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Ex Luna

Is That Lipstick On The Doll’s Head? Part Four: Do You See What I See? 3.0












Much is made both in the pages of Dark Mission and at one time on The Enterprise Mission web site about a little something called the ‘Shard.’  Most of the Enterprise information is now relocated at a place called though a more concise version of it exits here if you don’t feel like burdening yourself.

shard-lo-3This, according to the story, is a roughly 1.5 mile tall structure or spire sticking off the surface of the moon, much like the stick-shaped thingy found on the Zond 3 photograph. The ‘star’ floating above the ‘Shard’ is said to be a camera registration mark. Weird. I have never seen a camera registration mark – fiducial markings, they are often called – printed anywhere but on the edge of photographs. The distance between these marks are measured when calibrating the camera, so why is just one lone mark floating out in the middle of critical frame real estate?

lo-3-84m-copySorry, I suppose I ought to show you a better image of the ‘Shard.’ There. That’s better. Now we have a better frame of reference from which to start. Unfortunately I could not upload the original file I have as it is some 20mb. You can view your own copy of it at your leisure here or, if you feel like it, download and peruse it in greater detail at a later date.  There are a number of resolutions from which to choose. For the purposes of our discussion, though, the smaller image on the left should suffice well enough for you to see what we are talking about.  This was produced by scaling down the pixel dimensions in a digital photo-processing software programme called Adobe Photoshop 7.

So, as I mentioned, the registration marks are usually located on the perimeter of the image frame. Most of the Apollo cameras were fitted with something called a Reseau Plate which contained a grid for determining distances between objects – which is why you see all the little crosses in so many lunar photographs. The Lunar Orbiters, on the other hand, had:

‘A geometric pattern…preexposed on the spacecraft film of Lunar Orbiters II to V at the same time as the edge data. This pattern aided in the detection of and compensation for distortion introduced by the processing, readout, and ground reproduction systems.’

The quote, in its full context in case you feel I am being intentionally vague, is available at the Lunar & Planetary Institute page and is about as comprehensive as it gets for a 40 year old mission.

shard-1If you are still having difficulty seeing the ‘Shard,’ perhaps this image ‘enhancement’ will be of assistance by giving the subject a bit of much needed perspective, something rather lacking in Dark Mission, and in just about every other discussion of this topic I have yet to find.

This is a version of the now-infamous ‘Shard’ one rarely ever gets to see unless, like me, you go and track it down, and it is known, especially amongst many anomalists, by the cryptic name of LO-III-84M. But you knew that if you had followed the provided link.

I do not – in any way – dismiss the possibility that there may very well in fact be a 1.5 mile tall spire on the lunar surface. ‘Evidence,’ however, seems rather a subjective thing. And though I have often said here that I do not necessarily disagree with all of the theories and ideas presented by Richard C Hoagland, I believe there are much more compelling suggestions (note I said ‘suggestions’) of Moon Tower Evidence available elsewhere to researchers which strike me as far more plausible than that which is presented in the diaphanous pages of Dark Mission.

cube-shardOne of the biggest issues I take with the so-called ‘Shard’ evidence isn’t so much the ‘Shard’ itself – it’s clearly not a photographic abnormality in that it casts a plainly visible shadow on the lunar surface – but with the utterly absurd notion that it has a companion known as the ‘Tower’ or the ‘Cube’ rising some seven miles into space.

If you click on the left-hand image and look closely at it, you can see that, as per the topic in the previous chapter, it has been ‘enhanced’ to the extent that the pixels are beginning to stand out from the background.  And of course one of the first things eagerly pointed to in favour of artificiality is the ‘geometric structure’ seen in both these ‘anomalies.’

Well of course it’s geometric. Pixels – short for ‘picture elements’ – are, by their very nature, geometric, whether they are rendered as circles, squares, or rectangles. And once you blow something up beyond the limitations and tolerances of the inherent source material, yeah, you’re gonna see the pixels. It does not necessarily mean there are structures inside.

lo-3-84m1-smallThe reason I take issue with the existence of the theoretical ‘Tower’ or ‘Cube’ and the accompanying ‘analysis’  is that this so-called ‘structure’ (when seen in context) quite obviously corresponds to the geometric pattern pre-exposed on the original Orbiter film. Clicking on the right-hand image, you can see the ‘grid.’ Those are not stars. And for any purists out there, this original 19.4MB file was cropped to show the area in question and then the pixel dimensions were reduced from their original 1157 x 849 to 657 x 465 (maintaining the correct proportions) and the extant 11.43 pixels per inch were left intact. No other processing was involved. Well, except for the addition of the Ubiquitous Hand of Indication and the caption.

AS10-32-4856-smallNo other image is known to exist which confirms the veracity of the ‘Shard,’ meaning that it could simply (though rather extraordinarily) be a photograph of out-gassing or some other natural geological event – an idea considered highly unlikely by the Enterprise Mission folks because it clearly runs counter to what they seem to believe.  But, according to one of their postings, attributed to Mike Bara, there is a ‘cross-confirming’ image of the ‘Tower’ or ‘Cube.’

The Enterprise Mission enhancement of this ‘confirmation’ photo is provided (exactly as it was found) along with the best possible copy of the untouched (though very much smaller) frame – AS10-32-4856 – I could possibly find. According to the final line in the Bara report:

‘These two frames [AS10-32-4856 & LO-III-84M] constitute proof that the “Tower” is a real Lunar feature and not a photographic defect.’

Yeah, okay…

And then there is the mysterious tale of ‘4822’ – the giant castle structure which floats some nine miles above the surface of the moon, just to the not-too-distant right of what Hoagland calls ‘L.A. on the moon.’ I believe L.A. probably stands for ‘Ludicrous Anomaly’ and, frankly, I will not even bother remarking on it further.

AS10-32-4822-copyI find it quite difficult to write about the subject of ‘4822’ due to the heavy sighs I keep making and the fact that my eyes keep rolling upwards. According to the mythology, there are apparently now up to twelve different versions of this image and only two of them show the ‘Castle.’ All of the other versions, quoth the legends, have been cunningly doctored to eliminate any sign of this anomaly.

That seems perfectly reasonable, doesn’t it?

If you recall, in the previous chapter I mentioned the National Press Club briefing on 21 March 1996 (a ritually significant date, as it is customarily the Equinox) and listed the known members of the team  assembled by Hoagland. One of the team was the ‘properly motivated’ Alex Cook. Young Mr Cook, it seems, confirmed the existence of the ‘Castle’ by discovering it on a copy of ‘4822’ he had obtained from NASA.

2castles-a-b-cWhat Hoagland tells us (in paraphrase just to save you the pointless linguistic gymnastics that only obscure what’s really being said) is that his own version of ‘4822,’ coupled with the version from Alex Cook, shows that the ‘Castle’ is real because these two images – two different frames from the same film roll – were taken seconds apart and therefore the ‘Castle’ is offset enough in them, or seen from enough of a different angle between the two versions, to prove that it is a real structure.

I took the Hoagland 4822 and the Cook 4822 and put them side by side.  The file size on the Hoagland 4822 JPEG I found was larger than that of the Cook 4822 JPEG. So, very carefully, little by little, I re-sized Hoagland’s 4822 (only by pixel reduction with original proportions left constrained) until the two images were the same relative height and width. I dropped the opacity on the Cook 4822 to 40% of the original (as it was overpoweringly brighter), and overlaid the two images.

Oddly enough, they are about 99% exactly the same. If you look closely at the bottom left-hand frame, you will note that I left the two images offset by just a tiny fraction so that you could see that there are indeed two images. Any abnormality in the other 1% of their differences could be due to anything from how the prints were originally made to just how horribly they have been blown up and ‘enhanced.’

Another thing to keep in mind is that if these were actually two images taken ‘seconds’ apart, both the position of the spacecraft and the position of the moon below would have shifted enough to make these frames not just marginally different to each other, but significantly different.

Even after orbital insertion the ship is moving at something like – What? Ten thousand miles an hour? And in that these were taken out the window of the Apollo 10 craft by an astronaut holding – in his hands – a bulky Hasselblad 70mm camera with an 80mm lens (or worse a 250mm telephoto lens which would have created even more offset given the probability of human error) they should be more than just a little different.

2castles-alt-1In the interests of fairness and to be as thorough as I can (because you find this as interesting as I do or you wouldn’t still be sitting there reading this) there is another comparison photo set available, this one dating to the pre-Enterprise Mission days when they were still calling themselves ‘The Mars Mission.’

