Thursday, August 23, 2012


Part #1 - Introduction

OK, so as I expected, within hours of posting my response to Stuart Robbins’ claims that the Daedalus Ziggurat image was fabricated by either me or Richard C. Hoagland, Robbins responded.  As usual, he made a lot of assertions, many of which are false, most of which are misleading, and some of which are just plain deceptive. As I skimmed his detailed collection of claims and statements, some of them backed by actual math, I debated not responding at all. But then I noticed at the bottom, where he made it a special point of emphasis to say that he was “Dr. Robbins” not “Mr. Robbins,” and I got curious as to who he really was. See, because of his association with an obsessive nutcase who has stalked me and Richard for 4 years and calls himself expat, I assumed that, like expat, he was just another member of the church of people that are frightened by the truth. But then I got curious as to what his doctorate might be in (I was thinking maybe forestry) so I started to look at his personal information. I was not surprised to find that he had no pictures of himself posted anywhere on his personal sites, but then by chance I found one elsewhere on the web:

That was a relief. At least now I knew now who I was grappling with. Then I began to look at his resume’ and all of the proud accomplishments he listed (besides winning the 2007 Boulder Comicon costume contest for dressing as Princess Leia in her Jabba the Hut slave girl outfit). And then I noticed something; -- his education was funded by NASA. According to his own website, he got a grant from NASA for his post-doctoral work. He also continues to get funding from NASA for his other research projects, most of which include studying craters. After I posted on Twitter about it;

Stuart responded on his blog on August 8th, 2012, admitting that this is accurate, but downplaying it of course.

“I make a meager living like most scientists and, like most astronomers, a fair amount of my salary does come from NASA-awarded grants, but I literally have less connection with NASA than a custodian who sweeps the floors of JPL.”

Yeah no connection at all, except for the part where they pay you… You can no more be a “little bit” on the take from NASA than you can be the proverbial “a little bit pregnant,” Stuart.

Now to be clear, I’m not implying that he is taking money directly from NASA (“hush money,” he called it) to post attacks against Richard and I on his blog. Although, to use his phrase, “I wouldn’t put it past him.” But being financially dependent on the very institution that Mr. Hoagland and I have challenged and exposed on a regular basis for more than a decade and a half for his rent, food and car payments by definition creates a pernicious bias that cannot be overcome. It is an inherent conflict of interest, and it permeates everything he does and writes about us. How can it not?

This changed everything for me. He wasn’t attacking me and accusing Hoagland and I of fraud because he was just a psycho, like expat, he was doing it because he was a paid shill for NASA. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if he was able to respond so quickly and extensively to my posts because he was writing on his personal blog using taxpayer or university funded equipment and internet access while he was supposed to be working!

(Note: 8/16/2012; this suspicion was confirmed when Dr. Robbins posted his latest update today at 3:45PM, the middle of the work day. It obviously must have taken him at least a couple of hours to write this up. I’m wondering which government funded project you charged these hours of work on your personal blog to, Stuart)?

As my dad used to say, “It’s good work if you can get it” Sheldo… er Stuart…

At any rate, now that I knew he was being paid by NASA to attack me and Mr. Hoagland, I calmed down a bit. After all, like James Oberg and “Dr. Phil” Plait before him, NASA has constantly trotted out one paid shill after another to distort our claims, spread disinformation about us and generally charge us with one nefarious deed or another. It’s old hat, and the fact that they are on the NASA payroll completely discredits the shop-worn “I’m just an independent skeptic defending the people against pseudoscience” line.

That of course doesn’t stop Sheldon from using it.

Dr. Stuart Robbins – Paid Shill for NASA

Sorry, I mean Stuart.

The fact is, no one who is taking money from NASA, and therefore financially dependent on NASA, has any kind of credibility as a “skeptic.”  A true skeptic is someone who reserves judgment and questions established orthodoxies, paradigms and dogmas. I for instance, was initially skeptical of the Daedalus Ziggurat image, but inclined to lean toward its authenticity because of a variety of reasons I’ve already stated and will cover in this new post. I am also skeptical of NASA’s honesty and the integrity of the data they present, due to years of catching them fabricating data and painting over things they don’t want the public to see on images from all over the solar system.  I also am fully convinced that the official NASA version of Apollo photo AS11-38-5564 has been deliberately altered by NASA to obscure not only the Ziggurat, but a s***- load of other artifacts all over that image. I will provide further proof of that later in this posting. But Stuart, like Oberg, Plait, Sagan and a whole gaggle of others before him, is not a “skeptic.” He is a professional, paid debunker.  He is not interested in the truth, and he will never admit to anything that would cast NASA in a bad light. If he did, it would be career suicide.

So let’s keep the issue of his credibility as an independent voice out of this. He’s on the take, plain and simple. He can no more do a fair and independent analysis of this or any other claim made by me or Mr. Hoagland than Sheldon can sit on a different spot on the couch other than “his” spot. It’s just not in his DNA.

Separated at birth?

Or his wallet.

