bright moon






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4-8-12  - I was somewhere in the country, living with my husband and some other people, I don't personally know.

Outside on the path, I came across two ET's, short, bald, skinny ones with large round eyes,, who were having a discussion about something they disagreed on.  They decided they would settle the disagreement by challenging each other as to who could light up the moon faster  than the other could.

A few minutes later, as it got dark outside, I was standing outside on the path and watched as the moon started getting brighter starting at the bottom, and going counterclocwise - it got super bright like a second hand going backwards on a clock.   Then the moon turned off like a light bulb though it was still visible.  

A few moments later, the moon turned on super bright all at once and then back off.  

It was quite evident who had won that challenge.  I wondered if anyone else had been watching the moon and saw that happen.

The next day, one of the women I was living with, was heard mentioning the moon to one of the other men and asked him if he had seen it, and he hadn't.  She didn't ask me, so I didn't say a word and she was left wondering if she was just seeing things.

A few minutes later, my husband was outside near the barn, and all of a sudden, a downpour came out of the sky only about six feet wide and drenched him thoroughly.  The downpour didn't follow him so he ran out from under it but he had to run through a swale of water running full tilt away down hill.  I wondered what he had said that had made an ET mad at him.  He never told me later either.

As I woke up - and I slept about 3 hours longer than normal - I heard an ET in my right ear holler the name or the word  GRANT.  There was no response and I didn't respond either.


NOTE:  I sometimes feel I know too much, but I'm going to let others I agree with speak here:


video:  alien war moon?








(More Fodder for Those Who Believe We Never Went to the Moon!)

compiled by Dee Finney


updated 11-11-07

Comments by Joe Mason



1 And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars:

2 And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.

3 And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.

4 And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.

5 And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.

6 And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.

7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,

8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.

9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.

11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.

12 Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.

13 And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child.

14 And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.

15 And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood.

16 And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth.

17 And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

Revelation: 21: 23 And the city had no need of the sun,
neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did
lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.

21: 24 And the nations of them which are saved shall walk
in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory
and honour into it.


"I should venture to assert, that if these worlds are habitable,
they either are, have been, or will be inhabited."

Jules Verne, From the Earth to the Moon, 1877.


who knows if the moon's
a balloon, coming out of a keen city
in the sky - filled with pretty people?


6-9-01 - DREAM - This dream is titled, 'THE MOON IS TOO TOO BRIGHT!'

The entire dream consisted of seeing a newspaper article titled, 'THE MOON IS

I saw a picture of the face of the moon, on which a portrait
picture of a dark-haired woman in black and white was superimposed over the upper
left hand side of the moon picture. The article went on to say that bacteria had been
left behind on the moon by 'visitors' to the moon and was now at the flash-point.
The picture then went animated and showed the bacteria reach a stage where it
shifted forcefully in a jumping motion to the next area to it.

6-10-01 - DREAM - Possibly I'm taking too long to get this page done, but I dreamed
last night that I was observing a bright greenish-white moon that had a large man's
face on it, the kind that people always say ... "Oh, I can see a face on the moon". It
wasn't like the first dream where a human being was super-imposed on the picture.
At the same time I felt like the man in the moon was observing me for some reason.

I see the moon,
The moon sees me,
God bless the moon,
And God bless me.

- Nursery Rhyme

6-11-01 - DREAM - I had been told there was going to be an event on the moon and
I was visibly upset by the news. I heard a man's voice behind my left ear who told me
I was looking at the event in the wrong way. He then took my glasses and bent the two
lenses down half way so that they were at a different angle. Instantly, I had instant
emotional peace. 

I was with a group of people, both men and women who were involved with trying to stop
the events on the moon. The men were going to become firefighters and the women were
going to support them. My son Bill was going to be one of the firefighters and I was
going to get on the bus with him. However, when the bus arrived, it was extremely tall,
and I was unable to climb up to where the entrance to the bus which was way at the
top. Bill was boosted up and assisted to get into the bus door which was nearly at the top
of the bus.

We knew that the firefighters might not be coming back from this journey to fight this
fire. The rest of us left behind would gather to sing/pray for the firefighters going to work
on the moon project.

6-12-01 - TWO VISIONS:

In the middle of the night I awoke, knowing I had been dreaming, but nothing was
remembered. Suddenly I saw this announcement printed out in front of me:

CORISEN III : The United States Greatest Firefighting Project

In the morning, I had the same experience. I knew I had been dreaming, yet nothing was
remembered. Then slowly, slowly, I started to see long skinny fingers on long skinny arms.
There were 3 fingers on each hand. They were coated with wet-looking sand and something
was crawling out of a hole in the ground that was all sandy. It had a really gross ominous
feeling to it.

I looked up the name on the web and found only a fantasy game using the name. Perhaps
that's where the government got the name? Or the person who invented the game knows
something we don't know?



North Pole Area (still image cut out from the first image shooting)
This is a still image taken out from the first moving image shooting when the KAGUYA flew from the northern area of the "Oceanus Procellarum" (*1) to the center of the North Pole.

As the altitude near the North Pole is high, the angle of the coming sunlight was lower, thus the shade of the crater topography looks long in the image. The moving image was taken at 4:07 a.m. on October 31, 2007 (JST) by eight-fold speed intermittent shooting (eight minutes is converged to one minute) from the KAGUYA, and the data was received at the JAXA Usuda Deep Space Center on the same day.

(*1) Oceanus Procellarum:
The dark area on the Moon's surface called "ocean." It is located at the left end of the northern hemisphere on the front side of the Moon when we look up at it from the Earth.

World’s First Image Taking of the Moon by HDTV

November 7, 2007 (JST)
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)
NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation)

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation) have successfully performed the world's first high-definition image taking by the lunar explorer "KAGUYA" (SELENE,) which was injected into a lunar orbit at an altitude of about 100 km on October 18, 2007, (Japan Standard Time. Following times and dates are all JST.)

The image shooting was carried out by the onboard high definition television (HDTV) of the KAGUYA, and it is the world's first high definition image data acquisition of the Moon from an altitude about 100 kilometers away from the Moon.

The image taking was performed twice on October 31. Both were eight-fold speed intermittent shooting (eight minutes is converged to one minute.) The first shooting covered from the northern area of the "Oceanus Procellarum" toward the center of the North Pole, then the second one was from the south to the north on the western side of the "Oceanus Procellarum." The moving image data acquired by the KAGUYA was received at the JAXA Usuda Deep Space Center, and processed by NHK.

The satellite was confirmed to be in good health through telemetry data received at the Usuda station.

(2) The western side of the "Oceanus Procellarum" (cut out from the second image shooting)
This is a still image taken out from the second moving image shooting when the KAGUYA flew from the south to the north on the western side of the "Oceanus Procellarum."

The dark part on the right of the above image is the Ocean (Oceanus Procellarum,) and the light area on the left is called the "highland."

The moving image was taken at 5:51 a.m. on Oct. 31, 2007 (JST) by eight-fold speed intermittent shooting (eight minutes is converged to one minute) from the KAGUYA, and the data was received at the JAXA Usuda Deep Space Center on the same day.

(3) The west side of the "Oceanus Procellarum" (cut out from the second image shooting)
This is a still image taken out from the end part of the second moving image taking.
We can observe a crater called "Repsold," whose diameter is 107 km, at the center on the near side of this image. The channel that crosses this crater is called the "Repsold Valley," and its length is about 180 km (equivalent to the distance between Tokyo and Shizuoka on the Tokaido Line in Japan.) The shooting time was the same as the above (2.)