I chose to work with this incredibly awful set of images as well because, as degraded as they seem to be by the stresses of extreme magnification, I wanted to illustrate that I wasn’t altering existing data. In the previous example, the Hoagland 4822 and the Cook 4822 were both presented in the upright positions as I have them depicted.

In this alternative version, you can see that the Hoagland 4822 image is tilted slightly anticlockwise (and this is how it was found – I had nothing to do with it) whilst the Cook 4822 image is shown more upright. I found it helpful to tint the images because they were unimaginably difficult to see as individual frames when composited.

I also tinted the Cook 4822 blue for comparative purposes and, as you can probably see in the second set of images (in the centre), dropped the opacity to 50%. The Hoagland 4822 (on the left) is tinted yellow. Together, in the lower left corner, the ‘Castles’ don’t really match, but they make a cool purple and grey colour scheme.

The last image, on the lower right, shows that, once nudged just a wee bit until the two images are in more proper alignment, there is an ever-so-slight offset to the top of the ‘Castle’ and everything else almost perfectly lines up. Finally, tilting the Cook 4822 backwards only just a bit, it becomes clear that the two images fit together uncannily well for two entirely different images which were supposed to have been photographed at two different points in time and from two different angles.

2castles-alt-2I felt that it was fair to tilt the image. Certainly Hoagland – or someone at The Enterprise Mission – did when putting their ‘proof’ together. If it was perfectly acceptable for them, then I feel justified in doing it here. As we are not being shown how the two photographs are dramatically different, other than this minuscule enhancement, who can say with any certainty just how the originals are or were oriented?

Either way, it clarifies my point that these are not two entirely separate images taken ‘seconds apart’ on some ‘power wind’ sequence as Hoagland would have us believe. And if they were, it is one of the most remarkable achievements in hand-held aerial photography.

And, a little bit of research shows that, though Hoagland makes a great deal out of these two photos being so-called ‘stereo pairs,’ the truth is stereoscopic strips were actually taken about 16 miles apart with 60% overlap, meaning that the ‘Castle’ should have moved more than just a tiny hairsbreadth if these two images are, in fact, ‘stereo pairs.’

The Lunar Orbiter cameras (the unmanned flights from 1966 to 1968 used to map areas where the upcoming Apollo missions would land) were set up to take stereo images by using two different focal length lenses and simultaneously exposing two 35mm images on to one 70mm frame, but here we are talking about a guy with a big hand held camera taking snaps out the window of a ship flying at breakneck velocity through space. How does one individual with one camera manage to take ‘stereo’ or twin images in such rapid succession from the window of a fast moving craft that when combined they are virtually identical in every conceivable respect?

LM-butt2-detailAnother of the brilliant insights taken from The Neighbourhood of Make-Believe can be seen in its original pre-Dark Mission form at The Enterprise Mission web site under the curiously fitting label of IM Butt, or maybe that’s LM Butt. It’s not that I’m lazy; I just can’t in good faith post this ridiculous image. But go ahead. Take a look. I’ll wait…

Was that fun?  Well the important bit to take notice of isn’t just the repeated pattern of a computer enhancement of a photo of a film of a photo but rather that we are being shown yet another new ‘Magic Bullet’ – the second frame in this montage – which shows the Lunar Modual (oh…Lunar Module; I guess it is LM Butt, after all) parked beside an ‘inclined multi-level’ buttress.

It is utterly shit images like this which are simply just a blatant slap across the joyous face of reason.

Apollo12-buttressI look at stuff like this and think Hoagland must be just pissing himself with gales of laughter at the stupidity and gullibility of anyone who thinks this ‘inclined multi-level buttress’ idea is anything but a stinking load of shit, not to put too fine a point on it.

It’s an absolute insult.

And to make matters worse, unless it was a mistake on the original NASA film, The Enterprise Mission seem to have published their version backwards from the original Apollo 12 frames (seen in their correct sequence to your left). I’d like to take a moment to explain that, once again as you may notice, there is no frame number provided by Hoagland, only a vague reference that this image was taken by ‘an Apollo 12 astronaut.’

Thanks, Dick.

Any researcher of even moderate integrity who is truly interested in discovering anomalies – the curious, the fascinating, the thought-provoking, the bizarre, and the possibly unexplainable – in space mission photography (whether it’s from NASA, the ESA, the Russians, the Chinese, or whomever) would openly share every scrap of information they could gather so that other researchers could easily examine and, one would hope, replicate the results for absolute confirmation. That’s how science works. Good science, anyway: Repeatable experiments and repeatable outcomes.

Obscuring information with arm waving and bullshit in effort to isolate a mere fragment of data only makes your claims that much more preposterous and worthy of derision when the curtain is finally whisked away to expose the knobby white and hairless knees supporting such a massively ridiculous conclusion. And it strikes me as amazingly arrogant to think that anyone would parade such utter rubbish like this before the world –  let alone before other researchers in the hope or expectation of ever having it realistically peer reviewed – call it ‘conclusive’ evidence, and think that no-one would ever want to bother to check the results for themselves.

Five minutes of worth of research – five minutes – tells us that the photographs in question come from film ‘Magazine 49/z (B&W) Frames 7172-7324’ and that ‘This magazine was initially used by Pete Conrad during EVA-2. Later in the EVA, Al Bean borrowed Pete’s camera when his own malfunctioned, and completed the magazine.’ We also learn that the frame comes from a panning sequence taken by Pete Conrad (our apparently nameless ‘Apollo 12 astronaut’) when he and Alan Bean arrived at Sharp Crater.

Though it is entirely probable that this information was difficult to obtain 12 years ago (although somehow I doubt that very much), it certainly wasn’t impossible to get it, and it is clearly quite readily available now, so why not update the research to include all current, accurate, and pertinent information?

It is so incredibly, painfully obvious that this so-called ‘multi-level inclined buttress’ is nothing but a sliver of absolutely mundane lens flare that whatever else is imagined to be in this photo only pales by comparison. It’s almost as bad as looking at something as simple as a rock and thinking it’s a complex piece of machinery.

And who would do that?

Is That Lipstick On The Doll’s Head? Part Four: Do You See What I See? 4.0













We’re an odd lot, humans. We seem to have an innate, almost primordial desire to see patterns in the most common of objects; to interpret the random as the recognisable; to anthropomorphise in any number of  peculiar ways just about everything we see, whether it’s…


…or whatever else you can conceivably imagine. But despite the occasional odd propensity to imagine inquisitive faces staring up at you from patterns in flooring tiles or thinking of a toilet as the Giant Scary Pee Pee Eating Monster, it’s odder still that the well trained eye might easily misconstrue something as common as a rock for a piece of high-tech machinery.

Granted down to a few thousand years ago a fine piece of igneous or sedimentary rock could be as amazingly useful as an iPod (except for the part where the rock wouldn’t actually play music, and the advertisements probably wouldn’t have been very interesting) and even as late as the 1970s many people unaccountably paid money for packaged ‘pet’ rocks (I found mine free-range), which makes as little sense today as it did then. Of course people now have traded the passée rock for the far more fashionable water in a plastic bottle – a tangent for another day perhaps…

And the ability to see patterns, faces, or functional items in what otherwise would appear to be stone is not wholly without merit. On the contrary, it is through this very desire to create order out of chaos, to make familiar the otherwise unknown, that we can often rather quickly distinguish the useful from the useless, or the real from the imaginary.

giza-cydoniaThis skill is particularly useful in areas like archaeology or palaeontology, for example, where it becomes critical to the method of recognising and identifying the remnants of a past civilisation from just a mound of stones, or determining bones from other surrounding objects, or discerning the difference between functional every day items such as pottery or tools from items created by natural geological processes.

On a larger scale we can, with our vast wealth of knowledge and understanding amassed over thousands of years, point to items such as, for example, the pyramids at Giza and know immediately that they are manufactured items and did not just naturally occur on the Egyptian plateau. And it is with the understanding of what a manufactured item looks like which makes areas of Cydonia on Mars (compared to Giza, as in the provided image) so compelling and warrant further exploration.

Unquestionably, however, there are curious things created in nature which can very often fool us into believing they are something else entirely; things seeming to defy all logic and explanation and whose very genesis appears utterly extraordinary. But certainly with a bit of well reasoned investigation and the application of reason one can quickly work out that there are enough obvious and distinctive differences separating a basic mechanical device from a simple rock that one could not easily get them confused. (See Helpful Visual Tip #1 for clarification).