So now the point was, why respond at all? I was leaning against doing so, and several close friends (including Richard Hoagland) urged me to put my energies elsewhere. Plus, I have a book to finish off for David Hatcher Childress, a promotional tour to organize, and a Hollywood producer wants me to convert a screenplay I wrote into a graphic novel. All cool projects that interest me. Plus, I promised in my last post that I would pillory Stuart (paid shill for NASA) no further, and I hate going back on my promise.

But then, a bunch of weirdo’s and Cylon-like followers of Stuart’s (paid shill for NASA) started coming on to my Facebook page and attacking me in the most personal and vicious manner. Many of them were fake Facebook profiles, created just so they could come in and post nasty stuff about me.  They also personally attacked my brother and sent harassing messages about me to several of my more comely female Facebook friends. So I got pissed off.

Now, I know this is what “they” want. The Oberg’s and Stuart’s (paid shill for NASA) of the world want me to waste my time defending against their constant attacks, and no matter how I respond or how many times I prove their claims false, tomorrow there will just be 10 more charges/accusations/distortions they will challenge me to defend.  So it’s a never ending cycle of “are you still beating your wife?” type questions. Accordingly, this really will be the last time I respond to Mr. Robbins (paid shill for NASA) on this set of issues. I have better things to do.

So let’s do this…

(Quick note: to save time on the rest of this document, “Stuart (paid shill for NASA)” will now be abbreviated to “Stuart (PS4NASA).”

In his introduction, Stuart (PS4NASA) starts by saying that despite all our differences, he’s not a Hater (which is more than I can say for the creeps who follow his blog)…

“I also want to, very briefly, up-front address Mike’s claim (again) that I “hate” him with the evidence being my analysis of these claims. I addressed this idea at length before, and I recommend you read this blog post on it. That said, Mike, I do not hate you.”

Well, that’s nice to know, Stuart (PS4NASA), because based on this statement …

“So again, I am not saying that it was Richard nor Bara who “enhanced” the image originally, but I would not put it past either of them.”

… And this declaration…

“Hoagland is either a liar (he did not spend days analyzing this, he just went with it), or he is completely incompetent (that he spent days analyzing this and thinks it’s real).”

… And calling me “Hoagland’s little buddy…” and implying I’m “paranoid” and calling me several other unflattering names…

-- I wasn’t really feeling the love. In fact, I was kind of thinking you really didn’t like me or the people I work with. And then the fact you had expat, a psychopathic cyber-stalker, on your podcast to go after me kinda reinforced that impression.

Glad to know that was all a misunderstanding, and you never meant to imply that Hoagland or I might have fabricated the original Ziggurat image.

Of course, if you really felt that way you never would have put it in print in the first place, would you?

Stuart (PS4NASA) then goes on to express his deep concern for my emotional well-being:

“When you say that I attack you (which I don’t – I address your claims), it (a) makes you sound like you have a persecution complex, (b) makes you sound a tad paranoid and are in a black and white “us versus them” world, and (c) makes it easier for you to attack me rather than to address my analysis of your claims.”

I didn’t realize that you also had a doctorate in psychology Stuart (PS4NASA), but thanks for the concern. I can also honestly say at this point I don’t hate you either. But the people you surround yourself with are a bunch of vicious, nasty, psychopathic creeps with serious anger management issues.

As for Oberg… well I’m sorry to say I can’t be as generous. I hate his guts.

Oh yeah, and “Dr. Phil” too…

Now, let’s address Stuart’s (PS4NASA) main points.

From Stuart’s (PS4NASA) blog post:

“As promised, Mike Bara has posted a rebuttal to my analysis of the lunar ziggurat. To recap from earlier, I noted these three points of what Mike must explain before I would revise my conclusion:”

Well OK first off, I couldn’t care less about what you (PS4NASA) want me to “explain” before you revise your conclusion. I already know what your conclusion is going to be, regardless of anything I might or might not explain to you. You are a professional debunker, plain and simple. You are only pretending to be open to “revising” your conclusion. Plus, I have no intention of addressing everything you posted, because you post so much it would take me weeks, and as I said I have better things to do, so we’ll just hit the highlights. That said, Stuart (PS4NASA) then starts his rebuttal with his 3 questions. These 3 questions are the main pillars of his conclusion that the Ziggurat is a fraud. As I will show, all three of them are based on bad data, false claims and incorrect reasoning.

We will go over them one-by-one in the next 3 posts. For dramatic purposes, challenges #1 and #3 will be addressed first, and challenge #2 will be address in the final, epic post. So Alice… to the Moon!



Part #2 – Noise and Image Enhancement


The first of Stuart’s (PS4NASA) 3 pillars of support for his claim that the Daedalus Ziggurat is a hoax is the presence of what he claims is "noise" in the original image, as1120pyramid20smallue2.jpg. Or, as Stuart (PS4NASA) puts it:

“1. Why there is less noise in the NASA original but more noise in Mike’s, and why is there more contrast (more pure black and more saturated highlights) in Mike’s? Both of these pretty much always indicate that the one with more noise and more contrast is a later generation … you can’t just Photoshop in more detail like that.”

