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Open letter to science editors

 

Harry H. Hess, 1905 - 1969

"In Hess' passing I lost the only member of the scientific elite who demanded a fair treatment for me and my work." Immanuel Velikovsky

H. H. Hess and My Memoranda
Immanuel Velikovsky
Copyright 1972 by Immanuel Velikovsky

On August 25, 1972, three years elapsed since the death of Professor Harry Hammond Hess.  He died of a heart attack while presiding over a meeting (convened at Woods Hole, Massachusetts) of the Space Science Board of the National Academy of Sciences.  The Board had the task of overseeing the activities of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, with its multi-billion dollar spending.  At the Woods Hole meeting Hess had intended to discuss the role of thermoluminescence (TL) tests in the lunar programs, an issue I had discussed with him.

When I moved from Manhattan to Princeton in the early summer of 1952, I became steeped in library work for Earth in Upheaval, and the library of Guyot Hall (Princeton's geology department) was a place I frequented.  Already known for my Worlds in Collision and the discussion it provoked, I caused some curiosity among the numerous faculty members of the department.  I do not remember my first contact with Hess, but from our first meeting something in both of us attracted each other.

Hess was the chairman of the department.  Once when I mentioned the Vening Meinesz submarine expedition for gravitational measurements in the Caribbean in the 1930's, during which, paradoxically, a positive anomaly was regularly detected and the greater it was the deeper was the sea, or the less mass there was, Hess surprised me by telling that he participated in that expedition.

Another highlight of his career took place during World War II.  In command of a naval vessel in the Pacific with certain exploratory assignments, he utilized the opportunity to explore the bottom of the ocean in a certain area.  Under the water he discovered flat-topped mountains, which he named "guyots," honoring the late Princeton professor of geology, Arnold Henry Guyot (1807-84).

By the end of the war, Hess was retired from active duty with the rank of a rear admiral.  In the university he taught mineralogy and crystallography, but marine geology remained his favored subject.

In November, 1955, Earth in Upheaval was published.  Soon it was made required reading in paleontology under Professor van Houten at Princeton--along with an antidote: Loren Eiseley's The Firmament of Time.  Hess several times during those years gave me the opportunity to address the faculty and graduate students of his department.  Since from 1953 (when I spoke before the Graduate College Forum of Princeton University) to 1963 practically no college or university or scientific society extended to me an invitation to speak, those appearances at the behest of Hess meant much to me.

He gave me his published paper on guyots.  Upon reading it I wrote a rather merciless criticism of his idea that the accumulation of sediment caused the submergence of the sea bottom and with it the submergence of the flat-topped guyots.  In his response he showed graciousness.

By mid-1956 preparations for the International Geophysical Year were gaining momentum.  On December 5, 1956, I gave to Hess a memo describing, in brevity, several projects for inclusion in the IGY. (The Year, due to start July 1, 1957, would continue until the end of 1958.)  There was not yet a Space Science Board, so I gave the memo to Hess in his capacity as chairman of the geology department.  Hess sent the memo to Dr. Joseph Kaplan, one of the scientific organizers of the Year.  The answer came from Edward O. Hulburt, another scientist in charge of the program, and it was addressed to the "chairman of the department of physics" at Princeton.  The first of the suggested projects--to investigate the earth's magnetic field above the ionosphere--had been, according to Hulburt, considered by the planning committee. (In my Forum Lecture [October 14, 1953] I had already claimed the existence of a magnetosphere above the ionosphere--the lecture was printed as a supplement to Earth in Upheaval.)

Three months after the beginning of the IGY the Russians startled the world by launching the first Sputnik (October 4, 1957), opening the Space Age.  I was then on a visit to Israel, my second since I came to the States in July, 1939.

Although Hulburt referred to the plan of measuring the strength of the magnetic field above the ionosphere as considered for the program, the fact is that the discovery of the van Allen belts, the main achievement of IGY, was not anticipated or considered: when no charged particles were registered at a certain altitude, van Allen of the University of Iowa was startled, but one of his co-workers suggested that possibly the recording apparatus was jammed by too many charged particles; the apparatus was modified and the belts were discovered.  At the beginning they were featured in the form of two halves of a doughnut; only much later was it recognized that the half on the anti-solar side is stretched far out.  But in my memo as also in the Forum lecture, I visualized a magnetosphere reaching as far as the lunar obit.

Another claim made in my Forum Lecture of 1953--namely, that Jupiter could be a source of radio signals- was already confirmed in the spring of 1955.  I never came out with"'claims confirmed" until I read in the New York Times that nobody ever thought of Jupiter as a source of radio noises before they were discovered by chance.  I turned to Lloyd Motz, Columbia University astronomer, and V. Bargmann, Princeton University physicist, both of whom were entrusted by me with the script of my Forum Lecture soon after its delivery.  They wrote a joint letter to Science, which published it in the December 21, 1962 issue, concurrent with the yearly convention of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, publisher of Science.  It almost coincided with the first reports of Mariner II, which had passed its rendezvous with Venus a week earlier, on December 14.  The high temperature of Venus was confirmed.