Of course, the opposite can also be true: there are virtually billions of artefacts littering the surface of the Earth which may go entirely unnoticed at first simply due to the fact that they are almost completely indistinguishable from their surroundings in either size, shape, colour, weathering, or any number of other natural means.

antikytheraTerrestrially speaking, we have the benefit of being able to see and touch items of unusual circumstance, like the Antikythera Mechanism, to study them up close and, with luck, figure out just how they came to be and what practical or useful function they might have served. And despite the condition of this particular artefact, as an example, it would seem to be reasonable to deduce that it is not merely a really unusual metamorphic rock. Even with the corrosion and various  oceanic mineral deposits, it is perfectly clear that this object is some form of manufactured equipment.

When it comes to dealing only with photographic evidence, however, trying to determine the nature of an object can prove quite a challenge, especially when the photographs are not only of varied or inferior quality but when they are of objects on other worlds.

There are, without a doubt, some extremely curious things to be seen in a great number of the photographs taken throughout our unfortunately relatively short history of extra-planetary excursions, whether manned or unmanned, and most especially of Mars – which we will get to later (why yes, that does mean there’s more, thanks for noticing!) – but for the moment we’ll continue to focus on the moon.

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 and who desperately needs to update this tediously outdated laurel upon which he seems compelled to rest points out frequently in Dork Mission – sorry, Dark Mission – that there is clearly defined, obvious evidence of prior habitation on our moon. This startling conclusion is culled from evidence of the ‘miles-high glass-like structures’ invisibly peppering gigantic areas of the moonscape, the ‘rectilinear arrangement’ of once great cities like his ‘Los Angeles,’ the ‘highly geometric internal grid’ so blatant in the ‘Tower,’ the evident grandiosity of ‘The Castle’ – all obviously manufactured items which speak to some form of prior civilisation. But these marvellous and spectacular things only pale to insignificance against some of the most critical and most damning pieces of evidence presented in Chapter Twelve: Where Titans Slept…

A casual reader may not be fully prepared for one of the most shocking bits of evidence of all – torn from the pages of Hoagland’s scathing disclosure and provided by none other than NASA itself! Well, not torn exactly. Not as such. I used a scanner. But that sort of diminishes the impact.

I reeled at this image. Later I did the Electric Slide.

Then I began to look very closely. Perhaps you might have done as well, now the shock’s worn off.

As usual, the image provided in the text of Dark Mission is just so incredibly (deliberately perhaps?) poor that no amount of magnification or adjustments to the clarity can make it any better. I did however take the liberty of clarifying as best as possible the most important bit:


‘Obvious mechanical debris.’

My question is this: If NASA know all about the artificial structures on the moon, as we are told they do, and are somehow intending to quietly leak this information in some sort of innocuous fashion, then why would they not simply (and correctly) illustrate this ‘obvious mechanical debris’ in such a way that it would actually resemble ‘obvious mechanical debris’ instead of just looking like a bunch of big rocks? Clearly whomever created the picture understood what a machine looks like – i.e. the big testicle-like Lunar Lander in the centre of the frame – so why not render the ‘obvious mechanical debris’ with equal care and precision? If the artist could not distinguish a piece of ‘obvious mechanical debris’ from a rock, then he might have simply illustrated the image this way:

If you wish to point to photographic evidence of things that are truly and glaringly obvious, then let’s take an prime example from some classic Viking imagery:

At first blush the robot (centre) seems to be almost as large as the Burger Chef sign (frame right) yet simultaneously not quite as large as the boulder (frame left). Careful inspection, however, clearly proves this is photographic ‘stacking’ produced with a long focus or ‘telephoto’ lens on the Viking lander. The rock is actually far closer to the lens than it initially appears, giving the illusion that the robot is therefore smaller. Also, the footprints behind the robot unquestionably indicate that it has travelled some distance prior to nearing the rock, which in turn would then place the Burger Chef sign at a considerable point further away from the lander than one would immediately surmise.

But I am getting ahead of myself…

On Earth, ancient, broken, disused or discarded pieces of machinery frequently tend to appear much like what we can see in the images below.


That being the case, one is forced to ask a myriad of questions regarding the ‘obvious mechanical debris’ illustrated in the Lunar Lander image Hoagland points to as critical evidence of ‘disclosure’ and, as such, his theory – sorry, model – of former lunar colonisation: Why is the stuff just laying there?  Clearly, as per the fantasy of the illustration, we have already landed repeatedly at this site – there are permanent structures, probably habitats or power stations, seen in the background, which clearly took some time to build – so why would this ‘obvious mechanical debris’ still be there? Wouldn’t it have been gathered up and studied by now? Why would the lander be touching down amongst loads of broken machine parts? Was this a settlement? Was this a crash? Is this a lunar junkyard?

Even a rubbish pile has some type of context and at least some relationship to its surroundings which can not only be seen and understood but which also make it quite clear just what it is (or was) and what function it served…


Archaeologically speaking even a midden, whether a small pile of organic waste or debitage from a nomadic group or a colossal festering mass used by an entire city (like the one outside Jerusalem which was so completely putrid that the very name for it, ‘gehenna,’ became synonymous with ‘hell’) has some recognisable frame of reference, something which we recognise as material culture of some form. So what is this lander image – and, by extension, Hoagland – supposed to be illustrating?

Let’s take a moment and set the Wayback Machine to a little-visited place called ‘logic.’

Perhaps it seems a bit naive, but my understanding of the moon is that it has no atmosphere; no air. I’m pretty sure I read that some place. A lot. Whatever atmosphere it does have is created mostly through occasional out-gassing which is then stripped away into space. Although it has been years since I took a chemistry class, I seem to recall that corrosion or oxidation of metals happens when something is exposed to the elements – like moisture. It needs some type of atmospheric environment. The Antikythera Mechanism, as seen previously, is a perfect example of this. But rather than relying solely on my memory, here is a thirty second crash course in Basic Chemistry 101.

If you want to get really specific, check chapter 19.13 in Chemistry: The Molecular Science which tells you almost everything you could ever want to know about the subject of corrosion – including, in the Answers To Exercises page A.77 (found immediately after page 1055) section 19.17, where it is explained that ‘On the moon… there would be a lack of moisture and oxygen. This would lead to a very low rate of corrosion.’

So how is it, if there is no significantly measurable atmosphere on the the moon – the airless moon, as we are told so often in Dark Mission – that the ‘obvious mechanical debris’ lying scattered about would look like rocks? Or at best, why does it all appear to have been under water for thousands of years and is crusted with so much growth that it looks like… oh I don’t know, a bunch of rocks?

According to commonly-found data on the subject, the rudimentary geomorphology of the moon indicates that the regolith, or fine surface layer, the ‘moondust’ covering the lunar crust, was (and still is) formed by impact events. As a result, older layers are by necessity (just like here on Earth) buried beneath newer layers. The regolith was said by astronauts to be like walking in wet sand or ‘like snow’ says a NASA article on the subject. And though it is a subject of much debate, it is theorised that the first footprint on the moon, if it wasn’t blasted away by the Apollo 11 ascent module, will remain more or less intact for perhaps 100 years – possibly longer – because, despite the reported ‘talcum powder-like’ quality of the regolith, there are no elemental forces on the lunar surface to wash things away.

It would follow, then, that there are no elemental forces on the moon to create the severe type of corrosion seen on the ‘obvious mechanical debris.’ Certainly they might be covered with a fine dust stirred up by continued impacts on the lunar surface or from out-gassing or ‘sputtering,’ but unless they’ve been underwater or exposed long term to some sort of atmosphere (which we’ve been repeatedly told the moon lacks) they would still resemble ‘obvious mechanical debris,’ albeit slightly dirty ‘obvious mechanical debris,’ for a very long time.

For some hard-core photographic proof – incontrovertible evidence – of this ‘obvious mechanical debris,’ we need only look here:



Yeah, neither do I.

Not only do I not see any mechanical debris, I also do not see AS17-137-20996HR. Clearly this is two separate images put together in a mosaic or panorama and, frankly, I have no idea if this is Shorty Crater or not – mostly because I refuse to spend another massive chunk of my time sifting through all 31 fucking film magazines shot by Apollo 17 astronauts just to figure out what it is we are being shown because someone can’t be bothered to label their stupid fucking images or check to see that their images are labelled correctly – or professionally – for review. And lest you feel my animosity towards bad and or misleading research is misplaced, this utterly amateurish ‘mistake’ is not isolated.  It is one of many such errors in Dark Mission – and also on The Enterprise Mission web site regarding Shorty Crater.

