Ancient Aliens on the Moon is Mike Bara's bid to cash in personally on the popularity of the History Channel's junk TV series. I'm assuming he doesn't get paid for his interview appearances on that piece of merde (see this blogpost for a list of errors in one show) but I could be wrong. In view of the fact that the book was discounted by Amazon from $19.95 to $11.73 before it was even published, however, I don't think Mike's fortune will be assured by this one. Continuing his astounding record of one factual error per 2 or 3 pages, Mike's gift to readers who understand science & technology is a gem of a book of unintentional comedy.
1. p.1. "As I put it in my previous book The Choice .... Without the Moon's calming influence,the Earth would spin so fast that the winds caused by the centrifugal force would most likely flatten us all like pancakes." [emph. added]
As noted in this blogpost, the addition of the underlined words was a cynical and deceptive attempt to cover his original howler, and makes it no less wrong. Centrifugal force does not create winds—temperature variations and other more subtle geophysical phenomena do.
2. p.1. "The Moon also regulates and agitates the Earth's magnetic field..."
FACT: No it doesn't.
3. p.3. "...as you'll see in the images I'll show you, these structures are there [on the Moon], defiantly upright in a place where they should have been ground to dust eons ago by the Moon's ... meteoric rain.
The repro quality in this book is marginally better than in Dark Mission, and the color signature inserted between pp 136 & 137 is even fairly good. Nevertheless as evidence of a past lunar civilization these images are woefully inadequate. Those from early chapters we've seen before —the "castle," the "shard," the "paperclip" et al. The Chapter 9 images of "the gun emplacement," "the drill," "the crane" etc. are simply laughable.
Now that Mike has published all his images as a Picasa gallery, you're honestly better off just browsing that and saving the money on the actual book.
4. p.4. "[T]he Ancient Aliens ... may have been forced off the Moon, either by some conflict of unimaginable proportions, or by a natural calamity of the same dimensions. Either way, the answers to that question are bound to have created a ton of fear and trepidation inside the halls of NASA and at the highest levels of government.
Mike just loves to imagine fear in other people, doesn't he? The haters are scared of the truth — the truth that only he, Mike Bara, is in possession of. JPL scientists were too scared to admit that Viking found life on Mars. On Paracast Radio in October, he actually said, hilariously, "NASA is desperately afraid of people like me." Yeah right, Mike. This is bunk, just pure bunk. When does he think this episode of fear and trepidation occurred? Obviously within the last 54 years, since NASA didn't exist prior to that. Doesn't he think NASA Public Affairs would have put out a teensy-weensy press release after discovering that a race of aliens had been forced to leave the Moon? How would they have discovered it, anyway?
5. p.5. "...nobody really knows much about [the Moon].
FACT: Hundreds of books, and thousands of scientific papers, have been written about the Moon since the Apollo results.
6. p.5. "...according to rogue geologist Jim Berkland, the Moon may play a significant role in the frequency of earthquakes"
Well, he did say "may." But Stuart Robbins, in his exposing pseudoastronomy blog, wrote very recently that Berkland's reputation is based on a single lucky hit, and that in general his predictions are worthless. No lunar influence on earthquake frequency has in fact been demonstrated. See Robbins' careful statistical analysis.
7. p.12. "The co-accretion theory [of the Moon's formation] arose from the accretion theory of planetary formation (which I thoroughly dismantled in my last book, The Choice)."
Oh no you didn't, Mike. You did no such thing. In fact, your attempt to "dismantle" it led you into the most crashing, howling error in the entire train-wreck of a book. The one where you wrote that if the orbits of both Earth and Mars were perfectly circular, they would remain at the same distance from each other. OUCH!!!
8. p. 25. Recycled Dark Mission material. Bara here reiterates the falsehood that NASA is not really a civilian agency. He quotes the Space Act, Sec 305 (i), accurately:
"The Administration shall be considered a defense agency of the United States for the purpose of Chapter 17, Title 35 of the United States Code."