Photographic examples of strange artifacts on the moon!

The experts in archaeology tell us that straight lines indicate civilization. Wonder why there is a groove on the moon like a landing strip. It's 1.7 km long and 29 km long.

If I was going to make a landing strip, I wouldn't have done it in such an inaccessble place where I had to do all that dirt moving, when there was plenty of room on the other side of those craters, but then again, I wasn't there when the decision was made.

The Shard. This one, in a photo snapped by the Lunar Orbiter, has been named "the shard" or "the tower," by Richard C. Hoagland, who comments on this photo at Richard Hoagland's Lunar Anomalies. Taken from a distance of about 250 miles, the strange structure (if that's what it is) would be enormous -- seven miles high, by Hoagland's calculations. (The star-like shape above the tower is a camera registration mark.) It's difficult to believe that such a huge structure actually stands on the moon... so what are we seeing in this photo? Is it a plume of "smoke" from some lunar gaseous emission? Are we seeing the ejecta from a meteorite impact? What is it?

The Castle. This strange object, photographed during an Apollo mission, has been named "the castle" by Richard Hoagland. It seems to have a definite structure, like the remnant wall of some ancient building. The bottom looks as if it has rows of support columns, above which is a high spire. Whatever it is, it's much brighter than the surrounding landscape. Is it just a trick of light and shadow? A photographic anomaly?

See Dark Moon for more evidence

Evidence of Past Life on the Moon


Two biologists at the Russian Academy of Sciences recognized strong similarities between lunar fossilized microorganisms returned from Soviet Luna 16 and Luna 20 mission core samples and familiar, spiral filamentous microorganisms found on present day Earth. The findings of biologists Stanislav Zhmur and Lyumila Gerasimenko were announced at an astrobiology conference in Denver in July 1999 and published in December of that year. Their findings regarding biological microfossils in carbonaceous meteorites from the Moon were announced but were passed off by some critics as contaminants from terrestrial examination.

However, a close reading of the presentation indicates that it is extremely unlikely that the microfossils are the result of contamination. The Luna samples were robotically accessed drill-cores that were hermetically encapsulated on the Moon. They survived re-entry and when the Russian biologists received them, they were opened and examined immediately in a laboratory. According to Zhmur "The lithified remnants ...are tightly conjugated with the mineral matrix, removing the possibility that they are contaminants." In other words, the microfossils are intertwined with the rock itself, meaning that they were entombed within the rock very shortly after it was formed or ejected. Most likely, they were frozen in time and place on the Lunar surface after originating elsewhere in the solar system.

Geophysicist Jay Melosh from Lunar and Planetary Institute has stated that such organisms could endure 10-100 million year sojourns between Mars and Earth or vice versa.

Given that the Apollo astronauts brought back lunar rocks and core samples from only 6 regions out of 15 million square miles and the two Luna Soviet missions took their buried cores from separate regions of Mare Fecunditatis 120 miles apart, an intriguing possibility is implied. If such a discovery can be made from only few samples taken by NASA and the Soviets - literally amounting to survey of less than 1 millionth of the total lunar surface area - then the lunar surface (and just below) must be literally teeming with such fossilized life!

There is another, even more interesting possibility that this new data presents and it must be said that in the event record, it is common knowledge that evidence of past lunar life on a much grander scale than microbes was discovered many years prior to the Luna fossil announcement

And as Hoagland's previous lunar investigations have suggested, there is reason to suspect that the Moon has not always been the uninhabited rock it is today. Hoagland sifted through many NASA archives of lunar photography and discovered numerous examples of geometric, orthogonal arcologies, structures, and glass domes, many exhibiting somehow familiar design elements and all obviously constructed by sojourners from a past epoch. This site has followed up with these initial studies, and found many examples reinforcing the notion that the Moon was once a very active habitat. Glass domes in Mare Crisium, organized installations in Hortensius, and rectilinear structures in the region of Kepler crater have all revealed evidence of a vast (though ruined) civilization there.

The Luna fossil information therefore helps verify what we already know. The Moon could have very well been inhabited by space-farers who had physical contact with Earth and returned to the Moon and perhaps other places, bringing with them the "contaminating" terrestrial organisms as well as the technological ability to exist there. Fossilized microorganisms did not after all construct what Hoagland (and we) have found on the Moon.

In reality, the microfossil findings tend to support both the EPH/Panspermia idea, and Hoagland's "prior habitation" model. There is simply no way to know under which scenario "Earth-like" bacteria made it to the Moon. Millions of years have passed since the cessation of the Copernican crater era. Incessant meteoric rain has battered the Moon for eons. The dinosaurs saw the Moon (mostly) as we see it. But if you consider the political developments both before and after the samples were brought back - over thirty years ago - you can perhaps get a clearer picture.

Scientists report 'alien' life

Wednesday, November 22, 2000

By United Press International

Scientists in Wales said they discovered what may be a tiny form of primitive alien life that a passing comet may have dropped into Earth's atmosphere, London's Daily Mail newspaper reported today. Researchers said that in the filter of a high-flying balloon operated by the Indian Space Research Organization, they found a strain of bacteria unlike anything on Earth. The bacteria were found at an altitude of 10 miles and scientists from the ISRO, Cardiff University and the University of Wales College of Medicine said it may have come from a comet on a close approach to earth, according to the Daily Mail. Prof. Chandra Wickramasinghe, who is based at Cardiff University, said the discovery marked "the first time we have had direct evidence for the hypothesis that comets seed life on other planets."

Wickramasinghe and astronomer Fred Hoyle suggested the theory of "panspermia" more than two decades ago, that the seeds of life, either DNA or microbes, could be carried by asteroids or comets and dropped off on planets such as earth to germinate life.

The bacteria found in the balloon's filter "is a hitherto unknown strain," Wickramasinghe said. "It is so different from anything we've seen before that there are only two possible explanations."

One, he told the Daily Mail, is that "organisms have been lifted from the earth to great heights in the skies and have somehow multiplied there and changed over time." The second, he said, is "that this is an example of primitive alien life."

Photos of evidence of Apollo 15 Landing on the Moon

India plans to shoot for the moon on May, 1, 2001

NEW DELHI - India is contemplating sending its first satellite mission to the moon, Dr A.P.J Abdul Kalam, scientific adviser to the government, indicated on Sunday.

'We have placed several satellites into orbit successfully. I think we will do this as well,' he told reporters.

The father of the Indian missile system was replying to a question about whether India would send a satellite mission to the moon after the recent launch of its Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle, GSLV-D1, on April 18.

Referring to his millennium vision, 2020, Dr Kalam said that the time was not far off when India would become a developed nation. --Xinhua

2001 - A Space Odyssey

It is amazing that the movie '2001' - A Space Odyssey was produced in 1968, before men landed on the moon. It is such an extraordinary movie that no other space movie could be comparable with it. The quiet environment simulated a real space trip. Most conversation was between Hal (the computer) and Dave, which is the unique style of 2001.

When a mission to the moon results in the discovery of a buried black obelisk, the search is on to find out where it has come from. Its origins are clearly not organic and the object is like a more mysterious stonehenge with all the attendant fascination. Who created it? How? Why? So the HAL 9000 (Douglas Rain) - a high tech computer with a wonderfully calm voice and advanced intelligence - is dispatched with a team of astronauts to investigate.

As their mission progresses events take a strange and profound turn or two whilst HAL explores his artificial intelligence and develops his bond with Dr Dave Bowman (Keir Dullea).

