Many regular readers here sent me versions of this story, and I'd like to thank them all for drawing our attention to it, for here, as always, I suspect there's more going on than meets the eye. Here's one version of the story:
Once again, we're being told that the wealth of riches to be mined on the Moon is the only motivation for going there, beyond, of course, the usual "stepping-stone-to-Mars" meme:
In a race against global superpowers, Moon Express — a private venture founded by billionaire entrepreneur Naveen Jain, space technology guru Dr. Barney Pell and space futurist Dr. Bob Richards — has cleared a path for private U.S . companies looking to explore and commercialize space.
Today the company is the first private enterprise in history to receive U.S. government approval to travel beyond Earth's orbit and undertake a deep space mission. The goal: to land a robotic spacecraft on the moon's surface in 2017 and analyze and explore its valuable resources that can be used on Earth.
The moon is a treasure chest that has vast amounts of iron ore, water, rare Earth minerals and precious metals, as well as carbon, nitrogen, hydrogen and helium-3, a gas that can be used in future fusion reactors to provide nuclear power without radioactive waste. Experts concur that the value of these resources are in the trillions of dollars.
But there's a catch here, and it leaped off the page at me, but first, a few "Moon Landing" facts: if one wants to land on the moon, one must select an appropriate landing site, and that requires some extensive mapping of the surface, and planning. So the first question this raises to my mind is: have these private companies already secretly launched satellites to do so? Or have they entered into private and hidden arrangements with the various governments that have had lunar surveying and mapping missions?
I suspect the latter is the order of the day, and that there are such hidden agreements already worked out. Here's why (and herewith the part of the article that leaped out at me):
Already, Moon Express has six payloads on its manifest for its first mission, planned for the second half of next year. According to Moon Express CEO Richards, customers include Google Lunar X Prize; the International Lunar Observatory; Celestis; and a partnership between the University of Maryland and the National Laboratories of Frascati, Italy.
The mission will be a baseline where a camera will be set up to take photos and video. According to Richards, the International Lunar Observatory plans to put a "mooncam" (a small astronomical observatory) accessible on the internet on the moon's surface. Google plans to provide access to these images through YouTube — democratizing information about this important celestial body.
The company also expects NASA will send one or two payloads on the first Moon Express mission, Richards said. Dr. Christopher McKay, an astrobiologist at NASA Ames Research Center who is involved in planning for future Mars missions, has expressed interest in sending an incubated mustard seed plant to the moon to see how plants can be gestated in lunar gravity and radiation. (Emphases added)
Photos? Live video streaming? For those of us (myself included in this group) who suspect that there is "artificial stuff" up there, based on analysis of old Russian and American satellite and later Apollo photographs (think only of the "Blair cuspids" here), this revelation implies three different scenarios might be in play.
The first of these is that the "era of secrecy" might be drawing to a close, as technology makes the Moon more accessible, it also makes it increasingly difficult to keep such things hidden and secret. Indeed, just as the New World was known to Europe long before the staged "discovery" of it by Columbus, one might be looking at a similar scenario here: corporations may be tasked with "lifting the veil" on the subject.
The second of these is the exact reverse, for by going to the government for tacit approval of the plans, the one thing that easily would enter into the mix is a "national security rider" in any arrangements that have been worked out, including an "override" on live feeds that might "see something" that "they" do not wish to be seen. Add to this, of course, the additional consideration that the best way to keep a secret is to make it proprietary, a private corporate one, rather than a government one. It is interesting in this respect to recall the NASA experimentts in extending the internet to an interplanetary basis; after all, with national security involved, one has to have that "interplanetary internet kill switch."
The third of these possibilities stands somewhere in between: if one is looking for a "national sponsor" of a corporate event such as this, then one "shops around" for the "best deal" with the various space-faring nations, and here, I suspect, we're watching the emergence of what I've been arguing in recent blogs: with the "global project" under serious assault on Earth (think only of the BREXIT or Trump phenomena), then space presents itself as a tailor-made way to create genuine global institutions.
Or as Holmes used to say to Watson, the game is afoot.
See you on the flip side...