This last announcement was made by Dr. Homer Newell for NASA in February, 1963.  The presence of hydrocarbons in the clouds surrounding Venus was also announced as confirmed--this on the basis of the work of Dr. L. D. Kaplan (Jet Propulsion Laboratory): only compounds containing the radical CH (polymerized) could lend to the 15-mile thick cloud the same properties at the -250 F temperature at the top of the cloud and at the + 200' F temperature at the bottom of the cloud separated by 45 kilometers of lower atmosphere from the sizzlingly hot ground surface of the planet.

I wrote an article, "Venus - A Youthful Planet," and sent it to the editor of Science.   I found it back in my mailbox less than 48 hours later, returned unread.

__________________________________________________
GEOLOGY DEPARTMENT OF PRINCETON UNIVERSITY
Cosmos and Chronos Forum Lecture
"FROM SPUTNIK TO APOLLO 11"
IMMANUEL VELIKOVSKY
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 21, 8 P.M.
Guyot Hall, Washington Road
Open to the Public
__________________________________________________

I discussed the case with Hess, and he decided to offer it for publication in the American Philosophical Society Proceedings.  As a member of the society he was entitled to sponsor a paper by a nonmember.  The paper was submitted, and its fate was related by Yale Scientific Magazine (April, 1967, p. 8):

"The paper was discussed at the editorial board meeting of the Society and caused prolonged and emotional deliberations, with the Board split between those favoring the publication and those opposed to it.  For several months a decision could not be reached ... the decision was made, in order to safeguard the very existence of the Board, to delegate the decision on the article to three members of the society, not members of the Board.  Their names were not disclosed but on January 20,1964, Dr. George W. Corner, Executive Officer of the Society and the editor of the Proceedings, informed Dr. Hess that the decision had been made to reject the article.

"Subsequently it was also rejected by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists.  In that magazine in April, 1964, an abusive article was published by a Mr. Howard Margolis, attacking Velikovsky and his work.  The editor of the Bulletin, Dr. Eugene Rabinowitch, in a letter to Professor Alfred de Grazia, editor of the American Behavioral Scientist, offered Velikovsky an opportunity to reply with an article 'not more abusive' than that of Margolis, or, instead, to have some of his views presented in the Bulletin by some scientist of repute.  Then Professor H. Hess submitted the article "Venus--A Youthful Planet," to Dr. Rabinowitch.  The latter returned it with the statement that he did not read Velikovsky's book, nor the article."

In July Harper's printed an article by Eric Larrabee calling for an "agonizing reappraisal" of my work.  Menzel of Harvard College Observatory, who not so long previously had revoked his earlier estimate of Venus' temperature as much too high, now wrote in Harper's that "hot" is a relative term and liquid helium is hot in relation to liquid hydrogen.  As to my claim concerning the magnetosphere, Menzel argued that since I claimed that the magnetosphere reaches as far as the lunar orbit, I made a wrong prediction.  The magnetosphere, he said, does not reach more than a few terrestrial radii, whereas the moon is 60 terrestrial radii distant.

Hess was adversely impressed by the attitude of the scientific community toward me and my work; still subscribing to the accepted uniformitarian doctrine, he had sympathy for my independent stand.  He wrote a letter that was intended for public record and which Doubleday incorporated in its "Report on the Velikovsky Controversy," printed in the Book Review Section of the New York Times (August 2, 1964).

While a debate was going on in several issues of Harper's, the Australian physicist/cosmologist, V. A. Bailey, joined the fracas and accused Menzel of pre-space age thinking.

Hess, now president of the American Geological Society and chairman of the Space Science Board, suggested that I put together a program for space investigation.  I responded without delay; the memo of September, 1963, resulted.

About that time de Grazia published a special issue of the American Behavioral Scientist dealing with the reception of my work.  When he came to see me, Hess came too.

Once or twice I asked Hess to organize a panel of members of various faculties of Princeton University that would investigate what was right and what was wrong in my theory and what was proper or improper in the attitude of my critics.  Before he decided whether to follow this course (perhaps, expecting a negative attitude by faculty members, he tarried), an initiative came from Dr. Franklin Murphy, at that time chancellor of the University of California at Los Angeles.  He asked UCLA's geophysicist, Professor Louis Slichter, to organize a committee for the same kind of inquiry I had proposed to Hess.  Murphy's initiative, however, foundered and the story needs to be told separately.  It embraced the period from January to November, 1964.

In January, 1965, Hess took the initiative to organize the Cosmos and Chronos Study and Discussion Group, and he placed in the Bulletin of the University an announcement of the first open discussion.  Originally we planned a debate on evolution based on the uniformitarian principle vs. evolution based mainly on cataclysmic events.  My opponent was to have been Princeton professor of biology, Colin Pittendrigh.  There was a mutual respect between us (earlier he had visited me and also inscribed to me a biology text which he co-authored with G. G. Simpson, my early antagonist), but Pittendrigh insisted that the problem of extinction in the animal kingdom should not be a part of the debate.  I could not see how the two parts of the evolutionary problem--the evolution of new species and the extinction of the old--could be separated in a meaningful debate.  It appeared that the friendly relations between us were in jeopardy.  Hess, without fanfare, offered to be my opponent.

