17 - Zig-a-zig argh!

The next claim made by the programme deals with claims originally puked up by Mike Bara and his fellow traveller Richard Hoagland, that of a mysterious ziggurat located on a crater rim just west of far-side crater Daedalus in Apollo 11 photograph AS11-38-5564. Both claimants deny being the source of the image, and Bara even claims to have found his version on a forum dedicated to first person shooter ‘Call of Duty’. He alleges that this is the genuine version and all other ones produced by NASA are frauds edited to remove his mystery pyramid.

I’ll just let you absorb that for a moment: the image on a forum for fans of the zombie bonus game in Call of Duty is the real one, and all the NASA versions of the crater are fake.

As usual in these cases, what the claimants have done is take one image and pretended that no other NASA images of the area exist, and rely on you not bothering to check to see if what they are saying is true. I’m not the first person to take this crap apart, for example the blog page Pseudoastro has taken it to task and identified the crater in question. I’m pleased to report that they identify the same region as I do.

So let’s get down to the specifics. Here’s the NASA image from Apollo 11, a close-up of the area, and what they claim is the original complete with ziggurat.

The change is very subtle, and not much has had to be added to produce the effect, but the image on the right has been doctored (and rotated slightly) to produce the appearance of a pyramid. It’s a fraud, pure and simple, and we can prove that by looking at other images of the same area. Before doing that, one of the suggestions made is that all of the various copies of the image NASA has have been doctored to remove the pyramid, but what NASA can’t do is remove the pyramid from all the hard copies out there, such as this one in the Apollo 11 70 mm photographic catalog. A while ago I had the chance to buy this, but it was sold before I got a chance, so you can still get them if you’re quick! Far from being hidden in NASA archives, it’s been out there for years.

Before looking at modern probes, it’s worth showing what the USA’s bitter ideological rivals of the Apollo era were photographing. On this site there are photographs taken by Zond 8, which did a long pass over the lunar far side and over Aitken crater, which can just be made out on the horizon in the Apollo image. Several of the images returned by the Soviet probe show the area in question, and this is the best one.

Hands up anyone who can see a pyramid in this or any of the other Zond photographs that show the area. No-one? Good. Onwards.

It’s also worth noting that a Zond 8 image showing the area is also given in the Apollo 17 PSR, as is a Lunar Orbiter medium resolution image that also fails to show the ziggurat. Close ups of these are given below. An even closer view can be found in the online version of the high resolution Lunar Orbiter image and is also shown (right)

In each case above the crater in the middle is the one supposedly containing a pyramid, and images publicly available in print for decades show that there isn’t one.

Modern probes also show a totally unsurprising lack of ziggurat, for example the Japanese (left) and Chinese (right) images below, and the two views looking east and west across the crater using the Kaguya 3D application is also lacking a pointy building.

As well as the Apollo 11 image selected by Bara and Hoagland, you also have to ask why they haven’t looked at other Apollo images covering the same area, and there are several, including these ones from Apollo 8 (from my own photography report on the left and a closer zoom of an online source in the centre), and Apollo 17. The Apollo 8 one in particular is interesting as it is part of a continuous series of images featuring the area. Apollo 17’s view is also one of several of the area.

Every source, online, in print, Soviet, Chinese, Japanese, all corroborate the truth of the matter: the dodgy Photoshop ‘discovered’ on some obscure gamer forum is a fake, there is no pyramid, there never was, it’s made up bollocks.

18. Get Shorty

The final claim we can look at here is difficult to disprove using other sources, namely that the floor of a crater visited by the Apollo 17 crew is littered with alien machine parts and a giant skull.

Oddly, the claim starts out with Mike Bara describing a ‘hexagonal mountain’ that they drove right up to. The mountain he is describing is the South Massif of Taurus-Littrow and it isn’t hexagonal, but let’s continue. He goes on to describe how, on EVA-2, they explore Nansen crater at the foot of the South Massif. Inexplicably we then cut to Shorty crater, also visited on EVA-2, and the supposed existence of machine-like objects and a giant skull. Here’s their take on what’s there.

Not secret, no aliens, all public.


So what conclusions can we draw from this ‘documentary’?

Well, as you can probably guess it don’t impress me much. It’s candy floss TV with a collection of clips repeated over and over to a backdrop of an over-excitable narrator and a string of talking heads opining meaningfully about the subject at hand in serious tones and usually with a computer someone nearby. There are so many disclaimers being waved about the programme was barely worth broadcasting.

The ‘experts’ they have dragged out of their tinfoil lined cellars are very odd ones, given that they repeatedly state that there can be ‘no other conclusion’ (or words to that effect) that the objects they have discovered are artificial, whereas once you actually start looking more closely there are much more reasonable conclusions to draw. For some reason these experts don’t know about other sources of information and can only look at individual photographs in isolation from all the other photographs that exist. Then again, I’m not selling a book, DVD or advertising space, or pimping myself out to sensationalist TV shows. They are experts in nothing more than self-promotion, and they should be ashamed of themselves at either their ignorance or their duplicity. Or both.