Bara sees those words for the purpose of Chapter 17, Title 35 of the United States Code, and yet somehow he doesn't see them. If he did see them he'd perhaps take the trouble to discover what they mean. Title 35 is exclusively concerned with patent law. Chapter 17 is headed SECRECY OF CERTAIN INVENTIONS AND FILING APPLICATIONS IN FOREIGN COUNTRY [sic], and its second paragraph reads as follows:
Whenever the publication or disclosure of an invention by the publication of an application or by the granting of a patent, ... might, in the opinion of the Commissioner of Patents, be detrimental to the national security, he shall make the application for patent in which such invention is disclosed available for inspection to the Atomic Energy Commission, the Secretary of Defense, and the chief officer of any other department or agency of the Government designated by the President as a defense agency of the United States.(emphasis added)
I'm sure my regular readers will get the point. But in case Mike Bara himself, or his manager Adrienne Loska, read this review, let me flog the dead horse by explaining that this paragraph simply brings NASA into line with other governmental agencies on the means of dealing with patent applications relating to classified material. Yes, Mike, it means that some aspects of NASA's work are secret. Everyone except you and Hoagland already knew that. IT DOES NOT MEAN that NASA is under the thumb of, still less an actual adjunct of, DoD.
9. pp. 24-29. Recycled Dark Mission material. Bara gives us his version of what the Brookings Report of 1961 meant. At first it looks as though his position is a little mollified from the Dark Mission passage, for he writes
"it quickly becomes apparent that the underlying purpose of the Brookings Report was to provide legal and political cover for NASA..."
So is it now his theory that NASA had already decided that it would suppress knowledge of an extraterrestrial intelligence, and Brookings merely "provided cover" for a policy that was already in place? Alas no, for a page or two later he recycles word for word the utterly incorrect passage from Dark Mission:
"So here we had the proverbial smoking gun. Not only was NASA advised--almost from its inception--to withhold any data that supported the reality of Cydonia or any other discovery like it, they were told to do so for the good of human society as a whole."My point by point critique of Dark Mission (error #14) explained how wrong that is.
10. p.30. Writing of early attempts to send spacecraft to the Moon, Bara notes that the Soviet probe Luna 1 (1959) missed the Moon by 3,725 miles. He writes "that is simply not possible if Newtonian mechanics is correct."
FACT: It certainly is, especially if, as in this case, a mission management error caused a completely erroneous burn time to be commanded. As we know, Mike Bara's ignorance of rocketry and orbital mechanics is as vast as the Cosmos itself. By the way, 3,725 miles is 1.5% of the distance traveled.
11 p.42. "NASA's photographic exploration of [Sinus Medii] must have quickly scared them off..."
Again, the fantasy that NASA is "scared." I've had the privilege of being acquainted with many NASA engineers, scientists, astronauts and managers, and not one of them has struck me as the type to be scared by the results of a reconnaissance for landing sites. Note that Sinus Medii is the site of several of Richard Hoagland's fanciful "alien structures," including the terrain he has called Los Angeles, the paperclip (one of Hoagland's beard hairs caught in his scanner?), the castle, and the ridiculous glass skyscrapers I debunked a week or so ago.
In the present work Bara notes, as Hoagland has in the past, that the "Castle" — a mile-high structure which is actually a photographic fault — is held up by "a sagging support cable". Neither Hoagland nor Bara have ever said what the top ends of this cable are attached to.
11a p.51-2. "Glass on Earth is well known to have little tensile strength, meaning it doesn't stretch easily (because it is brittle) and will not withstand even a very weak impact from a hard object (shear). ... The reason for these properties on Earth is that it is pretty much impossible to extract the water from glass as it is forming.... Water is all around us, even in the most arid deserts. ... But the Moon is a completely different story. It is airless, with no humidity to interfere with the molecular bonding of the silicates that make-up the glass that is omnipresent. The hard-cold vacuum enhances the strength of lunar glass to the point that it is approximately twice as strong as steel under the same stress conditions."
FACT: This page cites a paper by Rowley and Neudecker, but it's the wrong citation. The real citation -- J.D. Blacic -- does not support the text here. It quotes the Young's modulus of lunar glass as 100 GPa, cf. steel 224 GPa.
12. p.70. In this chapter Bara introduces us again to Ken Johnston, and what his personal collection of photo prints revealed. He writes that Ken dealt with "...first-generation photographic negatives and prints." That is not the case. The main photo archive was not in the Lunar Receiving Laboratory, where Ken worked, but in a completely different building.