Response: To start with, I have no idea why there differences in the original, which I have repeatedly pointed out is not “mine,” although I have several thoughts on it which I will cover in these posts.  I assume that as1120pyramid20smallue2.jpg is different from the NASA image because somebody scanned it, enhanced it, and then reduced it for uploading to the web, but I really don’t know. Further, I do not agree that there are “more pure black and more saturated highlights” in as1120pyramid20smallue2.jpg. Quite obviously, there is far more pure black in the NASA version because of all the paint brushing they did. Contrast in the NASA image”5564.jpg” will be addressed in the final posting. As to the 2nd part about your claims being an indication that as1120pyramid20smallue2.jpg is a “later generation,” than “5564.jpg,” you have no proof of that. It’s just your opinion. And we both know what opinions are like, don’t we Stuart (PS4NASA)?

As for the statement “…you can’t just Photoshop in more detail like that.” I’m not really positive, but I think he’s saying that because the NASA fake image has “more detail” in it, that means it must be older or “better” than the Ziggurat image because you can’t use Photoshop to add in detail. Therefore by his (incorrect) deduction, the Ziggurat image must have been made from the NASA image “5564.jpg.” Once again, this is simply his opinion, and I don’t share it. However, NASA has tons of specialized software and high end computing resources that could easily do many of the things he claims Photoshop can’t do. He even admits to using many of these tools on his blog.

I guess he thinks this is important to his argument because he’s trying to prove that the Ziggurat image was somehow conjured up from the image currently on the NASA website. And of course he previously implied that either Hoagy or I had done this. But his argument really proves no such thing, even if he was right. All it proves is that one image has more “noise” in it, which by itself is proof of nothing.

Which brings us to “noise,” and image enlargement and reduction. 

In his post, Stuart (PS4NASA) claims, as others also have, that reducing an image as Stuart (PS4NASA) did when he shrank the Ziggurat image by 15% “reduces noise” and thereby makes the image somehow “better.” After all, if it doesn’t make the image “better,” why would you do it?

But once again this is simply wrong. Reducing an image doesn’t make it better in any way, shape or form. All it does is reduce the amount of information in that digital image.

Here’s the full size image of the Ziggurat that I sent to Richard. As you can see, the pixel dimensions are 2.53 megabytes, and the size of the uncompressed Tiff file on my hard drive is exactly the same. The Jpeg version is about 200K.
Now let’s take this image of the Ziggurat and reduce it as Stuart (PS4NASA) did.

I took the same image and reduced it to 10% to make a point, then zoomed up on it for this image. I’m sure any “normal” person (Stuart’s [PS4NASA] word he used when talking about me) would agree that it’s worse, not better, than the original. This is because reducing a digital image doesn’t just reduce noise, it reduces all information across the board in an image, noise included, and makes it more pixelated and less accurate. In short, it reduces the signal AND the noise.

Which is of course, is why he did it in the first place.

In addition, there is also a nifty tool in Photoshop called “Reduce Noise” that does a perfectly excellent job of reducing noise in an image. Here’s a version of the Ziggurat that I used the filter on. It’s a bit blurry, but you can still see all the major features and it’s not reduced to the size of a postage stamp in the process:

Obviously, this version is much better than the Stuart (PS4NASA )reduced version. So why any “normal” person would reduce an image to make it “better” is beyond me. It can only make it worse, and make fine detail harder to see. Maybe Stuart (PS4NASA) just hasn’t noticed that tool in Photoshop in his 20-plus years of experience working with the program.

Yeah, that’s probably it.

Then, Stuart (PS4NASA) tries to justify his actions in his latest blog post, and along the way admits that what I just demonstrated is true:

“Yes, it will reduce some detail. That is true.”

Thanks Stuart (PS4NASA), I knew that already. He then of course goes on to argue that it doesn’t really count:

“But at 85.28%, it will not change the detail enough to say “oh look, there’s a pyramid there” versus “what happened to the pyramid?!” and it WILL REDUCE the noise by roughly 8ish%.”

Ok Stuart (PS4NASA), if that’s true, then why do it AT ALL? As I just showed you, you can get much better noise reduction with far more precise control by using the “Reduce Noise…” filter in Photoshop. Again, the only reason a “normal” person would reduce an image is to reduce the amount of detailed information in the image. Further, his claim that such an action would not reduce the detail enough to make a difference... I guess we just disagree on that. I’m looking at very fine details in the Ziggurat image and I don’t want to destroy any of them by reducing it.

Stuart (PS4NASA) then goes on to claim that that my statement that interpolating an image will improve it is “factually and demonstrably false.”

“But I’m sorry, Mike, your statement that upsampling (interpolating) makes an image better is factually and demonstrably false. You cannot get more information than was there originally.”

This is  standard shtik from the "debunkers 101" debating manual. I never said that interpolating a digital image can “get more information than was there originally.” What I said was; “This upsampling process would have the effect of actually making the NASA image better, rather than making the original enhancement worse.”

Again, this is a standard professional debunkers technique of making me defend/rebut statements I never made. But nonetheless, let’s examine it more closely using a classic example; our old friend, the Face on Mars.

Here is the original image of the Face on Mars from NASA frame 35A72 that caused so much excitement back in 1976. As you can see, it is full of genuine “salt and pepper” noise and is very contrasty. A few years later a number of imaging specialists, including Dr. Mark Carlotto, took a shot at enhancing that image and several others. The results were rather striking.

