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Is That Lipstick On The Doll’s Head? Part Four: Do You See What I See? 1.0

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ONE

Sleight of hand and misdirection when properly and deftly handled by a skilled practitioner can be a wondrous thing. I once saw, at a live performance, David Copperfield ride a motorcycle into a giant cage which was then covered with a sparkly blue curtain and drawn up some thirty feet above the stage floor. When it dropped, not only was the cage gone, but David Copperfield was instantaneously just two rows behind me in the theatre revving the motorcycle.

It was pretty cool.

Thinking back on it though, one has to admit that the spectacle surrounding the trick is developed for two reasons: one, for purposes of entertainment and two, to distract the audience from what is really happening right in front of them. Just making the motorcycle ‘disappear’ isn’t so exciting. But when you add in pulsing industrial dance music, misty underlit vapour crawling across the stage floor, obscenely hot women wearing a few thin strands of strategically-placed sequins, loads of flashy hand movements like you’re playing Let’s Make A Deal in pantomime, and roving spotlights shifting through the colour spectrum in rapid succession, the ‘trick’ suddenly assumes this epic sort of stature and you are fooled into believing that David Copperfield is truly beyond human.

Later, if shown how the trick was accomplished – probably by Penn & Teller – you might not be so amazed by it. You might still be impressed by the technical prowess by which it was achieved, but the glamour is suddenly gone.

And, as one delves ever deeper into the realm of ‘The Anomalist Community,’ you sometimes rather inadvertently discover, like Dorothy pulling back the curtain, that the trick being played on you isn’t so cool after all; that you’ve been misdirected – and very often quite badly so – into seeing only what someone wants you to see, and the glamour is suddenly stripped away, often along with much of the practitioner’s credibility, because you also discover along the way that even the technical prowess is clumsy and incomplete.

Like Fox Mulder, I want to believe. I choose to believe. I can’t not believe. To imagine that we are alone in the vast and infinite totality of the universe is taking a narrow and egocentric view of life; it is dogmatically religious and eerily Inquisitional; it is breathtakingly shallow and myopic; it is moving through one’s existence with blinders on. So, yes, I want to believe.

The sceptic in me, however, also demands proof. I want to be shown the irrefutable evidence that either proves we are not alone or is compelling enough that it cannot easily be dismissed. ‘When you have eliminated all which is impossible,’ Sherlock Holmes stated many times, ‘then whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.’ So I want to look behind the curtain at the inner workings and see the truth for myself, without all the misdirection and distraction. Allow me to decide for myself. Don’t block my view and distract me with arm waving and bullshit and expect me to blindly agree because the first thing I’m going to think of is: ‘What are you hiding? What are you not telling me?’

Unfortunately, for me, Dark Mission seems to have loads of arm waving and bullshit.

Needless to say, I criticise Richard C Hoagland quite a lot. But my point in doing so, as I’ve stated many times, isn’t to imply that I entirely disagree with him. On the contrary, I find many of his theories very compelling and thoroughly believable and he himself seems quite intelligent. However, some of his theories, like the Crystal Towers of the Moon, are completely beyond my capacity as a rational person to accept even in the tiniest possible manner. And the fact that he seems to have a tendency to see conspiracy in, and have ‘models’ for, virtually everything from Colony Collapse Disorder to exploded planets just grinds on my nerves like a cheese grater on a severed arm. There seems to be no central focus. And it’s difficult to take very seriously that confounding lack of focus and the frankly sometimes baffling claims based on horrendous photographic ‘evidence’ and what appears to be fairly spurious methodology when the line of credibility tends to stretch painfully thin.

And just because Hoagland is one of the loudest voices amongst the Anomalists does not necessarily make him right.

It is for this very reason that I often think, in my own conspiratorial way, that Hoagland is himself an agent of disinformation. It’s purely and wildly speculative, of course, and I’m probably completely wrong, but ask yourself this: Given the wealth of absolutely amazing and so much better evidence of former and/or current life on other worlds available to those who take the time to look (and some of it, such as the things being discovered at Mars Anomaly Research, are often quite frankly far more deserving of the titles ‘stunning’ or ‘striking’), why does Hoagland seem to insist on focussing his – and by extension our – attention on some of the most ridiculous ‘evidence’ imaginable?