This blog has previously commented on:
p.73. The impossibility of airbrushing film negatives
p.75. The blue flares on six shots from Apollo 14 Mag #66 (written as a briefing for Mike, which he obviously didn't read. I'm casting my pearls before swine, obviously)
p.89. The "inclined buttresses" shown in some of Al Bean's paintings of the lunar landscape (see error #17)
13. p.90. Writing of the tense situation during the Apollo 11 landing, Bara writes of "..the 1202 alarm that no one could figure out."
FACT: The whole point is that somebody DID figure it out, and very bravely declared that it could safely be ignored. The 1202 was an executive overload alarm from the tiny LM computer, and it was a young GUIDO called Steve Bales who took the responsibility to give it the OK (although Bales himself also credits computer whiz Jack Garman.) Bales was quite correct, and was commended by President Nixon as a result.
14. pp.108-113. This is the chapter in which Bara tells us, very unconvincingly, that there are satellite dishes in the craters Asada and Proclus. He shows us images from Apollo 16, but obviously didn't take the trouble to consult the far better imagery of these craters now available in the LROC image library. There are no satellite dishes in those craters. See for yourselves. Asada is notably dish-shaped, Proclus is not even that.
Asada is at 7.3°N, 49.9°E
Proclus is at 16.1°N, 46.8°E
15. p.125. This is also the chapter in which Mike Bara writes this about images of Earth from space:
"the clouds are the highest in the atmosphere, meaning that they are reflecting more light back to the camera and at a faster rate. Since they are returning more light, the clouds are the lightest. The surface areas ... are darker, because they are a bit further away from the camera than the clouds and therefore the light has to travel further before it is reflected back. The deep blue oceans are therefore the darkest, because the light has to travel all the way to the ocean floor before it is reflected back to the camera."
This paragraph has been cited by more than one negative Amazon reviewer, as a clear indication of how tragically far Mike Bara falls short of the minimum comprehension of the physical world to be credible as an author on such topics. It's frighteningly inaccurate, as Neville Parchemin has pointed out on this blog.
In this chapter, Bara takes us through several of the theories advanced by Moon hoax loonies, and does a pretty good job of debunking them. I can't help wondering, however, if he somehow forgot to credit that excellent web site Moon Base Clavius for most, if not all, of his text.
16. p.128. Recycled Dark Mission material: "Almost from the moment that Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin set foot upon the Moon ... rumors began circulating that the whole thing was faked. I have always felt that there was something a little more to this than simple stupidity or naïveté, something a bit insidious about the whole thing. That was more than confirmed in the Forward [sic] to Dark Mission, when Richard related his memories of being handed a pamphlet claiming the landings were faked even before Neil and Buzz had splashed down ... What made that moment so extraordinary was not that someone had made up a pamphlet making such a claim, it was that the person who authored it was being escorted around the NASA press room by a NASA press officer to make sure every reporter got one."
FACT: This is Hoagland's oft-repeated story of "Greatcoat Man" being led around the press room at JPL, where Hoagland was part of a CBS team reporting, not Apollo, which JPL had almost nothing to do with, but the approach to Mars by Mariner 6 & 7. The fatal flaw in Hoagland's theory that NASA itself started the hoax rumors is this: If they had wanted to seed this thought in the minds of the specialist press, surely they would have addressed that to the press in Houston, where Apollo 11 was being managed, rather than Pasadena where it was not. Of course, I have no idea who "Greatcoat Man" was (neither have Hoagland & Bara,) but the possibility occurs to me that this person asked if he might distribute his pamphlet, and Frank Bristow (then chief PAO at JPL) was with him to make sure he didn't start lecturing or haranguing members of the press corps. Friar Occam would prefer that explanation, I believe.
This chapter is all about the Apollo 17 mission, and its fanciful interpretation as the clandestine exploration of a seekrit tunnel, and the collection of the technical artifacts of the dead lunar civilisation that exists in the minds of Hoagland & Bara. Bara refers to the South Massif as "an ancient alien base in the Taurus-Littrow valley." This blog commented back in June this year, when this horrible book was first announced.