The debate took place in the auditorium of Guyot Hall and fared well.  Next, Professor Lloyd Motz came from Columbia University to debate me on astronomical subjects.  The third open debate was between me and philosopher Walter Kaufmann of the Princeton faculty.  Other study groups spontaneously organized themselves on various campuses.  The story of the first four or five years of Cosmos and Chronos and what changes in the structure of the organization I had to demand is a story by itself!

In the fall of 1966 I spoke in the new auditorium of the Wilson School of Princeton University, under the aegis of the Princeton chapter of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.  The lecture was described by Walter Sullivan, science editor of the New York Times, in his column of October 2, 1966.  As he described it, he first visited Hess to find out whether Velikovsky is a person of integrity.  Hess assured him of my complete integrity and added something about my memory, ascribing to me more than I deserve.

An unusual memory was actually one of Hess' own characteristics.  Things spoken or letters read were remembered by him years later.  Once, when I exhorted him to reread a chapter in Earth in Upheaval, he replied that he knew the book by heart.  His many very large tables that served him as desks were covered with stacks of papers, but it seemed that he could always find the necessary document; he was helped by a devoted secretary, Mrs. Knapp, who, it seems, also relied on his memory.

Despite his heavy schedule (he never stopped teaching crystallography), Hess was available for many a demand on his time.  I remember the case of an uneducated but dedicated man who, living in Michigan, collected many rocks, obviously burned, and wrote me regularly of his belief that the lake was scooped out by an asteroid impact.  He mailed me, at intervals, boxes with stones.  I sent some of them to a scientist at the University of Pittsburgh whom I knew, and brought some others to Hess.  The former did not answer; the latter took a few of them to investigate their possible meteoritic nature.

Hess ascribed the reversal of the rocks' magnetic orientation to a spontaneous process in the minerals, as he had claimed in debate with me at my occasional lectures at the geology department.  But when he finally realized that such spontaneous reversals could not occur simultaneously in rocks of various compositions, he volunteered to tell me that he was wrong.

When, years after my first memo of December 5, 1956, he read or heard a paper concerning the reversal of the direction of winding in fossil vines and shells from both southern and northern hemispheres, he was pleased to let me know that the claims the IGY would not investigate were confirmed by independent research.

In 1967 I gave him a memorandum on radioactivity hazards for astronauts in several localized areas of the moon and Mars, results of interplanetary discharges.  Dr. Homer Newell of NASA sent the memo to scientists on the staff who he thought would be the ones to consider the subject.  By that time Hess and I started to call one another by our first names.

In 1968 Hess was named by the Italian government and Academy of Sciences the recipient of a major prize (in monetary value, approaching the Nobel prize) for his old work on the guyots.  Despite all the distinctions he received, he remained a quiet and humble man.  I never heard him speak in a loud voice.  He did not pull or push and, which was unusual in the academic atmosphere of the time, he was sought out for his fairness.

Not long before his death he purchased a new home.  Until then he had lived in a university house on Fitzrandolph Street.  The house, built with its gables like a chalet, was occupied by Woodrow Wilson when he was president of Princeton University.  At one of my rare visits, Hess drew my attention to the book cases built at Wilson's behest.

The last and possibly the most exciting event was quickly approaching.  Hess, usually shy of publicity, made himself available to the press to state his belief that water in quantity would be found under the lunar surface.  I remember how he showed me a winding rill or rift photographed on the moon and wished me to agree with him that it was caused by running water.  I discussed with him my views, namely that the moon was once showered by water of the universal Deluge, but that all of it or almost all of it dissociated before the later cosmic catastrophes.  The face of the moon we see was formed in those later catastrophes.

On May 19 I wrote down a few of my advanced claims concerning the moon and handed it to Hess' research assistant, who strongly supported the view that large water reservoirs lay under the moon's surface.  Hess said to me, "this time you will be wrong."  Until then, closely following my record, he found that all my expectations ("predictions") turned out to be true.  Once, on our way from Guyot Hall to our respective homes, he ascribed my record to intuition.  When I asked which of my claims does not follow from my thesis, he replied, "noises from Jupiter."  He was right, but only to the extent that I have not yet published the story of the earlier cataclysms, promised in the final chapter of Worlds in Collision.

The events surrounding the first manned landing on the moon had a dramatic urgency, and they, too, need to be recorded separately.  My two telephone conversations in which I tried to obtain Hess' support for thermoluminescence tests of lunar core extracts, as also envisioned in my article in the New York Times on the evening of the first lunar manned landing, can be read in the correspondence.

I saw Hess once more--he was with his secretaries and assistants, preparing for the Woods Hole meeting.  He was not in a cheerful mood--that morning the news came that hydrocarbons (petroleum derivatives) were discovered on the moon, but no water yet. (Now, almost three years later, signs of the one-time presence of water have been detected.)  He was, it appeared to me, gloomy.

About half a year earlier he had suffered a heart attack.  He was always a chain smoker.  The load of work, the excitement of the last few weeks, and possibly a discouragement, but quite probably his premonition that he would not be able to witness the entire lunar program of many landings, must have weighed heavily on him.