“Raw” 35A72 data enhanced by Dr. Mark Carlotto

As you can see, Dr. Carlotto (who got his Ph.D. while your mom was still wiping your nose for you, Stuart [PS4NASA]) was able to do a lot with primitive computers using his own enhancement algorithms long before anyone had ever heard of anything called “Photoshop.” The really interesting thing though is that he got most all of the noise out without reducing the image by even one pixel. But let’s test Stuart’s (PS4NASA) argument on this data anyway.

Actual size

Taking the Face itself and clipping it out of the above data (and rotating it) we can see that it looks much better than the raw, unprocessed version released by NASA in 1976. But if we zoom up on it at the native resolution, we see that it is choppy, pixelated and very course, and lacking in fine detail. This is called “pixel replication,” and is an entirely different process than interpolation.

Better than the original at least

Now let’s follow Stuart (PS4NASA)’s method of “enhancing” a digital image and reduce it to make it look “better.”


Oops. Well that didn’t work so well for us did it Stuart (PS4NASA)? I think most “normal” people would agree that using your method of “enhancement” made the image worse. A lot worse.

So let’s do something different. Let’s use the method that I recommended and that Dr. Carlotto was one of the true innovators of; let’s enlarge it through interpolation.

Interpolated version of 35A72 by Dr. Mark Carlotto

Well gee, look at that. Again, any “normal” person can tell that this is much better than the reduced version. More fine detail, less noise, better overall image. That’s what interpolation does.


In fact, a few years later, Dr. Carlotto was able to improve on the interpolation process and produced even better results showing more fine detail including the “teeth” in the mouth, nostrils in the nose, striping on the headdress, an eyeball in the west eye socket and the so-called “teardrop” just below it. All of these features were later verified by higher resolution images of the Face.

Interpolated images of the Face on Mars by Dr. Mark Carlotto from NASA frames 35A72 (L) and 70A13 (R)

So, does any “normal” person out there really think that you can get this kind of detail from reducing the image, rather than interpolating it? I hope not. Interpolation has been a standard technique for enhancing digital images of this type for decades.

And they are still using it today. Here’s an image taken from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter’s HiRise camera of the Curiosity rover descending over the Martian sands on its way to a landing in Gale crater. As most “normal” people can see, it is small and rather contrasty, much like the original image of the Face on Mars.

But a few days later, NASA released this new close-up full size image of the rover and its parachute. Only this one was upsampled (interpolated), contrast enhanced and worked over with specialized filters to remove the noise and sharpen the image.

And a few days later, private enthusiasts did an even better job by interpolating it even more.  At this point, I’ll leave it to the “normal” people reading this to deduce which image is better, the upsampled/interpolated image or the orginal postage-stamp version.

So the bottom line is this: Stuart (PS4NASA) didn’t reduce the image of the Ziggurat to improve it, he reduced it to make it worse, because that’s what data reduction does. Still, Stuart (PS4NASA) is correct that interpolation doesn’t “add” information to an image. But I never said it did. What interpolation does is enhance the information that is already there, to make an image better.

That’s why they call it “image enhancement,” Stuart (PS4NASA), and not “image degradation,” which is what your technique did.

Before I move on, I want to say one more very important thing about the “noise” that Stuart (PS4NASA) is so obsessed about. He seems to have seized on this as some sort of proof that the original Ziggurat image has been tampered with. Not only do I dispute this line of reasoning in its entirety -- as I have made clear in my previous posts -- there is another reason the so-called “noise” doesn’t bother me.

 I don’t think it’s noise.

At least, I’m not convinced it’s not some sort of semi-transparent, intervening medium between the camera and the Ziggurat far below. As you know, Hoagland’s theory for more than 15 years has been that the Moon is covered in miles-high glass structures acting as a meteor shield over formerly inhabited areas. The evidence for this is compelling, and is covered not only in Dark Mission but will be revisited in Ancient Aliens on the Moon. The point is, I think there’s just as good a chance that what Stuart (PS4NASA) think is “noise” is actually a reflection off of real glass structures on the Moon somewhere in the area of the crater Daedalus R. This would also neatly explain why Stuart (PS4NASA) can’t seem to get his head around the lighting geometry in the original Ziggurat photo, although I think it’s obvious and doesn’t need the exotic glass structures argument to support it. But that is Part III.

Besides the two explanations I listed previously to explain the so-called “noise,” there is a 3rd possibility, which is why the “noise” on “as1120pyramid20smallue2.jpg” never bothered me. In looking at scans of actual first-generation Apollo photographs, as I've done over the years, you can see plenty of dust and dirt accumulation on the print, which is especially visible in the dark areas. Now, this may look like noise to a scanner and to Photoshop (as well as paid NASA shills), but it is really just a normal build-up of residue on the print from 40 years of sitting in a photo album under a plastic sheet.

Photo albums from the 1960’s and 1970’s had pages with a sticky adhesive on them which were in a very even, spotted pattern on the matte. A thin plastic sheet on the front protected the prints. But, if a photo were placed under one of these sheets and the opposite page didn’t have a photo on it, then the pattern of sticky spots on the opposite page would eventually leave an imprint the photo. This is especially true if the albums were stacked one on top of the other for oh, say, 40 years.

