on 7 January 2013
This author loves cats. So much so, that until very recently his Amazon author's page announced that his 2012 book would "raise the veil on the spiritual relationship between people and their pets." I wish he'd continued with that project, instead of shelving it to offer us more of his appalling errors dressed up as science.
I don't doubt Mike Bara's knowledge of the spirituality of cats (although I must say I wouldn't care to read about it), but it's quite plain from all his writings that he knows next to nothing about astronomy, physics, selenology, geology, optics.... oh, all the sciences that are at the heart of his subject matter. Why, oh why, do publishers give contracts to authors who know so little about their material?
This book wants to be a gee-whiz series of amazing revelations about the fantastic things a race of aliens left on the Moon when they either departed under duress or, more likely, were exterminated. Glass domes, satellite dishes, condos, bits and pieces of a robot, some beach houses.... Instead it's an unintentionally hilarious collection of misunderstandings, misinterpretations, and ignorance. A curly fiber inadvertently caught in a photo scanner becomes an "obviously metallic antenna," a pair of slightly odd shaped craters are "obviously satellite dishes," and so on. No sign of the manufacturing facilities these aliens would have needed to create their vast glass domes and their condos. No sign of the enormous solar power installations such a civilization would self-evidently have needed as an energy supply.
Just a couple of detailed examples of the errors we find herein. In Chapter 4, Bara references and illustrates a blue flare seen in the lunar sky above Ed Mitchell, LMP of Apollo 14, as he stands on the surface. Bara writes "Under enhancement, the blue spec turned out to be a blue-scattered specular reflection off of ... [a] towering, lattice-work structure." He adds that this is evidence of "transparent, glass-like Ancient Alien ruins." However, there's a fatal problem with that explanation. The image referenced is AS14-66-9301. What Bara doesn't realize or understand is that exactly similar flares are seen on six other frames from that same film magazine (Mag 66) -- 9236, 9276, 9286, 9290, 9295, 9345. In 9236 the flare is not in the sky but superimposed on the lunar surface in a close-up shot. In 9276, it's superimposed on the Lunar Module. In 9345 the shot is taken _after_return_to_lunar_orbit_. It's perfectly obvious that this film magazine suffered some accidental exposure. Mike Bara's more fanciful explanation fails, and fails BIG-TIME. We're talking EGG-ON-FACE TIME.
In another flight of fancy, Bara examines a shot taken from Apollo 10 while in lunar orbit. In Photoshop, he cranks up the brightness so much that imperfections in the scanner glass appear in the black sky. Scratches, dust, smearing. Lo and behold, this ignorant author says he's found "glass skyscrapers" on the Moon. I had to take a little break after reading that, to wipe the coffee off my Kindle.
As he was well into writing this book, Bara came across a now-notorious image which he claims shows a one mile square ziggurat on the far side of the Moon. It became the entire subject of Chapter 9. Did he find this in some catalog of NASA images? At the Lunar & Planetary Institute, perhaps? No, he found it on "Call of Duty Zombies," a teenage computer gaming web forum. He determined that it was taken from Hasselblad frame AS11-38-5564, shot handheld probably by CMP Michael Collins from the Apollo 11 Command Module. Examination of that frame in the online NASA archive shows that the ziggurat doesn't exist. Now, that shot is 43 years old. Since Apollo, a few better cameras have been in lunar orbit to inform us of what's really down there. Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, for one, whose narrow angle camera provides a resolution EIGHTY TIMES BETTER than the Apollo shot. Image swathes taken by the Japanese space agency from their Selene orbiter, for two, whose resolution is also better and whose imagery is also available online. Did Mike Bara examine these images of the location of his "ziggurat" to authenticate what he'd stumbled across on some random kiddie web site? No he did not -- he declared the Zombies image to be the only true representation of what's at 175°E, 7.5°S (and by the way, he has the coordinates somewhat wrong) and he went ahead with the fabricated story. He spends a few pages of Chapter 9 castigating his critics for accusing him of personally concocting the ziggurat -- but that's NOT what the critics have said. What they have said is that Mike Bara's write-up of this farce is possibly one of the most irresponsible acts committed by a non-fiction author in this decade.
In his previous book, Mike Bara self-disqualified as an author on astronomy by writing absolute poppycock about the eccentricity of the orbit of Mars. In this book he similarly leaves us in no doubt that he's not competent at photography and optics. In Chapter 4, on the subject of images of Earth from space, we find this: "the clouds are the highest in the atmosphere, meaning that they are reflecting more light back to the camera and at a faster rate. Since they are returning more light, the clouds are the lightest. The surface areas ... are darker, because they are a bit further away from the camera than the clouds and therefore the light has to travel further before it is reflected back. The deep blue oceans are therefore the darkest, because the light has to travel all the way to the ocean floor before it is reflected back to the camera."
EGG-ON-FACE TIME AGAIN. AND THIS IS THE MAN WHO "ADVENTURES UNLIMITED" CONSIDERS COMPETENT TO WRITE ABOUT IMAGERY??????