On the morning of August 26, 1969, I picked up a newspaper at the Princeton Junction railway station and saw Hess' friendly face on a page carrying a eulogy.

The day the university arranged a memorial service in its chapel, I was delivering a lecture to the faculty of the Ocean County College.  I spoke of Hess.

On October 21, exactly three months after the first landing on the moon, at my initiative, the geophysical department (the new name for the geology department), together with the Cosmos and Chronos Study Group, arranged a memorial lecture at the auditorium of Guyot Hall.  The opening part of my lecture, "From Sputnik to Apollo XI," was dedicated to Hess.

In Hess' passing I lost the only member of the scientific elite who demanded a fair treatment for me and my work.  When in November the assistant to the president of the university came to see me, I spoke of Hess and could not hide the tears in my eyes.  For the rest of 1969 I felt depressed.

Of people who were prominent in their fields and who, since the beginning of my work and through the years showed me more than casual interest and sympathy, I name Robert Pfeiffer, Orientalist and Biblical scholar (d. 1958); Horace M. Kallen, philosopher and educator; Walter S. Adams, astronomer (d. 1956); Albert Einstein (,I. 1955); and Harry Hess, who died in his sixty-fourth year, three years ago.  Kallen alone of all of them is alive, having these days reached the venerable age of ninety, still active as writer and lecturer, with time having dimmed none of his mental abilities.

They were few, but each of them was great as a human being.

Editor's Note: All memoranda and letters published here remain in their original form, without editorial change.

December 5, 1956

Dear Professor Hess:

I have read with vivid interest your paper on the guyots in the Pacific: I will continue here to think aloud.  The size of the guyots is no argument against their volcanic nature.  The truncated upper surface of a guyot nine miles wide is larger than the widest known crater on earth, yet certainly smaller than Mauna Loa in cross-section measured half way from the bottom of the ocean.  I would not shrink even from thinking of them as gigantic mesas: some of the shapes in your drawings have this form.  A great volcanic activity took place in the Pacific at an early age.  Large stretches of lava in its bottom (Pettersson), and huge quantities of ashes indicate this.  The moon with its large craters and dried seas of lava comes into mind (without agreeing with the theory of the origin of the moon from the bed of the Pacific).

Your idea of the guyots being islands submerged ca. 500 fathoms (3,000 feet) is well supported by the findings of M. Ewing in the Atlantic (sand beaches submerged 3 miles, or 15,000 feet).

The explanation of isostatic subsidence of the oceanic floor weighed with accruing sediment requires enormous amounts of this sediment and, I ask myself, whether the figures would hold this portion of the theory.  You assume that the oceanic area would decrease because of submergence of the bottom loaded with the sediment and prisms of it along continental margins.  Would not the oceanic area increase in such circumstances?  The submergence would be more than compensated by the accrued sediment and the displaced water would encroach on the coasts.

I am not familiar with the calculations concerning loads in relation to isostatic subsidence.  I assume that a layer of ten feet of sediment would not lower the bottom by the same amount of ten feet, and probably not even by a single one.  An earth crust that is neither elastic (resilient) nor rigid, but only plastic, with magma underneath exerting only a minimal opposition to the pressure from above, would submerge a foot for a foot of load of the specific weight 2.5 (if the ocean does not change its horizontal area).  Therefore 2,000 feet of sediment since preCambrian time (Kuenen's figure) appear to me not enough to account for the rise of the sea level relative to the upper surface of the guyots by ca. 3,000 feet (p. 296).

Also the land on the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean cannot be accounted for by isostatic movement; Ewing found very thin layers of sediment where he expected hundreds or thousands of feet deposited.  All of which indicates that some other causes lifted the crust in some places and depressed it in others.

I offer here those thoughts for whatever they are worth.  Since 1947, when your paper was written, you may have thought of the guyots in the light of certain facts made known by Pettersson's expedition.  I assume that his finds support your ideas of volcanic origin and submergence of these formations discovered by you in 1942.

I accompany this letter with a list including seven questions which I would like to see included in the program of the International Geophysical Year.  I shall be grateful to you if you will consent to offer their inclusion in the program (a carbon copy is for your files.) Should you wish first to discuss them with me, please give me a ring.

I liked the friendly atmosphere last Friday when I spoke in Guyot Hall.

Very sincerely,

(signed) Im.  Velikovsky

December 5, 1956

Tests and Measurements Proposed for Inclusion in
the Program of the International Geophysical Year.
Immanuel Velikovsky

1.  Measurement of the strength of the terrestrial magnetic field above the upper layers of the ionosphere.  It is accepted that the terrestrial magnetic field--about one-quarter of a Gauss at the surface of the earth--decreases with the distance from the ground; yet the possibility should not be discounted that the magnetic field above the ionosphere is stronger than at the earth's surface.

2.  An investigation as to whether the unexplained lunar librations, or rocking movements, in latitude and longitude coincide with the revolutions of the terrestrial magnetic poles around the geographical poles.

