by Jim Marrs
Before the Apollo missions, lunar
scientists longed for the time when humans could walk on the moon's
surface. By studying the make-up of our satellite, they hoped to
resolve some of the mysteries of how our planet and solar system
came into existence. Six moon landings later, the public perception
was that we had learned all we needed to about the moon. However,
those same lunar scientists were no closer to agreement on how to
answer even the most basic questions --- such as how the moon was
Despite the return of some 842 pounds of rocks and soil samples,
photos and videotape and the placement of five nuclear-powered
scientific stations on the lunar surface, there are still no clear
cut solutions to the moon's mysteries. Quite the reverse, what we
have learned about the moon in the wake of the Apollo missions
has only raised more questions.
Science writer Earl Ubell
"...the lunar Rosetta Stone remains
a mystery. The moon is more complicated than anyone expected; it
is not simply a kind of billiard ball frozen in space and time,
as many scientists had believed. Few of the fundamental
questions have been answered, but the Apollo rocks and
recordings have spawned a score of mysteries, a few truly
Consider some of these "breath-stopping" mysteries or anomalies
as scientists prefer to call them: The moon is far older than
previously imagined, perhaps even much older than the Earth and
sun. By examining tracks burned into moon rocks by cosmic rays,
scientists have dated them as billions of years old. Some have
been dated back 4.5 billion years, far older than the Earth and
nearly as old as the solar system. The oldest rocks ever found
on Earth only date back 3.5 billion years. It is accepted by
scientists today that the Earth is about 4.6 billion years old.
Harvard's respected astronomy journal
Sky and Telescope reported that at
the Lunar Conference of 1973, it was revealed that one moon
rock was dated at 5.3 billion years old which would make it almost
a billion years older than our planet.
This puzzle was compounded by the fact that lunar dust in which the
rocks were found proved to be a billion years older than the rocks
themselves. Chemical analysis showed that the moon rocks were of a
completely different composition from the soil around them. Since
dusty soil is usually produced by the weathering and breakup of
surrounding rocks, the lunar rocks must have come from someplace
other than where they were found. But where?
The moon has at least three distinct layers of rocks.
Contrary to the idea that heavier objects sink, the heavier rocks
are found on the surface. These rich materials that are usually
concentrated in the interior of a world are on the outside of moon.
Earl Ubell, a former science
editor for CBS television, acknowledged this mystery, saying,
"The first (layer), 20 miles
deep, consists of lava like material similar to lava flows on
Earth. The second, extending down to 50 miles, is made up
of somewhat denser rock. The third, continuing to a depth
of at least 80 miles and probably below, appears to be of a
heavy material similar to the Earth's mantle..."
Ubell asked, "If the Earth and moon
were created at the same time, near each other, why has one got
all the iron and the other (the moon) not much? The differences
suggest that Earth and moon came into being far from each other,
an idea that stumbles over the inability of astrophysicists
to explain how exactly the moon became a satellite of Earth."
The moon is extremely dry and
does not appear to have ever had water in any substantial amounts.
None of the moon rocks, regardless of location found, contained free
water or even water molecules bound into the minerals. Yet
instruments left behind by Apollo missions sent a signal to Earth on
March 7, 1971, indicating a "wind" of water had crossed the
moon's surface. Since any water on the airless moon surface
vaporizes and behaves like the wind on Earth, the question became
where did this water originate? The vapor cloud eruptions lasted
14 hours and covered an area of some 100 square miles.
Some scientists claimed the water
vapor came from deep inside the moon, apparently released during
a moonquake. NASA officials offered a more mundane, and
questionable, explanation. They speculated that two tanks on Apollo
descent stages containing between 60 and 100 pounds of water became
stressed and ruptured, releasing their contents. Scientists declined
to accept this explanation, pointing out that the two tanks --- from
Apollo 12 and 14 --- were some 180 kilometers apart yet the water
vapor was detected with the same flux at both sites although the
instruments faced in opposite directions. Skeptics also have
understandably questioned the odds of two separate tanks breaking
simultaneously and how such a small quantity of water could produce
100 square miles of vapor.
Additionally, Apollo 16 astronauts found moon rocks which
contained bits of rusted iron. Since oxidation requires
oxygen and free hydrogen, this rust indicates there must be water
somewhere on the moon. Moon rocks were found to be magnetized ---
not strong enough to pick up a paper clip, but magnetic
nevertheless. What makes this so odd is that there is no magnetic
field on the moon itself. So where did the magnetism come from?
The argument that perhaps the moon picked up its magnetism from
close contact with the Earth collapses when one considers that if
the moon got close enough to pick up a magnetic field, it was close
enough to be ripped apart by the Earth's gravitational pull.
