Monday, October 5, 2009

Book Review: 'Dark Mission'

Dark Mission: The Secret History of NASA (Enlarged and Revised Edition) by Richard C. Hoagland and Mike Bara has to be the most astounding book I have ever read. If only a fraction of it proves true, it will still be a stunning revelation.

For example--
  • If there is just one artifact on the Moon or on Mars, that's significant. The authors present evidence, although not totally convincing, that there are thousands of "anomalous" and "unnatural" features on both bodies.
  • If NASA has deliberately degraded just one photo, that is extremely troublesome.
  • If there is anything to the theory of hyperdimensional astronomy and its application to celestial navigation, human technology will take another giant leap.
I do have some objections, some of them significant, to the authors' presentation:
  • They often make too much of too little, then use the conclusion as a foundation for an entire line of argument. For example, what if in that "meaningful" photo of Gene Cernan listening to Bush, his smirk is from a bad case of intestinal gas? We've all been there. Also, as to the the "Data head" on the Moon, it certainly looks like a curious artifact, but it could just as easily be a fragment of a religious icon as a piece of a robot. To then speculate that it contained a computer from which data was downloaded is a ridiculous stretch. Those are just two examples of many unsupported leaps to conclusions in the book. (I'm not belittling the importance of finding the object--just the authors' interpretation of it.)
  • Cause and effect seem jumbled in some arguments. The ultimate significance of 19.5 and 33 degrees could be more practical than mystical, as an extension of Hoagland's own arguments. If hyperdimensional geometry can truly govern advanced celestial navigation, the selection of those parameters may be crucial to mission success for practical, physical reasons, not because of some religious correlation. In other words, sacred geometry is more likely to be derived from, and an effect of, the way the universe is built. Selection of specific dates for landings may also have some consistent, practical, rationale other than ceremony or astrology.
  • I don't see many of the objects the authors do in the satellite photos. Quipping that some people have a perceptual handicap that prevents them from seeing such features insults my intelligence. And the reproductions are terrible.
  • Please hire a good copy editor next time. As with so many self-published and small-press books, a profusion of typos and inconsistently applied style rules conveys the dismal impression that no one besides the author thought this book was worth publishing.
All that said, even if portions of this book are unreliable or just plain wrong, its contribution may ultimately prove to be momentous. Seventeenth-century astronomer Johannes Kepler wrote volumes on planetary orbits, which he believed to be mounted on crystalline spheres that hummed a celestial chorus to the glory of God. It took the genius of Sir Isaac Newton to extract from all that superstition just three concise laws of planetary motion, which he translated into mathematical equations. Were it not for our understanding those three laws, modern celestial navigation would be a hopeless dream. (Also, Newton himself harbored all kinds of bizarre notions and spent literally years of his life writing about them.)

Hoagland says Heaviside did the same to Maxwell but missed some essential stuff, to the lasting detriment of science. Maybe he's right.

So I don't mean to scoff just because I'd like more rigor in the arguments. I suspect some of this is true. I just can't tell you which parts.

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