India, as regular readers of this website are aware, is making a huge push to become a "space power" in recent years, having successfully made no less than 28 launches in a week, a few months ago. Stop and think about simply the management and logistical problems associated with doing so many (successful) launches in such a short time, even for a country like India with some of the finest scientists and mathematicians in the world. Messages were definitely being sent with that accomplishment, namely, that India can put a bunch of stuff up in space - in, say, an emergency - if it has to.
But like Israel, it recently lost, then (unlike Israel) found again, a lunar lander - Vikram - which it was attempting to land near the south pole of the Moon. As it turns out, there are a few things about this that are a little "puzzling," and as one might guess, they're the subject of today's high octane speculation. For one thing, nations other than the US, China, and Russia seem to be having a spot of trouble getting their landers down safely on Luna. Israel, for example, recently lost its lunar probe. But in the case of India's Vikram, all sorts of things have me wondering. For example, the selection of the south pole, ostensibly because it is looking for water strongly suspected to be there in craters, in the form of ice. But I have to wonder if there were possibly some other explanations for India's interest.
For example: recall NASA's "L-CROSS" mission a few years ago. Remember that one? NASA built up a lot of public hype about the fact that it intended to deliberately crash the L-CROSS near the south pole of the Moon, and we were all led to believe that the impact would be so great that one could see it "live" from the Earth, the message being "get out your telescopes and binoculars and cook the popcorn, this is going to be big fun!" Sure enough, L-CROSS slammed into the Moon alright, but... next to nothing, and certainly nothing visible from the Earth. But there was an unusual signature, that of something that had broken through a hard surface only to encounter empty space below. That, anyway, was the explanation of the alternative research field's well-known space and science analyst Richard C. Hoagland, who posted an extensive analysis of the (non-) event on his website, enterprisemission.com. To make a very long analysis and story short, what Mr. Hoagland argued was that the impact did not have nearly the visibility that it would have had had it impacted something solid, rather than something with an empty space beneath it. Later, it was discovered that all sorts of unusual stuff had been kicked up by the impact as well. And, lest we forget, Mr. Hoagland thought it extremely unusual and perhaps significant that "L-CROSS" may have had a sinister significance, for if one "crosses" four "L's" one gets... a swastika. So that provides a bit of a context for why, perhaps, India wanted to land its Vikram lander in the region... perhaps it was intending to explore for the possibilities of hollow spaces - caverns or other structures beneath the surface. Indeed, it rather strains the imagination to think that India was not aware of more than a little strangeness about NASA's L-CROSS mission.
Which brings us to Vikram itself. As most now know, India lost contact with the lander during its final descent phase, and then later discovered that its probe had indeed landed, but that it was probably not in any shape for them to make contact with it. Prime Minister Mohdi then appeared at a press conference with the project's head, when he made a point, on camera, to turn to the gentleman, hug him warmly, and tell him that it was not his fault. We'll get back to the idea that Mr. Mohdi may possibly have been sending messages with that statement. But first, J.H. spotted this graph of the lander's descent, and passed it along to me:
The comment accompanying this graph in the email said it all: "Fascinating amount of 'hang time'" for the last portion of Vikram's descent. Indeed, less than a kilometer from the lunar surface, apparently all contact was lost, and the Vikram crashed into the surface. "It's not your fault."
Now, before I crawl way out past the end of the high octane speculation twig once again, and speculate far beyond any publicly available evidence, take a look at this story shared by K.B.:
Consider for a moment the implication of the article, that India is somewhat optimistic about picking up the Vikram's transponder signal, and is trying to establish communications with the probe, even though it does not know the exact condition of the probe. Then consider this story shared by M.W.:
Firstly, note this from the end of the article:
The scenario depicts a notional peer competitor seeking to achieve strategic goals by exploiting multi-domain operations.
Additionally, the scenario also includes a full spectrum of threats across diverse, multi-domain operating environments to challenge civilian and military leaders, planners and space system operators, as well as the capabilities they employ, Air Force officials said.
The Schriever Wargame 19 team is conducting this wargame on behalf of Air Force Space Command, which is headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Last year's Schriever Wargame, which also took place at Maxwell Air Force Base, lasted two weeks.
And then note this curious thing about the author of the article:
Leonard David is author of the recently released book, "Moon Rush: The New Space Race" published by National Geographic in May 2019. A longtime writer for Space.com, David has been reporting on the space industry for more than five decades. Follow us on Twitter@Spacedotcom orFacebook.
As one might imagine, the timing of this wargame, of this drill, to coincide with the landing of India's lunar probe near the south lunar pole - site of NASA's L-CROSS (non-) event - I find more than a little curious. In fact, you can call me crazy, but I think it's downright suspicious. As many people in the alternative research field have pointed out, drills or wargames are often used to cloak or piggy-back very real operations. Think only of 9/11. Then there's the fact that the author of the article, Leonard David, wrote a book on the new space race to the Moon. Couple that with the drill's ostensible purpose of depicting "a notional peer competitor" (like India, maybe?), and you get the idea.
Or to put it country simple: was this first wargame/drill of the US Space Command used to cloak an actual "take-out" of India's lunar probe? Possibly, for there is that graph of Vikram's descent, where everything appears to be going fine until the last kilometer or so, when India loses contact. And then there's Prime Minister Mohdi's public statement and behavior to the head of India's space agency: "I know it's not your fault." Perhaps Mr. Mohdi wasn't merely making a public show of support for his space agency's chief, but also sending a message: it was someone else's fault.
See you on the flip side...