Special thanks to David Paquette for the heads-up on this story.
In preparation for our November unit on space, I told my science students they needed to spend the next four weeks observing the Moon.
They groaned at the news.
Perhaps they will perk up a bit when I show them that the Moon has a 10 mile long spacecraft parked on it.
That's what Michael Salla, guru of "exopolitics," is considering, anyway. His article for Examiner features photographs of the Moon taken in 1968 by the probe Lunar Orbiter III. Resting inside Crater Manilus is where the article asserts that you can see a spacecraft approximately 10 miles in length. To his credit, Salla does point out the very real possibility (in fact I'll go so far as to say probability), that the shape is in fact an optical illusion. Another likely explanation would be a "rock that's just shaped that way" as so many right here at home are, but I digress.
Salla dismisses the illusion theory, claiming that the "contours of the object as it meets the shadow cast by the sun from the crater’s rim, however, appears to rule out such an explanation." He goes on to point out that the images have been studied and discussed at length on "online forums" such as UFO Sightings Daily blogspot. and that users have concluded that the most likely explanation for the photos is that there is an alien presence on the Moon. Well, that cinches it, I guess.
What's more, the alleged spacecraft is not the only oddity to have been photographed on the lunar surface. There is what appears to be (to certain sectors of the online public at-large, anyway) a "60 mile long highway" that shows up in another photo. The "road" is rather straight to be a natural formation and it covers the entire width of the photograph. I'd like to point out that at least a few other unmanned probes went to the Moon before 1968 and that at least a few of them were rovers. Might it not be more plausible that the "road" is really a set of tracks from one of these autonomous devices? Sure, it's not as sexy as the "60 mile road" theory and I know I've just sent a frigid mistral into the collective, throbbing crotches of alien devotees, but it just seems to be the more practical explanation.
I am actually intrigued by the idea of searching for alien artifacts within our own solar system. Perhaps our most conclusive evidence for the reality of alien civilizations will not come from deep space but will be found much nearer to home. There are any number of anomalies on nearby planetary bodies that deserve investigation (like what is with this perfectly spherical rock on Mars?) but I just don't see these Moon photographs as being among them.
That's not as exciting to consider as the idea that Lunar Orbiter III was really sent to study this alien spacecraft ahead of the Apollo landings or that when Apollo 11 did arrive, Armstrong and Aldrin both encountered two enormous alien spacecraft.
Yet I'm going to put a five on it and say the photographs actually depict fairly boring things.
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