The presence of maria, or large seas of smooth solidified
molten rock, on the moon indicates nothing less than a vast
outpouring of lava at some distant time. It has now been
confirmed that some of the moon's craters are of internal origin.
Yet there is no indication that the moon has ever been hot enough to
produce volcanic eruptions.
"The relative cool of the lunar
interior (about 1,800 degree Fahrenheit as compared with the
Earth's interior temperature of between 3,600 and 9,000 degrees)
suggests that the moon was pretty cool to begin with and that
the interior contains less radioactivity than the Earth or the
surface of the moon," stated Ubell.
Others tried to explain this conundrum
by stating that the moon was volcanically active some billions of
years ago but, being a small world, rapidly lost its heat.
Another puzzle is that almost all --- four-fifths --- of the
maria are located on the moon's Earthside hemisphere. Few
maria mark the far side of the moon, often erroneously referred
to as the "dark side". Yet the far side contains many more
craters and mountainous areas. In comparison to the rest of the
moon, the maria are relatively free of craters suggesting
that craters were covered by lava flow. Adding to this mystery are
the mascons --- large dense circular masses lying
20 to 40 miles below the center of the moon's maria. The
mascons were discovered because their denseness distorted the
orbits of our spacecraft flying over or near them. One scientist
proposed that the mascons are heavy iron meteorites which
plunged deep into the moon while it was in a soft, formiable stage.
This theory has been discounted since meteorites strike with such
high velocities, they would vaporize on contact. Another mundane
explanation is that the mascons are nothing more than
lava-filled caverns, but skeptics say there isn't enough lava
present to accomplish this. Since the maria appear to have
been formed by hot lava, why did not these heavy mascons sink
to the bottom?
"What they are is a major moon
mystery," wrote Don Wilson, author of
Our Mysterious Spaceship Moon.
"It now appears that the mascons
are broad disk-shaped objects that could be possibly some kind
of artificial construction. For huge circular disks are not
likely to be beneath each huge maria, centered like
bull-eyes in the middle of each, by coincidence or accident."
During the Apollo missions
seismographic equipment was placed at six separate sites on the
moon. Between 1969 and 1977, when this equipment ceased operating,
up to 3,000 "moonquakes" were detected during each year of
operation. Most of the vibrations were quite small and were caused
by meteorite strikes or falling booster rockets. But many other
quakes were detected deep inside the moon. This internal creaking is
believed to be caused by the gravitational pull of our planet as
most moonquakes occur when the moon is closest to the Earth.
However, an event occurred in 1958 in the moon's Alphonsus
crater which shook the idea that all internal moonquake activity
was simply settling rocks.
In November of that year, Soviet
astronomer Nikolay A. Kozyrev of the Crimean Astrophysical
Observatory set the scientific world on its ear by photographing
the first recorded gaseous eruption on the moon near the crater's
peak. Kozyrev attributed this to escaping fluorescent gases.
He also detected a reddish glow characteristic of carbon
compounds which "seemed to move and disappeared after an hour".
Some scientists refused to accept
Kozyrev's findings. However, astronomers at the Lowell
Observatory also saw reddish glows on the crests of ridges in
the Aristarchus region in 1963. Apollo Astronauts Neil
Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin sighted eerie lights
inside a crater near the point on the moon where their lunar lander
was due to touch down in July, 1969.
On their first sweep around the moon, Armstrong described a
mysterious bright light on the inner wall of the crater Aristarchus,
located north of their flight path.
"It seems to have a slight amount of
fluorescence to it. The area in the crater is quite bright," he
"That area is definitely brighter
than anything else I can see. There doesn't appear to be any
color involved in it. It looks like an eerie sight," confirmed
Something is going on inside the
volcanically dead moon. And whatever it is, it occurs the same way
at the same time. As the moon moves closer to the Earth, seismic
signals from different stations on the lunar surface detect
identical vibrations. Could internal shifting inside the moon always
occur the exact same way? Hardly likely.
New York Times writer Walter
"It is as though the ups and downs
of the stock market repeated themselves precisely for each
period of fluctuation."
The question of identical vibrations
made it hard to understand how this could be a natural phenomenon.
However, something artificially constructed could produce the same
identical seismic result, which could occur over and over. For
example, a broken hull plate could shift exactly the same way each
time the moon passed near the Earth.
There are many indications that the moon may be hollow. The
moon's mean density --- about 3.34 grams per cubic centimeter or
3.34 times as much as an equal volume of water --- is significantly
different from the 5.5 gram density of the Earth's mantle. Studies
of moon rocks indicate that the moon's interior differs from the
Earth's mantle in ways suggesting a very small, or even no core.