Pull any old family photo from a photo album stored this way and you will see this pattern, regardless of how well you’ve taken care of them. The plastic sheets themselves, pressed tightly against the prints for decades by the weight of the rest of the album, will adhere to the print in some places and leave marks on the photo print in pattern of regular, little raised sticky spots. If you were to pull this print from the album 30 or 40 years later, scan it at high resolution and increase the gamma, it would show this pattern of marks all over the scan, which would have to be removed with a noise reduction filter (Note to Stuart [PS4NASA]: NOT by reducing the image).

The only way you can minimize this is by storing the photos using expensive horzontal photo albums purchased from photography stores. This is exactly how Ken Johnston has stored his prints for decades.

So what I have always suspected is that the so-called “noise” in “as1120pyramid20smallue2.jpg” isn’t noise at all. What probably happened is that some other NASA veteran had an original or near-first generation print of AS11-38-5564 in his collection, stored in a photo album, and his curious son or nephew came along one day, went through his old photo albums and saw the Ziggurat and said “Holy S***!” This person then scanned and processed the image as best he could and posted it on the web, where it has been making the rounds for a while until I spotted it and gave it to Richard.

Look again at this contrast enhanced version of as1120pyramid20smallue2.jpg and note the sticky spot pattern all across the image. It is aligned with the actual vertical/horizontal of a print of AS11-48-5564, rather than the rotated close-up. Now go pull an old, pressed down image from a photo album. They’ll look exactly the same.

When you rotate the image to match the orientation of the official NASA version, it becomes even more obvious that most of the “noise” Stuart (PS4NASA) claims is on the image is actually photo-album residue. Again, pull some old photos from your family’s photo albums and make a comparison. Depending on how long they’ve been in there, you’ll find that they are most likely a perfect match for the residue pattern seen on as1120pyramid20smallue2.jpg.

And again, when you show as1120pyramid20smallue2.jpg and the photo album glue page aligned as they truly would be if the Ziggurat image came from photographic original stored for several decades as I’ve described, they match perfectly.

I would place the likelihood of this scenario at about 95%, and this discussion is part of the “due diligence” that Richard mentioned on Coast to Coast AM the night he revealed the image to the world. What this means is that Stuart’s (PS4NASA) belief that the presence of this “noise” somehow proves that “as1120pyramid20smallue2.jpg” is a later generation image than NASA’s “5564.jpg” is false, or at least dubious in the extreme.  What then follows is that his further conclusion/declaration that the Ziggurat on “as1120pyramid20smallue2.jpg” must have been “drawn-in” on top of “5564.jpg” is also most likely an incorrect conclusion based on faulty reasoning.

In fact, it is the other way around. The scan of “as1120pyramid20smallue2.jpg” was almost certainly made from an earlier generation NASA print, and “5564.jpg” was made much later – decades later in fact – and the offending Ziggurat was digitally removed since “as1120pyramid20smallue2.jpg” had already been making the rounds of the web.

So, just to quickly recap:

1. There is not less noise in the NASA image “5564.jpg” than in the Ziggurat image “as1120pyramid20smallue2.jpg.” What Stuart (PS4NASA) thinks is "noise" is actually photo-album residue marks on the early generation photographic print that "as1120pyramid20smallue2.jpg" was culled from.

2. Stuart's (PS4NASA) assumption that "as1120pyramid20smallue2.jpg" was therefore made after NASA's “5564.jpg,” and by his faulty reasoning manufactured from it in Photoshop is therefore falsified.

3. "as1120pyramid20smallue2.jpg" shows every indication of being scanned from an early generation photographic print, and therefore has an earlier derivation than "5564.jpg."

4. Stuart’s (PS4NASA) claims that reducing an image will reduce noise is only partially correct. It will in fact reduce both the data quality and the noise. Stuart (PS4NASA) admits this on his own blog.

5. Stuart’s (PS4NASA) claims that "upsampling (interpolating) makes an image better is factually and demonstrably false" is shown to be factually and demonstrably false. Interpolation improves the quality and of an image, as proven by the NASA images shown.

And all this pretty much blows point #1 out of the water.


Part #3 – Shadows and the Geometry of Light

The Daedalus Ziggurat from NASA image “5564.jpg”

In this section, I will address Stuart’s (PS4NASA) claim that the Ziggurat image is a “fraud” because in his opinion, the lighting geometry is “wrong.”

What Stuart (PS4NASA) said:

“3. Why the shadowed parts of his ziggurat are lit up when they’re in shadow, on top of a hill, and not facing anything that should reflect light at them?”

Response: I guess that we just fundamentally have a disagreement about this Stuart (PS4NASA). Again, he keeps repeating this claim, but no matter how many times he does, he can’t make it true. They are facing “something” that would reflect light at them and account for the lighting geometry in as1120pyramid20smallue2.jpg. I see brightly lit hills all around the depression on the left side of the Ziggurat that would reflect light into the shadowed area under dispute.