What’s happening right in front of us that Hoagland doesn’t want us to see? This is where the Chicken Little effect seems most prominent. It seems he’s running about waving his arms and screaming about ‘striking’ this and ‘stunning’ that and ‘rectilinear’ whatever, and having us look at ridiculous pictures of supposed ‘miles-high glass-like structures on the moon’ (the airless moon, he constantly and annoyingly reminds us) whilst photographs from Mars, for example, showing some truly interesting and so far unexplained anomalies such as A) old coins, B) a so-called ‘airport,’ C) elliptical structures, D) snow-tipped peaks, E) ancient streets or, F) humanoid skulls…

anomalies

…all seem to get inexplicably ignored.

Hoagland calls his Enterprise Mission a ‘NASA watchdog and research group.’ I reckon that makes me a Hoagland watchdog. Or a devil’s advocate. What I want, as he wants from NASA, is better science, and better proof. And I want it without so much arm waving distraction and bullshit.

I’m not a scientist and make no claims to be. But I’m not an idiot, either. I’ve had more than thirty years’ worth of experience with photography and know my way around imaging software enough to know when someone is metaphorically pinching my nose and trying to force feed me a big sloppy dose of Pirelli’s Miracle Elixir.

So I occasionally get the very insulting impression that Hoagland expects us to be gullible enough to just stupidly take his word for everything without ever stopping to consider the factual foundations upon which much of his photographic ‘evidence’ is based.
moonguy-smIf you recall in the last instalment of this ‘review,’ I discussed an image Hoagland uses in Dark Mission which, he insists, illustrates ‘backscattering’ of light through the so-called ‘glass-like’ structures hovering for miles in every direction on the airless moon. That would be the reddish band running through the image. Backscattering – and more specifically Rayleigh scattering – is generally seen when light is travelling through a gas – you know, like an atmosphere – which, we have been told ad nauseam by Hoagland is not present on the moon. This scattering can also happen in liquids (like you might see in a swimming pool) or when light hits a transparent object (like glass) and is reflected back in the direction it came. Go shine a light on a mirror. You’ll get the idea.

And, yes, I know. Some of this may sound familiar. I briefly addressed this issue in the previous instalment. I simply wanted to make the matter clear.

AS17-134-20426-smallDue to the sub-standard quality of the available photograph which (as one discovers quite often) Hoagland fails rather conveniently (in my opinion) to provide a reference number for, I took the scant information he alludes to that the image was taken sometime on the December 1972 Apollo 17 mission and then spent hours digging through the Apollo Image Gallery to find a better, cleaner image to use here because I felt that it was necessary to provide the best and most accurate information I could locate rather than use the garbagey image from his stupid book.

Another thing to note is that Hoagland does not often seem to overtly cite the sources for some of his material; just tells us ‘Here is the image.’ He doesn’t tell you there are more. Of course, to be fair, he doesn’t tell you that are aren’t more either. So not implicitly but certainly by omission the impression given is that the only data – or presumably the only correct data – available is his.

To my surprise, NASA image AS17-134-20426 (you’re welcome, Richard) is not quite exactly as it appears in the pages of Dark Mission. The reddish band of so-called backscattering Hoagland claims as critical evidence of these ‘highly eroded geometric ancient ruins towering over the airless lunar surface’  is not, in fact, present on the original NASA file. At least not this one. And it is not present on any of the other numerous versions of this image I have so far been able to find. It is, however, an artefact of image processing and manipulation. I say this because at the very bottom of the crap Dark Mission version it says in parentheses ‘Color Enhancement: Hoagland.’

This reddish band is also fairly typical of a badly-scanned photograph, something I’m sure anyone may be vaguely familiar with if you’ve ever tried scanning a glossy image from Playboy a magazine. It is stated (slightly ambiguously) on page 115 of Dark Mission that Hoagland armed himself ‘with a 486 personal computer, a 1600 dpi scanner and a variety of then state-of-the-art digital photo-processing software’ to analyse ‘old NASA photos and negatives.’ There is no specific date cited for this, but there is reference to his work on this subject starting after the loss of Mars Observer, which places it somewhere after 21 August 1993.  This indicates to me that this particular rabbit being yanked from the hat is at least a fifteen year old scanned image of an even older photo.