For example:

Available in full at Enterprise, in an entry entitled Data’s Head is an excerpt from the (at the time still forthcoming) book Dark Mission. This information is, of course, expanded upon more fully in the complete manuscript, but the link makes it easier for you to quickly reference the material and see for yourself, and it doesn’t cost you $25.  It also saves me re-posting the Enterprise Mission ‘enhanced’ versions of the photos in question. Directly after some introductory material regarding astronauts Cernan and Schmitt arriving at Shorty Crater, the first image seen in the excerpt is a much larger version of this…

This is AS17-140-21409, (seen above) and which is linked to here so that you can, if you wish, browse it in full and in High Resolution at the NASA page from which it was originally downloaded.  And as The Enterprise Mission could not be bothered to share this information with anyone, I provided it for them.

Neither could they be bothered, apparently, to tell you that this image is not only not of Shorty Crater, but it’s not even from the same EVA which took Cernan and Schmitt to Shorty Crater. Of course, as always, and in the interest of fairness, they don’t not tell you this information either, though it certainly is suggested by the use of this image and by inference in the segue to the image:

‘After the scooping and core samples were taken, Schmitt moves off to the side to take numerous images of the interior of the crater. In some of these images, strange objects can be seen which do not resemble the fractured, volcanic rocks which would be expected at this site.’

To begin with, EVA-2, the one in question, utilised film magazines 133, 135, 137, 138, 144 (also used on EVA-1), and 145.  Magazine 137 was used at Station 4, Shorty Crater.  Magazine 140 – from which the above included image is taken – is from EVA-3. The astronauts were at Station 6, Tracy’s Rock, and this image is a ‘locator’ shot to determine where the Lunar Rover was.

Also, Magazine 133 was loaded with black & white film, so why is this rover (clearly not in the ‘interior of the crater’) seen in beautiful Eastman colour?

Once more the question arises: why such poor and misleading documentation?

As a short side note: I suppose, if it were important enough, someone could criticise me for primarily referencing web sites (including the apparently anathema ‘Wikipedia’). Of course as I am presently writing in the aetheric media it seems ever so much easier for anyone to quickly check the sources by linking to them as opposed to laboriously searching off-line material. And as I am largely addressing an audience of one or two and am certainly not being paid for my efforts, I have no compunction about citing what I believe to be accurate on-line sources. But at least I offer you, where I can, the opportunity to go to the same source material I have found and see – and test – for yourself. Besides, easily 75% of the ‘bibliography’ (or endnotes) in Dark Mission refer to URLs. This is done, of course, in such tiny, microfiche-sized print that it makes one wonder, again, if this was perhaps done deliberately to deter follow-up research.

Of course many of the notes are self-referential, directing the Inquisitive Mind (that slogged through the entire manuscript) back to Hoagland’s own material, almost as if he is metaphorically saying, ‘It’s the truth because I said so.’ Very professional indeed. Joe Nickell of the Skepical Inquirer stated once, in a reference to the so-called MJ-12 documents, that ‘The rule of best evidence says that you don’t use a copy of something when the original could be available,’ so I get as close as I can to original material with what resources I can find. Besides the Enterprise Mission versions are largely crap.

Here (if you click on the image) is the real Shorty Crater, for comparison, in a rough composite I pieced together:


The images came from a number of panoramic shots taken by Gene Cernan, starting with AS17-137-20991 and ending with 21024. Not all of them were used, of course, just the ones seeming to fit together best without too much trouble. No adjustments were made to the images other than to reduce their sizes so they fitted together more easily. You may also note that Hoagland says Jack Schmitt was the astronaut to take ‘numerous images’ inside the crater. Well, he was. In black and white. With film magazine 133. But what are referenced, however, and used as evidence in Dark Mission are photographs taken from Gene Cernan’s two panorama shots – in colour – on Magazine 137.

AS17-137-20996The image referred to in Dark Mission as AS17-137-20996 is actually the photo on the left (and one of the frames I used in the above mosaic). As you can see, though it is an entirely different image to what is so wrongly illustrated in the Dark Mission manuscript, it is, as we have been told, absolutely rife with not simply ‘obvious mechanical debris’ but with ‘mangled, reflective mechanical debris’ as well.

Just exactly the type of ‘obvious mechanical debris’ or ‘mangled, reflective debris’ that we didn’t see in the image that isn’t really 20996 – or from the image that isn’t really of Shorty Crater!

I took the liberty of copying the ‘obvious mechanical debris’ seen in the poorly non-labelled, non-Shorty Crater Hoagland image (AS17-140-21409) and making a side-by-side comparative enhancement of my own.

as17-140-21409hr-detailIs it honestly any real surprise that the Enterprise Mission enhancement – which almost resembles a Buck Rogers-style rocket ship – is, in fact, more like a rock than a rocket, or a piece of ‘obvious mechanical debris?

The detail image is a 900x enlargement from the high resolution original available from the Apollo 17 Image Library with no other enhancements. The indicated section is a copy of the enlarged image with the contrast pushed to +60.

Still looks like a rock to me. Kind of a cool looking rock, but still just a rock.

Something else to consider; if it was, in fact, ‘obvious mechanical debris,’ then why did the astronauts completely ignore it? Of the last 100 or so images captured at Station 6 before the film magazine was used up, why are almost 80 frames spent on the fine details of Tracy’s Rock instead of this fascinating and obvious ‘mangled, reflective mechanical debris?’

as17-140-21402 Could it be that astronauts Cernan and Schmitt were so amused and distracted by the rather large phallic-shaped representation which had apparently been carved into the shadowy base of the Station 6 rock at some distant prehistoric period that they’d no time to document or comment on any of the ‘obvious mechanical debris’ lying scattered about apparently just metres away?

Or might it have been that the ‘obvious mechanical debris’ was just so obvious, so thoroughly commonplace, so anticipated, and such an expected part of the lunar experience that – exactly like the ‘miles-high ancient glass-like structures’ soaring everywhere they looked – it really just didn’t warrant any further waste of their time, energy, or film because it was just easier for them to simply say there was all this stuff there than to expend any effort actually documenting it all on film?

Or perhaps they had seen and photographed so much ‘obvious mechanical debris’ or ‘mangled reflective debris’ on their previous Extra Vehicular Activity at Shorty Crater that they just didn’t think it was that important to gather any more data.

OMD1After seeing so many of these breathtakingly ancient artefacts spread out everywhere they looked, and in plain view – just sitting there for anyone and everyone to see! – so ‘obviously’ and so ‘mangled’ and so clearly ‘mechanical,’ not to mention so completely ‘reflective,’ at the bottom of Shorty Crater, is it really any wonder that they simply felt overwhelmed and, as such, just ignored the Buck Rogers rocket ship that looked like some old rock?

Without a doubt, amongst some of the most monumental discoveries Hoagland points to as having come from the vast treasure trove of ‘obvious mechanical debris’ so ‘blatantly’ evident in Shorty Crater would have to be the image featured below. Directly quoted from The Enterprise Mission excerpt on ‘Data’s Head,’ is this little diamond in the rough:

‘Another shattered mechanical housing from the interior of Shorty Crater ( NASA Frame AS17-132-21000).’


Can I just take a moment and try to explain just how this sort of shockingly rank amateurish ‘mistake’  smacks of absolutely purposeful deception? Apollo 17 film magazines started at 133 – which ten gruelling seconds of  painstaking research on Google (or basic proof-reading) can prove. That same ten second search will also reveal that on the forum at there is a correction offered for this error: AS17-137-21000. It is also indicated on said forum that the 3 and the 7 are not exactly in close proximity to each other on the keyboard, so was this incorrectly labelled reference done deliberately? If not, why has it never been corrected? To quote Hoagland on his 1996 Coast To Coast AM appearance about these Lunar Anomalies: ‘What I find, is a pattern of deception, a pattern of losing information, of mis-labelling…’

Sure this could be an honest mistake. I’ve inadvertently labelled something incorrectly when dealing with these strings of numerals. Typos are common. But then you or someone else proof-reads the material and the error, one hopes, gets caught and corrected. For someone who claims to be such a powerhouse of knowledge and information regarding all things NASA, you think the guy would not only get his facts straight but check them as well.

OMD3Another boot in the groin of common sense is this object, also from the cache of glittering prizes scattered round the bottom of Shorty Crater, which The Enterprise Mission have decided is some sort of a ‘pump mechanism or engine housing.’ They further claim that ‘this object appears to have a series of tubes and mechanical features extending from a geometric, metallic case. There are even what appear to be forged connectors or mounting points on the object.’