In his original post, Stuart (PS4NASA) claimed that ALL of the shadows on the Moon are absolute black, and there are few (if any) gradations of light and dark on the Moon because of a lack of atmosphere. “If you’re in shadow, you’re in shadow and it’s going to be pitch-black (or almost pitch-black).” He repeats this claim in a video he made attacking the Ziggurat as a hoax and calling Mr. Hoagland incompetent and a liar.

 As I pointed out in my last post, this is categorically untrue.  I have seen hundreds, if not thousands, of lunar images where the shadows are far from “pitch-black (or almost pitch-black).” I will show you some later in this article. You actually have to be pretty dumb to even make such a claim. And when this inconvenient fact  was pointed out to him on his YouTube video in the comments section, even Stuart (PS4NASA) agreed that this claim was, as he likes to put it, “factually incorrect.”

You “thought of that an hour after you posted the video?” Really? So you knew that your statement that “If you’re in shadow, you’re in shadow and it’s going to be pitch-black (or almost pitch-black)” was factually incorrect, but you just “forgot?”

I’m sorry Stuart (PS4NASA), did I miss something? I thought you were an astrophysics expert and all that stuff? I mean, wouldn’t a Brainiac like you with all those important degrees who boasts about spending all that time processing images of the Moon have known that from the get-go? I did, but when I pointed it out in my last blog post, you asserted that I didn’t know what I was talking about.  And then, even after you “remembered” that your claim was false, you not only didn’t retract it, but you still made it a structural pillar of your claim that the Ziggurat image is “a hoax.” You even posted another, longer video still making the same false claim after you admit “remembering” there is such a thing as light scattering on the Moon.

Dr. Stuart Robbins

So in other words, Stuart (PS4NASA), you knew from July 22nd  on when you “remembered” that light scatters into shadows on the Moon that these claims were false yet you never uploaded a video correcting this claim, and you still continue to defend the claim on you blog. And you have the gall to say I’m “paranoid” because I don’t trust either your competence or your intentions?


Then, Stuart (PS4NASA) goes to his fallback position. He agrees that yeah, as the viewer pointed out, craters on the Moon are NOT “pitch-black (or almost pitch-black),” but the ones around the Ziggurat really have to be, because “The region has no hills nearby that would scatter light onto the ziggurat surface.”

Oh really?

Since the lunar surface is made mostly of glass, titanium and aluminum, it tends to be very highly reflective. That’s why there’s something called “backscatter” illuminating the astronauts in all the pictures of them on the lunar surface where they are facing away from the sun. The photos of Buzz Aldrin descending the ladder are also proof that you don’t need any nearby hills to scatter light on the Moon. The surface does a fine job of that all by itself.  It is also what Stuart’s (PS4NASA) commentator “TheWonkyAstronomer” was trying to explain to him in the comments on his YouTube video. (More on this in my upcoming book, AncientAliens on the Moon.) So the truth is, all of the shadows on AS11-38-5564 should be illuminated by at least some light.

But they aren’t.

When you enhance the NASA version of 5564, as we’ve already established, all you get is the pitch black, painted over shadows where you should see details of structures and/or terrain. In other words, the lighting geometry of as1120pyramid20smallue2.jpg is exactly right, and Stuart’s (PS4NASA)’s claims -- and the official version of 5564 -- are completely wrong.

Let’s look at the lighting geometry of AS11-38-5564 and illustrate this.
Current NASA version of AS11-38-5564 (contrast increased 20%)

Pretty obviously, the light is coming from the upper right, which is why all the shadows are being cast to the left in this image. The top of the left wall (let’s just call it the “left side” instead of arguing about east and west, shall we?) of the Ziggurat is being illuminated, and the wall is casting a shadow into the depression below. As the arrows indicate, the raised, reflective “hills” beyond are perfectly aligned to reflect or “backscatter” light into the deeply shadowed area where we can see a wall in the original Ziggurat photo. On the NASA version of 5564, all we see is a painted over black blotch. Again, given that the lunar soil is made up of primarily glass beads, aluminum and titanium – the equivalent of millions of tiny glass and metal mirrors-- I just can’t see how any “normal” person can conclude that the geometry is “wrong” to illuminate this depression.

But maybe Stuart (PS4NASA) isn’t “normal.”

To better understand what “backscatter” is, let’s just quickly consult Wikipedia, shall we?

“In physics, backscatter (or backscattering) is the reflection of waves, particles, or signals back to the direction from which they came. It is a diffuse reflection due to scattering, as opposed to specular reflection like a mirror” [emphasis mine].

OK, so if the light in this image was being reflected “back to the direction from which they came,” then it is obvious that the blacked out depression below the left wall should be illuminated, but in the NASA image its isn’t. This is especially true because as the article said, backscatter is a diffuse reflection, meaning the light scatters in all directions.

This is yet again more confirmation that contrary to what Stuart (PS4NASA) claims, the lighting geometry of as1120pyramid20smallue2.jpg is absolutely correct. It also reinforces the argument I made in my last post, which is that the shadow cast by the left wall of Ziggurat should not be absolute black, and that the gray part of the shadow, the part that wasn’t painted over by some NASA goon, reflects (pun intended) the real and far more realistic lighting we should see on the NASA version of 5564.