It is a great use of the obelisk transmitter. We could reasonably believe that the transmission is the best way to communicate with other intellegent aliens. In the movie, the obelisk measured the human technology development - the ancestor of man picked up the big bone as the first tool - the space station around the earth and travelling to the moon - the spaceship to the Jupiter. The obelisk connects the three parts of the movie...

Its the story of man's first contact with extraterrestrial life- The first part is about the very mysterious appearance of a black obelisk on the African savanna's millions of years ago. This coincides with the moment that the ape-like ancestors of man first mastered the use of tools. Theres a lot of grunting on the part of the ape-men. But the obelisk is genuinely freaky and the moment when the ape-man hurls the bone up into the air and a space ship takes it's place is pretty powerful stuff.

This leads in to the second part of the movie, set in 2001 (Clarke and Kubrick were optimists) In their vision there is a very advanced donut shaped space station, bases on the moon, regular moon shuttle services and quite advanced ships for deep space exploration. A black obelisk has been found buried on the moon, and its activated some sort of signal. A space is sent out to Jupiter to investigate. Millions of years later, the same obelisk is found on the moon. Scientists interpret it as evidence of intelligent life forms. When a signal is intercepted, they trace it to a particular star system and arrange an expedition to visit the source.

On board are astronauts in suspended animation, the artificially intelligent computer HAL 9000 and two wide awake supervising astronauts. HAL 9000 of course goes mad, murdering almost the entire crew bar one. This leads to the famous sci-fi line where by astronaut Dave is trapped outside the main ship and asks; 'Open the pod bay doors please HAL' HAL refuses. Dave manages to get inside and disconnects HAL.

Hal - Everything is going extremely well.

Hal - Good evening, Dave. Everything's running smoothly. And you?

Dave - Quite honestly, I wouldn't worry myself about that.

Hal - It's puzzling, I don't think I've ever seen anything quite like this before.

Hal - There is no question about it.

Dave - Do you read me, Hal?

Dave - Hal, open the door.

Hal - I am afraid that I can't do that, Dave.

Hal - Goodbye.

Hal - Look Dave, I can see you're really upset about this. I honestly think you ought to sit down calmly, take a stress pill, and think things over.

Hal - I feel much better now, I really do.

Hal - I know that you and Frank were planning to disconnect me, and I'm afraid that's something I cannot allow to happen.

Hal - mind is going...I can feel it...I can feel it.

In the third and final part of the film, Dave goes out to investigate the object in the vicinity of Jupiter and what follows is a largely incomprehensible psychedelic trip, which apparently is intended to represent Dave being taken on a tour of the universe by the alien force and then 'becoming one with' the black obelisk. The end is powerful stuff- the image of the human race as fetus suggests the point of the movie is the on-going evolution of man.

Comments from Joe Mason

My dream-coincidence path led me to speculate about the symbolism of the film, "2001:Space Odyssey." It begins with a solar eclipse, showing the Diamond Ring. (marriage of Heaven and Earth). An unknown intelligence, the obelisk, helps the ape use tools, setting the evolution of man in motion. The intelligence departs, and waits until the apes develop the intelligence to reach the moon, and find the obelisk that was left there long ago. When it is uncovered, it sends out a signal to space, and the Odyssey begins. In the original book, the destination was Saturn, rather than Jupiter, which is very interesting concerning the Companion to the Hale-Bopp comet.

The astronauts in hibernation are killed first. (those asleep when the Great Change happens). Dave (which means Love) is the lone suvivor. (the final spiritual journey must be done alone). HAL is taken from IBM (I B(e), (I) (aM), being one letter shifted. He symbolizes the gestalt of the rational mind, an artificial intelligence with no Heart, the collective selves disconnected. He is programed to complete the mission, even if all the humans must be killed. Dave goes to the Heart of the Ship (body-vehan, vehicle), and disables HAL. HAL breaks down, and starts to remember (awaken from self-imposed amnesia) his childhood (origin), singing, "Daisy, daisy, . . . on a bicycle built for two."

The bicycle has appeared as a crop formation, and other patterns are similar. I believe this concerns the duality of creation, and within ourselves.

The six-petal daisy came to me through dreams, as it is made up from interlocking circles in a ring. It has appeared many times in various forms as a crop formation. In my case, it also represented a closed aperture, like that on a camera. The north sun symbol in the Barbury Castle formation was similar. My dream-coincidences indicated that it would open, letting in the Seventh Ray on the Seventh Day of Creation (we are not Man yet). It is the Lost Pleiad of the Pleiades, and the Angel that rises from the Dawning Sun in Revelation 7, to mark the foreheads. (those who have stayed awake).

The Hopi depict a 12-petal sun flower in their Creation myth of Spider Grandmother. She teaches us how "to weave" after the fourth step (Heart chakra), and emergence into the Sunlight. Tantra, in Sanskrit means, "to weave." The Lotus of the Heart has 12 petals, and I believe it is related to the New Jerusalem.

In 1996 a six-petal pattern appeared with smaller circles around the major one, which produced a Star Of David in the center. A strong clue, as I see it, of the aperture opening, and the leap to the Heart Chakra by humanity en masse.

Dave is transformed into a baby (re: Rev. 12) in a bubble, heading back to earth. A new cycle of evolution is about to begin.

When I saw the sequel, "2010," I was a bit disappointed, until I woke up to the symbolism of the two Suns at the end. The Sun and the Day Break Star, Venus, correspond to Adam and Eve, in my dream interpretations. We were created with a much larger male/rational/left-brain aspect. We only have a rib-sized portion of the female/intuitive/dreaming/right-brain aspect. As we awake from our dreams in the morning, and things "dawn" on us, the two lights are up there in the sky (at times). As the sun rises, the Morning star fades into invisibility overpowered by the sun, that is, our feminine side has even less function in daytime.

Dave is transformed into a baby (re: Rev. 12) in a bubble, heading back to earth. A new cycle of evolution is about to begin.

The symbolic meaning of two Suns becomes clear. Our Venus aspect will grow to match the Sun aspect. This is symbolized in a number of other ways in the crop formations, and in dreams. In the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas, Jesus said in saying 22, that one must make the male and female into a single one, in order to enter the Father's domain. The most clear crop pattern in 1992 that had this symbolism had the female sign of Venus joined together with the male sign of Mars.

There was a dream reported in The Dream Network Journal in 95), that had a cloud appear in the doorway. The dreamer had just picked up a baby girl outside the door, who had a sash saying, "Holy Spirit."

In Kabalistic terms, the Cloud is called The Shekinah, and indicates The Divine Presence. (such as the Cloud that appeared to Moses). The following is quoted from "The Book Of Knowledge:The Keys Of Enoch," pages V and VI:

Beyond the circuitries of our body and mind, we enter the higher dimensions of thought- form creativity and operate as One with the Eternal Mind of the I AM. For this reason, the Keys are to be experienced simultaneously on all seven levels of form and Divine Form - from the subatomic, molecular, genetic, mathematical, musical, paraphysical and the superluminal aspects of the revealing nature of the Shekinah. The Shekinah (Divine) Presence, the feminine aspects of the Godhead, exists in all creative orderings of all dimensions, and is the Power through which we are respatialized to partake of the 'virgin birth' of our embyro godself. This is the 'Age of the Holy Spirit' - where the Bride and Creator become one, creating a new peoplehood of trinitized powers who are the 'bearers' of the higher Christed seed unfolding life anew by virtue of this greater union that is without dualistic separation."

This material came through Dr. James J. Hurtak, when he was visited in 1973 by the Light Being, Enoch.

