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Is That Lipstick On The Doll’s Head? Part Five: Do You Hear What I Hear?

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Often times when talking to children, what you have said and what they have heard are generally two entirely different things. Parents like I’m not will recognise this immediately. My experience is more with employees who perform remarkably similar aural tasks and then stand in doe-eyed innocence, but the end result is essentially the same: they didn’t hear precisely what was said or how you said it. For example, you might say…

‘You kids need to march upstairs right now and clean your room and then help me with the other chores around the house before you go outside and play, because I’m not going to have time to get all of this stuff finished before we have dinner!’

And what they heard was…

‘You kids need to… go outside and play… before we have dinner!’

Selective hearing, selective listening, is to often times radically misunderstand and misinterpret the facts. It’s like saying that, based on the content of several commercials, it can be stated that all women suffer from an overpowering vaginal odour and must eat yoghurt to go poo whilst all men shout product information in military cadence when they cook on a grill and have strange green creatures with New York accents living in their sinuses. Or that According to Jim is funny. It’s patently ridiculous.

In the sprawling epic that is Dark Mission, Richard C Hoagland, founder of The Enterprise Mission, recipient of an Angstrom Medal, former science advisor to CBS News and Walter Cronkite, author of The Monuments of Mars, co-creator of the ‘Pioneer Plaque,’ originator of the ‘Europa Proposal,’ and principal investigator of The Enterprise Mission presents, with his co-author Mike Bara, his belief that the Apollo 17 mission (the last time anyone of whom we are aware has ever set foot upon the moon) was a not-so-thinly disguised reconnaissance mission to examine and retrieve ancient alien technology – like giant glass domes and big blue smears of ancient alien lens flare as seen in the high resolution version of AS17-146-22440.

Though much of this evidence is presented through photographic ‘enhancement’, there is also critical audio and video evidence of this hidden agenda – this dark mission (ah! see, it’s all becoming clearer now!) – from none other than the astronauts themselves. And a vast majority of this ‘damning evidence’ has been compiled and transcribed and can now be browsed through at one’s leisure at the oft-alluded to Apollo Lunar Surface Journal, wherein the very cryptic words and clandestine actions from this final expedition to the moon are laid bare in all their clandestine crypticness.

Or so one is lead to believe.

Hoagland is so determined, it seems, to make the case for conspiracy that specific details are quite often either glossed over by simply referring to them only once, in passing, and then never mentioning them again – which is a convenient method to later claim that ‘all the information is there’ (as in the example of Jack Schmitt’s Station 4 pan being carefully tombstoned in and around other extraneous material in the hopes that no-one will notice it) – or by being left out entirely, such as the contradictory photographic evidence from Jack Schmitt’s Station 4 pan.

In listening to the Apollo 17 tapes, reading the transcripts, or watching the videos, one could easily make the case for conspiracy on any variety of things providing you narrow your focus to merely excerpts and radically misinterpret or thoroughly misunderstand the remaining facts. The truth is, it just wasn’t all that fascinating. I mean, yes, obviously they are on the moon, which is amazingly cool, but what they are doing are all fairly mundane, routine tasks.

Realistically speaking, when you sift through this material (in light of Hoagland’s assertions) you must ask yourself, ‘So when exactly did the astronauts have time for these clandestine operations?’ Yes, records can be (and are sometimes) altered but these guys were on the moon, inside big clumsy suits, with only so much time available to them before their portable environments ran out, and they’re being recorded or monitored virtually every step of the way – when the hell would they have had the time for all this hidden agenda stuff?  Seriously? This isn’t naivete, it’s a simple point of logic. Unless there’s something colossal going on that just left vapour trails – or even chem-trails – over my painfully malfunctioning head, I see a couple of guys driving around on the moon collecting dirt.

But let’s start at the beginning so this is all in perspective…

In Chapter Twelve, Where Titans Slept… (or, if you prefer, Where the Titans Slept…), in a sub-section curiously entitled Where the Titans Slept…, Hoagland introduces us to The Strange Case of Apollo 17. We arrive at this mysterious mission primarily because of what Hoagland appears to have read into the events surrounding George Bush’s January 2004 speech at NASA headquarters in Washington wherein it was proffered that we, as a Nation, return to the moon… well… eventually, though certainly not within the same sort of time-line JFK desired or demanded in 1962 (when we didn’t even have the technology in place yet), and to go to Mars maybe when we can get round to it. Sometime. A lot of this was to start seeing fruition in the then far away mystical year of 2008 and which, as we all know, hasn’t.