And as we look closer, we can see another example of how Stuart (PS4NASA) has gotten the lighting geometry completely wrong; the “Temple” area.
as1120pyramid20smallue2.jpg with Temple area contrast enhanced

The “Temple” is the square structure that sits at the exact lateral center of the Ziggurat, with a ramp extending into it from the front. It also has a bright colored dome on top, a bright band around the top level and beveled corners. All of these are plainly visible in the original image but have faded, though not disappeared completely, in the NASA version of 5564. You will also note that the bright band extends around the left wall of the Temple housing, and there is a pattern of four bright spots on the left vertical wall. Again, according to Stuart (PS4NASA), this area should be in complete, absolute shadow and none of these features should be visible because according to him, there is nothing for light to bounce off of (backscatter) and illuminate the area. He cites this as a “proof” that the Ziggurat photo is a fake or hoax, and sets this as one of the “three points of what Mike must explain” before he’ll admit the Ziggurat image is likely real, and by implication, the official NASA version has been faked.

No problem.

Besides the hills and terrain features I already listed, as you can see in any version of 5564, even the fake NASA one, the top left wall and the “back” wall of the Ziggurat are brightly illuminated. Contrary to what Stuart (PS4NASA) has asserted, these inner walls of the Ziggurat are perfectly positioned to scatter light back into the shadowed area on the left side of the Temple area (remember, backscattering by definition scatters light in all directions). Again, this puts the lie to his claim that the shadows should be absolute black or near black as they are in the official NASA version of 5564, and confirms that there is nothing at all incorrect, wrong or suspicious about the lighting in as1120pyramid20smallue2.jpg.

(One other note; I make no claim that the placement of my arrows labeled “light” is perfect in any of these images. I do assert however that it is very close to correct, certainly close enough to support the arguments, and in any event, irrelevant. The simple fact that the hills beyond the left wall and the top of the inner walls are illuminated at all is a de-facto "proof" that light is being backscattered into the shadowed areas in question. I’m sure his next assertion will be that “yeah, well maybe the geometry is right, but the intensity isn’t enough.” Or something like that. He will still be wrong.)

Next, Stuart (PS4NASA) then goes on to make a claim that will get him into even bigger trouble:
“Mike, all you have to do is look anywhere in that – or ANY other similar image at ANY crater from this set – and you will see that the shadowed parts of the craters are not lit by scattered light from the highlighted wall. That is a factual statement of observation, and I challenge anyone to find fault with it.”

OK, I'll take that challenge.

First of all, if you’re talking about AS11-38-5564, we’ve already established that A) you don’t understand (or “remember”) anything about the phenomenon called “backscattering,” and B) that the only reason the shadowed parts of the craters in that image “are not lit by scattered light” is because somebody at NASA painted over them with a pitch-black brush. But why argue when we can put your specious assertion to the test?

There is another series of NASA photographs, taken at virtually the same time as AS11-38-5564, that show the same area around Daedalus crater. The only difference is that these images are color and used SO-368 Ektachrome MS ASA64 film, and possibly an 80-mm lens, although according to NASA documents, they may have been taken with a 250-mm lens. In either case, the photos are of very high quality and will play a major part in our story. They, like AS11-38-5564, were taken by one of the Apollo 11 astronauts as the Command and Service Module Columbia was leaving the Moon just after Trans Earth Injection. Obviously, one astronaut had a Hasselblad camera with the black and white (Panatomic-X) film, and one astronaut had a Hasselblad camera with SO-368 Ektachrome MS ASA64 color film. As Columbia flew past Daedalus on its way home, the astronauts were snapping away with their power winders documenting the area out of the windows of the Columbia.

One of the photos they took is AS11-44-6609. Taken just a few seconds before the Ziggurat image AS11-38-5564, it shows a clear view into Daedalus crater under the same lighting conditions, and certainly, most “normal” people would agree, constitutes a “similar image” to 5564. And guess what? You can see details in the shadows. Even without ANY enhancement, you can see the terrain of the crater rim in the shadowed area. So if Stuart (PS4NASA) is right, and there are no craters in the area that have light scattered/reflected into them, how is this possible?

It isn’t. Because he’s wrong.

Shadowed rim of lunar crater Daedalus from NASA image AS11-44-6609. Note terrain detail visible in shadowed area without enhancement.

Of course, when you use the “Adjust Lighting... Shadows/Highlights” tool and that nifty little slider named “Lighten Shadows,” (remember them Stuart [PS4NASA]?) it becomes even more obvious that Stuart’s (PS4NASA) claim that “ANY other similar image at ANY crater from this set – and you will see that the shadowed parts of the craters are "not lit by scattered light” is fallacious:

AS11-44-6609 processed with “Lighten Shadows...” and “Reduce Noise...” filters in Photoshop