I’m reasonably certain there is a far more accurate answer as to why they decided to refer to this image as ‘The Turkey.’

OMD4After careful observation and examination of ‘The Turkey’ image, and without the unnecessary visual ‘enhancements’ made to it by The Enterprise Mission in effort to make it appear more metallic than it already isn’t, I have come to the conclusion that, rather than representing an ‘engine housing’ or ‘pump mechanism’ which has a ‘geometric, metallic case,’ this piece of ‘obvious mechanical debris’ is much more likely to be an Energizer Bunny plush toy which has been destroyed and carelessly cast aside; abandoned long ago and left to gather a fine coat of dust on the airless regolith of the airless moon.

Has it been mentioned yet that the moon has no air?

The penultimate discovery in Shorty Crater, however, was found (if you read the excerpt to which I referred previously) within merely a few feet from ‘The Turkey,’ and, it seems, is the pivotal issue upon which the entire tale of Dark Mission rests. My words only pale to insignificance when compared to the original description:

‘It was in studying this particular object more closely that Hoagland first spotted an even more bizarre discovery, laying on the crater wall beyond the “turkey.”‘

On the wall?

On second thought, let’s quote the final re-write in the Dark Mission manuscript where all the power and impact – that visceral punch of stunning and striking surprise so well and richly deserved – is spelt out in spectacularly declamatory fashion:

‘It was while carefully studying this bizarre, apparently blatant piece of lunar junk [which would be the ‘turkey’] that Hoagland spotted an even more unusual artifact, obviously lying some distance beyond it on the crater floor.’

The floor this time. Not the wall. And now ‘some distance beyond’ the ‘turkey.’ Obviously.

‘Even as he suddenly realized what he was seeing, he couldn’t bring himself to admit what it appeared to be…

[turning to the next page]

‘A human head!

‘In a crater—

On the moon…’


It’s pie. And chips. For free.

AS17-137-20997smThis object, fascinating as it is, appears in at least seven other frames from the two panorama shots of Shorty Crater taken by Gene Cernan, as seen in the example to the left – along with the requisite NASA catalogue number so that those of you playing along at home can check and see that I’m not making this shit up. You will note that for ease of reference, however, the head is already pointed out to save you endless searching through a mass of ‘obvious mechanical debris’ including the objects previously discussed.

In Dark Mission (and as can be seen in the oft alluded to on-line excerpt) Hoagland explains that, despite his initial assumption, this head could not be organic in origin because it would not long survive the harsh conditions on the airless Lunar surface. So therefore it must be mechanical in origin. As perfectly rational and acceptable as that explanation sounds on the surface, it  still raises some of the same fundamentally nagging issues as the other ‘artefacts,’ such as:

If it really was a head – organic or mechanical – surely the astronauts would have seen it…

If it was reflective, as we are told it was, surely the astronauts would have seen it…

If it stood out against the surroundings as something totally out of place – like ‘obvious mechanical debris’ would tend to do – surely the astronauts would have seen it…

Cernan took seven pictures of it, surely he must have seen it…

It was right there in the middle of everything, surely the astronauts must have seen it…

They saw the orange soil, but not a head?

According to the details provided in Dark Mission regarding the astronaut’s reactions to Shorty Crater and its environs, there is a sense of mystery and amazement at the the ‘obvious mechanical debris’ and the orange-tinted soil found on the crater rim. This information is not only misleading, but presented in such a manner that it appears to support Hoagland’s claim. The problem is, of course, one does not manipulate the data to fit a hypothesis. Rather, one forms a hypothesis based on the available data.

Jack Schmitt’s reaction to the sight of the Short Crater is indeed ‘Whoo, whoo, whoo!’ (at 145:22:22 on the Apollo Surface Journal site). And as a geologist, what else would one expect? This crater had presumably been carved down to the very bedrock, deeper than any crater, and was far more interesting than anything they had seen thus far. And was littered like a geologists dream. Schmitt, who was described as ‘a little kid at Christmas time’ over the crater, even found bits of volcanic glass which twinkled in the blazing sun.

Schmitt’s own panoramic shots began with AS17-133-20229 and ended with frame 20259, and seem to have been taken simultaneously to his noticing the orange soil, which tends to conflict with the Hoagland data. The remainder of the stop at Shorty Crater is, apart from the soil samples and vista of this enormous crater, fairly mundane if you both read the Journal entry or browse through the audio and video clips. Even the video isn’t that exciting.

Also, Hoagland bends the orange soil discovery to suit his needs to better validate the existence of ‘obvious mechanical debris,’ telling us first that the soil is simply ‘high oxidized’ and then later saying it is ‘highly oxidized titanium.‘ Though this does not conflict with the later geological findings that the orange soil was titanium-rich ‘volcanic glass that had been spewed out of some fire-fountain-like eruptions 3.5 billion years ago’ (which you can read in the Surface Journal and see in this image for yourself), it does seem to conflict with the visible nature of the ‘obvious mechanical debris’ which, if made from or had contained the titanium oxide, would be unlikely to resemble just some old rocks.

Probably one of the most curious tidbits regarding the Shorty Crater anomalies unearthed in Dark Mission is the fact that Hoagland and Bara seem to want us to blindly except that all of the other ‘obvious mechanical debris’ is so completely encrusted with corrosion that it is virtually indistinguishable from the surrounding rocks (and only their well-trained eyes can suss out this information for us mere mortals) whilst at the same time telling us that this theoretically non-organic head is not subject to the same forces even though it is presumably made of the same metallic and obviously ‘highly-reflective’ materials.

My question to that somewhat skewed assessment is this: Is that lipstick on the doll’s head?



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










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.


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.)


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.


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.


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).

Is That Lipstick On The Doll’s Head? Part Six: Colour My World











On Wednesday, 13 December 1972 at approximately 3:58 GMT on a balmy 102 degree afternoon, the sun burnt down from the unrelenting obsidian sky, casting the lunar landscape in hard shadow. Approaching from a South-Easterly direction across the rolling achromatic hills of Taurus-Littrow, Apollo 17 Mission Commander Eugene Andrew Cernan and Harrison Hagen (Jack) Schmitt finally arrived at their ‘collision course with an even more unbelievable and mysterious destiny’ – a spot lying in the shadow of the Lincoln Scarp and the North Massif officially labelled Geology Station 4 but soon to enter the popular vernacular as Shorty Crater.

spaceepic01Clambering from the Lunar Rover, Cernan and Schmitt quickly set about tending to a few essential ‘housecleaning’ chores, as their rover ride over some of the more hummocky portions of the valley had kicked up a considerable bit of dust which needed to be wiped off their equipment before their truly remarkable Rendezvous With Drama could begin. Having neither seen nor adequately photographed (nor even bothered to comment at all upon) the dizzyingly vast invisible entrance that didn’t lead into the absolutely imaginary gigantic artificiality of the South Massif ‘arcology,’ these two intrepid explorers were definitely fully prepared for what was to come.

spaceepic02As they finalised their station prep, Jack Schmitt, still near the rover, promptly noted that, close to an enormous boulder on the rim of Shorty there was a large section of orange-coloured soil.

Excited by this find, as any professional geologist naturally would be, Schmitt began taking numerous samples, digging a trench to determine the depth of the colouration and to contrast the surface discovery with the deeper and undisturbed layers of regolith. Meanwhile, Gene Cernan took a series of colour photographs to document the find.

It would later be determined, once the samples had been returned to Earth and fully analysed, that the soil was ‘of basaltic debris’ mixed with fine-grained orange and black volcanic glass containing approximately 8% titanium or, more specifically, TiO2, or Titanium Dioxide. As a comprehensive analysis of the lunar regolith material falls beyond the pale of this discussion, I might recommend some light reading directly from NASA itself or (if you don’t trust such a clearly biased organisation) from the University of Wisconsin-Madison course notes for the Fusion Technology Institute, or perhaps the more breezy Feldspathic Mare Basalts paper from Cardiff University which tell you everything you could possibly ever need or want to know about lunar samples. At present it is only pertinent that we understand the basics.

In the richly periphrastic pages of 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 implores us to believe that:

…there was plenty of evidence all around these two obviously awe-inspired astronauts that areas in the vicinity of the Lander were artificial…but now in ruins.