Big surprise there.

On hand for this ‘Hey Kids Let’s Forget About This Silly Little Iraqi Boondoggle For Now And Divert Our National Attention To Other Things We Won’t Be Successful At Either’ speech was the commander of the final Apollo mission and the last person on the moon, Eugene Cernan. According to Hoagland, when singled out by George Bush, Cernan basically sat and scowled at him –  apparently a clear indication that Cernan was trying to ‘tell us something.’ Not that he didn’t like George Bush, but that something wasn’t exactly as it seemed, and that Apollo 17 wasn’t all just rover rides and holiday snaps of ‘obvious mechanical debris.’

AS17landingsiteThe other somewhat circuitous venue by which we, via Hoagland, come to the Super Secret Mission of Apollo 17 is through a gentleman by the name of Keith Laney, whom we shall visit some time later – and, again, yes, that does mean there’s more. I can hear the squeals of glee from here…

Anyway, Hoagland, suddenly quite suspicious of the very motives behind the Apollo 17 mission, plunges into action, recounting that even as far back as 1998 he had felt that the Taurus-Littrow valley (lavishly illustrated to your right and helpfully indicated for your convenience) looked ‘incredibly dangerous’ for a landing site. Not only was it dangerous looking, it was also ‘positioned at 19.5 degrees North’ which, of course, falls neatly into line with his ‘ritual alignment model.’ In fact the actual landing site, according to published data from the National Air and Space Museum, shows that it was at 20.19080 degrees North and 30.77168 degrees East, but who am I to quibble?

So Hoagland turned to the work of his periodic associate and ‘NASA/Ames consultant,’ Keith Laney, who, we are told, ‘had been looking at Apollo 17 data for some time’ with another associate of The Enterprise Mission, Steve Troy.

as17-m-1218-hexagonLaney had posted on his web site an ‘extensive analysis’ of the Apollo 17 mission – ‘and all its anomalism’ – including his (and eventually Hoagland’s) assertion that the South Massif appears to be not only quite mysteriously and clearly hexagonal but also very likely to be an ancient artificial structure – sorry, arcology – with a super secret entrance plainly visible at the base cleverly disguised as a giant ‘crater’ called Nansen.

In Dark Mission the ‘science’ behind this assertion of artificiality comes from the observation that the light coloured material seen spreading away from the massif in the right side of the photo appears to have been forced out from beneath the ‘structure’ when the ‘back side’ collapsed in upon itself. And because, as the theory goes, solid rock mountains do not collapse inward like this and shoot out stuff from below, the South Massif must then be, logically speaking, hollow. We are then told that the current mainstream geological theory behind this structure – that it was formed as a result of volcanic uplift – cannot be true because all cinder cones are uniformly circular and this one obviously isn’t.

What is casually sidestepped in this scathing scientific indictment is that volcanic uplift does not automatically equate to cinder cones. Cinder cones are built up around volcanic vents by erupting magma which quickly cools. Shorty crater was originally presumed to be just such a vent. Volcanic uplift is magma flowing under the surface and lifting or deforming sometimes vast areas, like parts of entire continental shelves.

The Geologic Investigation of the Taurus-Littrow Valley: Apollo 17 Landing Site (found here), however, has this to say regarding the formation of the region:

Briefly, we envision the massifs as the upper part of thick ejecta deposited on the rim of the transient cavity of the large southern Serenitatis basin, which was formed about 3.9 to 4.0 b.y. ago by the impact of a planetesimal. The ring structure and the approximately radial grabens that give the massif blocks definition were imposed on the ejecta blanket before deposition of the knobby-textured Sculptured Hills material. The mountainous terrain thus formed was partly flooded by the subfloor basalt, and the general region was mantled by a thin volcanic ash unit.

Huh. Doesn’t sound like a cinder cone to me. Sounds more like an impact basin later filled in by volcanic flow and ash deposit.

The facts, though, do not deter our intrepid authors from stating that ‘recent enhancements done by Laney and Hoagland… show “boxy-looking patterns” on the faces of virtually all the “hills” and “mountains” in the landing vicinity,’ and that other ‘enhancements done by Hoagland show that the still-standing sidewalls of the “vented” massif—’ [that would be the South Massif, by the way] ‘—are actually overhanging the empty space inside–…!’

Of course we don’t ever get to see these ‘enhancements,’ we just get to read about them. Apparently there wasn’t enough room in the book for any more shitty photographs with little or no (or totally misleading) documentation, so these magnificent ‘boxy-looking’ gems are left purely to our fervent imaginations.

