Exposing PseudoAstronomy

August 16, 2012

Kaguya (SELENE / かぐや) Photographs of the Moon, Specifically the Claimed Ziggurat Area


After this point, Mike needs to answer the basic question of: What would it take to falsify your claim?

It’s a basic question that every person should always ask of anything, including their own beliefs. I’ve explained several times what it would take to falsify my claims that Mike’s ziggurat claim is false. Each time Mike has posted something new about it, he has generally ignored my previous rebuttal as “silly” or “twaddle” or some other such thing, either outright stating (at least once) or implying (several times) that my analysis would be easy to show was wrong, and yet he has not done so.

The Parry This Time

…[H]e’s implying that there are images from “non-NASA” missions which don’t showthe [sic] Ziggurat on them, and further, that he has seen them. How else could he claim they “don’t show the feature” if he hasn’t seen them? If true and these images exist, then he should produce them. The burden of proof is not on me to produce them, it’s on him. He’s the one claiming they exist, not me.

…If there are such “non-NASA” images, then produce them, otherwise shut-up about them and admit you BS’d your readers into thinnking [sic] they ever existed in the first place.

On a small part of this, I would actually agree: I did make the claim that there are non-NASA images that cover the site, and so the burden of evidence is upon me to show that.

In fact, it was the second of my main three points as to why I think that the ziggurat is not real: “2. Why other images of the same place taken by several different craft (including non-NASA ones), including images at almost 100x the original resolution of the Apollo photo, don’t show the feature.”

Though, clearly, I was NOT necessarily saying that non-NASA craft had imaged it at 100x the original Apollo.

Of course, Mike misses the point that it is up to him to prove the INITIAL claim that the ziggurat is real when he found it on a video game forum.

Kaguya / SELENE / かぐや

Kaguya was the nickname of the Selenological and Enginering Explorer (SELENE) spacecraft to the Moon, built and launched and operated by the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) that flew for several years, 2007-2009. It had several cameras on it, and it was the first to image the Apollo landing sites and actually show something from the missions due to its high resolution of up to 10 meters per pixel (actual pixel scale depended on orbit and instrument).

Using their online data search and retrieval system, you can (and I did) search for and find several images that cover the site. Among them are the following. Note: JAXA is picky, and you MUST go to their main page, agree to their terms, click Start and then you can view the links below.

To remind you, the Apollo photo has a pixel scale of ROUGHLY 65 meters per pixel at that location.

Example Image

I’ve downloaded those six and contained within the obtuse file format (see this link for dealing with it) is the JPG thumbnail. Within the two files at 10 mpp, you have the IMG file that can be read with ISIS.

Here’s one of them, full-res of the target region (again, reason for the wavy edges is the geometric correction I’ve talked about many times before). Make sure you click to enlarge.


DTMTCO_03_05874S092E1744SC with “Ziggurat” Area at Full-Resolution (click to enlarge)

That’s at nearly 7x the pixel scale of the Apollo photo.

In my post from early yesterday morning, I gave you the following context image of NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera’s WAC and NAC:

WAC and NAC of Alleged Lunar Ziggurat

WAC and NAC of Alleged Lunar Ziggurat (click to enlarge)

So you know where the ziggurat is. Now we can also compare the WAC with the Kaguya image:

Alleged Ziggurat Area - WAC and Kaguya Comparison

Alleged Ziggurat Area – WAC and Kaguya Comparison

The sun angles are all somewhat different, though I gave you several other images at other sun angles from SELENE above.

Where Do We Go Now?

I’ve put many of my cards on the table. I think I’ve shown pretty well my points.

But at the same time, we have not progressed anywhere. Mike has not directly responded to any of my direct, specific points, critiques, areas where I explained that he was incorrect about some fundamental points of image processing and analysis (such as with noise), nor refutations/answers to his questions/conspiracies (such as the last one about the “Venetian Blinds” effect of all WAC images). He’s continued to maintain the NASA images are fake, and then insisted that I supply those from other agencies. I think it’d be hard to say that JAXA is under NASA control, or that JAXA painted the ziggurat area black, though I’m sure he’ll probably claim something like they cloned it out of the JAXA image. Hard to back that up considering that, as far as is possible to tell, it matches the other images of the site, along with the other images from Kaguya.

At this point, though, we’re really again at the question of: What does it take to falsify your beliefs? We can’t move forward if the answer is “nothing,” nor if the response to these SELENE photos is simply that it’s another part of the conspiracy.

I understand that Mike feels the need to defend this considering that he’s put so much effort into it and made it a centerpiece of his book due out in October. But seriously – again – I think that to any objective observer I’ve proven my point and Mike has failed to prove his.



  1. Dr. Robbins, you are NOT supposed to actually go find the pictures from non-NASA sites and post them, that’s quite the low blow! [/sarcasm] BTW, I will bet that one of the following is the answer (assuming he even acknowledges that these other photos exist) 1) These pictures have been ‘edited’ by the NASA conspiracy or 2) Obviously, NASA blew the thing up between the Apollo photo and these later photos……

    Nice work.

    Comment by Belgarath — August 16, 2012 @ 3:51 pm | Reply

    • Oh, you mean it was a rhetorical challenge? One he hoped I wouldn’t do?

      Comment by Stuart Robbins — August 16, 2012 @ 3:54 pm | Reply

      • Stuart, How do the Kaguya images compare in quality to those from Chang’e or Chandrayaan-1? Did either of those orbiters take photos of the ‘ziggurat’ location?