3.  An inquiry into the magnetic orientation of the lavas erupted in the middle of the second millennium before the present era (e.g. in Thera-Santorin) may establish the recentness of the reversal of the magnetic field of the earth.

4.  An analysis of the magnetic inclination (dip) in the clay of the pottery of the Old and Middle Kingdoms in Egypt may disclose substantial shifts, actually reversals of the magnetic field of the earth; similar tests could also be performed on various neolithic pottery.

5.  An investigation of the direction of the spirals of fossil snail shells and of the windings of fossil vines which are now usually clockwise in one hemisphere and counter clockwise in the other, may reveal, with the help of radiocarbon analysis, the time of changes or reversals in the direction of the rotation of the earth.

6.  Measurement of the gravitational constant within a Faraday cage with varying distances between the attracting bodies in order to exclude the influence of the atmospheric electricity on the obtained results, and thus to verify the inverse square law.

7.  Tests in comparing the velocity of fall--and of the acceleration constant--of charged and neutral bodies.

January 2, 1957

Dear Dr. Velikovsky:

Your comments on guyots are acute.  You have put your finger on most of the deficiencies of my hypothesis as it stood in 1946.  Perhaps you would like some further explanation.  When written Kuenen's earlier estimate of the thickness of oceanic sediments agreed very closely to my needed 3000 ft. of submergence since the Proterozoic.  Now the thickness has been reduced to 1/5 of the old estimate and the age of beginning of submergence also decreased to about 1/5.  So I was off by a factor of 25.  A more recent reprint which I am enclosing repairs the damage.

One km. of sediment on the ocean floor would cause sea level to rise one km. relative to some point on the original floor.  The bottom would sink isostatically by .4 km.  To get 1 km. of sediment on the sea floor means eroding 2.3 km. from the continents on the average.  This looks as though the continents would be flooded but they rise most of the 2.3 km. isostatically and repeated mountain building thickens the crust about enough to leave sea level vs continent level relatively in the same place it was when the process started.

Ewing's sand at 15000 ft. is now largely explained by him as the result of turbidity currents rather than submergence.

With regard to paleomagnetism, Runcorn is very convincing but he completely neglects a most important phenomenon, that is self reversal which some iron minerals are known to go through dependent on composition and rate of cooling.  Some or all reversals may be due to this phenomenon.  Runcorn will lecture on his views in Guyot [Hall, Princeton] January 11th.

I will pass your ideas on to Dr. Kaplan in the IGY organization.  I take a rather gloomy view of IGY and doubt if anything of much interest will come of it.  Fifty six million dollars will produce a lot of scurrying back and forth to the South Pole and an indigestible mass of random observations on everything.  Scientific discoveries and ideas are produced by the intuition, creativeness and genius of a man.  Dollars of themselves don't produce this, any more than they could be expected to produce another Mona Lisa.  This is something which I believe you can readily understand.

I would like to thank you for coming to talk to us.  The students were most appreciative.

Sincerely,

(signed) H.H. Hess

January 18, 1957

The Chairman
Department of Physics
Princeton University

Dear Sir,

A copy of a document is enclosed "Tests and Measurements Proposed for Inclusion in the Program of the International Geophysical Year," dated "Princeton, Dec. 5, 1956," and with the words "From Velikovsky via H.H. Hess" written at the end.

This document was handed to me for comment after passing through so many hands that its origin is completely obscure to me.

With reference to paragraph 1, the measurement of the strength of the terrestrial magnetic field above the upper layers of the ionosphere is in the U.S. IGY program.  At present five rockets are assigned to the experiment, and the third earth girdling satellite will carry magnetic equipment.

With reference to paragraph 2, a study of lunar librations with geomagnetic pole movements is not included in the IGY program, but may possibly be done later after the IGY magnetic data are available.

The other paragraphs 3 to 7 give suggested experiments which are not included in the U.S. IGY program.  These experiments, except 6 & 7, are concerned with micro-magnetic analysis.  Such experiments and ideas were quite familiar to our Panel on Geo-magnetism, and as I recall were discussed to a considerable extent.  We decided that they could be done by individual investigators, and did not require international cooperation.  Therefore, they did not fall readily into the general character of work which was considered appropriate to IGY programs.

Yours very truly,

(signed) Edward 0. Hulburt
Senior Scientist, USNC-IGY,
also Chairman, USNC Technica Panel on Geomagnetism

March 15, 1963

Dear Velikovsky:

We are philosophically miles apart because basically we do not accept each other's form of reasoning--logic.  I am of course quite convinced of your sincerity and I also admire the vast fund of information which you have painstakingly acquired over the years.

I am not about to be converted to your form of reasoning though it certainly has had successes.  You have after all predicted that Jupiter would be a source of radio noise, that Venus would have a high surface temperature, that the sun and bodies of the solar system would have large electrical charges and several other such predictions.  Some of these predictions were said to be impossible when you made them.  All of them were predicted long before proof that they were correct came to hand.  Conversely I do not know of any specific prediction you made that has since been proven to be false.  I suspect the merit lies in that you have a good basic background in the natural sciences and you are quite uninhibited by the prejudices and probability taboos which confine the thinking of most of us.

Whether you are right or wrong I believe you deserve a fair hearing.