For the sake of argument, though, let’s play along and say that the reddish band really is there. And  if you look very very very closely at the high resolution image you might just see an ever so tiny ghostly hint of some almost vaguely pink tinge running across the image roughly consistent with where it seems to be on Hoagland’s version, so let’s say it’s there. Let’s say that what we are seeing is indeed Rayleigh scattering. Physics tells us that Rayleigh scattering happens this way:

‘Particles in our atmosphere that are approximately the same size as the wavelength of visible light cause the white light from the sun to scatter and split into individual components. Oxygen and Nitrogen (the main components of our atmosphere) scatter violet and blue light due to their small size. This is why the sky appears to be blue in the day time, especially at midday when the Sun is closest to us.
During sunrise and sunset the distance that the light has to travel from the Sun to an observer is at its greatest. This means the a large amount of blue and violet light has been scattered so the light that is recieved [sic] by an observer is mostly of a longer wavelength and therefore appears to be read. [sic]’

(This explanation is from Physlink.com and provides a concise definition without a lot of needless scientific terms.  Also, take a few moments and read both of these answers available at the same site for a good, plain English description of light travelling through glass.)

So if the scattering of the white light from the sun appears red because of certain components in our atmosphere, how does it look red on the airless moon? Is it interstellar reddening? Is it Mie scatter (that’s right up Hoagland’s alley as it concerns Maxwell’s equations)? Why isn’t everything else tinted slightly red (Hoagland’s ‘enhancements’ notwithstanding) as one would see on Earth at sunrise or sunset? Is it because it’s reflecting back at us through glass? It seems to me that the light – brilliant white light from the sun, unhindered by an atmosphere (because the moon has no atmosphere, if you recall) – would reflect off of the glass in every direction or possibly bounce right back towards the camera in a blinding white ball, much like driving behind another car late in the afternoon on a bright day when the sun is blazing off the back windscreen and making it impossible for you to see without wincing.

AS17-134-20426-detailBut if the light is, as Hoagland indicates, ‘refracting prismatically through [emphasis added by me] the fragments of glass structure arching overhead’ then wouldn’t that imply that the light is coming from behind the glass? Anyone who owns or who has ever seen the cover of Dark Side of the Moon ought to know that we don’t usually see a colour spectrum effect until a light source has already passed through a certain medium, so what’s behind the ‘clear glass structure’ to reflect the light, and why isn’t that material (whatever that might be) – a material which, simply by the nature of the photograph, must also be reflective in some form – in turn creating a bright white blob instead of  just one tiny sliver of a prism floating not only a few feet away from Harrison Schmitt, but strangely in somewhat better focus than the distant landscape it is theoretically ‘towering above’ as though it were much closer to the camera than we are lead to believe?

(And breathe…)

Compounding the issue even further, Hoagland emphatically states that the astronauts wore gold-shielded visors ‘to specifically see the blue rayleigh [sic] scattered glass ruins towering over the landing site.’

Blue.

So which is it, red or blue?

And if we’re still going with red, then why is it that he doesn’t include these other Apollo 17 images as additional ‘striking’ and even more obvious and ‘stunning’ proof of his theory?

apollo-badfilm

The frame in the lower left corner has a reddish band that is positioned almost identically to the ‘backscattered’ light from the ‘miles-high glass ruins’ shown in Hoagland’s image, relative to the size of the frame and the subject being photographed. Why isn’t that used as proof?

It’s because the virtually identical red banding in three of these frames is a common problem in bright sun photography and a type of lens flare or aberration called ‘fogging.’ It can, as previously mentioned, also be caused by scanning a photograph with a non- or poorly-calibrated scanner.  The bottom right frame is an ‘up-sun’ image to illustrate just how harsh the sun appears on the lunar surface. And it is this very brightness which leads to such fogging because the lens of the camera is picking up oblique light sources (which in this case is practically everywhere) and the light, in turn, is either bouncing about inside the lens or it is polluting the film emulsion by leaking through the shutter gate. And, if it’s leaking through the shutter gate, it’s typically going to do so in roughly the same spot every time because there’s something not allowing the shutter to seal completely.

hasselbladThese cameras were big, clunky Hasselblad 70mm monstrosities usually equipped with standard 50- to 80mm lenses, sometimes even with 250- to 500mm telephoto lenses, which create their own set of imaging problems and chromatic aberrations depending on the quality of the optics inside.

Either way that’s a huge surface area to protect. And as you can see in the left-hand image there were no lens hoods used to block out ambient or oblique light which means the cameras were susceptible to all manner of optical issues. They also had no viewfinder on them, so in order to capture an image you just sort of held the camera (worn dangling rather awkwardly on your chest) in the general direction of the subject being photographed and pretty much hoped for the best. As a result the astronauts really had little or no idea exactly how the photos they took were going to turn out.

