. This was, after all, the President's first major policy initiative of his first term, and Crossfire was the preeminent political talk show of the day. To think that the White House would allow just "anyone" - anyone other than their own hand-picked "talking head" - to make the case for the new policy strains credulity.

 

Certainly, the White House did not abdicate when asked to provide its own expert.


Hoagland, at that moment, was in the middle of Yosemite National Park in Northern California - about as far from a television studio as you can get in North America. The proposed CNN Mars Crossfire for that evening simply couldn't happen for reasons of practical logistics.


On the second question, there can also be little doubt. Obviously Hoagland would have discussed Cydonia and the Face on CNN that night.


So here we have the specter of the President of the United States sending out the number-one advocate of the idea of "artificial ruins on Mars" as his primary spokesperson on a new Space Policy.


No wonder NASA moved to kill the SEI so quickly.


A few months later Hoagland was invited to make his presentation at NASA Lewis. Apparently in response to the President's wishes, when Dr. John Klineberg, Director of NASA/Lewis, introduced Hoagland for his presentation at that facility on March 20, 1990, Klineberg told the assembled NASA workers that it was Hoagland's work that had inspired the SEI:

"Richard Hoagland is [also] the man who managed to convince the President to state that a return to Mars is one of our goals..."160

Strangely, even though these comments were made in front of literally thousands of NASA scientists and engineers in the main NASA-Lewis Auditorium, and simultaneously broadcast via close-circuit television throughout the rest of the ~4000-acre NASA facility, NASA said it somehow, subsequently lost the entire video recording of Klineberg's introductory statement.


Over a week later, a NASA public affairs representative finally "explained" to "Nightline" producers at ABC News (who were eagerly awaiting delivery of Klineberg's extraordinary remarks related to the White House on the tape) that "they'd had a simultaneous failure in all three cameras recording the event." Miraculously, however, the three cameras came back to life at the same moment, just as Hoagland began speaking.


Fortunately, a friend of Hoagland's, Mark Dwane (whose father worked for NASA-Lewis), was in the audience with an audio cassette tape recorder, and captured Klineberg's entire "official" introduction.


Naturally, skeptics and critics scoff at the idea that the Cydonia anomalies had inspired the entire SEI. But in order to do so, they must ignore the CNN incident and Klineberg's extraordinary remarks at NASA-Lewis.

 

Only minutes before his public statement, Klineberg had informed Hoagland and several other attendees in a private meeting in the Director's office that NASA was,

"under intense scrutiny from Congress, because of SEI."

Why would he then go out and make an untrue and irresponsible statement about the President (and over such an intensely controversial issue) - with multiple television cameras and recorders running - when the President's support would be desperately needed in the Agency's ongoing political battles?


The answer is obvious. He wouldn't. And he didn't.


What Klineberg was doing was clearly what he believed the White House wanted him to do. His introductory comments only make sense in this context. In any event, there's still more to the story.


In 1997, the brother of one of the authors, Dave Bara, was walking through an office area of the Boeing Company in Renton, Washington, which had just been vacated by a relocated organization. On the wall of an abandoned cubicle, he spotted a poster that he instantly knew to be highly significant. It was from the 1989 White House Mars Exploration Program proposed by then-President Bush.

 

The poster had been commissioned by the Boeing Company and designed, as all such materials are, to raise awareness and inspire enthusiasm for a given program. In this case, the artists saw fit to inspire their workers and the public by creating a depiction of NASA astronauts ascending a cliff (perhaps the Cliff, as there is a suspiciously "Face-like" edifice in the background) and encountering nothing less than clearly artificial ruins [Fig. 12-1].

 

To ensure that there is no doubt that this was connected to the President's "space vision," the poster also includes a quote from President Bush explaining "Why Mars?"


In actuality, the illustration says it better than any words. The ruins are a series of partially buried, stacked stones with a variety of Egyptian or Sumerian-appearing symbols and glyphs on them, but the image is dominated by the sculpted face of what appears to be a black man in an Egyptian-styled headdress.

 

It is obvious from this that Bush was as interested in Hoagland's work as Klineberg suggested that day at NASA/Lewis, and as his invitation for Crossfire implied.
It was clear to us that these three separate lines of evidence - the Crossfire invitation, the Klineberg statement quoting the President and the Program poster - all pointed to Bush 41 being not only familiar with Hoagland's work, but inspired by it. Inspired to the point that he would propose a $500 billion program to test its core thesis - that there are ancient ruins on Mars.

 

What was not as certain, as the younger Bush made his own Announcement 15 years later, was whether he shared his father's views on this aspect of the Mars exploration project he was proposing.


Those doubts were quickly allayed. Once the new Programs got going, under the umbrella title of "Project Constellation," it was soon obvious that they would follow the previously established NASA ritual patterns. The new light and heavy lift rockets to support the program were quickly named "Ares," after the Roman god of war.

 

"Ares" was also commonly associated by the Romans with the planet Mars, so in the context of the new "Moon-Mars" program, this made sense. On July 20, 2006, the Thirty-Seventh Anniversary of the first Moon landing and the (simultaneous) Thirtieth Anniversary of the Viking 1 landing on Mars, word leaked of an even more important ritual linkage-NASA had decided to name the new Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) "Project Orion."


As we discussed in Chapter Five, the symbol of the constellation Orion appeared on the early Apollo program patch, only to "disappear" after Apollo 13 [Fig. 12-2].


The three belt stars of Orion, so significant on the Apollo patch, only magically "reappeared" on the Project Orion logo (as we might expect, if "rituals" were still crucial to the inside workings of the Agency ...). Beyond that, the Orion patch is significantly overlaid on a background shaped like an equilateral triangle (remember: a two-dimensional stand-in for a three-D tetrahedron.


The true significance of this overwhelming, redundant ritual pattern cannot be overstated.


We have a new manned Moon-Mars program, named "Orion" - which we have previously established is interchangeable with the god "Osiris" in the Egyptian tradition. In the color version of the new patch, this crucial constellation is overlaid on a blue equilateral triangle, which also matches the Egyptian hieroglyph for "Sothis," the star Sirius, which represents "Isis," Osiris' sister and consort in that same tradition.


The name of this new program appeared in the press for the first time on July 20, a recurring NASA "ritual date" which marks the heliacal rising of Sirius/Isis in the ancient Egyptian stellar calendar - and all of this for a Program proposed by a President who sees himself as "an avenging Horus figure."

 

And this new Program not only "resurrects" the first President Bush's grand space vision, but also resurrects NASA's entire listless manned space program, which has been stalled in low Earth-orbit for nearly four decades. And, "Osiris" just happens to be the Egyptian god of resurrection.


They may as well have just named it "Project Osiris."


What's more, apart from this Egyptian connection, "Orion" makes no sense as an official Project name; it bears no resemblance to the Greek "Apollo" tradition of the previous Program, and is not commonly associated with either the Moon or the planet Mars, as "Ares" is. The fact is, "Orion" connects to a space program destined for the Moon and Mars only one way-through the original Apollo Program patch!


NASA Director Mike Griffin apparently truly meant what he said, when he flippantly termed it "Apollo on steroids." For that's exactly what it is - no more, no less. The blatant symbolism cinches it.


So, is it actually designed to finish - either secretly or (finally!) in the open-what "Apollo" started ...? That's the overriding question, at this point.


As the summer of 2006 unfolded, it became clear that "Project Osiris" was of the highest priority. A Space.com story161 explained that certain forces on Capitol Hill, including the powerful General Accounting Office, wanted NASA to slow down their decision on picking a builder for the new Project Orion spacecraft.

 

NASA quickly blew off the GAO's recommendations, an unusual maneuver to say the least. The GAO is highly respected in Washington, and rarely do their recommendations go unheeded, much less get shoved back in their faces. NASA's swift outright rejection of the GAO's recommended timeline was an indication that they were in a real hurry to start work.

 

In fact, word later leaked that the competing contractors were told that they would be expected to be putting out production designs within one week of being awarded the contract.


Which begs the question: What's the hurry?


Given that we have already been to the Moon and back, and that there was no "space race" with the Soviet Union as there had been in the 1960s,

  • What could be the true reason for rushing this new Initiative?