In my view, the Shekinah is the Woman With Child in Revelation 12, wearing a crown of 12 stars, and clothed by the sun, with the moon under her feet. Other Goddess Mother figures may also represent Her, such as, The Divine Sophia, Isis, Ishtar, Sakti, and Coatlicue (Serpent Skirt-Mother Earth) in the Aztec myth, who is impregnated by feathers from Heaven.

And, the image called, "Our Lady of Guadalupe," that appeared on the cloak of an Aztec Indian in 1531, during an apparation of the Virgin Mary, seems to be one and the same. It is the only depiction of the Virgin, showing her pregnant, and she has a sunbust around her, with a crescent moon under her feet.

Solstice Moon

"Full Moons that occur close to the summer solstice are special because they follow the lowest path across the sky of all of the year's full Moons." explains Dr. George Lebo, a NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center Summer Faculty Fellow. Anytime the Moon is full the Sun and the Moon are on opposite sides of the Earth. If one is high in the sky, as the Sun will be near the beginning of summer, the other must be low. For the same reason that sunsets can be vivid red, the low-hanging moon frequently takes on a beautiful pink or orange hue as a result of scattered moonlight in Earth's dusty atmosphere.

The term honeymoon may have its origins in the fact that the full moon of June often looks honey-colored and June is traditionally a month of many marriages.


Next to the sun, the full moon is the brightest object in the heavens. However, its surface is rough and brownish and reflects light very poorly. In fact, the moon is about the poorest reflector in the solar system. The amount of light reflected by a celestial object is called the albedo (Latin: albus, white). The moon relects only 7% of the sunlight that falls upon it, so the albedo is 0.07.

The sun always illuminates the half of the moon facing the sun (except during lunar eclipses, when the moon passes thru the earth's shadow). When the sun and moon are on opposite sides of the earth, the moon appears "full" to us, a bright, round disk. When the moon is between the earth and the sun, it appears dark, a "new" moon. In between, the moon's illuminated surface appears to grow (wax) to full, then decreases (wanes) to the next new moon.

People often refer to "the dark side of the moon", but there is no such thing. The sun shines on all sides of it in turn. However, there is a "far side of the moon" which is never seen from the earth. Over the eons, the gravitational forces of the earth have slowed down the moon's rotation about its axis until the rotational period exactly matches the revolution period about the earth.

The Moon Illusion - What it is.

The so-called "moon illusion" or "moon effect" has perplexed people since earliest historical times, at least as early as the 7th century BCE. It is described in early Greek and Chinese writings. Aristotle mentions it in 350 BCE.

The moon appears larger in angular size when it is near the horizon than when it is high in the sky. Some people judge it to be as much as twice as large, but the average estimate is 50% to 75% larger.

It's not a small effect. The Sun displays the same illusion, but viewing the Sun directly with the eye is hazardous without proper precautions


DIAMETER 3,476 km
MASS 7.35e22 kg
DENSITY (gm/cm)
GRAVITY 0.165 (Earth=1)
ORBIT PERIOD 27.322 (Earth days)
ROTATION PERIOD 27.322 (Earth days)

The Moon is receding at 2 inches per year.

In 1897 George Darwin, son of Charles, suggested that tides are causing the Moon to spiral away from us. His hypothesis was confirmed in 1969 after the Apollo 12 astronauts placed corner reflectors (like the red and orange ones on a car) on the Moon. By firing lasers from Earth to the Moon, off the corner reflectors, and back again, astronomers measured the round-trip time and, hence, the distance to the Moon. Repeating the experiment over several years, they confirmed Darwin's prediction.

If we use the same calculations to go back into the past, then it suggests that the Moon was touching the Earth only about one thousand million years ago, even though we have evidence that the Moon has not experienced any traumatic events for at least the last three thousand million years. This apparent contradiction occurs because the rotation period of the Earth is currently close to the main "sloshing" periods of the Earth's oceans. This makes the tidal interaction between the Earth and the Moon much more efficient than usual. Hundreds of millions of years ago, when the Earth spun more rapidly than it does now, the tides were much less efficient in slowing down the Earth's rotation so the Earth slowed down less rapidly than the crude model suggests. Likewise, in a couple of hundreds of millions of years from now, the tides will again be less efficient and the Earth will slow down less rapidly. The synchronization of the Earth's rotation with the Moon's orbit will take much longer still than the already huge estimates derived from the calculations.

Earth loses angular momentum because the high tide closest to the Moon is trying to get back directly underneath the Moon, while the high tide farthest from the Moon is trying to get as far away from the Moon as possible. Consequently, the high tides flow westward, and in so doing, they encounter continents and islands. The water pushes against these land masses, which, because of rotation, are moving eastward. The net result is that the eastward rotation is retarded by the westward motion of the tides -- slowing down the rotation. The day is getting longer by about 0.002 seconds per century. It doesn't sound like much, but over billions of years it adds up.

If Earth is slowing down, it must have been rotating more rapidly in the past. By counting the growth rings in 400-million-year-old coral fossils and in 3-billion-year-old stromatolites, geologists calculate that Earth was rotating four times faster when it formed than it is today. The tidal effects of the Moon and, to a much lesser degree, the Sun have lengthened the day from six hours to 24 hours.

The Moon is believed to be 4.6 billion years old, which is the same age as the Earth. The Moon has no atmosphere or water.

The Moon is comprised of a rocky material that is heavily scarred with craters from meteorite impacts. The moon is composed of a core, partially molten mantle, and a crust.

The surface of the Moon is covered with craters, basins, and cratered highlands, called terrae. The soil that covers the Moon is called regolith, and is composed of rock fragments and fine dust grains. The maria are lowland plains that were once craters that were later flooded by lava. From Earth the terrae appear bright and the maria are dark.

The Moon keeps one side permanently turned towards Earth.

The gravitational forces between the Earth and the Moon effect the level of the ocean tides, causing the Earth to have two high tides per day.

Earth's Eccentric Companion

The Moon's orbit around the Earth is elliptical, with a substantial eccentricity (as major Solar System bodies go) of 5.49%. In addition, the tidal effect of the Sun's gravitational field increases the eccentricity when the orbit's major axis is aligned with the Sun-Earth vector or, in other words, the Moon is full or new.

The combined effects of orbital eccentricity and the Sun's tides result in a substantial difference in the apparent size and brightness of the Moon at perigee and apogee. Extreme values for perigee and apogee distance occur when perigee or apogee passage occurs close to new or full Moon, and long-term extremes are in the months near to Earth's perihelion passage (closest approach to the Sun, when the Sun's tidal effects are strongest) in the first few days of January.

Most people don't notice the difference because they see the Moon in a sky that offers no reference by which angular extent may be judged. To observe the difference, you have to either make a scale to measure the Moon, or else photograph the Moon at perigee and apogee and compare the pictures.

See for photos

The perigee and apogee distances are calculated based on the distance between the centres of the Earth and Moon.

The mean distance to the moon, 384401 km, is the semimajor axis of its elliptical orbit. The closest perigee in the years 1750 through 2125 was 356375 km on 4th January 1912; the most distant apogee in the same period will be 406720 km on 3rd February 2125.

How Bright the Moonlight?

When the Moon is full near perigee, you'd expect it to be brighter than a full Moon near apogee and it is: lots brighter. Since the Moon shines by reflecting sunlight (it reflects only about 7% of the light that strikes it) the following two factors determine the intensity of moonlight at the Earth:

The intensity of sunlight striking the Moon.

The distance reflected light travels from the Moon to the Earth.