I would imagine that, apart from obtaining special high-speed film stock for the Hasselblad cameras, NASA really never bothered to take the time to consult with professional photographers for technical advice prior to the Apollo missions. If they had done, perhaps there wouldn’t have been so many lunar images left looking like junk holiday snaps. It’s also not too difficult to guess that the astronauts themselves were not exactly trained photographers, as can clearly be seen by this frame sequence near the end of a film magazine.

apollo-images

So when given the choice of believing in ‘ancient highly-eroded glass-like structures’ spanning countless hundreds of miles over the lunar surface which are backscattering prismatically-separated light over the ‘airless moon,’ or just a handful of really shit pictures from a multi-billion dollar mission that are riddled with very typical bright-sun photographic lighting problems common amongst even the most experienced professionals, I choose the latter.

I keep hearing the Doobie Brothers singing in my head: ‘What seems to be is always better than nothing.’ Maybe it’s just a neural disorder.

Before we move on to the next segment – oh yes, that’s right, there’s more – I would just like to point out that, in order to see if anyone was interested enough to catch it, and to prove my previous point about manipulation and being made to see what someone else wants you to see, I lied. Not all of the images seen in the first illustration regarding Mars anomalies were real. No. Not the sled. The sled was real. The ones after that.

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On to the next chapter…

9 Responses to Is That Lipstick On The Doll’s Head? Part Four: Do You See What I See? 1.0

  1. Eugene says:

    I feel like a kid in school prefacing my question with “I know this is gonna sound dumb, teacher” but here goes:
    Could that head be a real human skull with partial helmet from an earlier failed Russian visit to the Moom? The ruskies were willing to stop at nothing to get there first. Maybe they did and left a “memento” of their visit in the form of an astronaut who perished on the Lunar surface? (Maybe his life support system failed.)
    Now if the class will quiet down and stop laughing, maybe the teacher will try to answer my question. 😉

  2. Geo says:

    Eugene,
    Thanks for the comment.
    In the later segments of this ‘review,’ I do eventually get around to addressing the doll’s head more in depth (no, really)– especially towards the end of Do You See What I See, Part 5 (I think) and the most recent addition, Colour My World. What was supposed to be a brief ‘Gods this book is stupid’ post turned into sort of a Frankenstein’s monster with a life of its own.
    Anyway, to your question: I imagine that it could be the head/helmet of a Russian astronaut but, honestly, I have no idea how long it takes for organic material to break down in a vacuum. A few weeks? A few years?
    The other thing that you would have to look at is the surrounding evidence: are there previously-remaining footprints around and leading into the crater– other signs that someone had been there before Apollo 17?; if there was, why didn’t Schmitt and Cernan comment on it?; if it was a crash, is there wreckage?; if it was an ill-fated cosmonaut, where’s the rest of the body, or all of his gear?; did his head just fall off and nobody went back for it?
    The list goes on.
    From what I’ve been able to find in researching this little project, it doesn’t seem that the Russians had the capacity to get a man to the moon, mostly due to budget issues. That is the ‘official story’ anyway. There is a list of some Soviet Manned Space attempts at
    http://www.russianspaceweb.com/spacecraft_manned_lunar.html
    which fairly well shows they were failing miserably at duplicating our success. That is not to say that it couldn’t have happened, but I think there would have to be evidence. I know they crashed a few early satellites into the moon, but so did we.
    Unlike Richard C Hoagland would have us believe, you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to figure this stuff out. I’m certainly not. Actually, neither is he. Just looking at it with an objective eye and playing Devil’s Advocate (and not the Al Pacino film) you can begin to narrow down the options.
    As I mention in the posts, I do believe we are not being told the truth about a lot of things. In this particular case, however, we are being mislead by Hoagland himself with these ridiculous claims of lunar domes and Obvious Mechanical Debris.
    I think someone needs to ask ‘Why?’
    That probably didn’t answer your question very well, but there you go…