In the next section of the tale, EVA-2—a “Valley of Surprises,” we follow astronauts Cernan and Schmitt on their rendezvous to the South Massif and Nansen crater (also called Station 2 in the Surface Journal) where their occasional comments about linear wrinkles and crenulations seen in areas of the surrounding mountains are taken by Hoagland as evidence to shore up his artificiality model. In fact, just to underscore the artificiality of the South Massif and all of the surrounding mountains and to make sure we understand that they are of ‘”honeycomb” construction,’  Hoagland points to AS16-112-18231, which shows a ‘Striking example of “geologic layering” (on a waterless Moon…)’

Just so we are clear, not only is the moon waterless but this referenced image was taken from the Apollo Sixteen mission, though in the text it is seemingly attributed at first to Apollo Fifteen in another famously circuitous and convoluted paragraph of irrelevant and misdirecting information. So it is another mountain, in another region on the moon, taken on another mission, and used because it is similar to what Hoagland says was seen by the astronauts of Apollo 17 at Taurus-Littrow. Not because it’s from the actual Apollo 17 mission, which itself has no real hard photographic evidence of this ‘geologic layering’ on the type of scale we are lead to believe, but because it is similar to what Hoagland wants you to see.

The reason one might initially imagine that we are offered the Apollo 16 photograph is because Hoagland states that Jack Schmitt ‘inexplicably stops taking pictures’ as he and Cernan reach the ‘shelf that overhangs Nansen.’ There is, however, nothing ‘inexplicable’ about it. Nor is there a ‘shelf that overhangs Nansen.’

In transcript segment 141:56:08 through 141:56:29 of the Surface Journal, it is very clear that Jack Schmitt realises he has been taking an unusually high number of photographs and says, ‘Holy cow! I’d better slow down my picture taking!’ They couldn’t exactly pop down to the store for more film if they ran out, so their use was monitored quite closely.

Also, we are told that ‘such “geologic layering” is almost always associated with sedimentary deposition, caused by standing water.’ But, in a parenthetical afterthought, it is stated that ‘the other, more infrequent cause, is “successive lava flows”…’ Leaping the logic gap, Hoagland explains that all of this evidence makes it clear that the massifs are of different origin than the surrounding valley because…

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” construction.

Really? The only viable alternative is that these mountains are artificial when it was just explained that they were very likely created through impact, deposition, and lava flow? Lava flow being one of the other methods by which geologic layering occurs?

Really? Repeatedly photographed by Apollo 17? This flatly contradicts the earlier statement that Jack Schmitt ‘inexplicably stops taking pictures.’ But if they did repeatedly take photos then why show us a frame from the Apollo 16 mission? In fact, AS17-144-22003 through 22015, 22020 – 22032, 22051 – 22071, 22080 – 22104 are all various close up shots covering a substantial surface area of the South Massif (taken directly at its base) and clearly show none of the so-called ‘honeycomb’artificial construction.

We are shown a ‘Hasselblad photographic (film)—’ [and thank the gods Hoagland clarified that point of confusion, huh? For a minute I was thinking it might have been a daguerreotype] ‘—image of Mons Vitruvius ‘arcology,’ taken by Apollo 17 astronauts from Lunar Rover.’

But, in classic Hoagland form, he provides no frame number, no EVA information, no name of an astronaut – absolutely nothing to help you find it and check the results for yourself. It is easy enough to guess that it was probably taken by Jack Schmitt because Gene Cernan was busy driving the rover, but that still leaves literally hundreds of photographs to sift through.  Not only are there descriptions of photographs that we never get to see (like some of the previously mentioned ‘recent enhancements’) but there are at least a dozen or more photos used in Dark Mission which are not properly (let alone correctly) documented with frame numbers or reference material of any kind, severely limiting a follow up investigation.

HoaglandfieldFor someone who so frequently appears to want to cast himself in the role of the Rodney Dangerfield of the Anomalist Community – someone who gets no respect, I tell ya, and clamours endlessly for that ever-elusive adequate peer review and mainstream scientific acceptance and validation – Hoagland certainly seems to have made very little attempt through the shoddy research and lack of attention to documentation in the pages of Dark Mission to alter that perception. Though I grant that perhaps some of the blame for this lack of proper documentation may rest on the publisher, one would think that a simple proof-reading of the final galleys by the authors before the manuscript went to press would have (or ought to have) corrected these mistakes. That they have not speaks volumes. And I have yet to see Hoagland (or Bara) address or correct any of these mistakes on their web site or blog.

