Monday, July 14, 2008

Through the Looking Glass of Time...

In 1968, Richard C. Hoagland was a science advisor to Walter Cronkite and CBS News and an independent science media consultant. At that time, literally just months before Apollo 11 would make the first manned lunar landing, Grumman Corporation (now Northrop\Grumman) the maker of the Lunar Module, issued a press kit to all the media of the day; television networks, newspapers and wire services. Its purpose was to inform the various newsmen of all the crucial facts and figures relating to the Lunar Module; how it was conceived, what it did and how it worked. As an adjunct to this rather dry and technical instruction manual, Grumman hired a young hotshot science writer to compose the part of the manual which dealt with the Moon itself. For this they wanted a touch of poetry, not just the arid facts and figures of the Moon’s diameter and material composition, but also of the lure of Luna herself. They wanted someone to reach deep into the lore of our nearest celestial neighbor and extract that which draws us to her, that which makes the Moon a mysterious and beckoning destination; that which makes her a Face that could launch a thousand missions, Dark and otherwise.

They chose Richard C. Hoagland.

As you read through this decades old essay, you’ll be surprised at how much of what we thought we knew then is now known to be wrong, and how much still has the ringing echo of truth. Just after this was issued, he handed a copy to Sir Arthur C. Clarke, the author of 2001 and then a freshly minted on-air science consultant to CBS News as well. Clarke took the manual home that same night and brought it back to the young Mr. Hoagland the next day with a one word review: “Excellent!”

After reading it myself, 40 years after Sir Arthur, I cannot disagree.

His writing is lyrical and inspiring (did he really use the word “limned?”), as I think the Grumman folks meant it to be, but it is still stylishly, undeniably “Hoagy-esque.” There is at least one clever, interesting little surprise in the essay, a coincidence so obvious that it begs to question whether it is really a coincidence at all. Perhaps it is what Richard likes to call a “resonance” in the Hyperdimensional aether.

Or maybe it’s something more.

Take a few minutes and read it yourself, and let’s see how quickly you can all figure out the surprise I’m talking about. Even if you can’t, you’ll still enjoy the piece, even from the perspective of forty years of lunar history. I know I did.


Sphinx said...

Nice! I read the document and looked at the drawings and yes,is truly amazing. Why? Do you remember at that period of time the magazines, the fanzines and all the literature about Sci Fi, UFO's, aliens and stuffs? All that beautiful drawings, and comics? Suddenly the SCI Fi about flying to other planet will become reality in a short time. What a tremendous filing Richards must have when he wrote this thing down. I'm sure that even now, for him, this is a beautiful memories! Even if he find out that NASA betray him and all the human kind with all the lies and hoax.
Thanks God that Richard did not drop out writing!

david nineteenpointfive said...

Richard (Hoagie) is probably the coolest dude I know of. Forget the rock stars.

Gort said...

Must have been a typo on the last page (20/20) of the first link near the bottom of the second column, when Richard says something like (I'm paraphrasing, because I can't open the pdf at the same time I am typing this---plus my previous version of Adobe Reader crashed and I'm currently downloading a newerer and improooved version) " will realize, if he hasn't already, how unfortunate he is to have the moon located where it is....
[emphasis added]

I think he meant "fortunate." :)


HHMSS Sword said...

NASA choose him for something else as well - now didn't they?


road_slayer said...

In regards to Mike's "challenge", I'm going with the inclusion of the picture of Triesnecker crater because that area became interesting in the Enterprise investigation. Ukert crater is nearby, that's the one with the equilateral triangle in it. Robert Fiertek found some "stuff" between Triesnecker and Ukert (according some notes I found). I can't seem to find the original article on the TEM website though (sorry).

Mike Bara said...

Road Slayer gets an "A"! Ukert and "Los Angeles" are actually in the picture that's featured. Little did he know...

Gort said...

I also enjoyed the discussion of the limited resolution of earth-based telescopes (~1000 feet) and that a structure on the moon's surface the size of the USS Enterprise could not be detected from Earth.

Of course in 1969 he was reefer.ring to the Viet-Nam War era aircraft carrier Enterprise...



Mike Bara said...

Actually Gort, he was referring to the starship Enterprise from Star Trek. Richard was kind of an unofficial science advisor to the show through his acquaintance with Gene Roddenberry.

Mike Bara said...

Which makes him even cooler, IMO.

Gort said...

Right, Mike. I forgot Star Trek (original series) was on NBC from 1966 to 1969. It was cancelled because of low viewership (ratings). I was one of the many who didn't watch it regularly.

Anyway, while looking up Star Trek in the wikipedia I found this document in a footnote:

(It is mentioned as the source for the "to boldly go..." motto.)

Introduction to Outer Space:
An explanatory statement prepared by the President's Science Advisory Committee.
The White House, March 26, 1958.

In a way it fits in with the RCH essay in the Grumman press guide, and the Dark Mission book (i.e. NASA's national security mission)

note: of the four factors for the urgency of space technology,
"defense objectives" ranks second to "the urge of Man to explore."

also notice the members of the President's committee at the end.
Looks like Bell Telephone Labs, Shell Oil, Polaroid, and the Rockefeller Institute were well represented. Oh, yes and ARPA-DOD.


HHMSS Sword said...


I got classic Hoggie

Fan, Commanding Officer, brother:


HHMSS Sword said...

Bara -

Listen troop - perhaps THIS captain has screwed the pooch.

I got this far:

But I have been looking for :

Hoaglands Mars Vol. II

and I do not have the links.

I believe that this important PREFACE is important to you... and our ...cause - a little help? Perhaps?


David said...

It is VERY heartening to read this document from an independent source. I just finished the Monuments of Mars books, and while doing some independent research on my own (on a way to transcribe the HD physics from angles into number theory), I discovered that wikipedia has an extensive disinformation campaign against Mr. Hoaglund. It shook me up a bit, but reading these documents, and seeing the badges helps tremendously. Keep it going. Reminds me to take lots of pictures and to have all records uptodate regarding my own efforts.