Kindest regards.

(signed) H.H. Hess

September 11, 1963

Dear Professor Hess:

At our conference the day before yesterday I had the impression that you would welcome some suggestions on my part to the program of space investigation.  Readily I have prepared a memorandum of four pages which I submit to you in your capacity as Chairman of the Space Board of the National Academy of Sciences.  I have not elaborated on the reasons that make me in some selections, at least, follow an unexpected line of thought.  In those tests where a condition or a fact is looked for, its finding, depending on the case, is anticipated as not impossible, probable, or even certain.  All these experiments and tests spring from a common concept, basic to my theory of the structure of the universe and of its recent past.  Should your Board wish oral or written explanations, I would gladly accept such invitation.

Would you also think it proper to submit the proposals contained in my memorandum to wider circles for possible criticism or for a start in exploring the problems it raises and would you consider to offer the memorandum as a paper for an early publication in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences?  With such idea in my view, I enclose my "Propositions for Inclusion in the Program of Space Probes for the rest of 1963 and the following years" accompanied by a carbon copy of it.

You will find here also a xerox copy of the recent letter by Prof. V.A. Bailey of the University of Sydney.  Hardly any addition to the staff of NASA could be of equal importance.

Cordially yours,

(signed) Im.  Velikovsky

September 11, 1963

Propositions for Inclusion in the Program of Space Probes for the Rest of 1 963 and for the Following Years.  Prepared by Immanuel Velikovsky, Princeton, N.J., and Submitted to H. H. Hess, Chairman, Space Board, National Academy of Sciences, Washington, D.C.

I.  Magnetosphere

A.  mapping of the intensity of the magnetic field of the magnetosphere.

B.  measuring the reach of the magnetosphere on the day and night sides.

C.  testing as to the over-all excess of positive or negative particles in the magnetosphere layers, and generally as to the positive or negative charge or neutral state of the globe with its ionosphere and magnetosphere.

D.  synchronization observations as to the travel of the magnetic poles of the earth around the geographical poles (diurnal) and the daily latitudinal and longitudinal lunar librations.

II.  Mercury

A.  the cause of the precession of the perihelion should be re-examined in the light of the presence of a magnetic field of solar origin and solar plasma through which Mercury plows.  An artificial satellite with a perihelion close to the sun could be tracked as to the precession of its perihelion.

III.  Venus

A.  high-altitude spectral analysis of the ashen light for hydrocarbons and organic compounds (especially carbohydrates).

B.  temperatures of the dayside and nightside and of the terminator compared; the phenomenon of a highest temperature at the terminator and the lowest on the dayside can be verified by testing (radiometric) from the ground and from a balloon.

C.  the temperature of the clouds measured at three year intervals; it is conceivable that a slow drop of the temperature of the Cytherian cloud surface will be observed.

D.  the phenomenon of Venus (a planet with a weak magnetic field) shielding the Earth, at conjunctions, from protons of solar origin, should be evaluated as to a probable net charge of the planet.

IV.  Mars

A.  spectral analysis of the polar caps is possible at the time when they are melting and evaporating seasonally.  Chances are that they are composed of the same organic molecules as the envelope of Venus.

B.  in space probes and by balloon spectroscopy Martian atmosphere should be investigated with the intent of detecting the presence of neon and argon.

V.  Jupiter

A.  precise calculations should be made as to the effect of the magnetic field permeating the solar system on the motions of the planet which is surrounded by a magnetosphere of [a radiating intensity], presumably, 1014 times that of the terrestrial magnetosphere.  This is basic to the impending re-evaluation of electromagnetic effects in celestial mechanics.

B.  the retrograde satellites of Jupiter should be compared as to their charges with the direct satellites.  Experiments should be performed with positively and negatively charged metallic drop solutions revolving in a magnetic field.

C.  spectroscopic analysis of the red spot should be performed as to the presence of iron and sulphur vapors, especially over the periods of conjunction with Saturn.

VI.  Saturn

A.  tests should be devised for detection of low energy cosmic rays emanating from Saturn, especially during the weeks before and after a conjunction of Earth-Jupiter-Saturn.

B.  with Doppler effect data at hand, the velocity of revolution of the Saturnian rings, possibly in excess of the velocity of the axial rotation of the planet, should be plotted.

C.  chlorine should be looked for in the Saturnian spectrum of absorption.

VII.  Uranus

A.  the polar magnetic intensity of Uranus, at the time when its axis points towards the earth, should be measured (Zeeman effect).

VIII.  Pluto

A.  the charge of this planet in relation to its mass is presumably very high, which would explain its perturbing power.  Calculations should be made of the potential difference needed to account for the unaccounted perturbations of Uranus and Neptune.

IX.  Sun

A.  solar net charge should be made the object of intense investigation.  Solar plasma winds should be tested as to the presence of electrons, besides protons, and to the direction of their flow (drift), whether sunward.

B.  experiments should be devised to enlarge our knowledge of the behavior of very hot, charged, rotating bodies in a room of very rarefied atmosphere, close in temperature to absolute zero; of the magnetic field created; of the behavior of cold, or of graded temperature, bodies (conductors) suspended (in a planetarium fashion) at various distances from the larger central hot body.