  3. Eugene says:

    Thank you for seriously replying to my message, and addressing the possibilities regarding the possibility of a failed Russian cosmonaut mission. We in the U.S. have different standards than did the Russians. Remember that the Apollo mission on-board computers were so rudimentary by today’s standards, these computers were like modern scientific calculators. The Russians placed in inordinate amount of resources into space missions and may have compromised on areas of safety to get there, that Americans would have never dreamt on compromising on to achieve an historical feat.
    I’m going to paint a morbid image of what I’m afraid may have happened and see if you think it is at least plausible. The Russian spaceship was coming in for a landing and exploded near the Lunar surface. This explains the debris field of mechanical parts. This debris, including body parts of the cosmonaut, were likely small pieces due to the intensity of the explosion.
    The head of the cosmonaut was decapitated. The vacuum of space caused it to puff up, giving the effect of a “cabbage patch doll.” The crown of the helmet was blown off the head, but the red base of the helmet (and perhaps breathing apparatus) was “stuck” around the neck and covering the mouth (due to swelling of the neck). By coincidence the head landed facing outwards in the crater, the one evidence of this human tragedy. Much of the debris is likely covered with dust and invisible to cursory visual inspection of the landscape.
    Keep in mind that bodies in the vacuum of space would likely look similar to those who died on Mount Everest, fairly “mummified” with the flesh preserved. Radiation may actually help “solidify” the expanded skin. The combination of vacuum, radiation, intense heat and cold could harden a corpse and “ensconse” it with the surrounding landscape for quite some time.
    The Apollo 17 mission may have specifically landed at this location in agreement with the Russians to recover their lost comrade, and return his remains (if possible) to be interned at his grave site in Russia. The U.S. and Russia are so tight in working together, it would be a diplomatic and human “courtesy” to honor the actual first man on the Moon who gave his life to travel there. That could be why they recovered an unusual amount of debris, more than any other mission. In addition to their standard haul of debris, they may have recovered as many remains of the cosmonaut and ship as would fit in the cargo hold in addition to their samples. It’s probably really not much.
    I’m sad to think that if this occurred, the Russians and Americans are not jointly honoring the fallen cosmonaut who died attempting a landing on the Lunar surface.
    I think you can scientifically approach the question of “is this a corpse” through forensic analysis. If the FBI or other forensic scientists were willing to lend their expertise to studying the photo from this basis, you could rule out any possibility this is the head of a human corpse.
    By the way, wasn’t mother Russia’s colors red for their cosmonaut suits? The part of the helmet around the base of the head is red.

  4. Eugene says:

    Strike the last paragraph. Russian helmets are similar in color to American helmets (white or silver). Lunar dust on the helmet would render its color similar to the landscape. I did read an accusation on another site that Hoagland is accused of colorizing the photos, for reasons I cannot even imagine… perhaps to add more realism and controversy?
    In any case, IMO, the color is quite irrelevant. In addendum to my comments, the facial features of what appears to be a decapitated head are very similar to a famous Russian cosmonaut many will recognize: Yuri Gagarin, the first person in space (1961). The official version of Yuri’s death as quoted from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yuri_Gagarin: “Gagarin then became deputy training director of the Star City cosmonaut training base. At the same time, he began to re-qualify as a fighter pilot. On 27 March 1968, while on a routine training flight out of Chkalovsky Air Base, he and flight instructor Vladimir Seryogin (Seregin) died in a MiG-15UTI crash near the town of Kirzhach. Gagarin and Seryogin were buried in the walls of the Kremlin on Red Square.”
    Considering the fantastic and speculative level Richard Hoagland has elevated these NASA photos to, is it much of a further stretch to suggest Yuri and another cosmonaut may have flown a secret mission to the Moon out of Star City, and passed away in a tragic accident while his comrade orbited above? That would make him the first man into space twice over, first to pierce the boundaries of our Earth’s gravity and then to become the first man on the Moon, at the tragic expense of his life. This is Kennedy conspiracy theory style speculation.
    As I mentioned, I have heard there is a way for the latest forensic analysis computers to analyze photos in conclusively identifying human remains on a landscape (as opposed to anomalous topographical features). Perhaps I’m mistaken on this point, but it’s worth mentioning in case it might help solve this riddle raised by Hoagland.
    By the way, the speculative covert flight by the Russians to the Moon would have happened between 1961 and 1969, very likely closer (a year or two before) to the U.S. manned mission. This means the decapitated head would only have been on the Lunar surface for 5 years perhaps less. Ditto to my previous comments about the likelihood of mummification similar to those dying near the summit of Everest, except the vacuum of space would have left the skin of human remains swollen before becoming hardened and “preserved” for as long as no meteorites or micro-meteorites disturbed the remains.