  • What could be driving these sudden decisions to not only go back to the Moon, Mars (and perhaps beyond ...), but to also fast-track the Program with a tight timetable and unheard-of demands from contractors?

  • Was there perhaps something about the times we lived in that could be driving this aggressive schedule?

  • Or, had NASA found "something" on their first voyages to the Moon that compelled this President to go back?

To be fair, the tight schedules may have just been driven by a desire to set the program in motion so that it reached a "point of no return" politically.

 

As columnist George Will once put it, "government programs that are already in motion tend to stay in motion." By getting the Orion capsule a significant way down the road by 2008 (the year of the next presidential election), Bush would make it harder for his successor to cancel the Programs without a considerable financial (thus, political) penalty.


We, of course, suspected there was something more to the story. We went back to the President's initial January 2004 announcement speech at NASA headquarters.

 

There, we found clues that got us thinking there were bigger-much bigger - considerations, than mere concern for political legacy, driving "Project Constellation."

 


Signs and Wonders

The President's announcement ceremony at NASA Headquarters in Washington DC in January 2004 was actually a fairly quiet and somber affair. Bush's remarks were short, almost terse. He addressed first the decline of the manned space program over the preceding three decades:

"In the past thirty years, no human being has set foot on another world, or ventured farther upward into space than 386 miles - roughly the distance from Washington, D.C. to Boston, Massachusetts.

 

America has not developed a new vehicle to advance human exploration in space in nearly a quarter century. It is time for America to take the next steps... along this journey we'll make many technological breakthroughs. We don't know yet what those breakthroughs will be, but we can be certain they'll come, and that our efforts will be repaid many times over.

We may discover resources on the Moon or Mars that will boggle the imagination, that will test our limits to dream. And the fascination generated by farther exploration will inspire our young people to study math, and science, and engineering, and create a new generation of innovators and pioneers.

 

"Mankind is drawn to the heavens for the same reason we were once drawn into unknown lands and across the open sea. We choose to explore space because doing so improves our lives, and lifts our national spirit...."

About midway through the speech, Bush turned to and acknowledged the last man to have set foot upon another world, Gene Cernan, the Commander of Apollo 17:

"Eugene Cernan, who is with us today - the last man to set foot on the lunar surface - said this as he left: 'We leave as we came and, God willing, as we shall return, with peace and hope for all Mankind.' America will make those words come true."

And how did Cernan react as the room filled with applause? By refusing to even acknowledge the gesture on the President's part, and even scowling as the words were spoken. The astronaut next to him, who remains unidentified, even cast Cernan a stern look [Fig. 12-3].


Frankly, this reaction, or lack thereof, stunned us. Not only was it rude of Cernan, it was totally inappropriate etiquette, given that he was invited
(presumably) at NASA and the White House's behest. How often does one refuse to even respond to an acknowledgement by the President of the United States - especially with the cameras rolling, and surrounded by the very people who invited you to the event?


We considered the possibility that Cernan was simply a dyed-in-the-wool Democrat, but even that would hardly be an explanation given that he was at NASA HQ on a politically neutral occasion, the announcement of the very thing he'd asked for in his final remarks on the surface of the Moon.


We began to suspect that there was something more to Cernan's silent protest than a mere political disagreement with President Bush. Perhaps there was something more, something about the Apollo 17 Mission ... and Cernan's role in it at work here.


In reviewing the Bush Announcement, the choice of Cernan to represent the Apollo past had seemed strange all along. Apollo 11 's Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong would seem much more logical choices, since they had already participated in numerous NASA events like this one, were far better known to the general public than Cernan, and had always delivered generous and memorable remarks.


However, on the occasion of the Twenty-Fifth Anniversary of Apollo 11, at a White House ceremony on July 20, 1994, Armstrong himself had seemed frustrated. He started his highly emotional address by first comparing himself to a parrot - saying only what he had been told to say - and then let slip his provocative remark at the end, about "truth's protective layers." What exactly had he meant by that?

 

Was this a "coded" admission of the reality of a Brookings-like control of the astronauts? Was Cernan's steel-cold silence ten years later, at the 2004 announcement of, essentially, a rebirth of the entire Apollo Program, actually a sign of solidarity among the astronauts, of acknowledging that "something" has been hidden for all these years ...? After the President's 2004 announcement Cernan had only this to say - "I've been waiting for this day for thirty-one years."


Not exactly a ringing endorsement of the President's plan.


The astronauts have all seemed abnormally uncomfortable at these events representing NASA, as if they were being trotted out for show but not really being allowed to discuss what they wanted to discuss. Beyond the silent confirmations of our Lunar dome thesis in Alan Bean's artwork, they seemed to be, at times, speaking out in the only way they could, through subtle "messages" and actions, like Armstrong's double meaning "code," or Cernan's definitely out-of-place non-reaction.


One of Cernan and Armstrong's fellow astronauts had made a similar protest in even stranger circumstances a few years before. In March 2001, former astronaut and Senator John Glenn made a March appearance on the NBC comedy Frasier, in which he made some not-so-subtle comments:

"Back in those glory days, I was very uncomfortable when they asked us to say things we didn't want to say and deny other things.

 

Some people asked, you know, were you alone out there? We never gave the real answer, and yet we see things out there, strange things, but we know what we saw out there. And we couldn't really say anything.

 

The bosses were really afraid of this, they were afraid of the 'War of the Worlds'-type stuff, and about panic in the streets. So we had to keep quiet. And now we only see these things in our nightmares, or maybe in the movies, and some of them are pretty close to being the truth."

There was, of course, something of an uproar when this episode of Frasier aired. NASA sycophants, like James Oberg, immediately dismissed these comments as simple humor because of their context - one of the most popular situation comedies on television.

 

But when you actually watch the program, listen to the words and observe Glenn's demeanor - especially when you know what we now know - it becomes much harder to dismiss his comments as simple farce.


In fact, this bizarre appearance has all the earmarks of a straightforward "Brookings" revelation. It is so direct, so fraught with implications, that had it happened in any other forum, it would have sent Shockwaves through the press. Instead, because it happened in the context of a network comedy, most observers, including some in the UFO community who should know better, dismissed it and even made light of it as an early "April Fool's" joke on Glenn's part. Perhaps that was precisely why this particular forum was chosen in the first place.


Those dismissals are missing the key point. Regardless of where they were spoken, Glenn's words are a scathing indictment of NASA and its integrity-Let's consider this a moment: Assume that everything the doubters say is true, that Glenn was "just invited" to be on this show, and for whatever reason decided to accept.

 

As a true American hero, a distinguished senator from Ohio and former presidential candidate, Glenn would obviously have some leverage on the script. So imagine his reaction when he is handed his copy of the words he is to speak.

 

In his most crucial scene, he's asked to:

  • Admit he is a liar

  • Admit that the Agency which sent him into space twice - making him everything he is today - astronaut, senator and American hero, not to mention a man of some personal wealth - has also lied

  • Admit that the Brookings recommendations to cover up any discovery of extraterrestrial ruins (or life) are true

  • Admit that he and his fellow astronauts were so shattered by what they saw that they have had "nightmares" ever since

  • Admit that some film portrayals about the UFO subject are accurate

And John Glenn - war hero, senator, statesman, astronaut and American icon says:

"Sure. No problem. Anything for a laugh."

Can't you just see the belly laughs and knee slapping back at NASA Headquarters when this episode aired?


The simple and obvious truth is that no man with any sense of integrity, loyalty or gratitude would stoop to such a level for a mere laugh.

 

The idea that Glenn would agree to say these things about himself and NASA - even in such a context - is, well ... laughable. Anybody who quickly dismisses this without considering these deeper issues is just whistling past the graveyard. This was a deliberate broadside, directed right at NASA.


When you watch the show itself, this really becomes obvious. The plot, such as it is, deals with Frasier's producer Roz, who wants to do a show on the space program "because it's 2001." Glenn is brought in to narrate, and through a series of circumstances ends up lying to Roz to protect Frasier.

 

Once he is caught in this lie, he apologizes and adds the statement,

"I was misled. It's not like me to be that underhanded."

An argument ensues between Frasier and Roz, and they retire to the control room to have it out in private.