C.  the solar system should be investigated as to the existence of magnetic shells, especially at the orbital distances from the sun.  Radar echoes may help to establish their presence, in matter of minutes or hours.

X.  Moon

A.  the reason for repeated failures in directing projectiles with moon as target should be explored also as to the deflecting action of the magnetic fields (terrestrial and solar) with magnetopause and solar winds intervening.

B.  laboratory experiments with terrestrial rocks as to splintering and erosion should be performed, duplicating the thermal conditions of the moon suddenly immersed, when hot, into coolness of space, as it happens during lunar eclipses; the sharp outlines of lunar formations should be subsequently evaluated as to their age.

XI.  General Relativity Theory

A.  the influence of the moon (lunar tides in the upper atmosphere) on the rectilinear propagation of stellar light as observed from the earth should be checked at different positions, especially when the moon is new and at lunar eclipses; in the solar eclipses investigated as to the bending of rays of light passing near the sun, the role of the moon and of atmospheric tides caused by it is neglected.  The bending of the rays by even stronger solar tides in the atmosphere should be reduced to a minimum by balloon examination of solar eclipses.

B.  the influence of Jupiter on the rectilinear propagation of stellar light should be investigated; if found, a re-examination of a possible bending of light by a strong magnetic field should be instituted, and laboratorial 100,000 gauss strong fields applied.

C.  bending of stellar light rays by solar plasma (in the corona) must be evaluated and taken into account.

XII.  Special Relativity Theory

A.  a direct comparison of velocity of light in relation to an observer in motion and in state of rest in relation to the source of light can be executed by comparing the velocity of light from a terrestrial source with that from the sun in the morning and in the afternoon.  Details of the experiment upon request.

(signed) Im.  Velikovsky

March 14, 1967

Memorandum to the Space Board of the National Academy of Sciences.  Submitted to H. H. Hess, Chairman.  On Radioactivity Hazards on Moon and Mars.

 Monday, January 18,1965

"Cosmos and Chronos" study and discussion group of Velikovsky's theories, their implications and reception.  Founding meeting convoked by H. H. Hess.  "Catastrophes and Earth History".  Discussed by H. H. Hess and Im.  Velikovsky. 8 p.m., 321 Guyot Hall.

Entry in The Weekly Bulletin of Princeton University

In view of the fact that landing of astronauts on moon is planned for only a few years from now, I submit this memorandum to draw the attention of the Board and also of NASA to a special condition the astronauts most certainly will meet on the Moon that may to a great degree invalidate the effort and its usefulness, and endanger the lives of the astronauts even if they succeed in returning.  The cosmic rays hitting the Moon, solar plasma, and other incoming radiation are thought of, but one more source of radioactive hazard needs to be met.

Because of the intensity and multiplicity of the interplanetary bolts to which the Moon was subjected only 27 and 35 centuries ago (as described in Worlds in Collision) radioactivity must still be present on the surface of the Moon in quantity damaging to unprotected man or animal and by far exceeding any exposure regarded as safe.

Although the heat in the Moon's subsurface is mostly a residue of the effects of disturbance in the Moon's motions that occurred in the same historical periods, some of the heat is also of radioactive origin.  The half-life of radium being 1580 years, enough radiation could be present on the Moon of this and other radioactive decays to prompt me to express this warning.

About four years ago, I drew the attention of Professor C. Pittendrigh to the danger of back-contamination, whereas then only the problem of micro-organic contamination of planetary bodies occupied the scientific advisers to space probes; not long thereafter the problem of back-contamination was discussed by Pittendrigh and others in committees and became a vital issue.

Everything that is said above of the radioactive perils to unprotected life on the Moon is applicable in the same degree to the future efforts to place man on Mars.  Only on Mars, one should reckon with the probability of the presence of pathogenic, to man, micro-organisms, as well.

Of the many "craters" on the Moon, some--with raised rims and with no rills radiating from them--were in my understanding formed while, in cosmic disturbances, the surface of the Moon became molten and boiled (Worlds in Collision, p. 361).  The subsequent discovery of domes or unburst bubbles confirms this understanding of the processes that created many of the craters.

"Craters" with rills radiating from them could be caused by infall of asteroids; granted that such a process also took place, I wish to stress that interplanetary discharges must have created a large number of such formations.

A landing of man on the Moon must be preceded well in advance by careful examination of the radioactivity on the Moon's surface.  The source described here is of equal importance, or possibly even of greater, than the effect of cosmic or other incurrent radiations on unprotected organic life.  The required measurements must be made, not from orbiting space probes but by landing vehicles with instrumentation designed to detect various forms of localized sources of radiation.

(signed) Im.  Velikovsky

May 19, 1969

Memorandum Submitted to H. H. Hess, Chairman, Space Board, National Academy of Sciences, Washington, D.C., Concerning the Forthcoming Landings on the Moon the First of Which is Scheduled for the Summer of this Year.

