Another phony spaceship surfaces on the farside of the moon

The grid-like pattern of pixels in this small crater on the moon’s farside is purported to be an alien spaceship attempting to hide from view.

I was made aware of a new hoax by a faithful reader of this blog. Apparently NASA and the government have been hiding the fact that astronomers have been watching a fleet of black L-shaped craft through their telescopes the past two years. Last January they “disappeared” off radar near the orbit of Mars and then suddenly reappeared briefly near the moon before finding a hiding spot inside a small crater on the lunar farside.

This full view of the moon’s farside shows the location of the “alien ship” near the Sea of Moscow (Mare Moscoviense). Credit: NASA

The report, along with an interview with one “Dr. Eric Norton” (not his real name), appeared on the hoax-happy Turner Radio Network website on Jan. 20 under the headline “Visually Confirmed: Enormous Craft Detected on Moon”. It’s also seen in this youtube video and described as an alien base related to a similar triangle-shaped feature in Antarctica. Those aliens sure know how to find good hiding places!

The crater photographed in full sunlight with NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. See the crater for yourself by clicking and going to NASA’s ACT-REACT moon map site and zooming to its coordinates. Credit: NASA

The “craft”, which appears as a perfect triangle of dots, lies inside a crater as big as the city of Chicago (234 square miles) on the farside just south of Mare Moscoviense, the Sea of Moscow. The article gives the coordinates as lunar latitude 22042’38.46N and longitude 142034’44.52E, but they’re not written correctly.The actual coordinates are 22°42’38.46″N, 142°34’44.52″E.

Craters in shadow near the lunar terminator photographed by Apollo 12. Crater Gambart at top. Credit: NASA

My first thought on seeing the Triangle Dot Spaceship was that we were looking at the tops of small mounds inside the crater illuminated by a very low sun. Too low to see the crater’s floor but high enough to graze higher elevation features inside the crater. You can see this for yourself when looking at the moon at any phase other than full.

Craters near the lunar terminator or sunrise-sunset line are bright-rimmed pools of inky shadow with only their interior peaks sticking up to catch the rising or setting sun. Beautiful to see and perhaps easy to imagine as geometric figures in some cases, but you’re seeing nothing more than the play of light and the human penchant for picturing familiar shapes in abstract patterns known as pareidolia.

An unfiltered closeup image of the crater from Google Earth does not show the triangle artifact.

Either that or we are seeing a photo artifact caused by processing or zooming in so tight that small groups of individual pixels begin to take on artificial geometrical shapes that have nothing to do with the subject itself. Indeed, this second possibility appears to be on the mark.

Mick West at Metabunk.org took a closer look at the same photos and worked up a brilliant analysis of how something so geometric can appear not just in the crater of interest but across larger areas of the moon. In a nutshell, he traced the artifacts to how Google Earth’s Moon atlas uses filters for sharpening images.

Sharpening filters come with almost all imaging programs. They remove some of the softness inherent in digital photography. Used with moderation, they can make your photos cleaner and clearer without altering their content. Be careful though with too much sharpening especially on pictures that have been greatly enlarged.

In my own work as a photographer, I’ve seen weird artifacts on low-light images that I’ve “pushed too far” with either color correction or sharpening. We’re looking at similar artifacts in the spaceship photos where digital pixels that have been greatly enlarged and sharpened. They don’t exist on the original image, but when you zoom into Google Moon, the atlas switches to an identical set of images that have been digitally sharpened.

Filtered view of another area of the moon shows many dot-shaped artifacts. Numerous photos of oversharpened, highly enlarged and distorted photos exist online showing “artificial structures” on the moon.

While the extreme closeups might look more pleasing, that sharpening adds dot-like artifacts all across the landscape. An entire convoy of space invaders? Well, I’ll let you decide. Be sure to read Mick’s analysis for all the details.

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About astrobob

My name is Bob King and I work at the Duluth News Tribune in Duluth, Minn. as a photographer and photo editor. I'm also an amateur astronomer and have been keen on the sky since age 11. My modest credentials include membership in the American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO) where I'm a regular contributor, International Meteorite Collectors Assn. and Arrowhead Astronomical Society. I also teach community education astronomy classes at our local planetarium.

70 thoughts on “Another phony spaceship surfaces on the farside of the moon

  1. Hi Bob thank you very much for the blog and I’m glad I asked you about it yesterday, I read Mike West’s analysis which was really interesting and he made a really good point about the pixels as I wouldn’t have guessed that, but makes sense, just one last question, at the start of your blog you said about the last 2 years about a fleet of spaceships and they disappeared last January, was that the story from back then too, but something I have noticed before, it seems these silly stories always starts in January. Thanks again Bob for your time and effort in putting the blog up about it.

      • Andrew,
        There are so many it’s hard to choose. I’m probably the wrong person to ask since I don’t think any reports of alien space ships are actually alien space ships.

          • Also Andrew, to see the link in sunlight rather than darkness, click on the layers icon in the top left-hand corner, (the three layered squares) and untick the box ‘Sunlit Region’. This will show the object with the sun shining on it.