 

As they do, Glenn - in the studio all by himself - begins to recite the words above over the air, completely out of context with anything else that has happened in the show, or with the action now taking place behind him in the control room. As he does so, he does not address any of the characters around him. In fact, he looks directly into the camera, solely addressing the audience at home watching throughout America.


When he's done, and realizes that his words have been recorded, he rushes into the control room and he asks for the tape - implying that he is still under some sort of duress or pressure to keep quiet. Roz and Frasier, who - because of their total preoccupation - haven't heard a word of Glenn's from the heart "confession," blithely give it to him, completely missing what's just happened.


And the biggest problem with the "simple comedy" model? The whole thing, from start to finish, isn't funny. In fact, the laugh track used at different points while Glenn is making his statement is wildly inappropriate. Beyond that, Glenn's use of the camera as his audience blows the illusion of reality.

 

Glenn actually seems to be making his statement completely outside the universe of the show.


The only real joke in this whole episode appears to be on us. Frasier and Roz represent completely self-involved stand-ins for all Americans, arguing over totally petty concerns while right in front of them a genuine American hero is literally baring his soul about what he has actually seen "out there." He goes on to recite the unconscionable behavior of the key American institution, NASA, charged with its exploration.

 

The "joke" is that Frasier and Roz - as "us" for the last fifty years - once again completely miss it. Of course, the joke only works if Glenn's now is finally telling us the truth.


And, if we were right, if the Brookings study - which pointed to the "War of the Worlds" scenario specifically cited by Glenn in his speech as a justification for suppression of evidence of extraterrestrial activity - were not merely a forty-year-old "recommendation," but current policy, then this is exactly the context in which Glenn would "tell all." Doing it on a comedy show would give him exactly the kind of political cover he would need to come clean.


Perhaps he was hoping somebody in the mainstream press would see the contradiction in his actions, and ask him directly if it were true. Or, perhaps he wanted his "confession" on the record in advance of any official "disclosure efforts that might one day surface. Otherwise, why would such an individual engage in such an overt act of "NASA bashing?"


There is one last point that puts this whole weird affair into its appropriate context. According to an NBC promotional video, it was Glenn who approached the "Frasier" people ... to do this specific show.


Now, isn't that funny?


There are other indications that all is not well in the astronaut corps regarding the "official story" of how NASA went to the Moon, and what it really found.
 

Over the last several decades, scores of astronauts have taken to writing books about their historic missions, seeking, understandably, to immortalize the obvious high points of both their lives and their careers. Some of these biographies are - to say the least - inconsistent with their authors' obvious intent: to leave a positive, personal record of events.


Some of them, in fact, contain outright, blatant lies.


Take one of the original "Mercury Seven" astronauts, Alan Shepard. Shepard's memoir, "Moon Shot" (co-written with another member of the original Mercury Seven corps, Deke Slayton, and two veteran space reporters, Jay Barbaree and Howard Benedict), is the usual tale of The Right Stuff, complicated by the unusual medical histories of Shepard and Slayton.


For Shepard, it was a curious inner ear problem, which took him off flight status for six years, from 1964 (following his historic sub-orbital Freedom 7 "hop" in 1961)until he was miraculously "cured" and reinstated in 1969. He had a secret and then-innovative inner ear surgical procedure, which allowed him to ultimately command Apollo 14 to the Moon in 1971.


It was during the last EVA of Apollo 14, you might remember, that Alan Shepard surprised NASA and the Nation on live television - and achieved a unique claim to history as well - with his famous "... first golf shot on the Moon."


For Slayton, it was a chronic erratic heart rate - which effectively barred him, just after his Mercury selection, from all future spaceflights (he was given the title of "Chief Astronaut" in Houston as a symbolic consolation, and the actual job of picking other astronauts to go "where he could never go."

 

But, he was obviously not happy with the bitter twist of fate that grounded him. Then - at the very end of the Apollo Program - NASA flight surgeons suddenly, miraculously, cleared him to fly as well... just in time to catch the last seat aboard the historic first joint U.S./USSR Mission in Earth orbit, the Apollo Soyuz Test Project (ASTP), in 1975. So far, so good.


It's when you begin to examine the photographic section of their joint authorship, "Moon Shot," that the real problems begin. There, right in the middle of Shepard's own account of his amazing against-all-odds personal journey to the Moon... is a deliberately faked record of the trip [Fig. 12-4].


If you examine the second, annotated image carefully, you will ultimately catalogue an amazing number of "discrepancies" - including, the MAJOR discrepancy of the image itself; this is obviously supposed to be one of thousands of Hasselblad photographs taken on the lunar surface by the Apollo astronauts, specifically, during Apollo 14... of Shepard's well-known lunar "golf shot," right?


However, since there were only two Apollo 14 astronauts who landed on the Moon - Shepard and Mitchell - and just two Hasselblad cameras (one for each of them) ... who took THIS Hasselblad shot - published as a two-page spread (note the central binding in the reproduction), in Shepard's own "space biography?"

 

Since... both astronauts - Shepard and Mitchell - are seen simultaneously in the same photograph?


The only other camera which could have taken this particular image was the color television camera, erected by Mitchell at their landing site soon after first emerging from the lunar module "Antares" two days earlier. In fact, this camera did send back to Earth a running sequence of television images of this event, in parallel with Shepard's live radio transmission as he took his swing, and boasted that the ball "went miles and miles."

 

So, is this a "frame grab" from that camera? It was quickly obvious that was not the case. Besides the terrible quality of the TV images - which, obviously, can in no way compare to the B&W "photograph" in Moon Shot, we noted, among other things, that the flag was pointing the opposite direction in the photo, Shepard's body position was different, the image of Ed Mitchell in the golf shot fake is simply cut out (and reversed) from a real Hasselblad frame, AS 14-66-9301, the now-infamous "Mitchell under glass" photo [Fig. 12-5].


This, and a dozen other discrepancies, will more than convince most readers that the "photograph" reproduced as the literal centerpiece of Shepard's ultimate claim to fame during his spacewalk on the Moon - the golf shot - is an outright fake.


The truly fascinating question then becomes: for God's sake, why?


Why - if you were going to make a big deal about taking the first golf shot on the Moon, why fake the photograph of that event? And, why ... right in the middle of your own personal success story of the most amazing achievement of your life?


Unless ... it's another "message?"


When we first saw this image, reproduced as the centerpiece in Shepard's own official story... we couldn't believe how bad it was. After all, if you're going to shade the truth a bit, come up with a decent image of your quirky moment of non-NASA lunar creativity, why not a good fake? Unless.... you wanted to get caught. You wanted folks to notice ... and ask "why?"


Not just about this obviously fake "photograph"... but, maybe, about the overall Apollo 14 Mission... maybe, the entire Apollo Program itself.


Some, in looking at this (and other "anomalous" Apollo lunar surface photographs), and seeing all kinds of major discrepancies on those official images, have eagerly seized on their existence, claiming,

"See, that proves NASA never went to the Moon!"

Well, we've effectively blown that insipid Moon hoax theory out the window, starting in the very Introduction to this book. So, what other "message" from Shepard does that leave us with?


Maybe something simple, like:

"There are other fake images from Apollo out there... and they've been deliberately created by NASA - to cover up what we all really saw and photographed during all our lunar Missions... which I can't put in this book."

Remember, this (below - also see Color Fig. 5) is a real Apollo 14 photograph, taken by Alan Shepard of his fellow astronaut, Ed Mitchell - as Mitchell was setting up the TV camera at the beginning of their first lunar EVA. Look what Shepard really photographed - above and all around both astronauts - on Shepard's amazing Apollo 14 Mission to the Moon.


Wouldn't you want to - somehow - tell the world what they were missing?


Recently, yet another former astronaut has added his two cents to this growing list of "dissenters." A BBC documentary, entitled First to the Moon, was shown in England and then repeated once in July 2006 on the Science Channel in America. In the program, Buzz Aldrin, the second man on the Moon, admits to and describes the Apollo 11 crew's encounter with "a UFO."


He described the object, which seemed to be pacing the Apollo 11 spacecraft for hours, as a "double ellipse" or "bell-shaped" object.