As far back as 1962, NASA
scientist Dr. Gordon MacDonald stated,
"If the astronomical data are
reduced, it is found that the data require that the interior of
the moon be less dense than the outer parts. Indeed, it would
seem that the moon is more like a hollow than a homogeneous
Unwilling to believe the moon hollow,
MacDonald believed his data may have been faulty. However, other
studies tended to confirm his findings. M.I.T.'s Dr. Sean C.
"The Lunar Orbiter experiments
vastly improved our knowledge of the moon's gravitational
field... indicating the frightening possibility that the moon
might be hollow."
Why frightening? The significance
was stated by astronomer Carl Sagan way back in his 1966 work
Intelligent Life in the Universe, "A natural satellite cannot
be a hollow object." The most startling evidence that the moon could
be hollow came on November 20, 1969, when the Apollo 12 crew, after
returning to their command ship, sent the lunar module (LM) ascent
stage crashing back onto the moon creating an artificial moonquake.
The LM struck the surface about 40 miles from the Apollo 12 landing
site where ultra-sensitive seismic equipment recorded something both
unexpected and astounding ---- the moon reverberated like a bell for
more than an hour. The vibration wave took almost t eight minutes to
reach a peak, then decreased in intensity.
At a news conference that day, one of the co-directors of the
seismic experiment, Maurice Ewing, told reporters scientists
were at a loss to explain the ringing.
"As for the meaning of it, I'd
rather not make an interpretation right now. But it is as though
someone had struck a bell, say, in the belfry of a church a
single blow and found that the reverberation from it continued
for 30 minutes."
Dr. Frank Press of M.I.T. added,
"...none of us have seen anything
like this on Earth. In all our experience, it is quite an
extraordinary event. That this rather small impact... produced a
signal which lasted 30 minutes is quite beyond the range of our
The phenomenon was repeated when the
Apollo 13's third stage was sent crashing onto the moon by radio
command, striking with the equivalent of 11 tons of TNT. According
to NASA, this time the moon "reacted like a gong".
Although seismic equipment was more than 108 miles from the crash
site, recordings showed reverberations lasted for three hours and
20 minutes and traveled to a depth of 22 to 25 miles.
Subsequent studies of man-made crashes
on the moon yielded similar results. After one impact the moon
reverberated for four hours. This ringing coupled with the density
problem on the moon led some to conclude the moon may have an
unusually light --- or even no --- core. They hoped to record the
impact of a meteor large enough to send shock waves to the moon's
core and back and settle the issue. That opportunity came on May 13,
1972, when a large meteor stuck the moon with the equivalent force
of 200 tons of TNT.
After sending shock waves deep into the interior of the moon,
scientists were baffled to find that none returned,
confirming that there is something unusual about the moon's core.
According to author Wilson, one NASA scientist has admitted
that the U.S. Government has conducted experiments "which were not
publicly announced" to determine if the moon is hollow or contains
Dr. Farouk El Baz was quoted as
"There are many undiscovered caverns
suspected to exist beneath the surface of the moon. Several
experiments have been flown to the moon to see if there actually
were such caverns."
The results of these experiments have
not been made public. It seems apparent that the moon has a tough,
hard outer shell and a light or nonexistent interior. The moon's
shell contains dark minerals such as titanium, used on Earth
in the construction of aircraft and space vehicles. Many people
still recall watching our astronauts on TV as they vainly tried to
drill through the crust of a moon maria. Their specially
designed drills could only penetrate a few inches.
The puzzle of the moon's hard surface was compounded by the
discovery of what appeared to be processed metals. Experts
were surprised to find lunar rocks bearing brass, mica
and amphibole in addition to the near-pure titanium.
They conclude it is the large amount of titanium in the black
mineral illeminite which gives the dark tone to the lunar
seas . Uranium 236 and neptunium 237 --- elements not
previously found in nature --- were discovered in moon rocks,
according to the Argone National Laboratory.
While still trying to explain the presence of these materials,
scientists were further startled to learn of rust-proof iron
particles in a soil sample from the Sea of Crisis. In 1976, the
Associated Press reported that the Soviets had announced the
discovery of iron particles that "do not rust" in samples
brought back by an unmanned moon mission in 1970. Iron which
does not rust is unknown in nature and well beyond present Earth
Undoubtedly the greatest mystery concerning our moon is how it came
to be there in the first place. Prior to the Apollo missions, one
serious theory as to the moon's origin was that it broke off of the
Earth eons ago, although no one could positively locate where on
Earth it originated. This idea was discarded when it was found that
there is little similarity between the composition of our world and
the moon. A more recent theory had the moon created out of space
debris left over from the creation of the Earth. This concept proved
untenable in light of current gravitational theory which indicates
that one large object will accumulate all loose material, leaving
none for the formation of another large body.
