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Are the Moon's Scars Only 3000 Years Old?
Editor's Note: The following article, referred to in "A Record of Success," was published in the New York Times, early city edition, July 21, 1969. The material in brackets was acknowledged by the Times to have fallen out of the piece during the production process.
Man, free from the bonds tying him to the rock of his birth, is about to make his first steps on the lunar landscape. It is an amazing achievement of man's technological genius, and with it the first stage of the Space Age (19571969) will be concluded.
These 12 years have been unkind to many accredited scientific theories of the solar system. Some of the most fundamental concepts are being summoned for revision.
In celestial mechanics, all new evidence has conjured against the concept—basic in science until very recently—that gravitation and inertia are the only forces in action in the celestial sphere.
The new discoveries are the interplanetary magnetic fields centered on the sun and rotating with it; the solar plasma; the terrestrial magnetosphere that caused the moon to rock when entering and leaving the magnetic funnel; the enormously powerful magnetic envelope around Jupiter through which the Galilean satellites plow, themselves influencing the Jovian radio signals.
Who is the physicist that would insist that Jupiter, traveling with its powerful magnetosphere through the interplanetary magnetic field, is not affected by it? Or that the Jovian satellites are not influenced in their motions by the magnetic field of their primary?
And in cosmology the puzzling discoveries have been Venus' incandescent heat; its massive atmosphere (140 atmospheric pressures!); its retrograde rotation controlled by the earth (it turns the very same face to us when in inferior conjunctions), and its mountain-high ground tides (this is my understanding of the paradoxical altitude readings of the recent Venera 5 and 6), which also have caused it in the past to acquire a nearly circular orbit; Mars's moon-like surface and its apparent loss of a large part of its rotational momentum (Mariner 4); and the moon's active state—it is not a dead body cold to its core.
All these discoveries unite to defend the thesis that the present order of the solar system is of recent date.
In divergence from accepted views, I maintain that less than 3,000 years ago the moon's surface was repeatedly molten and its surface bubbled. Since the nineteen-fifties, many unburst bubbles—domes—have been observed on the moon and gases have been found escaping from several orifices.
The moon has hundreds of hot spots and even its light is not all reflected solar light; researchers have come up with calculations that fluorescence would not account for the rest.
In thermoluminescence tests, it should be possible to establish the recentness of the last heating (melting) of the lunar surface. For that purpose, astronauts need to take samples from about three feet below the surface, to where the long lunar day hardly transmits any solar heat. Such tests could establish the time when the lunar surface was molten.
The moon has a very weak magnetic field; yet its rocks and lavas could conceivably be rich in remanent magnetism resulting from strong currents when in the embrace of exogenous magnetic fields.
Before their removal from the ground, the specimens should be marked as to their orientation in situ. Meteorites could not fall all similarly aligned. This simple performance of marking the orientation of samples, I was told, is not in the program of the first landing.
Despite the fact that there are no oceans on the moon and no marine life to give origin to petroleum hydrocarbons, I would not be surprised if bitumens (asphalts, tar or waxes) or carbides or carbonates are found in the composition of the rocks, although not necessarily in the first few samples.
A visitor to the earth would not detect deposits of petroleum in the first few hours, either. I have claimed an extra-terrestrial origin for some of the deposits of petroleum on earth; the moon did not escape the same shower. Only in a subsequent melting of the ground, such deposits would most probably convert into carbides or carbonates.
It is quite probable that chlorine, sulphur and iron in various compounds, possibly [oxidized, will be found richly presented in lunar formations. In my understanding, less than 10,000 years ago, together with the Earth, the moon went through a cosmic cloud of water] (the Deluge) and subsequently was covered for several centuries by water, which dissociated under the ultra-violet rays of the sun, with hydrogen escaping into space.
I maintain that—although not already at the first landing—an excessively strong radioactivity will be detected in localized areas, in those among the crater formations that resulted, I contend, from interplanetary discharges.
I also maintain that moonquakes must be so numerous that there is a bit of a chance that during their few hours on the moon the astronauts may experience a quake.
Some authorities (Harold Urey among them) claim that the scars on the face of the moon are older than four and a half billion years. The lunar landings will provide the answer: Was the face of the moon as we see it carved over four and a half billion years ago or, as I believe, less than 3,000 years ago?
If this unorthodox view is substantiated, it will bear greatly not only on many fields of science but also on the phenomenon of repression of racial memories, with all the implications as to man's irrational behavior.
PENSEE Vol. I