 

The crew was so concerned about it that they made extensive observations (and presumably took photographs, although this is not stated in the show) with the onboard telescope in the Command Module.

 

Failing to identify the object, they cautiously asked NASA to relay the location of the discarded third stage rocket, the S-IVB, relative to their current position.

 

NASA, not understanding why the information was requested, nevertheless told the crew that S-IVB was some 6,000 miles distant and well behind them. Aldrin on the show stated that none of the other two crewmen of Apollo 11 - Armstrong or Collins - believed that the object in question was anywhere near that far away. Other footage, of a similar object filmed on a later Apollo mission, was shown as Aldrin spoke about "the mystery UFO."


Eventually, the crew decided that discussing the object on an open broadcast channel to Houston could disrupt the Mission (Aldrin stated that he "feared we would be ordered home, before the landing), so they agreed to say nothing more about it until their debriefing upon return to Earth. Aldrin did not state if that debriefing actually took place.


So with all this, we began to really wonder:

  • Was there something specific to Cernan, and to Apollo 17, "something" that had required his presence at the 2004 "Return to the Moon" announcement?

  • Was there something known - but publicly off limits - between him and the President that had led to Cernan's odd and even disrespectful behavior?

  • Had we missed something about Apollo 17 that was meaningful, and that required Cernan to be at the Announcement ceremony... for "ceremonial" reasons?

  • Was Cernan - like Bean, Armstrong, Aldrin, Glenn and Shepard before him - trying to tell us "something?"


 

***

 

 

Where the Titans Slept....

Fortunately for us, two of our associates, Keith Laney and Steve Troy, had been looking at Apollo 17 data for some time. Steve is an amateur geologist and artist from South Dakota and Keith (as you know) is an imaging specialist working with NASA/Ames. Between them, they had done extensive photographic studies of the Apollo 17 mission to Taurus-Littrow, obtaining many early generation negatives.

 

Keith had even posted an extensive analysis of all of this on his website.162


The first thing that struck Hoagland in his original assessment of the Apollo 17 Mission, back in 1998, was the incredibly dangerous look of the landing site. Positioned at 19.5 N by 31 E, the target landing ellipse was in a narrow valley amongst the Taurus-Littrow highlands.

 

This was by far the riskiest Apollo landing of them all, as Gene Cernan would be required to set the lunar module Challenger down among gigantic (6,500 to 8,200 feet tall) mountains on a valley floor littered with large craters.

 

The area is in fact so dangerous that it required a unique navigational approach that was completely different than any other Apollo landing. In order to even reach the Taurus-Littrow site, NASA had to abandon long-standing mission rules requiring "free-return" trajectories (a lunar orbit insertion trajectory which would allow the spacecraft to loop around the Moon and return to Earth in the event the CSM engine didn't fire), as well as prohibitions against launching at night.

 

They even abandoned mission rules covering the roughness of landing sites in order to accommodate the desire to land at Taurus-Littrow.163


In originally looking at the Apollo 17 landing site images from Lunar Orbiter, Hoagland began to wonder: what could possibly be so significant about this site that NASA would attempt such a hair-raising landing?


The most obvious clue was the ritual aspect of the 19.5 landing ellipse. Just like the Pathfinder landing site selection on Mars years later, it was very close to a 19.5 x 33 tetrahedral location - but, 2 on the Moon equates to nearly forty miles away from the Taurus-Littrow landing site, and that site rests at 31 longitude, not 33. What was so compelling about this particular area?


In more closely examining the proposed landing site years later, it became obvious to Keith Laney what the attraction was. There, in almost the center of the ellipse, was a massive, hexagonal mountain.

 

Officially dubbed the "South Massif" for purposes of navigation, the mountain has at least four clearly visible and near-equal length sides, and the implications of two more sides that were obscured in the collapse of the main structure [Fig. 12-6].


In looking closer at the South Massif, it became evident that the south side of the structure had collapsed inward, perhaps forcing the bright material visible on the north face out from under the structure. It is highly unusual for a solid rock mountain (presumed by geologists to be a result of a volcanic uplift) to collapse inward like this.

 

Cinder cones on Earth frequently show evidence of some internal collapse, but these deformations are uniformly circular. The South Massif would therefore have to be one of the most unusual cinder cones ever discovered.

 

For one thing, cinder cones are exactly that, conical-shaped volcanic uplifts with distinctive rounded crater-like depressions ("vents") at their peaks. Rarely, if ever, do cinder cones take on geometrical shapes, and the authors know of no cinder cone ever identified that took on a hexagonal configuration. Further, the "vent" in the South Massif - if that's what it is - is square. This is also virtually unprecedented.


The ostensible geologic reason for selecting this landing site was the opportunity to sample the "dark mantle" material that covered the valley floor.

 

Supposedly, this would be from the earliest impact that formed the Sea of Serenity basin that the Taurus-Littrow highlands bordered. Lunar Orbiter images of the region also showed large boulders deposited along the bases of the mountains (particularly the South Massif).

 

There is also a bright patch of material overlaying the dark mantled valley floor extending from the north end of the massif all the way to the sinuous Lincoln Scarp. The bright material was presumably deposited from the event that led to the collapse of the mountainous structure. There were also several dark rimmed "halo" craters that were thought to be volcanic.


Using a landing approach that required him to drop the LM sharply down among the mountains at a steep angle and with little margin for error, Cernan guided the lunar module Challenger to a landing at the outer edge of the landing ellipse on December 11, 1972 at 19:54:57 UTC. The precise location was at 20 11' 26.88" N x 30 46' 18.05", or just beyond the magical 19.5 location [Fig. 12-7].


Cernan managed to land the Challenger near Camelot crater (wistfully echoing the theme that Jackie Kennedy had given President Kennedy's entire, brief Administration after his untimely death ... the President who had made it possible for the Gene Cernan to even land here at all).

 

"Camelot" was just one of several large and dangerous craters threatening a safe landing, located in the Taurus-Littrow Valley between the giant mountains known as the North and South Massifs, the "Sculptured Hills" and "Mons Vitruvius." The crater "Isis," named by Mission Commander Cernan, was also was nearby.


The EVA (Extra Vehicular Activity) plans for the Mission were the most extensive ever attempted for an Apollo mission. The science lobby inside NASA had pulled strings to get Harrison "Jack" Schmitt, a geologist, reassigned to this Mission after his previously assigned mission, Apollo 18, was abruptly canceled.

 

Schmitt and Cernan had an aggressive schedule that called for them to unpack the Lunar Rover, emplace a number of seismometers and explosive charges at key points within the Valley, while traversing and exploring nearly 39 kilometers in total. They were also tasked to deploy a mysterious and classified experiment called "Chapel Bell," about which virtually nothing (to this day) has been revealed.


After unpacking and deploying the Rover and ALSEP instrument packages (along with the American flag), Schmitt and Cernan headed to their first "geology station," the nearby crater Steno. After taking various samples there, the crew returned to the Lunar Module Challenger and rested up for day two, which would turn out to be the biggest day of the Mission.


EVA-2 called for Cernan and Schmitt to head directly for the South Massif and the odd "crater" named Nansen. After that, they were scheduled to visit locations on the Lincoln Scarp and then stop at Shorty Crater, one of the key targets for the Mission.


In looking at the orbital images of the landing site, it becomes quite obvious why these locations (and EVA-3's planned visit to the "Sculptured Hills") were so intriguing: recent enhancements done by Laney and Hoagland of the Apollo landing site orbital images show "boxy-looking patterns" on the faces of virtually all the "hills" and" mountains" in the landing vicinity.


Other views of the landing site, taken by the high resolution panoramic camera on the CSM America, show the entire South Massif is criss-crossed with highly unusual geometric patterns, both on the visible face of the massif and in the hollowed-out interior.


New enhancements done by Hoagland show that the still-standing sidewalls of the "vented" massif are actually overhanging the empty space insideas if they were supported by some internal truss structure that is still holding them up!


In fact, in looking at the "vent hole," there is a curious lack of material inside the walls of this formerly hexagonal mountain. It is almost as if the mountain was a hollowed arcology-like structure all along - but if this were truly once a whole mountain (or arcology), where did all this "missing material" go?


