Musings On The Moon
by Jim Marrs, published Bibliotecapleyades
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 created.
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 declared,
“…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 breath-stopping.
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 reported.
“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 Aldrin.
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 Sullivan wrote,
“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 sphere.”
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. Solomon wrote,
“The Lunar Orbiter experiments vastly improved our knowledge of the moon’s gravitational field… indicating the frightening possibility that the moon might be hollow.”
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 experience.”
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 large cavities.
Dr. Farouk El Baz was quoted as saying,
“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 technology.
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 time period.
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 geological studies.”
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.