The material draws heavily on the six-part www series A Hidden Mission for Apollo 17? by Keith Laney. Mike Bara credits Laney more than once in his text, but that has apparently not appeased Laney himself, who has recently written:
"...if he's going to expound on my musings he really ought to consult with me first, or at least use the same "we don't know but it looks like we did" attitude I took when investigating this. Would also be nice for once if one of these guys that use my stuff to make money would cut me a check as well. that's the part that pisses me off the most. I do what I do not for cash, but for the sheer wonder, if someone takes it and makes money it's only right to share. So far I've got not so much as an email..."
17. p.154. "The first thing that's notable about the Apollo 17 Mission is the very dangerous look of the landing site itself. Positioned at 19.5° N by 33° E, the target landing ellipse....etc."
FACT: The nominal landing site was at 30° 44' 58.3" E, 20° 09' 50.5" N. This is per the official press kit (p.33) -- a more reliable source than anything Hoagland & Bara have ever written. Those scoundrels think nothing of bald-faced lies when it comes to introducing those "magic" numbers 19.5 and 33. They did it notably for the landing site of Mars Pathfinder, now known officially as Carl Sagan Station. In that case they said the co-ordinates were 19.5°N by 33°W—in fact they are 19.13°N, 33.22°W. If Mike reads this he'll probably be saying to himself "page 33, hmmm....see? It works."
18. p.175. Bara likes this image, AS17-135-20680, run off as Cernan & Schmitt arrived at station 2. Is it a pyramid on the Moon? No, it isn't. It's one of a sequence of five junk shots showing parts of the LRV (see the Apollo 17 Image Library, Mag #135).
19. p.180. Writing of the infamous "Data's Head" rock in the crater Shorty, which this blog has written about at length, Bara here writes "The red stripe is plainly visible even without enhancement on several photos Schmitt took of the interior of Shorty."
FACT: It is not. See the far better quality image this blog obtained for analysis. And by the way -- small point -- it was Gene Cernan who shot the photo-panorama.
Skipped -- just more silliness about a "factory in Hortensius" -- again, with no attempt to validate against the LROC library.
p.204. "Wow. Just wow! AS11-38-5564 [is] covered with machinery, structures, buildings, artifacts and Ancient Alien ruins of all types."
Almost the entire chapter concerns that one Apollo 11 shot of the far side of the Moon, and what Mike Bara thinks he sees. Here it is for your delectation. It's a pretty wide angle shot, at a fairly low sun angle, so it's not too surprising that shadows form in all sorts of random shapes. To Mike Bara, however, they aren't random.
20. pp. 199-202, 211-222. He sees a ziggurat. See this blog passim. But Stuart Robbins has done a better job than I could have done on the ziggy. Here's his summary page and "Final Words."
21. p.203. He sees a crane. This is bad.
22. p.205. He sees a spaceship. Really, really bad. Why would it be aerodynamic?
23. p.207. He sees a gun emplacement. Terrible!
24. p.208. He sees a jack. Awful!!
25. p.208. He sees a flying saucer in a hangar. Childish!
26. p.209. He sees a beach house. Not like any beach house I've ever seen.
27. p.209. He sees a human head. Can you see it?
28. p.210. He sees a drill. Laughable!!
On his blog, Mike Bara spent some time telling us that pareidolia doesn't exist.
"The word was actually first coined by a douchebag debunker ... named Steven Goldstein in a 1994 issue of Skeptical Inquirer. Since then, every major debunker from Oberg to “Dr. Phil” has fallen back on it, but it is still a load of B.S. There is no such thing. "It doesn't matter what you call it, Mike, the phenomenon of finding familiar things in random patterns is absolutely real, and this chapter is as fine an illustration of it as can be imagined. It really is pathetic that Bara didn't take the obvious step that any serious researcher would, and check the LROC images to see what these smeared shadows really are. The fact that he didn't further invalidates this wretched, wretched book.
29. p.213. "Stuart Robbins has a long history of false and utterly silly accusations against me and Mr. Hoagland, and frequently teams up with someone calling himself "Expat" to attack us within hours of anything we post. "Expat" in fact has made a habit of stalking my radio appearances to ask me in-depth questions along the lines of "are you still beating your wife?""