Laney is of the opinion that the collapse pushed a great deal of the bright material out from under the South Massif through Nansen, creating the bright blanket of debris on the valley floor to the north of the massif. This may be partially correct, and some of the material that makes up the bright blanket may have come off the top of the massif as well [Fig. 12-8].

 

 


EVA-2-a "Valley of Surprises"

The mission plan for EVA-2 of Apollo 17 called for one quick stop to take geological samples and gravimeter readings, and then the astronauts were to make a B-line for a bizarre feature at the base of the South Massif called "Nansen."


Officially listed as a crater, Keith Laney has shown categorically that Nansen is nothing of the kind. Recon photos of the South Massif show Nansen as a V-shaped depression at the base of the massif, over which the "rim" of Nansen seems to be an overhanging shelf. Views of Nansen strongly imply that it is a hole in the base of the South Massif, possibly an entrance point (or exit wound) into the massif [Fig. 12-9].

 

Certainly, if there were anything unusual about the South Massif, Cernan and Schmitt would be able to spot it either from "Geology Station 2," which was at the base of the South Massif atop Nansen, or on their way up (or back from) the station.


Everybody seemed very excited about prospects for this second EVA. Excerpts from the Apollo Lunar Surface Journal164 show that as the astronauts prepared the rover for the second EVA, Mission Control and Schmitt had this quick exchange:

141:02:06, Parker "And, Jack, if Gene's working there on unstowing SCB whatever-it-is - five, yeah, five - maybe when you put the camera down, you might want to shoot off a few five-hundred-millimeter frames of the North and South Massifs, if they look interesting. 1 can't tell from the TV. That might be an opportune time to grab a couple."


141:02:27, Schmitt: (Incredulous) "If they look interesting!? If they look interesting!? Now, what kind of thing is that to say?"

Their first waypoint was an area on the bright blanket of material north of the South Massif called "Hole in the Wall."

 

This was a shallow rise up the eighty-meter-high Lincoln Scarp between the craters Lara and Candide, which would enable them to approach Nansen (and the base of the South Massif) from the east. Other traverse maps had this area near Nansen curiously label "Access Region."

 

Were they headed to Nansen hoping to obtain "access" to the interior of the massive hexagonal structure?


As they neared the South Massif, Cernan continued to make observations and relay them over the radio. One of the first things he noted was the curious linear geometry on the surface of the massif:

141:52:03, Cernan: "jack, can you see over there to the left - 1*11 turn a little bit (for a better view) - on the dark area of the South Massif where you get those impressed lineations? See them going from left upward to the right?" 141:52:11, Schmitt: "Yeah. I see what you mean; right."

 

141:52:14, Cernan: "That's what I saw out my window." 141:52:15, Schmitt: Yeah, they go obliquely up the slope." 141:52:20, Cernan: "They're more like wrinkles, they're linear wrinkles." 141:52:22, Schmitt: Yeah. Crenulations, you might say, in the slope that looks something like those I saw from orbit, looking in the shadowed area... or, at the edge of the shadows."

Schmitt would later downplay these comments while debriefing on the EVA:

"It was a puzzle, seeing apparent lineations on the slopes of mountains.

 

Some people, as I recall, did some simulations, building models, putting random roughness on the surface, and then dusting them and moving the light around, and they were able to create apparent lineations just with light position.

 

Generally, I think, people don't feel that they represent any underlying structure - it's just an accident of dusting and lighting. The massifs do have layers in them - layers of debris - and I think the fact that you see what appear to be zones of blocks at the top is probably a layer of relatively hard material.

 

But they really are gross layers."165

Pretty clearly here, Schmitt is using the old "trick of light and shadow" argument to explain away the totally anomalous nature of the South Massif. As we will see, it will become harder and harder for both of the astronauts to disguise their shock at what they see:

142:12:30, Cernan: "Jack, look at the wrinkles over there on the North Massif."


142:12:34, Schmitt: 'Yeah. There's no question that there are apparent lineations all over these Massifs, in a variety of directions. Hey, look at how that Scarp [sic] goes up the side (of the North Massif) there. There's a distinct change in texture."


142:12:46, Schmitt: "As a matter of fact, the lineations are not present on the Scarp [sic], that we can see, where it crosses the North Massif. There is no sign of those lineations on there." 142:12:58, Cernan: "Oh, man; yeah. 1 can see what you're talking about now."

This implies that the scarp and the South Massif are not of the same origin, since the "lineations" they keep talking about begin specifically at the base of the massif.

 

Later images, along with the orbital photography, have confirmed that the "lineations" are not tricks of light and shadow, but undeniably real features of the mountains in this Taurus-Littrow Valley. Schmitt's inability to explain them stems from the fact that such "geologic layering" is almost always associated with sedimentary deposition, caused by standing water (the other, more infrequent cause is "successive lava flows"...).

 

Since no water has ever flowed (let alone pooled!) on the Moon, and the lineations on the massifs were literally thousands of feet above the (presumed) lava Valley floor, such geological explanations were totally untenable.


The only viable alternative is that this mysterious "layering" - repeatedly seen (and photographed) by the Apollo 17 crew - is only a surface manifestation of some kind of now heavily eroded, repeating, artificial, 3-D "cell-like" constructions. It is these former highly geometric rooms which are constantly being exposed (and then eroded back...) by an incessant meteorite bombardment of these massive lunar "mountains" - an "explanation" which certainly isn't going to appear in any official NASA documents.


Strikingly identical (and equally mysterious) "rectilinear" formations had been seen and photographed by the crew of Apollo 15 (which landed far to the west of Apollo 17, on the "shores" of Mare Imbrium), as well as in "the highlands of the Moon," half way between the 15 and 17 sites, by the Apollo 16 astronauts, John Young and Charlie Duke [Fig. 12-10].


As they cleared the top of the "hole in the wall" and headed for the east slope of Nansen, the Apollo 17 astronauts at first couldn't see down into Nansen. Cernan had to drive to his left (east) and approach the overhanging shelf from that side.


At this point, the astronauts are about 1.5 km from their destination atop the shelf that overhangs Nansen. Schmitt, who has the task of taking a photograph every thirty yards or so during the traverse, inexplicably stops taking pictures at this time.

 

Or, at least there are no more pictures showing the traverse to geology station two available in the official records.

 

A few moments later, the astronauts get their first look down into Nansen, at which point Cernan decides to park the rover up on the shelf, facing north, so the TV cameras cannot see directly into the opening at the base of the massif. Schmitt and Cernan, however, could see directly into Nansen.


Unfortunately, when we did get the television picture, it showed us little to nothing. They had parked the rover on the shelf above the entrance to the South Massif, and all we had was a view looking back toward the light mantle avalanche runoff [Fig. 12-11].

 

The astronauts were also completely out of sight of the camera for most of the next twenty minutes. In fact, they are out of sight of the camera for fully 85% of the entire sixty-four minute visit to the upper shelf of Nansen. The camera just pans around aimlessly. This would have given them plenty of time to descend the hill and investigate the interior of Nansen, including examining the opening below the overhang.


As they are nearing the end of the station, Cernan stops (off camera) to take some pans of the view from the base of the massif:

143:22:08, Cernan: "Well, I have some good pictures of Nansen, anyway, and... (long pause)... You know, I look out there, I'm not sure I really believe it all."

A bit later, completely out of context, Schmitt seems to address their "off-camera" time to mission control:

143:27:11, Schmitt: "We haven't had a chance to look around any more than you've heard." 143:27:14, Parker: "Okay."

Is this an indication that they didn't descend into Nansen during their off-camera time? Or a hint that there was always a secret, second mission to accomplish at Nansen? And what was so unbelievable about Nansen that Cernan had to mention it?

 

Certainly, there is nothing in the released images of the station that implies anything unusual.


Next, Cernan and Schmitt drove to station 2A, just a few hundred meters back down the slope they had ridden up to get to the lip of Nansen. From this perspective, they could have had a perfect vantage point looking directly into the hole leading into the South Massif [Fig. 12-12].