Citing ‘evidence’ from the Surface Journal and available Apollo 17 video clips, Hoagland tells us that the astronauts can hardly contain their excitement and wonder, that it was increasingly difficult for them to ‘disguise their shock’ at the artificiality of everything, not to mention their unvarnished surprise at the painfully ‘obvious mechanical debris’ littering the lunar surface. But amidst all this ‘shock’ they couldn’t get even one photo of the ‘geologic layering’ as they stood right in front of it? And if it was all such a big secret mission to be hidden from the public, why didn’t the cameras and audio equipment just get switched off?

Another classic misdirection manoeuvre in Dark Mission – that of inaccurate and mixed information – has actually allowed me to correct an inadvertent error I made in Part Four, Chapter Four. In that section I referenced a photograph on page 504 as not being of Shorty crater and not being frame AS17-137-20996 (as it is stated to be in the text), and that I had neither any idea what it was nor did I have any intention of searching for it because I didn’t (and still don’t) feel that it is my job to provide Hoagland with his fucking documentation.

As it turns out, a careful re-reading of page 485 points to this image – ‘Fig. 12-11’ – as evidence that Gene Cernan 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,’ which means that the television camera was supposedly turned away from Nansen crater and ‘we,’ the viewers, could not see into the crater as a result.

Page-504

There are various problems with this bit of boo-hooing. One is that the image above turns out to be a fairly bad cut and paste job of what seems to be AS17-138-21058 and -21059 showing the very thing Hoagland tells us we don’t get a chance to see – the interior of Nansen.  Two is that, unlike what is implied in Dark Mission, Cernan did not park the rover with its back to Nansen. That much is clear in the final three frames of Jack Schmitt’s ‘Station traverse’ (ending with frame AS17-135-20675) which puts Nansen just to the left.

In this mosaic I put together, taken from the area of Boulder 1, you can see that the lunar rover is parked with its left side facing the interior of Nansen, meaning that the camera – mounted on the front end – only had to pan to one side to capture an interior view. In case the rover  isn’t visible enough in the mosaic, you can see for yourself that it is not facing backwards, as the text implies, by going to the larger AS17-137-20955 and determining for yourself.  (And yes, my mosaic is also a bad cut and paste job; it was purposely done this way to make it obvious that I did not ‘enhance’ anything or adversely manipulate the data other than to put the images together in their correct sequence.)

Nansen-Mosaic

A nice ‘reverse’ image, taken from the other direction when the astronauts where out along the opposite side of the trough, AS17-137-20977, not only shows the rover sitting triangulated between Boulders 1 & 2 (at the two- and one o’clock positions respectively), but also gives some idea of how steep the slope of this enormous trough is – because we are actually staring up the slope of the South Massif. And how steep is this slope? Judging by the angle Jack Schmitt is standing on at Boulder 1, I’d wager fairly steep. This also illustrates beautifully just how difficult it is to accurately determine distance and scale on the lunar surface.

One reads again and again in Dark Mission that we never see the full extent of Nansen nor does the size of it – in photographs – match the astronaut’s description of its enormity. (In 144:10:20 of the Surface Journal, Gene Cernan offers an insightful explanation as to the inability to accurately judge size and distance on the moon). Strangely, the Surface Journal once more shows us that Jack Schmitt, the civilian professional geologist, describes the area quite well (found at 142:35:59) and in later commentary included beneath that heading he states,  ‘Nansen isn’t actually an impact crater but, rather, is an anomalously-deep, elongated depression that is part of the trough.’

And of course Hoagland, pointing to the pictures and saying they don’t appear ‘anomalously deep,’ is either not bothering to look at the full scale of the area around Nansen (almost a mile long by some estimations) or refusing to understand that the astronauts are already down inside the trough, as they mention frequently in the Surface Journal. I find it very strange that someone who claims to have downloaded and pored over every single frame from the Apollo 17 mission could have so easily missed these obvious clues. It only took me a matter of hours and some careful observation to draw a correlation between the content of the images (spread out over several film magazines) and what is transcribed in the Surface Journal. The powers of observation and deductive reasoning are amazing when properly applied.

The other problem with the bemoaning of the rover’s position is that, as I mentioned, Hoagland says the television camera was pointed away from Nansen and all ‘we’ get to see is the light mantle. The truth is, Nansen – the Super Secret Entrance to the big fake mountain – is laying directly inside of this area of light mantle, as is seen in the previously inserted images (AS17-M-1218), and thus it follows that if all we get to see is the light mantle we also get to look right at Nansen.