And though it is not overtly stated in the text, the inference is that the so called ‘totally melted and oxidized titanium’ was (or is) somehow directly linked not only to all of the Obvious Mechanical Debris scattered hither and thither everywhere the ‘obviously awe-inspired astronauts’ went, but also to the composition of all of the ‘artificial buildings,’ and of course to the doll’s head.

as17-137-20995-detailYes the orange soil contained Titanium. However, the tiniest, barest minimum of cross-referencing shows us that titanium is a corrosion-resistant element. So the idea that this is ‘heavily’ oxidised (that is rusted or corroded) titanium is a bit of a reach. If you followed the link you will note that the most common form of titanium is titanium dioxide (and for you chemically minded individuals that means it has two atoms of oxygen), which is what was discovered in the lunar soil samples, and it is sometimes used in the production of white pigments. It is also used in cat litter to remove odour.

I feel that in Dark Mission we are being asked to believe that this area was some ancient lunar smelting station, or that everything in sight is made of titanium.  At the very least it seems we are being given the idea, albeit indirectly, that along with all of the other Obvious Mechanical Debris there is a vast field, one would guess, of unalloyed titanium fragments spread rusting in the smouldering sunlight on the desolate (and airless, by the way) lunar plains – the last vestiges of a devastating explosion or some other cataclysmic event.

The truth is, as previously noted, titanium dioxide is a relatively common element – the seventh most abundant element known, so I’ve read – and often found in many rocks or even in beach sand. The fine-grained orange and black ‘titanium-rich’ glass was formed, as most geological analysis agree, through standard volcanic activity some 3 to 4 billion years ago and was then dug out and deposited in its current position when Shorty Crater was formed (later) during a meteoric impact.

If, however, the orange and black glass discovered by Jack Schmitt were indeed little bits of metal scattered widely about from the presumably apocalyptic devastation visited upon a prior civilisation, then one would have to start examining everything in the area for some form of context. You remember the discussion on context, don’t you?

Thankfully nothing changes very rapidly on the lunar surface. No air, no wind, no rain to wash away and make new; just the periodic meteor impact to scoop out new holes and splatter regolith everywhere. So where is the context? This isn’t like driving along a highway and seeing part of a blown tyre or a single ragged trainer cast forlornly onto the berm. And if it was, one would still expect there to be – barring further massive impacts on the lunar surface – some sort of context. There would still be bits of road, perhaps an old mile-marker, some vague indication that there was once some type of intelligent design at work. There would be something to elevate the nature of the region – the essential form – from the randomness of chance. There would be, to use a HOGWASH term, a ‘rectilinear arrangement.’

Rather, there is a giant crater with a rock in it that looks slightly like a doll’s head and mile after mile of rolling grey and quite desolate valley floor.

Hoagland wants us to believe that there is artificiality on the lunar surface everywhere one turns, but there is absolutely no context of any kind to support such an argument. As an example, here on Earth, from the air, we can determine that a place like Machu Picchu, in Peru, is an artificial construct because it stands out, even after hundreds of years of sitting unoccupied, as being thoroughly unlike its natural surroundings…


And it looks more artificial still the closer one gets to it because closer proximity reveals further detail, further evidence, and, as such, more context. And the more context an area has when compared to its surroundings, the stronger the case for likely artificiality. One can quickly determine the shapes of buildings, homes, temples, the layout of streets, stairs, and passages and understand that these were very probably not created by natural geologic forces in one isolated spot some 8000 feet above the Urubamba Valley. In the midst of the lush and thriving environment of the Peruvian highlands (which often tend to reclaim with alarming rapidity the fastidious labours of humankind) it continues to maintain an overwhelming sense of artificiality.


Not so Taurus-Littrow.

Floating above this enormous mountain-ringed valley, one sees it as flat and grey with hundreds of craters spotting the landscape. But once you start getting closer to the surface, it begins to look amazingly flat and grey with hundreds of craters spotting the landscape. Except that, at surface level, your sense of scale and distance is thrown off by the generally colourless expanse of regolith. And it certainly doesn’t help one’s sense of disorientation that the sun is shining brightly in an ink black sky.


As an example of this disorienting nature so often commented upon by Apollo astronauts, compare an image of Shorty Crater taken on approach to an assembled panorama where its full scale can be judged. I believe you can get a good sense of just how terribly your depth perception is effected on the moon.

In Dark Mission, we are told, however, that the published images (and the available television footage) of the lunar landscape taken during the Apollo 17 mission do not match the descriptions provided by Schmitt and Cernan. In proof of this, Hoagland points to a comment from Command Module pilot Ron Evans (the third member of the team who is virtually ignored) where it is stated that, ‘You know, to me the Moon’s got a lot more colour than I’d been led to believe.’

How this statement is supposed to justify Hoagland’s thesis escapes me. The discussion in the text of Dark Mission where this quote is used specifically deals with the ‘crenulations’ commented upon by the astronauts on the surface and how we can’t see them very well – or at all – in the photographs or in the televised footage which, therefore, constitutes conspiracy. The fact that Ron Evans’ colour comment has nothing whatever to do with the ‘crenulations’ and thus no relevance to Hoagland’s argument doesn’t stop him making it seem as though these features were at the forefront of every conversation Schmitt and Cernan had when, in reality, they mention it roughly twice during one EVA.

Though the ‘crenulations’ were discussed in the previous segment, it is worth noting that in July of this year a story appeared in Nature which indicates that the early moon may have had generous amounts of water, but the volcanic glass mentioned in this report (as well as the orange glass of our present discussion) is still consistent with the formation of the moon and not with later vanished civilisation or colonisation. Water on the moon would thrill Hoagland and give credence to his ‘layering model’ for the crenulations and of the ‘completely artificial’ South Massif, but even the Nature article suggests that the water boiled off fairly quickly. And the process by which the moon gained this water is still largely debatable.

ShortyTV-PhotoClumsily clinging to the Ron Evans statement, Hoagland expects us to believe that the television footage from Apollo 17 was better quality than the 70mm still photography taken by Schmitt and Cernan, and he explains this conundrum by stating that NASA have aired substantially improved video footage in recent years on NASA Select TV which then proves his ‘arcology model.’ But again, he offers no visual evidence to support his claim. And the supposed rationale behind this argument is that the ‘new footage,’ as Hoagland calls it, now ‘tends to strongly imply’ that the massifs are ‘in fact “hollow, titanium-glass truss structures.”‘

There is again no explanation as to precisely how he was able to ascertain – from a television image – that a mountain roughly eight miles away from the camera was made of ‘titanium-glass truss structures,’ but I would wager that, if he had one, it would be spectacular. Nay, stunning.

I shouldn’t even need to point out that broadcast television quality itself has vastly improved from 1972, and Mister Obvious wins the ‘Oh Really?’ Award for this nonsensical line of  ‘reasoning.’ Yet he goes on to say that he and Bara were now certain that Apollo 17 had some mysterious connection to George Bush’s 2004 ‘Space Initiative’ and hypothesises that James Garvin (Chief Scientist at NASA, who clearly has nothing better to do with his time that to toy with people) was exhibiting the ‘real data’ on late night NASA TV to see if anyone would notice the ‘tremendous difference in quality’ or to signal to the so-called ‘in-crowd’ that NASA had other intentions behind ‘suddenly’ returning to the Moon.

Go ahead. Laugh. I did.

Hoagland confidently concludes that:

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

Just how this ‘hidden mission’ was accomplished isn’t exactly explained, strangely enough, though it all seems to centre on the doll’s head.

hoaglandollheadAs Schmitt and Cernan went about busying themselves with collecting and documenting the orange volcanic soil, staring up at them from the abyss of Shorty Crater – I mean just sitting there in the middle of the hole and in perfectly plain view along with all of the various bits of blatantly Obvious Mechanical Debris and seeming to taunt the two Apollo astronauts with its stunningly total fakeness – sat this ‘artefact.’

To the authors of the beloved American classic Dark Mission, this discovery is tantamount to something like the Holy Grail, or at least one of the other relics Brother Maynard carried with him.

Hoagland states that upon this discovery, ‘As his mind grappled with that incredible possibility’ (that this was a head), he thought back to ‘the kind of “unbelievable” things’ the astronauts had seen during EVA-2, like, you know… well, like all the ‘unbelievable‘ things we haven’t seen or heard yet but which are, as you can well imagine, quite unbelievable indeed.