It is now generally accepted that the moon originated elsewhere
and entered the Earth's gravitational field at some point in the
distant past. Here theories diverge --- one stating that the moon
was originally a planet which collided with the Earth creating
debris which combined forming the moon while another states the
moon, while wandering through our solar system, was captured and
pulled into orbit by Earth's gravity.
Neither of these theories are especially
compelling because of the lack of evidence that either the Earth or
the moon has been physically disrupted by a past close encounter.
There is no debris in space indicating a past collision and it does
not appear that the Earth and the moon developed during the same
A current encyclopedia stated,
"...there seems to be a record of
lunar magmatic (molten rock) processes in operation long before
any processes that can be deduced directly by terrestrial
As for the "capture" theory, even
scientist Isaac Asimov, so well known for his works of
fiction, has written,
"It's too big to have been captured
by the Earth. The chances of such a capture having been effected
and the moon then having taken up nearly circular orbit around
our Earth are too small to make such an eventuality credible."
Asimov was right to consider the
moon's orbit --- it is not only nearly a perfect circle but
stationary, one side always facing the Earth with only the slightest
variation. As far as we know, it's the only natural satellite
with such an orbit. This circular orbit is especially odd
considering that the moon's center of mass lies more than a mile
closer to the Earth than its geometric center. This fact alone
should produce an unstable, wobbly orbit, much as a ball with its
mass off center will not roll in a straight line. Additionally,
almost all of the other satellites in our solar system orbit in the
plane of their planet's equator.
Not so the moon, whose orbit lies
strangely nearer the Earth's orbit around the sun or inclined to the
Earth's ecliptic by more than five degrees. Add to this the fact
that the moon's bulge --- located on the side facing away from Earth
--- thus negating the idea that it was caused by the Earth's
gravitational pull --- makes for an off-balanced world. It seems
impossible that such an oddity could naturally fall into such a
precise and circular orbit.
It is a fascinating conundrum as
articulated by science writer William Roy Shelton, who wrote,
"It is important to remember that
something had to put the moon at or near its present circular
pattern around the Earth. Just as an Apollo spacecraft circling
the Earth every 90 minutes while 100 miles high has to have a
velocity of roughly 18,000 miles per hour to stay in orbit, so
something had to give the moon the precisely required velocity
for its weight and latitude.... The point --- and it is one
seldom noted in considering the origin of the moon --- is that
it is extremely unlikely that any object would just stumble into
that orbit. 'Something' had to put the moon at its altitude, on
its course and at its speed. The question is: what was that 'something'?"
If the precise and stationary orbit of
the moon is seen as sheer coincidence, is it also coincidence that
the moon is at just the right distance from the Earth to completely
cover the sun during an eclipse? While the diameter of the moon is a
mere 2,160 miles against the sun's gigantic 864,000 miles, it is
nevertheless in just the proper position to blockout all but the
sun's flaming corona when it moves between the sun and the Earth.
"There is no astronomical reason why
the moon and the sun should fit so well. It is the sheerest of
coincidences, and only the Earth among all the planets is
blessed in this fashion."
How does one explain these and many
other moon mysteries? Scientists are a conservative lot who all too
often tend to ignore any data not pertaining to their own particular
area of expertise. They are as lost at explaining our nearest
satellite as they are at explaining tektites --- small glassy
extraterrestrial blobs found only at a few sites on Earth.
For years scientists believed tektites were blown to Earth by
meteorite strikes on the moon. However, this theory was overturned
when the Apollo missions failed to find anything comparable on the
moon. In July, 1970, two Russian scientists offered a bizarre theory
of the origin of the moon --- but one which provided an answer to
all the mysteries. Little notice was taken when Michael Vasin
and Alexander Shcherbakov published an article in the Soviet
journal Sputnik entitled "Is
the Moon the Creation of Alien Intelligence?" After all,
who could take seriously such an outrageous concept?
They advanced the theory that the moon is not a completely natural
world, but a planetoid which was hollowed out eons ago in the far
reaches of space by intelligence beings possessing a
technology far superior to ours. Huge machines were used to melt
rock and form large cavities within the moon, spewing the molten
refuse onto the surface. Protected by a hull-like inner shell plus a
reconstructed outer shell of metallic rocky junk, this gigantic
craft was steered through the cosmos and finally parked in orbit
around the Earth.
Absurd? Perhaps, but it answers the many questions raised by the
moon better than the constantly revised theories of science.