And we do. A lot.

Granted Ed Fendell (who was remotely operating the Lunar Module camera from Houston) does seem to do a great deal of useless and occasionally irritating nonsense with the television camera, but it’s clear that he his generally panning the landscape and zooming in on interesting features as the astronauts (who we can hear constantly) are taking their geological samples. In one video towards the end of their time at Station 2, the astronauts even take the television camera and point it directly into Nansen so that the people back on Earth can see a particular rock which caught the attention of Jack Schmitt. You can also hear Gene Cernan, I believe, say that one must think on an order of magnitude bigger when it comes to looking at things on the lunar surface. Very true, for one must stop to consider that what appears to be a few hills in the background are, in reality, amazingly steep mountains nearly six miles away, many of which shoot up to almost 8000 feet above the surface.

Hoagland also states that towards the end of their visit to Nansen, ‘Cernan stops (off camera) to take some pans from the base of the massif’ where he then declares, ‘You know, I look out there, I’m not sure I really believe it all.’

In truth, when you watch the video which corresponds to this comment (at 143:22:08) you can see Gene Cernan perfectly well. Ed Fendell zooms in on him as he tries to position himself on a slope to take photographs. You can hear Bob Parker (back on Earth at NASA Mission Control who is the link between the astronauts and the ‘back room’ at NASA) caution Cernan not to fall into the crater directly behind him. How could he do that if Cernan wasn’t visible? And about halfway through the video, we see Cernan tilt back ever so slightly (probably to get another photograph) and then say, ‘I’m not sure I really believe it all.’

One might posit, given the fact that Cernan was on an alien landscape, literally staring up the dizzying slope of a 7500 ft mountain rising sharply from the lunar floor, that perhaps – just perhaps – there might be a moment of awe; a moment to stop and reflect that he was actually standing on another world – something only a tiny handful of extraordinarily well trained people had ever done. I don’t think it was like saying, ‘Wow, where’s the Happy Eater?’ I’m pretty certain even the astronauts had to stop once in a while to reflect on the magnitude of their situation. And if you read down through section 142:39:11, Cernan discusses the fact that the massifs were an overpowering sight. Actually, back in an earlier part of the transcript, found in italics below 140:45:08, Cernan explains just exactly how it felt for him to be on the moon. I think a comment about not being able to believe it all seems a perfectly reasonable thing to say, given the circumstances.

Almost immediately after Cernan’s theoretically cryptic comment, Hoagland points to another bit of ‘conspiranoia’ when he states that…

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.”

Of course the only thing ‘out of context’ about this quote is the manner in which Hoagland frames and uses it. The truth is, when going over the Surface Journal and watching the corresponding video, it is absolutely abundantly clear that Jack Schmitt is answering a direct question. As a matter of fact, throughout this EVA, Schmitt appears to be having a difficult time – and there is a sense of occasional sparing – with Bob Parker. It is something directly addressed in a number of comments interspersed throughout the text of EVA-2 in the Surface Journal, comments too numerous to link to because linking to the Surface Journal fairly well sucks (and there is no method for line-specific linking) and quoting the whole thing here takes up far too much room. One such statement says, ‘Jack is a little frustrated with Bob’s interruptions. Both Jack and Bob, once they start talking, tend to charge ahead and, consequently, talk over each other…’

When Bob asks

143:27:00 Parker: Okay. And guys, do you see any more different blocks up there that are worth sampling before you go on down on to the flats (down near the Rover, below the break in slope) and sample the light mantle?

Schmitt can be seen to just slightly turn towards the camera on the lunar rover and, as if wishing to respond directly and personally to Bob, says with perhaps a touch of exasperation, ‘We haven’t had a chance to look around any more than you’ve heard.’

Hoagland makes much of the so-called ‘off-camera’ time of Schmitt and Cernan and theorises that they might have even sneaked away to investigate the giant secret opening – the ‘overhang’ – leading into the big ‘artificial, 3-D “cell-like” construction.‘ One of the problems is that, apart from the fact that you can clearly hear the astronauts and catch glimpses of them during the time they’re not supposed to be there, the much-spoken-of ‘overhang’, which Hoagland claims is visible in orbital images and in such photo as the Apollo 17 Traverse Map (in detail below) isn’t really an overhang.