Amazingly, there are officially no pictures taken of Nansen from this perspective, looking directly into the "opening" under the ledge and back up at the previous geology station. At station 2A, Cernan turned the rover in a circle, so Schmitt could take a panoramic view of the area and the valley below them. As he did so, there was this exchange:

143:50:20, Cernan: "Wait a minute. Wait a minute. Okay, let's take one from right here. I want the whole thing. (Pause.) You ready to start?"


143:50:26, Schmitt: Yeah, I got it"


143:50:27, Cernan: "Start taking. Take the whole thing."


143:50:54, Cernan: "Isn't that something? Man, you talk about a mysterious looking place." (Pause.)


143:51:03, Schmitt: "They can cut some frames - some parts of those pictures out - and make a nice photograph. (Laughing.) [With the] TV camera, [and] maps [in the way]."

According to the transcripts, the pan "turned out to be relatively uninteresting because of the sun glare."

 

Published images do not seem to be a full 360 pan, because if they were, the entrance down into Nansen would be visible. In fact, it's nowhere on the published sequences of this area. And how does Cernan's statement "Man, you talk about a mysterious looking place" jibe with the "relatively uninteresting" description given in the transcripts?

 

This whole area is fascinatingly anomalous, so much so that Cernan stopped to make sure Schmitt got a complete photographic record of it. A record, incidentally, which now does not correspond to the descriptions of the astronauts at that time.

 

And what about Schmitt's nervous talk about cutting "some parts of those pictures out?" What does he see that NASA doesn't want the folks back home to see?


As you read back through these sequences, it's clear from the comments of the astronauts that something is amiss. First, Cernan is concerned that they can see directly into Nansen, so much so that he parks the rover up over the lip of Nansen so the TV cameras can't see directly into the opening. Schmitt - the trained scientist - is so astonished as he looks into Nansen for the first time that he exclaims, "Look at Nansen!"

 

Cernan goes on to describe the whole area as a "mysterious place," and "unbelievable," and Schmitt cryptically informs Mission Control that the astronauts "haven't had a chance to look around any more than you've heard," despite their thirty-plus minutes off-camera.


Later, as they take pictures that should show what lies beneath the shadowed "overhang" of Nansen (which is clearly visible from orbit), they joke about cutting out certain parts of the pictures. And in all this time, not once did they take a picture showing Nansen from a vantage point that would reveal the interior of the "crater." They evidently just missed the opportunity, and nobody at Mission Control decided to ask for such a picture.


The reality, however, is that between their off-camera time and the traverse to Station 3, the astronauts would have had plenty of time to descend from the rise and examine and photograph the interior of Nansen.

 

That these photos could have been simply lifted from the photographic catalogs is easy to conceive, especially since some were described as overexposed or "uninteresting," - eerily reminiscent of the blacked out catalog images from the Apollo orbital cameras.

 

Perhaps they found that getting into the South Massif through Nansen was impractical - there were descriptions of a great deal of debris in the crater. Or perhaps they tried and failed, leading to Schmitt's admission that they didn't get to look around as much as they wanted to.


Whatever the case, they were on a tight timetable to get on with the other stations. What they could not have known, however, was that they were also on a collision course with an even more unbelievable and mysterious destiny.




Data's Head

"Mr. Data, your head is not an artifact."

-Commander Riker, from the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Time's Arrow."

Along the way to Shorty Crater, a black, halo-rimmed crater on the outskirts of the light mantle material from the South Massif avalanche, Schmitt and Cernan stopped to take some samples along the rim of another small crater.

 

The stop, which was supposed to last twenty minutes, was made to take a double core sample, get a gravimeter reading, and take some 500 millimeter pans of the general area. The station turned out to be a disaster, as the astronauts had numerous equipment problems and Schmitt took a spectacular spill trying to retrieve some sample bags.

 

The crew later named the station "Ballet Crater," in honor of Schmitt's fall, and the astronaut later attempted a few ballet moves in his suit after being kidded that the Houston Ballet Foundation had called to enquire about his services.


It took nearly thirty-seven minutes for the astronauts to complete their tasks at Ballet Crater, and from there it was straight on to Shorty, which was a primary stop for the EVA along with Nansen.

 

Upon arrival at Shorty, the astronauts took care of some housekeeping chores, then got their first look at the crater.
145:22:22, Schmitt:

"Shorty is a crater, the size of which you know (about 100 meters in diameter]. It's obviously darker rimmed, although the fragment population for most of the blanket does not seem too different than the light mantle. But inside... Whoo, whoo, whoo!"

Schmitt's description seemed to imply that while Shorty was relatively unspectacular on the outside, the area inside the crater was, at the least, very interesting.

 

Unfortunately, when the camera started up, it was pointed at the Rover and the distant South Massif. It stayed positioned there as Schmitt [it's Cernan who moves off to the take the pan - because the "reflections" Schmidt is talking about in a minute come from the Rover's gold myler - which is where we see Schmidt imaged ... on Cernan's images.] moved away to take a panorama of the crater.

 

Several minutes into this sequence, Cernan oddly states "O-kaay! O-kaay." At this point, Schmitt begins to discuss something odd he has noticed through his visor.

 

Raising his filter, he is suddenly totally absorbed by what he's seeing.

145:26:25, Schmitt: "Wait a minute..." 145:26:26, Cernan:'What?"
145:26:27, Schmitt: "Where are the reflections? IVe been fooled once. There is orange soil!"
145:26:32, Cernan: "Well, don't move it until I see it"
145:26:35, Schmitt: (Very excited) "It's all over! Orange!"
145:26:38, Cernan: "Don't move it until I see it"
145:26:40, Schmitt: "I stirred it up with my feet."
145:26:42, Cernan: (Excited, too) "Hey, it is! I can see it from here!"
145:26:44, Schmitt: "It's orange!"
145:26:46, Cernan: "Wait a minute, let me put my visor up. It's still orange!"
145:26:49, Schmitt: "Sure it is! Crazy!"
145:26:53, Oman: "Orange!"
145:26:54, Schmitt: "IVe got to dig a trench, Houston."

The astronauts then began to sample the orange soil, which was later found to be highly oxidized titanium, a discovery which had tremendous implications for later colonization of the Moon.

 

Extracting oxygen and metals from the lunar soil would make the idea of a permanent lunar base much more viable.


Appropos of the "orange soil's" totally melted and oxidized titanium, in some of Cernan's previous Shorty images "strange objects" can be seen which do not resemble the fractured, volcanic rocks that would be expected in and around a major impact crater. Instead, they look like large chunks of broken, metallic machinery and shattered glass.


Intrigued by the multiple Hasselblad photographs available of this juxtaposed "mechanical-looking" debris and "orange soil" at Shorty, Hoagland downloaded the highest resolution versions available from the Apollo Lunar Surface Journal website.


In doing so, it became clear that some of the "debris" in Shorty was definitely "unusual" - to say the least. Color enhancement showed that many of the "rocks" had highly unusual spectral qualities, reflecting light more like crystals - or, highly polished metallic "boxes" - than a simple "rock garden" would suggest.
In jointly examining Hoagland's enhancements, both authors independently noticed one very large, definitely strange-looking artifact - that strongly resembled a somewhat mangled "pump mechanism" or "engine housing."

 

Nicknamed "the turkey" (because of its obvious "fan tail" configuration at one end, and dark "beak" at the other), this object appears to have a series of tubes and mechanical features visible inside a geometric metallic (or glass-like) case. There even appear to be "connectors" or "mounting points" on the object [Fig. 12-13].


It was while carefully studying this bizarre, apparently blatant piece of lunar junk that Hoagland spotted an even more unusual artifact, obviously lying some distance beyond it on the crater floor [Fig. 12-14]. Even as he suddenly realized what he was seeing, he couldn't bring himself to admit what it appeared to be...
 

A human head! In a crater... on the Moon.... [Color Figs. 27 and 28].

After recovering from his initial shock he swiftly surmised that it couldn't possibly be a human skull. After all, it was lying in a debris field from an impact crater which had tossed up all manner of junk and material from just below the regolith of the Taurus-Littrow Valley floor.

 

Something as fragile as fossilized bone could not possibly survive the energies of such an impact. No, this object had to be related to everything else he was seeing in this frame - a lot of which appeared quite mechanical in origin.


A robot's head, then?