Since the difference between the minimum and maximum distance of the Moon, 50345 km, is an insignificant fraction of the average distance from the Sun to the Earth and Moon, 149597870 km, the intensity of sunlight at the Moon can be considered constant. (Sunlight intensity at the Moon does vary, of course, due to the eccentricity of the Earth's orbit around the Sun.

The intensity of light varies as the inverse square of the distance between a light source and the observer, so taking the ratio between the perigee and apogee distances, the distance at apogee was 1.1363 times the perigee distance, and hence the Moon's intensity at perigee was the square of this quantity, 1.2912 times brighter--about 30%. Using the long-term extremes. only a slightly greater intensity difference occurs: a distance variation of 1.1413, with the Moon shining 1.3026 times brighter at perigee.

The brightness of astronomical objects is usually measured in magnitudes. Bright stars have a magnitude of about 0, and the faintest stars you can see with your unaided eye from a very dark place have about magnitude 6. When the Moon is full it has a magnitude of about -12.7, which is as bright as 120,000 stars of magnitude 0.

Like the variation in angular size, few people ever notice this substantial difference in the intensity of moonlight at perigee and apogee because there's no absolute reference against which to compare them. If you could flick a switch and move the Moon back and forth between apogee and perigee, the difference would be obvious, though not as evident as you might expect from a 30% change in illumination due to the logarithmic response of the human eye.


Monday, December 20, 1999

Bright moon to star in solstice

It will shine brighter than it has in 133 years as Dec. 22 orbit brings it close to Earth, sun

By Edie Lau / Sacramento Bee

TUCSON, Ariz. -- Three nights before Christmas, clear skies around the world will shine with a light not seen in 133 years.

The occasion is the full moon happening Wednesday on the winter solstice just as the moon is tugged closest to both Earth and sun. The result will be a moon that looks bigger and brighter than usual -- not quite a miracle, but nonetheless a rare heavenly event.

"You should be able to read by the light of the moon if it isn't cloudy," said Bob Strom, a scientist at the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Tucson. "So you'll love it."

Judging from the e-mails circulating on the Internet, people already are loving at least the prospect of it.

At least one message that urges people to take a hike or paddle in the moonshine, composed by an unidentified writer, has been forwarded between countless people by e-mail. Glen Erickson, a professor emeritus of physics and adviser to the Astronomy Club at the University of California, Davis, received two different messages. He tried to track the origin of one, but the attempt was futile.

"That's why I tend to be cynical about the Web, it's a lousy source of reliable information," he said.

But when Erickson set out to independently verify the message's claims, he found most of them valid. Richard Marasso, chair of the astronomy department at Sierra College, and Homer Ibser, professor emeritus of astronomy at California State University, Sacramento, likewise confirmed that something is different about the full moon.

Ibser's calculations show the moon will be 12 percent brighter than usual. Of course, the perception of brightness depends on local conditions. Will it be cloudy or clear? The sky dark or hazy with city lights?

"This is not going to be a real stunner where you have to wear sunglasses. You might look at it and say, this is no big deal," acknowledged Strom, the Lunar and Planetary Institute scientist. "But it is."

Conditions look promising

* The moon reaches its largest, brightest point every 29.5 days, but this month's peak happens to fall on the winter solstice -- the longest night of the year in the northern hemisphere.

* On the same day, the moon swings closest to the Earth in its slightly elliptic orbit. This point, called perigee, happens every 27 to 28 days, and therefore does not always coincide with the full moon. The estimated frequency of the full moon coming on the same day as solstice and perigee is once every 133 years.

* The Earth, also moving in an elliptic orbit, is nearing its closest approach to the sun, known as perihelion. In the northern hemisphere, the Earth is closest to the sun in the winter, farthest in the summer. It is the tilt of the Earth toward and away from the sun, not proximity, that governs the seasons. Because the Earth is close to the sun, and the moon is close to the Earth, that means the moon also is exceptionally close to the sun, making it appear more luminous than usual.

Copyright 1999, The Detroit News

Here's a list of dates and nearest moon-to-earth distances from the Sky & Telescope News Bulletin S&T's News Bulletin for December 17, 1999:


Distance (km)
1866 Dec. 21


1893 Dec. 23


1912 Jan. 4


1930 Jan. 15


1999 Dec. 22


2052 Dec. 6


On Dec. 21,1866, the Lakota Sioux took advantage of the exceptionally bright moonlight
and staged a devastating retaliatory ambush on soldiers in the Wyoming Territory.

Some tribes of Native Americans see a lop-headed rabbit in the moon.
The right-hand picture is marked to show the rabbit.

Upcoming Lunar Eclipses
The Darkest Moon

Three exposures of a lunar eclipse on January 20, 2000,
captured by photographer Stephen Barnes.

2001 July 5 - partial lunar eclipse - Partial Eclipse of the Moon, 2001 July 5; the beginning of the umbral phase visible in Antarctica, Australia, New Zealand, eastern Asia except the far north, Aleutian Islands, Pacific Ocean except extreme east, and the eastern Indian Ocean; the end visible in Australia, Antarctica, New Zealand, Asia except extreme northern part, eastern Africa, western Pacific Ocean, and the Indian Ocean.

2001 December 30 - penumbral lunar eclipse - Penumbral Eclipse of the Moon, 2001 December 30; the beginning of the penumbral phase visible in North America, Central America, South America except the eastern coast, Greenland, extreme northwestern Europe, northeast Asia, Arctic, most of New Zealand, North Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Ocean, eastern Philippine Sea, and Coral Sea; the end visible in North America except eastern coast, Greenland, Arctic, northern part of Central America, Asia, Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand, the North Pacific Ocean, South Pacific Ocean except southeastern part, and eastern portion of the Indian Ocean.

2002 May 26 - penumbral lunar eclipse - Penumbral Eclipse of the Moon, 2002 May 26; the beginning of the penumbral phase visible in most of North America except the northeast, Central America, western South America, extreme northeast Russia, eastern Asia, Australia, most of Antarctica, the Pacific Ocean, and the southeast Indian Ocean; the end visible in southwestern Alaska, Asia except the extreme north, Australia, the eastern Indian Ocean, and most of the Pacific Ocean except the extreme eastern part.

2002 June 24 - penumbral lunar eclipse - Penumbral Eclipse of the Moon, 2002 June 24; the beginning of the penumbral phase visible in Australia, Indonesia, southern and western Asia, Europe except the extreme north, Africa, extreme eastern South America, Antarctica, the Indian Ocean, the eastern North Atlantic Ocean, the South Atlantic Ocean, and the southwestern Pacific Ocean; the end visible in Africa, Europe except the extreme north, most of South America except the northwest, Antarctica, western Australia, southwest Asia, the Indian Ocean, the eastern North Atlantic Ocean, the South Atlantic Ocean, and the southeastern South Pacific Ocean.

2002 November 19-20 - penumbral lunar eclipse - Penumbral Eclipse of the Moon, 2002 November 19-20; the beginning of the penumbral phase visible in Africa, Europe, Greenland, North America except the western part, the Arctic region, Central America, South America except the southern tip, extreme western Asia, the Atlantic Ocean, and the western Indian Ocean; the end visible in North America, the Arctic region, Central America, South America, Greenland, Europe, northern and western Russia, the western Middle East, western Africa, the Antarctic Peninsula, the Atlantic Ocean, and the eastern Pacific Ocean.