  5. Eugene says:

    Geo,
    My tunnel vision over the possibility of a very recently decapitated head laying on the Moon for no apparent reason (if recent, that is, relative to the year it was photographed by Apollo 17 astronaut Gene) that I completely ignored your question in your reply.
    You queried aloud:
    “As I mention in the posts, I do believe we are not being told the truth about a lot of things. In this particular case, however, we are being mislead by Hoagland himself with these ridiculous claims of lunar domes and Obvious Mechanical Debris.
    I think someone needs to ask ‘Why?'”
    My personal opinion and answer:
    Hoagland lead readers through a fascinating maze but fruitless mental romp in his book “Monuments of Mars.”
    Now the man seems to be trying to both recoup his losses and save face (no pun intended).
    The human emotion I believe is driving Hoagland into letting no pixels stand in his way of convincing everyone he was right all along, in a word, is pride. “Pride precedes a disaster, and an arrogant attitude precedes a fall” is age old wisdom from a very Wise Ancient Book (Proverbs 16:18).
    The compelling need to save face sometimes at all costs, is one of our greatest human weaknesses driven by personal pride. I wouldn’t read anything more into it.
    Besides, what if Hoagland did find human artifacts of a failed mission that NASA for whatever reasons was trying to cover up? It’s just that the suggestion there is a logical RECENT human answer to the riddle – no ancient advanced civilizations involved – could take the wind out of his sails.

  6. Geo says:

    As sort of a cumulative response…
    Although the history of Soviet space exploration is not something with which I am extremely familiar, there seems to be a rich history of their attempts to get to the moon before the US. The conspiracy theories of the ‘lost’ or ‘phantom cosmonauts’ are wide and varied but the only one that I’ve been able to pinpoint as being close to a Soviet landing attempt is the story of Andrei Mikoyan who, it is said, was killed in 1969 trying to reach the moon before the United States. The story is that there was a system malfunction and Mikoyan and crew ended up shooting past the moon and dying in space.
    This story, though, has been reasonably proven an urban legend.
    Most of the research I have done shows that other Russian attempts to get into space– or to the moon –before us all seem to take place in the late fifties or very early sixties. One rumour even says they landed on the moon in 1938.
    But… do I believe they beat us? Not necessarily. Do I think it’s possible? Of course. I firmly believe we don’t know everything about our (or the Soviet) space programme. I still think there is a strong possibility that Hoagland’s bible, the Brooking’s Institute report, may have been predicated on some previous knowledge about what’s ‘out there,’ but not because we or anybody else here had already been to the moon.
    To your question(s), though. I certainly do think it is possible that, if that head is indeed truly a head, it could very well be as you described. It’s certainly a more reasonable theory than what Hoagland and Bara are offering. Without solid evidence, you really can’t discount *any* idea, but the purpose of my review is to make people stop and look at Hoagland’s argument about lunar domes and android heads and see that their ‘evidence’ is not as particularly solid as they claim.
    My girlfriend is a law student, which pushes all of my heavily analytical buttons, and I tend to step back and play Devil’s Advocate quite a lot, looking at ‘collateral evidence.’ With that in mind, and Hoagland’s image manipulation and outrageous science fiction-based claims notwithstanding, if you take just a moment to play Sherlock Holmes and make some careful observations of the ‘bigger picture’ it seems fairly clear that the preponderance of evidence– and this is just my opinion –tends to indicate, logically, that what looks like a head is just a rock.
    I’m not trying to convince you that you are wrong about the cosmonaut idea but, rather, asking to step back and look at the collateral evidence objectively.
    As often as I tend to think that NASA are keeping secrets, I cannot accept Hoagland’s theories about the doll’s head because the collateral evidence simply does not support the idea.
    But let’s say a Soviet craft incinerated above the moon in 1969 (or any time between 1959 and 1971– doesn’t matter who was on it. Given that Taurus-Littrow is on the Earth-facing side of the moon, how would anyone *not* have seen such an explosion? Given the fact that the public attention was drawn to the moon in the late 60s and early 70s (and it was– I remember it well) and every science story seemed to be about the Apollo missions or the moon, how would something like that go unnoticed?
    One would imagine that the fireball (however brief) from escaping gases and fuel would have equalled the size of the Challenger explosion in 1986. (I had friends who lived in Florida at that time. They said the explosion literally filled the entire sky– nothing like the little puff we saw on television.)