As his mind grappled with that incredible possibility, Hoagland kept coming back to Schmitt and Cernan's previous statements on what they were witnessing during this entire EVA. As Cernan put it, even though he was seeing it with his own eyes, he still couldn't "quite bring himself to believe if - and he had dubbed the entire Valley "one mysterious looking place."

 

Had he and Schmitt gazed into the abyss at Nansen, seen chunks of similar-looking mechanical debris, and then stashed the photos away for later breakdown? Was Shorty simply another example of the kind of "unbelievable" things they had seen all along on this second EVA?


Color enhancements (see Color Fig. 28) showed that the "head" had a distinctive red stripe around the area where the upper lip should be, a feature that clearly appeared to be painted or anodized on the object.

 

Composites of other frames Cernan had taken from the rim of Shorty showed that the head had two eye-sockets, a forehead, brow ridges, a nose with nostrils, twin cheek bones and the upper half of the jaw; the "lower jaw" seemed to be missing [Fig. 12-16]. Still, it was an astonishing photographic find. And the resemblance to another, even more familiar figure did not escape the authors [Fig. 12-17].


What was most striking about the C-3PO comparison - and most telling-was the eyes. Like C-3PO, "our" robot's head had indented, stereoscopic, rounded inset eyes.


Camera lenses. Just like ...C-3PO.


In looking at the context panoramas from which the close-up was taken, Hoagland was able to confirm that the head was approximately the same size as a human's - which meant, among other things ... Cernan and Schmidt could have brought it back.


The transcripts for the Shorty EVA show that the astronauts were certainly rushed at this station because of the time they had lost at Ballet Crater. It is very possible that Schmitt and Cernan never saw the object in question, or, that they decided it would be too risky to try and retrieve. However, they certainly had enough off-camera time to descend the crater unobserved and bring it back ... if they wanted to.


In looking at these images, the authors are uncannily reminded of a Star Trek: The Next Generation episode called "Time's Arrow." In it, the Enterprise is summoned to Twenty-Fourth Century Earth, to an archeological dig below San Francisco. In this dig, Captain Picard and Commander Data (an android) are shown a puzzling artifact: Mr. Data's disassembled robotic head.


In the course of the story, Data's head and the information contained in his "positronic brain" are crucial to unlocking the mystery of Earth's past. By tapping into the memory of this ancient and damaged artifact, the crew of the Enterprise is able to stop human history from unraveling and their very existence from being threatened.


Was this perhaps "the great secret" of Apollo 17? Was this the reason for Cernan's decidedly odd behavior at the NASA ceremony, let alone his very presence? Had he waited in vain - literally for decades - for NASA to reveal the contents of "Data's head?"


Was he angry that he was being asked to participate in another ruse on the American people, after having already participated once before ... on Apollo 17, only to wait thirty-one years for a chance to go back, and perhaps set the record straight?


In the short-term, it doesn't matter if it was truly "Data's head" or other mechanical artifacts that Cernan and Schmitt brought back from the Taurus-Littrow Valley. As we have seen over the preceding pages, there was plenty of evidence all around these two obviously awe-inspired astronauts, that substantial areas in the vicinity of the Lander were artificial... but now in ruins.


If the Mission of Apollo 17 was to secretly confirm the artificial nature of the Taurus-Littrow Valley, it overwhelmingly accomplished its "hidden mission."

 

However, even ruins inevitably leave haunting clues to the majesty of the original structures and civilizations they once housed. And - nothing stays buried forever....



Land of the Giants

As we continued to download and microscopically examine every available image from the Apollo 17 Mission, we came across one notable fact:

none of the photographic surface pans that were available reflected the odd geometry - the "lineations" - that Schmitt and Cernan described on their approach to South Massif.

The published surface photos did seem to match the available TV footage, showing the massifs to be just "bland, featureless hills..." with no distinctive features. Noticing the difference between the astronaut's reports and the photographic record, we began to question everything... especially the validity of the TV recordings and immediately released NASA prints.


It was soon clear that the orbital photography and ground-based images simply didn't match.

 

Even Ron Evans, the command module pilot for Apollo 17 who made constant observations of the landing site, commented on the "non-monotone" nature of the region and the Moon in general.

"You know, to me the Moon's got a lot more color than I'd been led to believe. I kind of had the impression that everything was the same color. That's far from being true."166

As we tried to gather more information on all these related problems, Hoagland took to watching late-night NASA TV in the fall of 2005.

 

Dr. Jim Garvin, who had once promised so much to us when he was NASA's Chief Scientist at NASA Headquarters, had recently been moved from downtown Washington DC out to NASA Goddard, in suburban Maryland, where he had taken over as NASA's chief scientist there, serving the new NASA administrator, Mike Griffin.

 

One of Garvin's first acts at Goddard was to have the Hubble telescope pointed at the Moon to take new images (this was well after NASA stopped falsely claiming that "the Moon is too bright for Hubble to take an image of...").

 

This new Hubble lunar campaign was done in concurrence with promoting the President's new Space Initiative.


Garvin's first choice for a target image: the Apollo 17 landing site in Taurus-Littrow.


When the new Hubble image was released to the web in October of 2005, it contained three views in different "panes." The leftmost pane contained the Hubble image of the Apollo 17 landing site with the actual location marked with a red "X." The two rightmost panes showed a derived 3D model of the Taurus-Littrow Valley, complete with the same red X, and ... curious "layering" on the South Massif.

 

The upper right pane contained a portion of one of Gene Cernan's pans at Shorty Crater - one of the same frames that contained images (cropped out) of "Data's head." We took all this as a gigantic "pay attention" signal from inside NASA.

 

We felt they were strongly hinting that when we eventually went back to the Moon, Taurus-Littrow would, in fact, likely be the first place (for some reason ...) to which they would return.


Of course, all that was just an assumption. To that point, we had no proof positive - other than the intense Apollo 17 Mission interest, shown 33 years before in South Massif and Nansen - that NASA saw anything "special" or "unique" about Taurus-Littrow.


Then "NASA Select TV" happened [Fig. 12-18].


Late at night, shortly after the release of the new Hubble image of the Apollo 17 landing site, Hoagland was watching a NASA TV broadcast of a press interview with Garvin on the new images. During the portion of the interview concerning the Hubble lunar shots, NASA showed some old footage of the first Apollo 17 EVA to Steno Crater. In this footage, Hoagland saw for the first time what the "ground truth" at Taurus-Littrow really revealed.


There, in the distance beyond the astronauts, Hoagland could see the astonishingly clear criss-cross patterns that were visible on the orbital photography.

 

These film images were orders of magnitude better than either the still-frame photography or the original TV transmissions from 1972. Clearly, NASA was in possession of far better versions of the EVA films than had ever been broadcast. Now, for the first time, the blatant "truss pattern" construction of the Taurus-Littrow arcologies could be confirmed.


It didn't take long to determine that the arcologies visible in the background were seen against the Mons Vitruvius highlands southeast of the Apollo 17 landing site. These were definitely the same inexplicable "lineations" that Schmitt and Cernan had seen and described on the "air to ground" during their EVAs - and these images simultaneously reinforced a number of other impressions about the Mission [Fig. 12-19].


As noted earlier, NASA had taken great care to get the astronauts to place various seismic monitors and remote-controlled explosive charges and mortars all around the Valley floor.

 

They seemed particularly interested in the seismic properties of the South Massif, as they had monitors placed all around the mountain, and even crashed the used Lunar Module ascent stage of Challenger into it deliberately (to create a major seismic signal of known energy input).


And then, there was the curious question of the (still) classified "Chapel Bell" experiment, whose very name implies that they wanted to test the resonant properties of the region. If, in fact, these supposed "massifs" were not that at all, but in fact "hollow, titanium-glass truss structures" - as the new footage tends to strongly imply - then such seismic tests would prove that out beyond any doubt, providing a three-dimensional "ringing map" of the substructure of everything in the Taurus-Littrow Valley.


Unfortunately, the results of "Chapel Bell" are still unknown, and everything about it remains classified - on a "civilian" scientific mission to the Moon, after more than thirty years.


At this point, we were as certain as we could be that the Apollo 17 mission had some connection with the President's new Space Initiative.