a17-lpi-traversemap-detail

As it seems even the publishers of Dark Mission are afraid to pull back the curtain on Hoagland’s ugly little Nosferatu and let the sun blaze down upon it, allow me to point out that, given the nature of this photograph (used as ‘Fig 12-12’ in the book), if we are to believe that Nansen is an overhanging shelf, then we must equally believe that all the craters seen on the right half of the image must be mounds towering hundreds of feet into the inky black sky. It’s blatantly obvious that the terrain on this map hasn’t exactly been rendered with the utmost of concern for proper relief and that items which are clearly craters – or troughs – end up looking like hills.

as17-137-20925And after poring over the Surface Journal and who knows how many hundreds of photographs from the Station 2 stop at Nansen, it becomes amazingly obvious that the ‘overhang’ we hear the astronauts discussing and hoping to get some samples from isn’t some imaginary alien car park sticking out in mid air and hiding in plain sight, but instead is part of a rock quite dramatically called ‘Boulder 2.’

It’s also obvious when you read the text (or you can watch the video as well, if you don’t mind Ed Fendell panning through the sky for a few seconds trying to find a shot of Earth) that Jack Schmitt is concerned about contaminating a potential sample when he asks, at 143:18:19, ‘Did we kick any dirt in under there?’

Hardly a question anyone would be concerned with if they were discussing a massive entrance.

Their interest was in getting a sample of the regolith from beneath an overhanging segment of rock – regolith which might possibly never have been exposed to solar winds from the time the Nansen trough had been created some 3 or 4 billion years earlier – and not with finding their way into ‘some kind of now heavily eroded, repeating, artificial, 3-D “cell-like” construction‘ or having kicked a little dirt into it.

Although it is possible that they were interested in the rest of Boulder 2 because, from one angle, it looks eerily like some ancient alien sculpture…

ETFrownyBut, like Buddy Bizarre, Hoagland throws himself wildly into the fray, metaphorically flinging a pointed Ah-HA! at virtually everything the astronauts did and said, telling us that, ‘As you read back through these sequences, it’s clear from the comments of the astronauts that something is amiss.’

He speculates that Cernan purposely parked the rover in such a manner that the camera could not see into Nansen (which is a complete fabrication as the photographs seen here show). He points to Schmitt exclaiming upon approach to the station, ‘Look at Nansen!’ as if somehow a professional geologist can’t be thrilled to be looking down into a mile long trench on an alien world where no other geologist has been before or since. It’s not like they were driving through the stinking grey industrial wastes of Gary, Indiana. And probably the most ludicrous claim is the suggestion of Jack Schmitt’s so-called ‘nervous talk’ about trimming frames from one of his pans.

I’ve listened to the audio clip and read through this section (found at 143:51:03) of the Surface Journal half a dozen times and I still don’t hear anything that sounds even remotely like ‘nervous talk.’ Schmitt took a series of images from his seat on the lunar rover as he and Cernan drove to Geology Station 2A. What he is referring to, in suggesting someone will have to trim the photographs, is the fact that the television camera on the rover and the maps the astronauts used to guide them to their next stop are visible in many, if not all, of his images (AS17-138-21075 through -21095). In order for anyone to create a mosaic or Station Panorama later, they will have to cut out the obstructions.

Doesn’t really sound all that mysterious and clandestine to me.

Hoagland continues to lament about the astronauts not photographing the inside of Nansen (although it’s abundantly clear that they did) when they obviously had so much time to sneak away and do so (although it’s abundantly clear that they didn’t have) and then beats this dead horse a while longer once Cernan and Schmitt reach Station 2A (a few hundred yards away from Station 2) where Hoagland claims they didn’t image Nansen form the opposite end to show the giant entrance – or if they did, how those images were likely ‘lifted’ from the official records.

I just can’t imagine how something so obvious could be so readily missed.

as17-135-20546-secret-entry

But the speculation must wait, for our intrepid astronauts are on a ‘tight timetable’ we are told – though apparently not tight enough that they couldn’t have bothered to sneak away and take secret pictures of the giant entrance – and are ‘on a collision course with an even more unbelievable and mysterious destiny’ which awaits them…

§

(Note: In the previous chapter I stated that, to the best of my knowledge, the black and white film used on Apollo 17 was Kodak Panatomic X 80ASA.  Shortly thereafter, in doing research for this instalment, I came across the Apollo 17 Index JSC-08641 which lists the black and white film as ‘3401 High Speed Black and White (HBW), plus XX, ASA 80–125.’  It really doesn’t change anything, it was still a slow 80 ASA/ISO which could be ‘pushed’ to 125, but I just wanted to offer the correction because I thought it was best to be accurate).

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