    If a craft exploded, sprinkling debris, where is that debris? There is no atmosphere around the moon in which pieces can burn, so it had to have either rained down in a variety of shapes and sizes or possibly just continued to float in orbit. If it stayed in orbit, why are there no images anywhere of it twinkling in the sunlight? Given the thousands of lunar orbital images, surely someone would take a snap of it or commented about strange things floating in space. If the debris rained down to the surface, you would still be able to see it in almost as pristine a condition as it landed, especially if you’re only talking about three years before Apollo 17.
    Any organic material (body parts) would have swollen only as far as their suits or helmets would allow (all the gory details are laid out at http://www.aerospaceweb.org/question/atmosphere/q0291.shtml if you’re interested) but eventually would have frozen. Without blood pressure (or pressure of any kind) being maintained due to severed arteries, the swelling might actually dissipate because the gases would have a means of escape. Even if the parts did stay swollen, if we are only talking about a few short years later, an astronaut who might be strolling on the moon one day, would likely still be able to look at a freeze-dried bloated head and recognise it immediately, especially if the head was still inside a helmet. And the helmet, if it had escaped an explosion reasonably unharmed (except for the part where there’s still a head inside of it) might still be shiny as new.
    Despite Hoagland’s idiotic notions about Obvious Mechanical Debris, there is nothing on the surface at Taurus-Littrow in any of the photographs from Apollo 15, 16, or 17 to suggest that there is a debris field of any variety in the region of Shorty Crater. Certainly reading the Apollo Surface Journal, listening to the audio or watching the videos it’s quite plain that Schmitt and Cernan were collecting samples and doing their jobs. I just don’t hear or see ‘clandestine activity’ in anything they’re doing. They comment occasionally about things that strike their fancy, so I’m sure if they came across a head and some debris they would have said something. I can’t believe that they were hired for their acting ability and told by NASA not to react to any frozen heads and spacecraft debris they might find. And I can’t believe that every one of their photos or the photos from other missions would all be doctored to eliminate all evidence.
    A cover-up of that type of scale and complexity seems absolutely ridiculous compared to the far simpler and less costly option of just shutting off the audio/video feeds and stop taking photos and just saying, ‘Hey, we lost contact.’
    They did it with Mars Observer in 1992.
    The fact that these missions are so finely documented hardly seems to leave even the slightest margin for error in an attempted grand scale cover-up and, honestly, I don’t think the existing evidence supports the alternative.
    If the Russians wanted to or were about to beat us to the moon, I think they would have made a big deal out of it. I don’t think they would have sneaked around in total secrecy. If they had the chance to whip us in 1969 or earlier, they would have been beating their chests like an Alpha Male gorilla. Possibly even throwing their faeces.
    Secret missions are certainly not out of the question, but I firmly believe they would have made a show out of getting to the moon before us. There is conjecture that they warned us about what we would find on the moon because they actually *had* beaten us to the punch, but I think that is also the stuff of urban legend.
    Claiming there is a head in Shorty Crater requires an astonishing array of evidence to support it. There has to be context. An artefact, no matter what it is, does not exist in complete isolation. And my opinion is that there is not enough collateral evidence to sustain the idea. If someone, like Hoagland, has to consider increasingly speculative notions about how the head got there, my guess is that he’s missing the point. Probably deliberately.
    He wants it so badly to *be* a head that he seems willing to go to any length to ‘prove’ it regardless of what the real evidence is. Look at the glass dome nonsense. He wants these to exist so badly that you can almost hear him jumping up and down and screaming at you, but the evidence is just not there.
    I believe Hoagland wants to discover something– anything –just so he can be part of ‘the conversation.’
    I have never doubted that there are unexplainable things on the moon, and I stand by my claim that at
    http://www.marsanomalyresearch.com/index.htm
    there is much more convincing and compelling evidence of lunar anomalies than the cheap sideshow trinkets Hoagland is peddling.
    This probably didn’t really answer your question. Sorry. But I’ll be curious to find out it you have any responses to the other parts if and when you get to them…