 

Garvin was pulling out the real data in an effort to do... what?

  • Shock people into asking questions?

  • Test to see if anybody noticed the tremendous difference in quality between the new and old versions of the Rover TV data?

  • Or, was he also simply signaling to the "in crowd" what NASA's real intentions were regarding the new Space Initiative, i.e., the real reason for the President's sudden "return to the Moon?"

We didn't know - but we were about to find out that all of this would have a very familiar "ring" to it ourselves.

 

 


Ares and Orion

By the early portion of 2006, two years after the President's NASA Headquarters' "Vision" Announcement, two major aerospace consortiums were working full speed on their proposals to bring President Bush's 2004 new space vision to life.

 

Once the programs got going, as previously noted, under the curious umbrella name of "Project Constellation," it was soon obvious that they would follow the previously-established NASA ritual patterns. One of the consortiums, Lockheed Martin, had experience building the original Apollo spacecraft that had safely ferried astronauts to the Moon and back (having absorbed many of the original Apollo Command and Service Module contractors).

 

The other, a team made up of Nortlirop-Orrurnrnan and Boeing, had long-since merged with the original 1960's contractors on the Lunar Module and Lunar Rover, respectively.


As the spring of 2006 bloomed, all signs pointed to Nortlirop-Grumman-Boeing getting the initial contract. Lockheed had botched NASA's initial call for "Apollo on steroids" and, rather than design an evolution of that proven concept, submitted a radical, Space Shuttle-like lifting body design.

 

NASA was unimpressed with their approach, and at a preliminary design review in March told the contractor to go back to the drawing board and produce an Apollo-style capsule more closely resembling Northrop's concept.

 

Unlike Apollo, which only carried three men to the Moon and back, the new CEV would have to accommodate four men to the Moon and up to six to the International Space Station. Designed to replace the aging and dangerous Space Shuttle fleet, the CEV would be NASA's workhorse well into the next two decades.


NASA had also started to look at the launch requirements for the new program, and settled on a derivative design that would use updated Space Shuttle solid rocket boosters (SRBs) to place the CEV and Lunar Surface Access Module into space separately.

 

Larger payloads, consisting of equipment and construction supplies for the ISS and eventual lunar bases, would be lifted using a new heavy lift vehicle that would strap as many as five SRBs onto a new liquid rocket design. NASA quickly dubbed these new rocket concepts Ares 1 (for the CEV and LSAM) and Ares 5 (for the heavy lift vehicle).


Considering that the eventual stated goal of the new initiative was Mars, the name Ares made a certain degree of sense. Ares was the Roman god most closely associated with Mars, although he was also the Greek god of war. It is this association that has led to the planet Mars being most closely associated with war and destruction.

 

Given that NASA had always tended to use the Greek (rather than Roman) mythology in its naming conventions, the association seemed odd. Did NASA really intend to name their new space boosters after a god of war?


As the year wore on, there were more signs that Northrop's design had the edge over Lockheed's.

 

Lockheed had proposed a new suite of avionics that would require extensive technological development, while Northrop's emphasized existing proven electronics. Lockheed also proposed using their satellite division in Colorado as the prime design center, and they had never built a manned spacecraft before.


As the final designs were submitted in May 2006, Northrop officials were confident their proposal had surpassed the Lockheed Martin design. Even though Lockheed's proposal had promised to deliver a working spacecraft a few months earlier, they had a dismal track record with an earlier Shuttle replacement Project, called "the X-33."

 

Lockheed had spent several years and nearly a billion dollars on the X-33, and never produced anything but some quarter scale models to show for it.


As the summer wore on, though, odd signals began to emerge from inside NASA. First, some contractors had protested that the Agency had awarded contracts to competitors simply because of the Mechanical CAD package they were using.

 

NASA's choice for MCAD software (Mechanical Computer Aided Design) was a package called "Pro-Engineer," from PTC Systems. However, virtually all aerospace contractors preferred a French-produced MCAD software called "CATIA, "while a minority still used a product called "Unigraphics." Pro-Engineer was considered inferior by the aerospace industry for a whole variety of reasons, and Pro/E had never won a head-to-head contract against either CATIA or UG at any major aerospace or automotive firm.


A General Accountability Office (GAO) review took NASA to task for its stance, essentially supporting the contractors' position that NASA had tried to force Pro/E down their throats in violation of federal laws. They further found that NASA had violated repeated promises to rectify the situation and give all bidders an equal chance.

 

Then, the Space.com story167 broke asserting that certain forces on Capitol Hill, including the powerful GAO, wanted NASA to slow down their decision on picking a builder for the new CEV spacecraft.

 

With the shuttle fleet scheduled to be retired in 2010, NASA had decided that they wanted as little downtime as possible between the last shuttle mission and the first CEV missions. This pushed the timetable for the first launch up to 2012. Still, the original Apollo Program had been developed in just four years, and that was when NASA also had to build the entire mfrastructure to handle the launches and recoveries as well.


What could be driving these sudden decisions to not only go back to the Moon and on to Mars (and perhaps, beyond ...), but to also "fast-track" the program behind the scenes? To, paradoxically, publicly aim for "the first new lunar mission" some 14 years away - not until 2020 - twice as long as it took to carry out the original Apollo Program, yet to make almost impossibly tight timetable and unheard-of-schedule demands on contractors out of public view?


Was there, perhaps, something about the times we lived in that could be driving this aggressive, hidden schedule? Or, had NASA actually found "something" on their first voyages to the Moon - perhaps, at Shorty Crater - that finally compelled this President to go back?


Or - after more than thirty years - is it simply "time?"


It was only when a website called "Collectspace.com" (on July 20, 2006) broke the story - that, the name of the new space capsule was to be "Orion" - we began to fully understand.168 What NASA once sought to hide behind the symbolism of the infamous original Apollo mission patch, they now openly displayed. Such is their apparent confidence that no one in the mainstream press will question either their motives or sincerity around this issue.


The final shock came in late August, when NASA surprisingly announced (well, not that surprisingly; Hoagland had correctly been predicting for weeks what was going to take place, which his co-author steadfastly refused to believe...) that Lockheed had been awarded the Orion "Apollo on steroids" CEV Program.
NASA's formal reasons were not immediately clear, except that Lockheed had promised to launch sooner and agreed to do final assembly in Florida.

 

There were some technical reasons given, like the fact that Lockheed's design had "circular" solar panels rather than rectangular ones, but these seemed more like excuses than reasons (unless, of course, you quietly noticed the eerie resemblance of the Lockheed "Orion" panels to the look and placement of the actual "belt stars" in the constellation of Orion).


The aerospace press was quick to criticize the decision, mostly because the whole thing seemed very rushed and likely to lead to cost overruns At the official "contractor unveiling" press conference, it was also learned that the final decision for Lockheed's design had been made by new NASA Administrator Mike Griffin himself rather than any "review committee."


But as previously noted, it was when we saw the official production art renderings of the proposed Orion spacecraft and the projected Lunar Lander that we knew.


The Orion capsule was shown orbiting above rectilinear lunar ruins-features that eerily just happened to resemble Hoagland's "Los Angeles" region, east of Ukert, at Sinus Medii! And, the LSAM was depicted on a lunar surface that obviously references the memorable Taurus-Littrow Valley - with bits of obviously broken and twisted machinery literally spread out all around the Lander's feet [Fig. 12-20]!


The symbolic public message to the "in crowd" seemed abundantly clear:

Project "Osiris" - the literal resurrection of Apollo, if not of NASA itself, after more than forty years of "marking time" - is returning to a Moon that is (we now know) literally full of ancient, waiting ... artificial wonders.

 

 

Chapter Twelve Images
 

 

 

Fig. 12-1

Section of NASA/Boeing poster

for President Bush's Space Exploration Initiative, circa 1989.

It depicts two astronauts coming upon Martian ruins.


Fig. 12-6

Side-by-side crops of Apollo 17 landing site.

Hexagonal "South Massif is near the center. Note collapsed backside of the massif

and implications of six-sided geometry.

Right side image markup shows assumed

hexagonal reconstruction (white lines)

and actual Apollo 17 landing site (white dot).
 

 

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