The Moon was repeatedly heated and its entire surface melted less than 35 and 27 centuries ago.  At the times the Moon's surface was molten in near approaches with other celestial bodies, it was enveloped in powerful magnetic fields; if the surface cooled down below the Curie point before the magnetic fields were weakened and removed, then it is to expect that lavas on the moon (most of its rock is lava) still possess a high magnetic remanence.

Of the lunar ringforming formations a larger number resulted from bubbling activity; but some of the craters (especially with rays extending) resulted from interplanetary electrical discharges.  Near such craters a strong, decidedly harmful, radioactivity must still linger and magnetic anomaly could exist.  Large meteorites caused a third group of craters.  Rocks removed by astronauts should be marked as to their position in relation to cardinal points and not pulverized.

In the mid-second millennium before the present era, Earth was drenched in hydrocarbons of exogenous origin.  The Moon may well have hydrocarbons in the form of dried naphtha, bituminous rocks, asphalt, or waxes.

"River beds" on the surface of the Moon resulted not from water streams but from local flows of lava after the crust cooled off to a semi-viscous consistency, following the last in the series of paroxysms (27 centuries ago).

(Signed) Immanuel Velikovsky

 

July 2, 1969

 

Dear Harry:

In April I read to you my short memo concerning the Moon; on May 19 1 left a copy with Dr. Otalara, your scientific assistant; next you assured me that this time I would be proven mistaken.  The future landings, not necessarily the first one, will bring the answers.

When I maintain (see the way I expressed myself in my memo) that the rocks on the moon may be magnetic though the moon possesses hardly any magnetic field of its own, I suggest something that is not expected.  Yet should the rocks be found magnetic, the explanation will be immediately forthcoming that this proves their meteoric nature.  Therefore I have urgently advised-- and I repeat it here--that the orientation of the rocks before their removal should be noticed and marked.  Meteorites would fall at random and would not be all similarly oriented.  You said to me that this simple task of marking the orientation is not included in the program; if it will be omitted you will have a question instead of an answer.

You expect ice under the upper layer of the crust.  Some nine thousand years ago water was showered on Earth and Moon alike (deluge).  But on the Moon all of it dissociated, hydrogen escaping; the rocks will be found rich in oxygen, chlorine, sulfur and iron.

Moon has no oceans and no marine life; water covered it only for a very limited time (following the deluge) counted in hundreds of years.  Nevertheless I maintain bitumen and other hydrocarbon residues and derivatives will be discovered on the Moon, though not necessarily on the first landing; such discovery will be followed by the claim that rich marine life once existed on the moon.  But my claim is based on the occurrence 34 centuries ago described in Worlds in Collision.  Since the moon was heated and its surface became molten only a few thousand years ago, the temperature gradient under the surface crust will show, to some depth, a mounting curve.

In friendship,

(Signed) Im.  Velikovsky

 

August 7, 1969

 

Dear Harry:

 

Yesterday evening I called in connection with the long telephone conversation we had the day before, in the morning about 10 a.m., when I called you at your office.  At that time I told you of my article in NY Times of July 21st and asked very insistently that thermoluminescence tests should be performed.  You told me that age testing of the lunar rocks is scheduled; I asked by what methods, you answered, for instance, by the potassium-argon method; to this I replied that I definitely expect neon and argon as inclusions in lunar rocks but their origin is from near contacts with Mars in the eighth and beginning of the seventh century before the present era and I was concerned that the presence of argon next to neon in the rocks of the moon would cause wrong deductions as to the time when the lunar surface was molten for the last time.  You told me that when a rock is molten an argon inclusion would escape; I asked in reply whether the softening of the rock would suffice for the escape of neon and argon or a higher heat would be required; you have considered the problem and it was left undecided in your mind whether the duration and the temperature of the process as I visualize in these catastrophic events would have sufficed for the inert gases to completely escape.

I also reminded you at that conversation in the morning of Aug. 5, that in Worlds in Collision (1950) 1 claimed that neon and argon are chief constituents of the Martian atmosphere; that already in 1945 or 1946 1 registered a lecture copyright on "Neon and Argon in Mars' Atmosphere"; that I corresponded on the subject with H. Shapley and Walter S. Adams in 1946; in my book I also explained that Venus, earth, moon, and Mars had been at various times in near contacts; that Mars and the moon disturbed each other greatly, exchanged electrical discharges, and that Mars left some of its gases on earth and the moon.

When yesterday afternoon I read Wilford's dispatch from Houston in the morning NY Times concerning the find of neon and argon by Dr. Oliver A. Schaeffer who heated lunar dirt to 3,000F and by this released radioactive neon and argon (besides helium, krypton, and xenon) I called you and reached you by phone at supper time at your home.

About twelve days ago I wrote to Prof.  A.W. Burgstahler, Chemistry Department, University of Kansas, the same concern of what will be the verdict concerning the time the lunar rock was lastly molten because of the inclusions of argon and neon in lunar rocks, the gases being of Martian origin.  Dr. Schaeffer ascribes them to solar wind but admits that their participation in solar wind was not expected.

Next, I expect that neon and argon will be found as main ingredients of Martian atmosphere as I claimed for almost quarter of a century.

Cordially,

(signed) Immanuel

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