  7. Eugene says:

    I appreciate the thorough, logical and convincing reply. I personally don’t like my theory because it’s depressing. The thought of the Russians wasting the life of a young man like Yuri Gagarin (early 30’s) or any other cosmonaut is demoralizing. I frankly don’t want to believe it’s a head, but just a illusion similar to seeing faces in clouds. I’ll bet if you took a group of people with high power binoculars to the rim of the Grand Canyon, and had a contest to see which one could first spot a convincing looking “face” laying on the terrain (a rock or formation of soil or other natural object shaped like a “face”), someone would win in less than a few hours of gazing.
    I wasn’t going to reply and let you have the last word, because I think you’re right, but you had to go and say “But I’ll be curious to find out if you have any responses to the other parts…” 😉
    Ok, it’s thought experiment time, here goes my responses to a few of your comments.
    The Russians and especially the communists were fiercely proud people. One of their comrades dying on the Moon would have been a disgrace. From one whose mom recounted over the years details of living under the communist regime, coerced as a young woman at the age of 20 to become a commie officer in the Kremlin before fleeing the country in disgust, I believe the communists and Russians in general to be fiercely proud people. The highest echelon also loved their caviar and big luxury homes in gated (or rather walled) communities in the Moscow burbs. The communist party’s controlling elite consisted of the most greedy “capitalist pigs” anywhere, and their homes hidden in walled communities inaccessible to the average peasantry made Beverly Hills look like a working class community by comparison. But we all know this after the regime topped in the late 1980’s and journalists started getting in there.
    Yuri Gagarin was a cosmonaut not “spoiled” by the ruling elite, a cult hero of his time around the world, sort of like a space faring Elvis. He was used by the communists to make the regime look good. Wearing the cosmonaut suit that put his face on the map, Yuri Gagarin might have quipped Will Smith’s famous line, when he arrogantly but accurately stated in his role in Men in Black, about his black suit and overall cool appearance in it, “I make this look good.”
    If NASA sent Elvis to the Moon and he was blown up in an explosion, that’s an accomplishment? That’s a national disgrace. Send a young man to the Moon, especially your premiere cosmonaut who is the “poster boy” of communism, an icon symbolizing freedom as an overrated concept and that it’s truly better to be red than dead, and get him killed there? Why not put a corpse into a rocket and hit the surface of the Moon instead? Far easier. Technically that corpse if male was the (read in quote in a Russian accent) “first man on the Moon, and heck, he was already dead… less of a public relations nightmare.” But no, they waste the life of the equivalent to a super rock star, symbolizing the failure of communism? There is where I disagree with your comments about the commies “beating their chests like an Alpha Male gorilla” (LOL, that was a good one!). Just my opinion. Times have changed so much in “mother Russia” that maybe I’m mistaken on these points as I think that I clearly remember from the sense my mom conveyed about them.
    Another thought based on your comments, is
    the Soviets did shoot a rocket that hit the Lunar surface, or am I mistaken? Again, if they took a male body from a funeral home and put it in that rocket, so technically it becomes the “first man on the Moon,” nobody’s impressed. Russia becomes the butt of every joke and is humiliated. Put their cosmonaut hero (or one of his comrades) alive into a rocket and risk doing what amounts to the same thing, now these icons go from being role models for youth around the world, to the grim opposite effect in the minds of people whose minds they’re trying to win over to their ideology.
    The communists were impatient people, wanting to fast track progress at the expense of human life, and good at keeping many secrets about the negative consequences of their impatience. They figured if things turned out good on any endeavor, they leaked it to the world press. If it turned out bad, the KGB covered it up. The whole identity and pride of Russians today, that almost seems more emotionally powerful than the wretched memories of the communist regime, is their deep seated pride an admiration for Russian progress in space. For the Russians, in many respects, Star City is almost like Mecca is to the Muslim world. It would be very destructive to release KGB files and information buried in vaults about any failed attempt to land a Russian cosmonaut on the Moon, only for him to die a horrible death, and for the Soviet government to cover it up by staging a Russian air force accident.
    Everything I’ve said doesn’t need Hoagland to find what looks like a human head in digitally enhanced photos of the Apollo 17 mission. I tend to agree with what you said, after reading your reply and thinking this through: “… if you take just a moment to play Sherlock Holmes and make some careful observations of the ‘bigger picture’ it seems fairly clear that the preponderance of evidence– and this is just my opinion –tends to indicate, logically, that what looks like a head is just a rock.”
    Nice reply. I appreciate the links as well and will check them out.

  8. Eugene says:

    I opened Pandora’s box at the link you gave at http://www.marsanomalyresearch.com/ and find myself troubled, considering these photos come from NASA archives.
    There are especially troubling NASA images of what looks like giant “worm” formations infesting regions near the pole. I calculate the diameter of these worms at approximately 0.4 miles. There is a gigantic infestation of some form of life on Mars in the NASA photos at this link:
    http://www.marsanomalyresearch.com/evidence-reports/2007/125/dunes-or-mega-life2.htm
    I suspect if these are not giant “worms” but surface burrowing “tunnels” then Houston, we’ve got a problem. What a real tragedy if Mars is uninhabitable because it has massive, invasive and possibly predatory species posing a real bio-threat to Earth if we brought some of it back.
    Life imitates art.

  9. Geo says:

    As skeptical as I am, I often find the Mars Anomaly Research page pretty fascinating. Mr Skipper does a great job presenting his reports and they are a far cry from the dead horse Hoagland beats over things like his ridiculous ‘lunar domes.’
    And even when the images and conclusions seem to be a little ‘out there,’ he can at least step up and admit it. And he provides a look into his image enhancement methods and cites his sources. That’s what real investigation is like.

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