As evidence of the ‘unbelievable’ artificial objects ‘all around these two obviously awe-inspired astronauts,’ Hoagland points to two of Gene Cernan’s comments, the first, made at Nansen Crater (143:22:08 in the Apollo Surface Journal), as he photographed the South Massif…

‘You know, I look out there, I’m not sure I believe it all…’

…and the other, (nearly 29 minutes later at 143:50:54)…

‘Isn’t that something? Man, you talk about a mysterious looking place!’

…made during the traverse to Station 3 (an area seen in AS17-138-21077 and in the next 15 photographs immediately thereafter).

As I’ve already addressed these statements more fully in Part Five of this review, suffice to say here that they have clearly been taken wildly out of context and have nothing whatever to do with Shorty Crater nor any other ‘unbelievable thing’ seen by the astronauts.

dollshead-C3P0Immediately ignoring this minor difficulty, Hoagland suddenly lunges headlong into the idea, grasped as if by magic from thin air (much like the superhuman ability to see ‘titanium-glass truss structures’ miles from a television camera in a thirty-six year old video), that this must be a robot head. And not just any old robot head, mind you. Oh no. This is just like C3P0!

And, frankly, by now we have caromed so far off of the Yellow Brick Road as to be in danger of smashing into those creepy talking trees as the remainder of the chapter bounces from one crazed supposition to another, all the while never stopping to specifically address or explain just how the ‘Mission of Apollo 17 was to secretly confirm the artificial nature of the Taurus-Littrow Valley’ or precisely how ‘it overwhelmingly accomplished its “hidden mission.”‘

So how is it that we actually arrive at this image described in Dark Mission as having –

indented, stereoscopic, rounded inset eyes.

Camera lenses.

Just like…C3P0

– as Hoagland insists? And how does he determine that the ‘indented’ and ‘inset’ (the same thing, by the way – redundant much?) ‘eyes’ are in fact ‘Camera lenses?’ By taking ‘Composits of other frames,’ of course. Though no explanation is provided as to why a ‘composite’ needed to be done, since virtually all of the doll’s head images are (with the exception of the aforementioned Jack Schmitt panorama) taken from very nearly exactly the same angle. He also fails to state what purpose making a composite serves or bothers mentioning anything about how the composite was accomplished, but it does make it sound to the faithful believers as though he went to extraordinary lengths to produce an image of just exactly what this object isn’t.

Rock-BarfAs an experiment to prove that this ‘enhancement technique’ serves virtually no quantifiable or justifiable purpose in studying the object in question (given the fact that there at least seven other images of it available for research), I chose a random neighbouring rock not too terribly far from the doll’s head, overlaid the same image from four different photographs (AS17-137-20993, 20994, 20995 & 20996, just so you know) and adjusted the opacity and colour balance of the various layers and quickly learnt that Spaceballs was a much bigger and more popular hit that I had previously been lead to believe.

In proving this to be an actual artefact, though, and not just something totally made up through pointless ‘enhancement,’ Hoagland says he soon determined that the doll’s head was roughly the same size as a human head by ‘looking at the context panoramas,’ images which, just so we fully understand this, are composited or pieced together to make a whole image out of fragments.

doll-astronautThough this observation regarding the size of the doll’s head is more or less accurate, I was able to figure out the same thing simply by comparing a copy of the head against an image of Jack Schmitt’s head (or helmet, as the case may be). I did this using Photoshop to cut the doll’s head from frame AS17-137-21000, flip it to face the opposite direction, and paste it on top of an image of Jack Schmitt from frame AS17-137-21010. The reason these frames were chosen is because they were from the same panorama taken by Gene Cernan, and from the same position, so that the distance from the camera to the subjects were the same. It does diminish the importance, I reckon, to just say ‘I compared two different photographs’ as opposed to saying ‘I looked at the context panoramas to confirm the correlation,’ which is much more effluent and sounds way cooler.

And then of course Hoagland advances to the wild supposition that, because the head was roughly human-sized, ‘Cernan and Schmitt could have brought it back.‘ Could have. But didn’t. They could have noticed it in the bottom of the crater, as well, staring lifelessly up at them, because it was scattered amongst a reflective sea of other Obvious Mechanical Debris. But they didn’t. They could have mentioned seeing extremely anomalous objects and a clear indication of ancient wreckage. But they didn’t. Of course I don’t know about either of you, but when travelling anywhere, I always leave room in my luggage for the occasional severed head. Surely NASA are smart enough to think ahead too.

Ha! ‘Ahead.’ Think ahead. Ahe— never mind…

You may have noticed by now that the doll’s head (or even the Barf/Rock) images I’ve used throughout this review do not look very much at all like those used by (or borrowed, where indicated, from) the Enterprise Mission. That is because apart from the periodic need to re-size an image to fit better in the smallish blog space, I have not tampered in any way with the original frames (other than adjusting the colour balance of the aforementioned Barf/Rock) because they are already in colour and I see no special point in manipulating or ‘enhancing’ the data beyond reasonable means.

Though previously addressed, it is worth very briefly repeating that the Apollo 17 astronauts – and in this particular instance regarding the head photography, Gene Cernan – used modified Hasselblad EL cameras and specially made 70mm Kodak Ektachrome MS SO-368 exterior colour reversal (i.e slide) film, ISO/ASA 64.  In case you don’t believe me, feel free to check the Apollo 17 Index for yourself. The reason it was specially formulated was so that the traditional emulsion – typically silver halide salts and sometimes even titanium dioxide (what?) for special usages – would not boil off in the vacuum of space.

And for another helpful photography tip it is good to know that the ‘Film speed required for most general weather photography (clouds, sunset, halos etc) is generally 100 ISO. This is a good trade-off between film speed (slowness, actually), high-resolution, and practical use (fast enough for most daytime photography without tripod, if you don’t have one with you).’

This way you understand that ISO 64 is a reasonably ‘slow’ film which, though probably not the best option for lunar photographs in retrospect, does have the trade-off of being a fairly high resolution film. That being said, one must wonder why, if the ISO 64 Kodak slide film provides acceptable high resolution images, was it necessary for Hoagland to composite multiple images of the doll’s head to create such a needlessly convoluted result? The ‘details’ are not improved upon by utilising this technique. All this manipulation creates is false data. Of course we must recall that we have been told quite often that the actual surface photography was apparently shit compared to the superior television quality, so perhaps this is the justification.

The details of how one of the Enterprise Mission doll’s head images was radically and wrongly manipulated is explored very well and very fully by Expat at The Emoluments of Mars, and I encourage you to read it. For purposes of our discussion, it is sufficient to explain that Hoagland says in Dark Mission that:

Color enhancements… showed that the “head” had a distinctive red strip around the area where the upper lip should be, a feature that clearly appeared to be painted or anodized on the object.

MasterFruitPunchOkay. So let’s play along. As the title of this series dares to enquire, is that lipstick on the doll’s head? If so, then why, in these so-called ‘enhancements,’ does the rest of the surrounding regolith suddenly have bright red bits in it as well? Is that lipstick too? Is this C3P0 or is it a lunar love doll? Seems a little weird for a robot – especially a protocol droid – to be ornamented with red lips. Actually, come to think of it, that’s kind of creepy. Reminds me a little bit of The Master and his fruit-punch mouth (What? No link?) If this is supposed to be a remnant from a vanished civilization, why is this doll’s head the only thing around other than the Energizer Bunny plush toy and the probable hippo mask? What the hell kind of civilisation was this and just what exactly went wrong?

And how has the bright red colour managed to survive for however many thousands of millions of years after the impact that created Shorty Crater? Surely whatever sort of devastation was visited upon the moon and violently gouged out such a massive crater would have burnt off or stripped away a mere paint job. It was searing enough to create volcanic glass and it clearly left Obvious Mechanical Debris and made that OMD virtually indistinguishable from other rocks. Yet it left virtually unscathed a supposed titanium alloy head with vestiges of red lipstick painted on it? Really?


When one compares the original NASA images against the Enterprise Mission and/or the Dark Mission ‘enhanced’ versions of (one would imagine) the very same photographs, more than anything you have to question not only the purpose behind such image manipulation but the veracity of the end product as well. The doll’s head can be seen perfectly well without dramatically altering the colour (and not for the better, I might add) for some inexplicable reason. In the Emoluments of Mars link, Expat states that he directly asked Mike Bara twice for some guidance on how to achieve the same end result (which Bara says anyone can duplicate) as those seen in Dark Mission, relating:

On the first occasion Bara replied that he was “not prepared to do your homework for you”, and on the second occasion he replied “you don’t know anything about how images are processed.”

Mr. Bara is neither polite nor helpful.