2003 May 16 - total lunar eclipse - Total Eclipse of the Moon, 2003 May 16; the beginning of the umbral phase visible in Europe, southern Greenland, eastern North America, Central America, South America, most of Antarctica, Africa, western Middle East, the Atlantic Ocean, the southeastern Pacific Ocean, and the western Indian Ocean; the end visible in southern tip of Greenland, North America except extreme northwest, Central America, South America, part of New Zealand, most of Antarctica, western Africa, western Iberian Peninsula, the Atlantic Ocean except extreme northeast, and the eastern Pacific Ocean.

2003 November 8-9 - total lunar eclipse - Total Eclipse of the Moon, 2003 November 8-9; the beginning of the umbral phase visible in Africa, Europe, western and central Asia, Greenland, the Arctic region, eastern North America, Central America, South America except southern tip, coastal Queen Maud Land of Antarctica, the western Indian Ocean, and the Atlantic Ocean; the end visible in Europe, northwestern Asia, the Arctic region, Greenland, North America, Central America, South America, Antarctic Peninsula, Africa except extreme eastern part, western Middle East, the Atlantic Ocean, and the eastern Pacific Ocean.

2004 May 4 - total lunar eclipse - Total Eclipse of the Moon, 2004 May 4; the beginning of the umbral phase visible in Asia except extreme northeast, Europe except western region, Africa except northwestern part, Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand, Antarctica except part of the peninsula, the eastern South Atlantic Ocean, the Indian Ocean, and the western Pacific Ocean; the end visible in Africa, Europe, western Asia, western Australia, Antarctica, South America except the northwestern part, the eastern North Atlantic Ocean, the South Atlantic Ocean, the Indian Ocean, and the extreme southeastern South Pacific Ocean.

2004 October 28 - total lunar eclipse - Total Eclipse of the Moon, 2004 October 28; the beginning of the umbral phase visible in Africa, Europe, Greenland, the Arctic region, North America except the extreme northwest, Central America, South America, extreme western Asia, part of Queen Maud Land and the peninsula of Antarctica, the Atlantic Ocean, the eastern South Pacific Ocean, and the western Indian Ocean; the end visible in North America, the Arctic region, Greenland, Central America, South America, Europe, western Africa, Antarctic peninsula, the eastern Pacific Ocean, and the Atlantic Ocean.

Astronomical Data Services

Five Millennium Catalog of Lunar Eclipses

November 19, 1995

1 June 1999 -- Boston University astronomers announced today the discovery of an enormous tail of sodium gas stretching to great distances from the moon. The observations were made at the McDonald Observatory in Fort Davis, Texas, on nights following the Leonid meteor shower of November 1998. The tail of sodium gas was seen to distances of at least 500,000 miles from the moon, changing its appearance over three consecutive nights...

The Moon's Sodium Tail and the Leonid Meteor Shower - PHOTOS and Details

President John F. Kennedy's pledge to put Americans on the moon in the 1960s entered ORNL in the race for space. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration asked Oak Ridge National Laboratory to predict how astronauts would be affected by Earth's Van Allen radiation belts and the sun's radiation. To find out, Oak Ridge biologists sent bacteria and blood samples into space and exposed small animals to radiation. To develop shielding for the Apollo crews, researchers recycled the Lab's Tower Shielding Facility, which had hoisted shielding experiments aloft for the previous decade's nuclear-plane project.

Bacteria are single celled microorganisms that lack a nuclear membrane. While it is perhaps easy to think of them as simple forms of life, the truth of the matter is that they are highly adaptable. Their normally rapid reproduction rate (by binary fission) and high capacity for spontaneous mutation allows them to respond to changing environments readily. This has made them ubiquitous in the biosphere, both as free-living forms and as parasites in multicellular forms of life.

See: Bacteria Types - Some are from Mars too.



Many more bacteria are alive on earth now than humans,
with about 10 trillion inhabiting a single spoonful of high
quality soil. A strong case can be made out that bacteria
always have been the dominant form of life on this planet,
in terms of both numbers and total mass. Stephen J Gould
suggests that we are living in the age of bacteria, and that
since life began on earth, it has always been the age of bacteria


The direction of evolution and the future of humanity

Humanity V. Bacteria

Individuals of most species of bacteria do not cooperate with each other, or with other organisms. They are not members of large-scale, managed cooperative organisations. The inability of most bacteria to adapt collectively means that they cannot respond effectively to wider-scale events, and cannot have large-scale impacts on their environment. They cannot team up to manage matter, energy, or other living processes on the scale of a centimetre, let alone on the scale of a city, country, nation, planet, solar system or galaxy.

In the long term, bacteria are likely to participate successfully in future evolution only to the extent that they are incorporated into larger-scale cooperative organisations. A few species have already become members of cooperative organisations. Earlier we looked at an example. The mitochondria within the eukaryote cells that form our bodies are the descendants of ancient bacteria. Mitochondria contribute cooperatively to the effective functioning of our cells, and through this to the success of ourselves and our social organisations. They are critically important members of the teams of cells and of the teams of teams of cells that have built the pyramids, invented agriculture, dammed rivers, built cities, and developed genetic engineering and other technologies.

In turn, the mitochondria benefit by being members of organisations that have exploited the benefits of larger-scale cooperation to achieve evolutionary success. Mitochondria by themselves are not able to adapt successfully on the scale that we and our societies do. But as members of our bodies and our social organisations, they share in the benefits that flow from our greater adaptive capacity. Mitochondria are not very smart. They have no capacity for mental modelling. But as members of organisations managed by mental modelling, they evolve and adapt as if they used mental modelling to do so. The management of the organisation controls their adaptation and evolution. If we and our societies use our superior evolvability to pursue evolutionary objectives successfully, we take our mitochondria along with us. Mitochondria have been to the moon and back, and if human organisation ever colonises the galaxy, so to will mitochondria.


September 1, 1998:

Space historians will recall that the journey to the stars has more than one life form on its passenger list: the names of a dozen Apollo astronauts who walked on the moon and one inadvertent stowaway, a common bacteria, Streptococcus mitis, the only known survivor of unprotected space travel. As Marshall astronomers and biologists met recently to discuss biological limits to life on Earth, the question of how an Earth bacteria could survive in a vacuum without nutrients, water and radiation protection was less speculative than might first be imagined. A little more than a month before the forthcoming millennium celebration, NASA will mark without fanfare the thirty year anniversary of documenting a microbe's first successful journey from Earth.

In 1991, as Apollo 12 Commander Pete Conrad reviewed the transcripts of his conversations relayed from the moon back to Earth, the significance of the only known microbial survivor of harsh interplanetary travel struck him as profound:

"I always thought the most significant thing that we ever found on the whole...Moon was that little bacteria who came back and lived and nobody ever said [anything] about it."

Although the space-faring microbe was described in a 1970 Newsweek article, along with features in Sky and Telescope and Aviation Week and Space Technology, the significance of a living organism surviving for nearly three years in the harsh lunar environment may only now be placed in perspective, after three decades of the biological revolution in understanding life and its favored conditions.

Within a few years, it is estimated that 50 to 100 complete genomes of living organisms will be entirely deciphered, presenting the first opportunities for deep evolutionary comparisons and insights into exactly the remarkable means by which the common Strep. bacteria could revive itself after 2.6 years on the moon.

The Surveyor probes were the first U.S. spacecraft to land safely on the Moon. In November, 1969, the Surveyor 3 spacecraft's microorganisms were recovered from inside its camera that was brought back to Earth under sterile conditions by the Apollo 12 crew.