        Comment by Trekker — August 17, 2012 @ 11:24 am

      • I don’t actually know about that. Chandrayaan-1 data is currently under internal review and not released, and the Chang’e-1 team made some reference to it being available at some point but websites that were referenced at conferences are now dead. Of course, Chandrayaan-1 had a NASA instrument onboard so it’s part of the conspiracy. The only other non-US mission I know of would be SMART-1 (ESA), but I have not looked yet for those images.

        But, I think the SELENE stuff proves my point pretty well.

        Comment by Stuart Robbins — August 17, 2012 @ 11:29 am

      • Yes, it certainly does – I just thought that Mike would now continue to demand further evidence!

        Comment by Trekker — August 17, 2012 @ 11:43 am

      • Yeah, I debated making a deliberate statement to that point in the main post, but figured I’d point out, if Mike brings it up, that I delivered what he was asking for and now he has no other excuses.

        Comment by Stuart Robbins — August 17, 2012 @ 11:45 am

  2. Congratulations on an excellent piece of research. I tried to use the Kaguya database but it baffled me.

    Comment by Expat — August 16, 2012 @ 4:07 pm | Reply

  3. Maybe he’ll eventually give up and start with a new theory. How about that there are no nightime pictures of Vallis Marineris because they would show the lights from the cliff dwellings?

    Comment by Mark Anderson — August 16, 2012 @ 4:42 pm | Reply

    • You say that in jest, but I’m sure there’s someone out there who thinks that. (And actually there are nighttime images of all of Mars.)

      Comment by Stuart Robbins — August 16, 2012 @ 4:44 pm | Reply

      • Oh there is indeed! One of Hoagland’s fans has an obsession with a ‘satellite dish’ in Hebes Chasma, so it’s not beyond the bounds of possibility that he’ll eventually see the operating lights!

        Comment by Trekker — August 16, 2012 @ 6:53 pm

  4. In life, more often than not, the simplest answer is the correct answer. What would NASA have to gain by hiding ET evidence? Nothing. What would they have to gain by demonstrating ET evidence? EVERYTHING (they’d have all the budget they could desire). Thus, the conspiracy angle. Only a conspiracy reaching back to the dawn of humanity could possibly explain why a science agency that lives or dies by its funding would hide from the public something which would ensure ample funding.

    What one must understand about Mike is that, unlike Mr. Hoagland, he actually believes this mythology. Richard is like the cult leader, establishing the doctrine and the supporting story line wherein like Scientology, there’s always something more to learn the more inside you get. The way he answers questions seem almost tongue in cheek (he often appends an ascci ‘smiley face’ to his most obtuse and dubious covers) and – to me – reveal that he knows he’s selling a load. Mike actually believes the nonsense. He, more than anyone who has every followed Richard on Facebook or suffered through his lectures or writings, is the biggest victim.

    Comment by James — August 17, 2012 @ 8:16 am | Reply

    • Isn’t it interesting to note that Mike and Richard have reputable ex-NASA employees actually concur with -if not substantiate- alot of their claims?

      What it ultimately boils down to is: There’s truth to this “NASA conspiracy.” If you knew without a shadow of a doubt that NASA has lied about serious things, wouldn’t you be looking under every rock to find more?

      Mike may be a little heavy with his choice words to define the Dr. and this crowd but I can’t help but feel the overwhelming sense of digital-circle-jerking going on here.

      Comment by ExHomunculus — August 17, 2012 @ 8:52 pm | Reply

      • When it comes to so-called “whistle-blowers,” there still needs to be objective evidence that anyone can examine. I’m familiar with a few claims that Richard makes -well, one in particular about early generation Apollo photos – that when you really dig into it, it is much less conspiratorial/devious than Richard presents it.

        One also needs to look at the background of the person making the claim to see if it’s reliable or makes sense. For example, the letter from a few dozen former NASA employees who were complaining about NASA saying global climate change is real. NONE of those employees have any background in climate science. Them being former NASA employees was irrelevant.

        Do I believe everything that every NASA official says? No. Does that mean I believe that the literally millions of images from NASA spacecraft have all been “sanitized” of alien stuff, and that Mike just happened to find the REAL version on a video game forum? No.

        Comment by Stuart Robbins — August 17, 2012 @ 9:33 pm

      • It’s quite possible and likely that NASA doesn’t publish everything it finds. I do have a healthy mistrust of the government and its agencies. But I stop WAY short of believing there are factions of the government waging a secret solar-system wide war with the remainder of the Nazi party (who escaped to Space using Mayan/Martian tech), and that NASA is covering it all up/in on it.

        Comment by James — August 18, 2012 @ 7:12 am

      • People who work at NASA are subject to its embargo and clearance policies, and many of them on the science were put in place by the Bush (W) administration because they didn’t like the global climate change studies coming out.

        But what many do not realizes is that very few scientists, comparatively, work for NASA. The people in charge of the LRO Camera work at Arizona State University. I honestly don’t know the specifics of their NASA contract, but it is highly doubtful they have any kind of basic clearance policy. I know in my own work that I sure as heck have no clearance policy, though I am not a PI on a major instrument,

        Comment by Stuart Robbins — August 18, 2012 @ 10:48 am

    • Being an ex-NASA employee doesn’t make them either immune to believing foolish things OR even relevant to the discussion. Unless of course they were actually a member of the secret black ops photoshop squad 🙂

      Comment by Kurious — August 23, 2012 @ 2:57 pm | Reply

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