By Richard C. Hoagland
The standard cliche regarding evidence is the so-called "smoking gun"; that one crucial piece which, by itself, clearly "proves the case."
Well, in terms of NASA -- and what they've been hiding on the Moon for over 40 years -- we finally seem to have that piece--
Our long-awaited Smoking Gun.
To understand the true dimensions of this startling and very recent development, we have to begin "at the beginning"; we have to start with the launch of NASA's first unmanned return mission to the Moon in over ten years ....
* * *
On June 18, 2009, NASA launched this new "double mission" -- a SUV-sized spacecraft called "Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter" (LRO), designed to map the entire lunar surface in unprecedented detail over the next five years (and, several times); and, a "piggy-back" spacecraft, called the "Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite" (LCROSS), designed to direct the spent upper stage of the Atlas 5 LRO launch vehicle (the "Centaur" second stage) into a carefully targeted impact with the lunar surface on October 9, 2009.
According to NASA's official statement on the purpose of the LCROSS mission, this "high-energy impact experiment" would target a polar lunar crater which is ALWAYS in total darkness. There, the NASA scientists project, over "billions of years since the Moon was formed" water (from eons of cometary impacts ...) may have collected on the sunless bottom of the target crater ... and been preserved as ice.
The LCROSS/Centaur impact was designed, therefore, to create a "kinetic explosion" (equivalent to about a ton of TNT) from the sheer velocity of the upper stage ramming into the Moon at almost 2 miles per second (!) -- which immediately would throw up a huge plume of lunar dust, shattered rock ... and hopefully ... some of that ice--
Which the LCROSS satellite itself, flying along behind the Centaur at this point in the mission, would be able to observe and measure (below) ... before, 4 minutes later, slamming into the Moon at ~2 miles per second itself.
Our "smoking gun" -- long before this planned October, 2009 impact -- comes from the LCROSS side of this unique dual mission.
* * *
Some five days after the June 18th launch, after a cruise of some 240,000 miles, both NASA spacecraft succesfully reached the Moon; the LRO firing its on-board thrusters and going into an initial "capture orbit," prior to several additional thruster firings which would establish its final "mapping orbit" in the coming weeks.
A few hours later, LCROSS (with its Centaur still attached) made its own dramatic "initial swing-by" under the Moon's south pole, setting up a repeating ~38-day orbit (below), in preparation for its final plunge directly into the Moon's south polar regions in the early hours of October 9th.
Here's a wider shot of this LCROSS celestial orbital geometry ....
And here (below) is what the geometry about an hour after this "initial lunar swing-by" would have looked like -- if you had been riding along with LCROSS/Centaur spacecraft during the initial Moon encounter, in the wee hours of June 23rd.
The various circles, lines and rectangles depict the "fields of view" of the on-board LCROSS scientific instruments -- visible light and IR cameras, spectrometers, etc. -- which were being carefully calibrated during this initial pass, by taking data on the actual Moon's optical characteristics ... all in preparation for their critical role in acquiring real-time scientific data on the actual Centaur impact, in October.
The idea was to measure the generated plume of ejected impact material with a variety of sensors, in hopes of detecting not only water ... but perhaps preserved hydrocarbons as well; more on that a bit later .....
Some planetary scientists calculated that the ejected material could reach a height of over 10 miles above the lunar surface, thus bringing the preserved ice well into direct sunlight for the first time in literally billions of years ... where it would begin to vaporize ... thus, revealing its (hopefully, complex) icy composition to LCROSS' various on-board detectors.
And here (below) is a mosaic of visible light LCROSS images taken that June 23rd night, showing some of the lunar surface targets imaged and scanned during this "instrument calibration hour," right after "closest approach."
But, this is NOT the "smoking gun" image from LCROSS that morning--
This is (below).
This is an infrared image of the Moon, taken by one of the two "mid-IR" LCROSS cameras during the initial swing-by. This is exactly as this IR image initially appeared on the official NASA LCROSS website, in the early hours of June 23rd.
Study it carefully--
For it contains essential clues to, not only a tumultuous "inside NASA" revolt apparently now on-going within the LCROSS mission itself ... but, extraordinary visual evidence confirming the existence of our Enterprise model of "a set of ancient lunar domes" ....
Behold, our "smoking gun."
* * *
OK, now that you've had a chance to examine the "raw" image on your own, here (below) is what's really going on.
We'll explain the details -- both the technical details and the fascinating political intrigue which produced this image ... and then a poorly-attempted cover-up -- in Part II.
Stay tuned ....