As I have stated, the practical nature of such radical manipulation makes very little sense. Except for the part where Hoagland and Bara are laughing all the way to the bank with this nonsense and I just have a stupid blog that nobody really cares about, so what do I know – even though I have now written the equivalent of my own ebook on the topic by now? Clearly this does not constitute ‘informed criticism’ though because I’m not what you call an expert.

Taking from frame AS17-137-21000 an area that is roughly the same region seen in the Enterprise Mission/Dark Mission ‘enhanced’ image and enlarging it to approximately the same size as that (600 pixels from the original 300 pixels) you can see there still appears to be a head-shaped rock in it but, just beginning to stand out, if you look closely, are the actual pixels of colour making up the image. Remember, despite the fact that the original photograph is from Kodak high resolution slide film, all of the ‘enhancement’ work is done with digital reproduction.


Though I can hear you sighing from here, colour photo paper is generally made of three layers of emulsion – yellow, cyan and magenta (and there are ‘supporting’ layers as well) – and the images we see are made up of little dots of colour. Go look at an old photograph with a magnifying glass and see for yourself. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

And whilst the fabulous world of Kodak Ekachrome processing differs slightly from traditional print making, the end result is the same. So when you take that photograph and digitise it, rendering it into perhaps thousands or even millions of tiny ‘picture elements,’ you also make a copy of those little dots of colours – which is one of many reasons why some scanned images look like complete shit and you have to fix them. Your new digital image is now pixellated, a discussion we have already had.


And the larger you make the image, the more those little bits of colour start to pop out. In this case, red. And of course you can also see pretty greens and blues in that sinister ‘day for night’ Enterprise version as well. Does that automatically mean that the lipstick on the doll’s head is, in fact, lipstick? Hoagland very specifically states in Dark Mission (wherein the doll’s head image is highlighted as ‘Color Fig. 28’) that the ‘Red stripe is not an artifact of image processing.’

I beg to differ.

A lot.

At the resolution being worked with, even when using the clean, high resolution images available from the Apollo Surface Journal or from prints ordered directly from NASA, and given the type of savage over-enhancement being done, the red stripe absolutely is an artefact of image processing. You don’t need to be an analyst to see the red beginning to stand out.

as17-137-21000HR-03Once you have ramped up the pixels to absurd proportions – and well before you can even start tampering with the hue and contrast or colour saturation – the image is degenerating into so many colour blobs. Red, in particular, is splashed about like some Whatever Happened To Baby Jane? freak show. It’s on the chin, the upper lip, one cheek, and above the eyes.

Of course I’m sure that I ‘don’t know anything about how images are processed’ either.

Concluding that this object could not be a human or humanoid skull – because any type of organic material would have either been incinerated in the cataclysmic event which created Shorty Crater or broken down after prolonged exposure to hard vacuum (although paint would have survived, it seems) – leads Hoagland to the assertion that it must, therefore, be a robot.

Yet within two paragraphs of suggesting that this artefact is a titanium replica of something akin to C3P0, replete with indented – and inset – camera eyes and painted lips, Hoagland abruptly shies away from this idea, apparently realising that it was probably a bit too science fictiony – a little too ‘out there’ – for the more moderate tastes of the anomalist community, and quickly replaces this ‘theory’ or ‘model’ with something vastly more palatable to the mainstream:

He begins to extrapolate, from the apparent ‘ground truth’ available at Taurus-Littrow, that this is no mere protocol droid, but an object much like Commander Data’s head as seen in a Star Trek: The Next Generation episode entitled Time’s Arrow – right down to the Type R Phase Discriminating Amplifier, one imagines – in which the information stored in the android’s positronic brain helps save the world. (By the way, he says of this episode that the characters are shown Data’s ‘disassembled’ head, when in fact they are shown a disembodied head. I’m just sayin).

He promptly returns to the ‘And Therefore Because of Its Size, the Astronauts “Could Have Brought It Back”‘ scenario, once more pointing to the ample ‘off-camera’ time (yes, again) which Schmitt and Cernan seemed to have had during their time at Shorty Crater. Although there is no evidence for this assertion, he seems to believe that they ‘could have’ jumped down into the crater and absconded with the head, despite the ‘tight time table’ they were on. Taking this completely unfounded hypothetical suggestion at face value for a moment, let’s examine very quickly the so called ‘ground truth’ for ourselves:

If you watch the available video (clip 145:23:48) or read through some of the transcripts, it’s fairly clear that Schmitt and Cernan were at Shorty Crater for some thirty minutes.  All you need to do is add up the time charted on the Surface Journal entries (for example 145:23:48 is mission hour, minute, and second) and you can determine with reasonable certainty that there wasn’t much time for shenanigans or covert reconnaissance.

as17-137-21024-rimobjectMost of the time you can see the astronauts doing their work. Periodically Cernan or Schmitt ‘disappear’ from view as the television camera operator back on Earth investigates the region for himself, but you hear them constantly talking. Ed Fendell does spend a lot of time panning across Shorty Crater and into some of the shadows at the rear of the crater. I’ll admit that. (Maybe he was trying to see what the curious looking object pictured here was, something I spotted on the far rim.)  Eventually, though, he pans back to the astronauts.

There is no time during these few minutes when the camera is panning about that the astronauts could have jumped down into the crater to pick up the ‘head.’ Not without being either incredibly fast or amazingly stealthy, or being able to predict every movement the camera (guided off-world by Ed) would make. And if they did dip down into Shorty, where are all the footprints? The camera gets a pretty clear shot down into the target area of the crater just minutes before the astronauts move on, so where is the evidence that the ‘head’ was collected? Did Jack Schmitt cunningly wipe away any mysterious footprints he might have left behind?

Towards the end of video clip 145:27:50 (or at approximately 5 minutes and 41 seconds in the longer clip), Gene Cernan asks ‘What’s wrong with the TV? Aren’t you watching this?’ as the camera he has just cleaned and adjusted for a pan has become stuck viewing the front end of the Rover. Hardly sounds like the actions or concerns of someone about to sneak off for clandestine activity. And you can still see Jack Schmitt collecting samples behind him.

NASA admin are chattering in the background, in the meantime, about time constraints and not paying much attention it seems. They are concerned that, due to the length of time spent at Nansen and Ballet Crater, the astronauts are pressing the limits of their walk-back constraints, meaning that if they spend too much more time at Shorty and don’t get moving and keep to the schedule, they might not be able to walk safely back to the Lunar Module in case of emergency like the Rover breaking down.

I find it strange that the desire to have the reader believe that Schmitt and Cernan (or ‘Schmidt’ and ‘Cerman’ as they are sometimes referred to because, you know, the research and documentation is so thoughtfully and carefully prepared) were quite clearly on a clandestine reconnaissance mission born in absolute secrecy behind the closed doors of NASA and funded by an unknowing American public, or that the idea of artificiality on a massive lunar scale simply fails to stand up to even modest scrutiny.

Clearly there is not a shred of solid evidence for artificiality, either in the Taurus-Littrow Valley, in the neighbourhood of Shorty Crater, or at Nansen.

Hoagland desires to point us to such ‘anomalous’ item as ‘the Spar1‘ (the object said to be leaning against the East Massif or Mons Vitruvius) or bad photography riddled with lens flare to indicate artificiality, yet he produces nothing of substance to verify his ‘models.’  His proof is, at best, as ethereal and surreal as the stream of consciousness externalisation of his internal monologue which, at the sufferance of the reader (and of his own credibility), leads Hoagland to speculate that obviously Apollo 17 had some ‘mysterious connection’ to Bush’s 2004 ‘Space Initiative’ plan and that the doll’s head was likely the key.

Could the data stored deep inside of the doll’s head have been exactly like the world-saving time travel information that was found in Commander Data’s positronic brain!? Moreover, could this be the whole reason we abruptly stopped going to the moon after 1972? And was this information—

why Gene Cernan…

scowled at President Bush!?


1) Listed below are some more random photos of the East massif found whilst conducting research for this segment. Notice the complete lack of a ‘Spar’ or any other anomalous feature in the region of Mons Vitruvius, especially the utter lack of the huge lunar domes. Once again I ask, why would someone spend so much quality time not only painstakingly editing out something in these photos (especially with 1970s technology) but take such an extraordinary amount of time to actually sift through absolutely every single image ever captured during the totality of the Apollo 17 mission that might contain any sign of this massif? Seems a daunting and, frankly, absurd task given the option of simply saying that on a voyage of discovery to the moon we might have actually discovered something…