It gets even worse for Stuart (PS4NASA) when you consider that, unlike the Ziggurat area, there are no nearby hills to scatter light back into this shadowed area of Daedalus crater. See, there don’t need to be, because his assertion that you have to have “very steep, fresh crater walls” nearby just to “reflect SOME light into the shadowed region…” is completely wrong. This photo, taken under the exact same lighting conditions and at virtually the exact same time, is proof of that. Light was scattering into the shadowed areas of the craters and depressions near Daedalus all over the place on that day, without the need for “very steep, fresh crater walls” to reflect the light back. There is nothing but a flat and nearly featureless crater floor opposite the sun.
Now, as an update to his response, Stuart (PS4NASA) added this little tidbit he got from Bloated Sack of Protoplasm James Oberg:

James Oberg – Bloated Sack of Protoplasm

“Edited to Add (08/08/2012): As James Oberg mentioned in the comments, and I’ve heard Richard Hoagland claim many times, Mike and Richard supposedly have a set of near-original copies of all Apollo images. Why Mike then relied on an internet game forum post for the “original” or even on LPI is a mystery.”
This is of course intended as a snide little dig at the site where I first found the original as1120pyramid20smallue2.jpg, but it applies here.

First though, yet another correction. The claim made by James Oberg (BSOP) and repeated by Stuart (PS4NASA) without question that “Mike and Richard supposedly have a set of near-original copies of all Apollo images.” is, like so many of their other claims, categorically false. KEN JOHNSTON, who Oberg worked with for years at NASA, has a set of some near-original prints of Apollo photographs from all the different missions. Neither Richard nor I have EVER claimed that either of us have these photographs, nor anything near a complete set. They are Ken’s property, plain and simple. The full story of how KEN came to possess these is told in Dark Mission and will be briefly recounted in Ancient Aliens on the Moon. If in fact Stuart (PS4NASA) had actually read Dark Mission, he’d know that.
Ken Johnston, Jr. working at NASA in the 1960’s

Ken, however, being a generally nice guy and having a generally honest curiosity about what’s really on the Moon, does occasionally from time to time allow us to scan or borrow some of these photos, if he has them. Well it turns out that AS11-44-6609 is one of the ones he had lying around.

So at my request, Ken scanned the image and sent it to me. The scan has pixel dimensions of 3840 x 3952 (I’ll leave it to Brainiac to figure out how many megapixels that is) and, except for a little wear and tear looks identical to the image of AS11-44-6609 I downloaded from the Apollo Flight Journal site.

And guess what? It absolutely confirms what’s on the Flight Journal version:

There, in the shadows, in stark contrast to everything that Stuart (PS4NASA) has asserted about shadows and light scattering on the Moon, are the same rocky features we see in the Flight Journal scan. This is now a confirmation from a “near-original” analog source that Stuart’s (PS4NASA) model of light scattering on the Moon is completely wrong.
In fact, this is what ALL THE SHADOWS ON AS11-38-5564 should also look like. But they don’t. They look like Oberg (BSOP) took a paintbrush tool and painted over them, as any “normal” person can plainly see. And there’s a reason for that; it’s because that’s exactly what somebody at NASA actually did. And they obviously did it to hide some of the features we see very clearly in “as1120pyramid20smallue2.jpg.”

NASA version of AS11-38-5564. Black areas are all one color, absolute complete black. Real shadows are gray areas to the left. Black area represents portion of image painted over by NASA “image processors.”

As a final test, I challenge anyone with Photoshop or a similar program to try it themselves. Take any image of the Moon where there is detail visible in the shadows and then get out your paintbrush, set it to absolute black (shade-0) and go to town on it. It will look exactly like what NASA did to the craters in “5564.jpg” and the histograms will match as well.

Terrain features of AS11-44-6609 blacked out with paintbrush tool in Photoshop. Note it is identical to darkened areas of NASA version of AS11-38-5564. Histograms are also an exact match.
Which pretty much wraps it up for Stuart’s (PS4NASA) point #3.

So again, just to review:
1. Stuart’s (PS4NASA) claim that shadows on the Moon should be absolute black is false. Photos of the astronauts on the Moon and from orbital reconnaissance photography prove this. Further, Stuart (PS4 NASA) knew this to be true, from at least July 23, 2012, when he admitted as much to a commenter, “TheWonkyAstronomer” in the comments section of his YouTube video.
2.  Despite knowing that this claim was false, Stuart (PS4NASA) continued to make this claim in written analysis on his blog and in a later video beyond July 23rd, 2012.

3. Stuart’s (PS4NASA) claim that the illumination of the shadows on as1120pyramid20smallue2.jpg is somehow evidence that the image is a “hoax” or a “fraud” is false. A simple review of the lighting geometry and a rudimentary (Wikipedia-level) review of the concept of backscattering prove him wrong.
4. Photos taken of the Daedalus region on the same mission, at the same time and under the same lighting conditions show illumination in many craters contrary to his assertions.
5. The complete lack of similar illumination in the shadowed areas of the official NASA image “5564.jpg” is proof that the image has been painted over before being uploaded to the official NASA site. Experiments on other images with a paintbrush tool produce identical results to “5564.jpg.”

But the truth is, none of this actually matters. All of the technical back and forth, the “gotcha” games, the attempts to slander and harass me on my own Facebook page – none of it matters. Because I’ve got the goods. I’ve got the proof that the Ziggurat is really there, on the back side of the Moon.
And that brings us (finally) to point #2…