The material they have produced from supposedly secret archives has been publicly available for decades, and despite repeated insistence that NASA are ‘mystified’ about the objects they never manage to produce a NASA source that is actually mystified. The reason NASA has ‘no explanation’ for what they are claiming is that they never asked anyone there. NASA is not hiding anything, there is no hidden vault of alien photographs, no team of airbrushers, no covert space programme, and no astronaut ever saw an alien or an alien spacecraft. Not once. Ever. Anyone who claims they saw image manipulation to hide evidence of aliens happening is a liar.

The narration is deliberately inflammatory in style and misleading factually. For example they cite one report on a couple of occasions that claims there would be mass panic if UFOs were proven to exist, and that the reason NASA hide these objects (they haven’t) is to avoid that social breakdown.

This is the report, and far from it saying that civilisation as we know it would break down in tears if aliens were to turn up and say hi, they say this:

“The knowledge that life existed in other parts of the universe might lead to a greater unity of men on earth, based on the "oneness" of man or on the age-old assumption that any stranger is threatening. Much would depend on what, if anything, was communicated between man and the other beings: since after the discovery there will be years of silence (because even the closest stars are several light years away, an exchange of radio communication would take twice the number of light years separating our sun from theirs), the fact that such beings existed might become simply one of the facts of life but probably not one calling for action.

Whether earthmen would be inspired to all-out space efforts by such a discovery is a moot question. Anthropological files contain many examples of societies, sure of their place in the universe, which have disintegrated when they have had to associate with previously unfamiliar societies espousing different ideas and different life ways; others that survived such an experience usually did so by paying the price of changes in values and attitudes and behaviour.”

What they say, in essence, is that alien contact will produce change, and while they give a nod to ancient civlisations that have collapsed when outside agencies upset their social applecart, they specifically do not say that it is inevitable on Earth now.

The documentary is dishonest in its editing, its content, its choice of interviewees and its conclusions. It cherry picks the quotes from people like Buzz Aldrin and misrepresents what they said. It is littered with false claims and bad research. At best it is misguided, at worst it is deliberately misleading. Its experts are either deluded or frauds and self-evidently have no expertise in the subject about which they write.

Anyone who swallows this kind of codswallop whole without questioning any of the content in it deserves all they get.

The objects concerned are too small to be identified by anything other than the lunar reconnaissance orbiter, and we have tried to stay away from there. The next best resolution is probably from Apollo 17’s Panoramic Camera, but again the resolution isn’t adequate to show small rocks.

What we can do, however, is compare what is being shown in the programme with what is in Apollo images. We can also use contemporary hard copies as this crater is very famous - it was where they discovered ‘orange soil’, and photographs that show the ‘alien head’ have been in the public domain for decades.

The images above left and centre are from the Project Apollo Flickr page and the ALSJ respectively, while the one on the right is the highly contrasted and over-treated one from the Syfy programme,

The source of the over-contrasted shot appears to be Richard Hoagland’s money pit, where they claim that the red stripe visible in the ‘colour enhanced’ version shown at the start of this section is not a product of their image treatment.

It plainly is - you don’t mess around with the colours in an image without messing up the colours. Simple.

He also claims that the ‘orange soil’ they found was oxidised material, which it is not - it’s a titanium rich volcanic glass. Hoagland clearly never bothered to read any of the follow up research on the samples.

There’s no doubt that once you get told it looks like a head then it is inevitable that you see it like that forever more, particularly when someone really, really, really whacks up the contrast to make the dark areas stand out more.

That doesn’t mean it is a head, in much the same way that an over-contrasted image of a brecciated boulder doesn’t make it an engine, as shown below.

Hoagland, claims to be able to see tubes, mechanical features and mounting points on the rock. That’s because he’s a fuckwit.

He says it doesn’t look like the fractured volcanic rocks you would expect, when in fact that is exactly what it is. In fact, all he does is prove that when you mess around with images, you change them.

And considering that NASA was supposedly terrified of revealing the alien artefacts in the crater, they weren’t bothered about broadcasting it on live TV.

Syfy swallowed this crap whole and expect you to do it too. Don’t fall for it, and certainly don’t buy Hoagland’s shitty book (I did, but it was second hand so he made no money from me).

He even has the cheek to claim that Surveyor’s colour images were ‘long suppressed’, when in fact they appeared in a Life magazine edition in July 1966, ‘Exploring Space with a Camera’ and the back of TRW Space Log from 1967 - the same series of journals they cite as a source for Zond ‘glass dome’ images..

Next up, for your delectation and delight, a collection of publicly available images from my own collection of Shorty crater, showing that anyone of millions of people could see the details in these Apollo images, but only Hoagland and Bara saw fit to charge you money for imaginary alien heads’

National Geographic 1973

Preliminary Science Report                   ‘Exploring the Moon, the Apollo expeditions’ (1999 edition)

Panorama assembled for the Geology report on the Taurus-Littrow valley

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