The 50-100 organisms survived launch, space vacuum, 3 years of radiation exposure, deep-freeze at an average temperature of only 20 degrees above absolute zero, and no nutrient, water or energy source. (The United States landed 5 Surveyors on the Moon; Surveyor 3 was the only one of the Surveyors visited by any of the six Apollo landings. No other life forms were found in soil samples retrieved by the Apollo missions or by two Soviet unmanned sampling missions, although amino acids - not necessarily of biological origin - were found in soil retrieved by the Apollo astronauts.)

How this remarkable feat was accomplished only by Strep. bacteria remains speculative, but it does recall that even our present Earth does not always look as environmentally friendly as it might have 4 billion years ago when bacteria first appeared on this planet.

Culture plate from Surveyor 3 camera foam sample (1 cc volume of polyurethane foam). Samples of the microorganism were sent to the US Communicable Disease Center at Atlanta, Georgia, which confirmed it as Streptococcus mitis. a common harmless bacteria from the nose, mouth and throat in humans.

(A colony of earth bacteria, Streptococcus mitis, apparently survived on the moon's surface between April 1967 and November 1969. The organisms were discovered in a piece of insulating foam in the TV camera retrieved from Surveyor 3 by Apollo astronauts. )

The Streptococcus genus consists of Gram-positive bacteria which appear as chains under microscopic observation. Members of Streptococcus can be aerobic, anaerobic, or microaerophilic. The organisms in this genus are characterized by a coccus appearance, a thick cell wall, and aerobic action on glucose. The Surveyor foam sample was cultured in bacterial media (Thioglycollate) at 37 C. The facultative streptococci are the largest group of bacteria isolated from the oral cavity. They comprise almost 50% of the organisms isolated from plaque and the gingival sulcus. This most abundant oral streptococci are the alpha-hemolytic (Viridans) streptococci, which are part of the normal flora and symbiotically limit the growth of competing harmful bacteria in the mouth.

It has been calculated that the normal human houses about a trillion bacteria on the skin, 10 billion in the mouth, and 100 trillion in the gastrointestinal tract. The latter number is far in excess of the number of eukaryotic cells in all organs which comprise the human host. It is sometimes said quite simply that there is more of "them" than "you'' in you. The normal flora occupy available colonization sites which makes it more difficult for other microorganisms (nonindigenous species) to become established.

See: for photos



>It is now seriously in question whether any microorganisms carried to Luna in 1967 aboard the unmanned Surveyor 3 lander actually either existed or survived when brought back to Earth by Apollo 12 in 1969. It is believed that the microbe found in the lander's camera had actually appeared when the camera was exposed momentarily in nonsterile conditions.

Is there a reference for this?

Quite recently, more or less by chance, I ran across an old NASA report: "Analysis of Surveyor 3 material and photographs returned by Apollo 12".It's a substantial book, published in 1972. (It did not have an SP-xxx etc. publication number that I could find.) I only glanced at most of it, but read the biology report.

The bottom line is that the folks who did the work made quite a convincing case that the bacteria really had survived the trip to the Moon and back.

They got positive results from one and only one location in the camera: the most inaccessible one. The positive result came from insulating foam sandwiched between two circuit boards, reachable only through small holes in the boards after considerable disassembly. All the more accessible areas, where contamination would have been expected to appear more strongly, were totally sterile. The tools and culture media likewise tested as sterile.

Furthermore, there was a substantial delay--several days--before growth started. This is typical of bacteria recovering from severe dehydration, and not what would be expected from contamination with fresh bacteria.

They noted that the Surveyors were not sterilized -- although some attempt was made to minimize their bacterial load -- and that thermal models put the maximum temperature in that foam on the lunar surface at about 70degC. Given this, they commented that the survival of a few organisms (they estimated the bacterial content of their foam sample at under 50) was not really a great surprise. Night-time cold and extreme dehydration were the only really severe environmental stresses involved, and bacteria are noted for their ability to survive these.



Luna 20: Fossils similar to modern coccoidal bacteria Siderococcus or Sulfolobus, lithified by metalic iron. (Upper scalebar = 1.2 micrometers).

On 24 September 1970, for the first time, an unmanned spacecraft delivered a lunar "soil" sample to Earth. The Soviet Union's Luna 16 spacecraft returned from the moon's Sea of Fertility with 101 grams of lunar regolith in a hermetically sealed container (1). In February 1972, only 120 kilometers from the Luna 16 site, Luna 20 used a drill with a ten-inch, hollow-core bit to collect another regolith sample that was also hermetically sealed on the moon (2). Back in the USSR, the sealed containers from the Luna missions would be promptly delivered to the laboratory for the contents to be examined and photographed. But even after hundreds of the pictures were published in an atlas in 1979 (3), the biological nature of some of the particles was not noticed.

Further study of the Luna samples was later undertaken by two biologists at the Russian Academy of Sciences, Stanislav I. Zhmur, Institute of the Lithosphere of Marginal Seas, and Lyudmila M. Gerasimenko, Institute of Biology. They noticed that a few of the particles in the photographs were virtually identical to fossils of known biological species. Specifically, some spherical particles from the Luna 20 regolith plainly resemble fossils of modern coccoidal bacteria like Siderococcus or Sulfolobus in their scale, distribution, form, and the distortion of the spheres that occurs during fossilization.



Renaissance in Lunar Science

Lunar scientists are awash in new data. The Lunar Prospector mission, currently whizzing around the Moon, is sending back data on the Moon's magnetic field, gravity, and surface composition. The mission came on the heels of the spectacularly successful Clementine mission (run by the Department of Defense, with science support from NASA). Clementine produced the first global topographic map and returned images in several wavelengths. These images allowed scientists to determine the concentrations of FeO and TiO2 on the lunar surface [See PSRD article: Moonbeams and Elements]. The vast amounts of new data are now beginning to be used to understand the Moon's geologic history.

A significant development has been the creation of strong collaborations between scientists expert in lunar sample analysis and those expert in remote sensing techniques. This brings all lunar science expertise to bear on problems in lunar science and is leading to new ideas that the data will allow us to test. This effort is being helped along by the Lunar Initiative, an interdisciplinary project inspired by the Curation and Analysis Planning Team for Extraterrestrial Materials (CAPTEM for short), which is chaired by Jim Papike (University of New Mexico). The initiative is designed to enhance interdisciplinary studies of the Moon. (For those interested in the history of acronyms, CAPTEM used to be called LAPST, the Lunar And Planetary Sample Team. LAPST was the renamed version of LSAPT, the Lunar Sample Allocation Planning Team, which had been created during the Apollo program to allocate lunar samples to qualified investigators. The name changes reflect the evolving nature of lunar science and extraterrestrial research during the past three decades.)

A lot of work is being done to understand the South Pole-Aitken (SPA) basin on the lunar farside. This is a gigantic impact crater 2500 km across. David Blewett (University of Hawai'i) and colleagues identified several distinct compositional regions within the basin and showed that compositional trends are not consistent with any known lunar rock type. Moreover, although models of the impact process indicate that most of the floor should be composed of rocks from the lunar mantle, no mantle rocks are recognized in the floor of the basin. SPA has a region of elevated thorium in the northwestern part of the basin, which Larry Haskin (Washington University in St. Louis) and his colleagues argue is due to a concentration of ejecta from the Imbrium impact. The Imbrium basin, which makes up the Man-in-the-Moon's right eye, is exactly half way around the Moon from SPA. In fact, the effect of the Imbrium impact on the geology of the lunar nearside is being re-examined. Some scientists, such as Haskin's colleague Randy Korotev, suggest that virtually all impact melts with a composition nicknamed "LKFM" were made by the Imbrium impact, including those from Apollo 15, 16, and 17. This concept is being debated enthusiastically.

