Today's blog, I suspect, should probably be filed under the heading of "things that make you go, "Hmmm...", because space is in the news again, and a big thank you goes out to Mr. V.T. for spotting this article and passing it along. It contains a certain "something" that caught my eye, and I am quite certain it will catch yours as well.
The story concerns China's plans to land taikonauts on the far side of the Moon, the so-called "dark" side, and return them to Earth. I blogged about this story a couple of years ago, and about what it meant. For such a mission to succeed, and to maintain communications with Earth, the Chinese will have to place communications relay satellites in permanent orbit around the Moon to bounce signals - and pictures - from the far side to the Earth. When one places this in the context of the story about the Germans wanting to build out a 4G communications network on the Moon(!), one definitely is confronted by one of those things that make you go, "Hmmm...." Indeed, one wonders if perhaps the Chinese and German plans are somehow connected. Before all that, China plans to send an unmanned lander to the far side.
With that context in mind, here's the article from Lew Rockwell:
So, first things first: China plans to orbit a satellite to establish that relay link that will in turn allow them to land their unmanned probe:
China is set to do something no other nation has done, and that’s land on the far side of the moon. This year, they plan to launch two missions known as “Chang’e 4”. The first part will launch in June, which will really act as a satellite positioned approximately 60,000 km behind the moon. This will serve for communication purposes, linking the Earth and the far side of the moon. This is, apparently, why we’ve never been to the dark side, because the technicalities of clear communication are impossible, so we’re told. This drastically counters all of the evidence suggesting we have been there. There are some articles linked below where you can learn more about that. Once this link is established, it will allow China to send the second part of the mission: a lander to the far side’s surface. (Emphasis added)
One can forget that business about no one else having landed on the far side. After all, if China can orbit a satellite for the purposes of a communications relay from an unmanned lander, then so can the USA, Russia, India, Japan, Europe, and anybody else with stakes in space. Japan and India already have satellites in orbit, and let's not forget the USA's 1994 Clementine "mapping" mission, which we'll get back to in a moment. The real problem is whether or not we'd be told about it. We'll get back to that too.
The article quickly goes on to talk about remote viewing of the Moon, various statements of Apollo astronauts indicating that "something strange" was going on up there, and even mentions the wild books of Fred Steckling and George Leonard. It even mentions the "Problem of the Moon" itself, which if one thinks about it, has a set of celestial mechanics that make what it's doing there, in the orbit it is in, highly problematical for any naturalistic explanation, be it the "Earth-Moon fission" model, or the "wandering celestial body-capture" model. For some people, including this author, it looks rather like the Moon was simply parked there. Add in the bit of odd Earth lore from here and there that once there was a time when there was no Moon, and you get the idea. We could even invoke the Principle of Parsimony (or Ockham's Razor) on this one, and say that the Moon, which was a wandering celestial body was "captured" by the Earth's gravitational forces billions of years ago, and that over time its probable elliptical orbit became "circular" and that over time "tidal forces" slowed its rotation (assuming it was rotating much faster to begin with) so that the same 60% of its surface remains permanently visible to the Earth, and all of this so that it accidentally ended up being at just the right distance from the Earth to blot out the Sun, leaving only the Sun's corona visible during eclipses. Or we can invoke parsimony and just say "someone parked it there." Oddly, Ockham's razor seems to be successfully invoked only when the standard science mythologies are at stake. (I have other problems with the "Razor", but this isn't the place to go into them. Basically, the Cliff Notes version is that it is worthless as a criterion of choice between various models.)
So, what caught my eye in this article? It was most decidedly this:
As mentioned above, it’s so hard to get any genuine information. Take Dr. John Brandenburg. He was the Deputy Manager of the Clementine Mission to the Moon, which was part of a joint space project between the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization (BMDO) and NASA. The mission discovered water at the Moon’s poles in 1994 (Source: page 16 of 18)(source)(source), but according to Brandenburg, the Clementine Mission had an ulterior agenda:
“The Clementine Mission was a photo reconnaissance mission basically to check out if someone was building bases on the moon that we didn’t know about. Were they expanding them? . . . Of all the pictures I’ve seen from the moon that show possible structures, the most impressive is a picture of a miles wide recto-linear structure. This looked unmistakably artificial, and it shouldn’t be there. As somebody in the space defense community, I look on any such structure on the moon with great concern because it isn’t ours, there’s no way we could have built such a thing. It means someone else is up there.”
I've been fortunate enough to meet Dr. Brandenburg, and even more fortunate to have enjoyed some conversation with him. At the time of the Clementine mission, there was great speculation that its classified mission was not simply about re-mapping the Moon, but rather, about "looking" for "something," like artificial structures. And according to Brandenburg, they're there.
Now, here's the kicker. Dr. Brandenburg has worked on a variety of classified projects. As such, he would have to be cleared for disclosing any sort of information about a project such as Clementine, unless aspects of it were already declassified. In any case, we know more about it than we did in 1994.
In other words, as the article points out, one may choose to believe these whistleblowers, or not believe them. In his case, we are dealing with a scientist of integrity, and who is not afraid of thinking outside of the conventional boxes of scientific mythologies. I believe him.
Thus, his statements place China's mission to land a probe on the far side into a much different context, as it does the German plans for a 4G lunar network, and Japan's and India's photo reconnaissance satellites, into an interesting context. In this case, perhaps, we have the space-capable powers acting like boys trading baseball cards: "I'll trade you five Jade Rabbit photos for three of your Chandrayaan-1 photos," and so on.
And it may also be a case of everyone else telling the USA and Russia, "we know what you really saw up there."
See you on the flip side...