The value of having chemical compositional data for the entire lunar surface can be shown by the example of the TiO2 contents of the basalts making up the lunar maria. Tom Giguere (University of Hawai'i) and colleagues compared the relative abundance of mare basalt samples returned by the Apollo and Luna missions to the Moon with global data obtained by the Clementine mission. The differences are startling, as shown in the histograms (bar graphs) .

See: for photos

If you assumed, as many of us who work on lunar samples had, that the returned samples were representative of the entire Moon, then you would conclude that the basalts come in two major varieties, low-Ti and high-Ti, with little in between. On the other hand, when you look at the global data from Clementine, you see that there are more basalts with intermediate TiO2 contents than there are high-Ti basalts. The samples returned to Earth are a biased set. This has enormous implications for the nature of the lunar interior.



On April 20, 1967, the unmanned lunar lander Surveyor 3 landed near Oceanus Procellarum on the surface of the moon. One of the things aboard was a television camera. Two-and-a-half years later, on November 20, 1969, Apollo 12 astronauts Pete Conrad and Alan L. Bean recovered the camera. When NASA scientists examined it back on Earth they were surprised to find specimens of Streptococcus mitis that were still alive. Because of the precautions the astronauts had taken, NASA could be sure that the germs were inside the camera when it was retrieved, so they must have been there before the Surveyor 3 was launched. These bacteria had survived for 31 months in the vacuum of the moon's atmosphere. Perhaps NASA shouldn't have been surprised, because there are other bacteria that thrive under near-vacuum pressure on the earth today. Anyway, we now know that the vacuum of space is not a fatal problem for bacteria.

What about the low temperature and the possible lack of liquid water in space? The bacteria that survived on the moon suffered huge monthly temperature swings and the complete lack of water. Freezing and drying, in the presence of the right protectants, are actually two ways normal bacteria can enter a state of suspended animation. And interestingly, if the right protectants aren't supplied originally, the bacteria that die first supply them for the benefit of the surviving ones!

Postgate says that bacteria have apparently survived for 4,800 years in the brickwork of Peruvian pyramids, and maybe even 300 million years in coal, using the drying strategy. He also describes bacteria that apparently survived for 11,000 years in the gut of a well-preserved mastodon, although in this case the colony may have continued to live and multiply using nutrients available in the carcass. Postgate gives several other examples of long-surviving bacteria, and he is careful to mention the possibility that some of the bacterial cultures may have been contaminated, so not all of the reports are necessarily reliable.

When the first bacteria colonized the earth, almost four billion years ago, it was by our standards a hostile place. There was no free oxygen to breathe and no ozone to block out the sun's damaging ultraviolet radiation. Nuclear radiation came from decaying U235, which was about fifty times more abundant then than now . The air was hot and full of noxious chemicals such as sulphurous gases released by volcanoes. Not for nothing is it called the Hadean Eon. However, there are bacteria which can live, even thrive, in a very wide variety of conditions that seem unfriendly to us

There are bacteria that metabolize iron, nitrogen, sulphur, and other inorganic materials. There are bacteria today that can live without sunlight. Archaebacteria that can withstand extreme heat have been found thriving in oil reservoirs a mile underground . Some species of cyanobacteria are highly resistant to ultraviolet radiation. The only thing absolutely essential for bacteria to live, grow, and multiply is liquid water. We are confident that the early Earth had plenty of water. Scientists believe that concentration of water in the earliest atmosphere for which they have data, over four billion years ago, was far higher than it is today.

Bacteria have the ability to colonize an unfriendly planet like the Hadean Earth. Not just had the ability but have the ability. These are not make believe stories. All of the bacteria we have considered, with all of their unusual abilities to survive extreme environments, are alive today!



A number of strains of bacteria discovered recently are immune to all known antibiotics, such as E-Coli. If these strains become widespread, there is a likelihood of near-extinct diseases reappearing, such as the plague, anthrax and cholera, with death rates from such diseases similar to those of Medieval times.



May 18, 1999

The Globe and Mail

Kim Honey

Genetically modified plants are being developed for hothouse growers who spend a lot of money on artificial light during bleak Canadian winters.

The story says there is no doubt that vegetables and flowers that grow in one-third the light available on a sunny spring day would be a boon for greenhouses, but the floriculture industry sees a market for people who like house plants.

Irwin Smith, executive director of the Ontario branch of Flowers Canada, was quoted as saying, "When you put them in low light in your house, a lot of your potted plants just sort of wither away and die if they're in dark places. Well, these particular plants might be able to function more efficiently under those conditions."

The genetic engineering is being done by plant biochemist Bernard Grodzinski at the Ontario Agricultural College in Guelph, Ont., a long-time centre of research into greenhouse-production technology. The work is being carried out on plants such as peas, lettuce, tomatoes and chrysanthemums.

But it has another application far removed from its terrestrial roots: growing plants in space.

The story notes that any astronaut who embarks on a long-term mission into space will need an indoor garden to provide a healthy diet, pure water and clean air. And that vegetable patch may have to be built underground; cosmic radiation on the moon would be lethal to humans, and dust storms on Mars might obscure what little solar radiation it receives 228 million kilometres from the sun.

Dr. Grodzinski, co-director of the Space and Advanced Life-Support Agriculture project at the university was cited as saying that a subterranean growing chamber will require artificial light, but providing the full range of solar radiation in space is technically difficult.

Scientists have already used conventional plant-breeding techniques in their quest for a vegetable that can grow in low light. For example, they've created a pea plant that has masses of tendrils rather than leaves, increasing the surface area available for photosynthesis and allowing more light through.

With the advent of modern genetics, researchers are now able to go into the plant's DNA and modify its photosynthetic machinery to make it more efficient in low light. They can also change the shape of its leaves. Dr. Grodzinski was quoted as saying, "The question is . . . can we modify the biochemistry of the leaves so we don't have the engineering constraint of having to mimic the sun everywhere we are?"

The biochemist is testing an array of 100 different genes in an effort to pinpoint which ones control photosynthesis, the conversion of solar energy into chemical energy.

One gene Dr. Grodzinski is investigating has been nicknamed "the green gene" by the scientists who discovered it at Queen's University in Kingston.

Daniel Lefebvre, vice-president of research and development at Performance Plant Inc., a biotechnology company set up on campus was quoted as saying, "We're not sure how novel it is, but it's a chlorophyll-binding protein," adding that leaves already contain the protein, but scientists think that when they put more into a plant's DNA, it creates more chlorophyll, the catalyst for the chemical reaction that produces nourishment for the plant.


The moon rock researchers have to take an "air shower" and suit up before going to work. The shower removes skin flakes and metal particles that might contaminate the lunar samples.

In the Astromaterials Curation at Johnson Space Center. Moon rocks and dust -- all 842 pounds (382 kg) of it -- brought back from the moon missions are kept there. They store the moon rocks, pebbles, sand, soil, dust, and core samples brought back from the six Apollo missions between 1969 and 1972.

Moon rocks are bathed in nitrogen gas to prevent contamination by Earth bacteria.

Moon rocks and meteorites on loan from Astromaterials Curation are on display at museums and science centers around the world, including the Houston Space Center (281/244-2105).

Water on The Moon
(Some of the information on this page is not correct,
but am including it for the general principle of discussion)

How The Full Moon Affects Human Behavior

Moon Walk 1835?

The Bible and Astronomy

The Dark Side of the Moon

Did We Really Go To the Moon?









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    2012 INDEX