  2. Your analysis only attempts to explain the pictures of the crater on the moon. What about all the other evidence? the recording of the NASA offical stating they have been following the “objects” for over 2 years?

    the fact that China just recently launched their first rover to the moon. The fact that the US just launched an emergency DOD classified mission to the moon last week… You dont attempt to explain any of that…

    even if accept your stance that its just camera pixels and lighting that makes this appear to be an object on the moon. How do you explain the rest?

    A very incomplete analysis

    • Corey,
      All that other stuff is simply someone trying to connect-the-dots where there’s no connection. If the “NASA official” you’re referring to is “Dr. Norton”, he’s not a NASA official. He said he does referral work. Since that’s not his real name, why should I trust his credentials? There’s no way to independently validate or invalidate what he has to say. Right now the good doctor is little more than a voice file on Turner Radio telling me he has to keep secret. Classic conspiracy doubletalk.

      How does anyone know that DOD launched a mission to the moon? DOD launches dozens and dozens of highly classified missions every year. Why are these any different? China launched their moon mission for their own reasons – it was planned long ago and the landing site is extremely far from the crater location on the farside of the moon. It would be impossible in the lifetime of the rover to drive hundreds of miles to the farside and then drive back to transmit its findings.
      Bottom line is – there’s nothing there. The fact that it’s only an artifact completely invalidates all the DOD, Doctor Norton and Chinese moon mission arguments. Do you think DOD/NASA would spend a few billion to suddenly send three rockets to the moon on account of a computer artifact?

      • I’m afraid that “we” have been exposed beyond the point where “we” can fix the damage already done Bob. Please implement Plan “ζ” (zeta) according to the Reticuli handbook.
        Further instructions to follow “soon”.

      • Turner Radio Network has nothing to do with Ted Turner. Here’s what it says on TRN’s site:

        Welcome to the Turner Radio Network. As of December, 10, 2010, this web site is under new ownership. The former owner, radio host Hal Turner, was Ordered by United States District Court Judge Donald Walter, to divest himself of control or ownership of all websites after his conviction at a THIRD federal trial of “Threatening” federal officials. He is not allowed to own, control or contribute content to web sites until the end of his probation in October, 2015. Hal Turner no longer has any connection whatsoever to this web site and does not contribute to its content..

  3. Some Patience you guys !
    If there’s a fleet of alien spaceships on the moon
    They wouldn’t have any trouble to settle on earth too!
    We are tired of the same insane ,trying to create ferry tales out of nothing !

  4. Bob! love your blog and visit daily – keep up the good work :)

    In particular I really liked this excerpt:

    The article gives the coordinates as lunar latitude 22042’38.46N and longitude 142034’44.52E, but they’re not written correctly.The actual coordinates are 22°42’38.46″N, 142°34’44.52″E.

  5. Bob, unfortunately I have some bad news for you. Interpret it as you please, but personally my trust in Mick West’s debunking abilities has been damaged beyond repair. Not only because of my first link provided below, but also due to the fact that on his page about this particular event he attempts to debunk the seven dots through a very convincing onslaught of zoom and resolution theories. However in the third picture (as well as his animation without the polygon) in my 2nd link provided. You can still see the dots. Very much out of focus, but if you look closely they’re still present. I’d like to state that I do maintain a somewhat skeptical perspective on these events as well. I am only out for truth, and thought you might like a better understanding of the credibility of your main source in this particular case. I for one will be continuing my research on the topic and I will most definitely keep your informed.

    Thanks for the interesting read and I hope this helped!
    Sterling Green

    • Sterling,
      Thank for your opinion on the matter. The link on “chemtrails” does not damage Mick West’s critical view of the matter at all in my opinion. They hardly let him speak before someone came on to critically critique his words then mocked him at the end with the googly-eye image and repeating one of his quotes over and over. What a shame. Still, it sounded like Joe, the interviewer and skeptic, was convinced. Very weird. I would suggest that that video alone is hardly a reason to not trust Mick’s views of contrails. He takes a measured, scientific look at the matter. Maybe next time they’ll give him more than a minute and a half to make and elaborate his views.

      As for those dots, I tried to see them in the 3rd photo but there was no pattern for me, only individual pixels that I could imagine in a variety of patterns.

  6. One just can’t win arguments with conspiracy loonies who already made up their mind beforehand. They want nonsense like alien spacecraft on the Moon to be true so bad, that they cannot be reasoned with. Sometimes I wish I could believe stuff like that, it would be such an exciting life :D In the end though, I’d rather have the truth, even when in the end that truth turns out to be that we are the only intelligence species in this galaxy. It would be slightly more boring, but at least it would be the truth.

  7. Nobody has mentioned that shape and size of the craft on the moon resembles the craft seen by over 10,000 people in Phoenix in the sighting called the Phoenix lights.

  8. As much excitement as I felt reading the initial story about the “aliens” and seeing that bad-ass enlarged photo of the craft (which amusingly makes no sense to me for an object that can traverse millions of miles very quickly, but what do I know?), I immediately found this website looking for a debunk. I think the bright pixels in the crater are a bit of a stretch. Wish someone would come forward about the rest of it. This story is still a bit young I suppose. At this point I’m just assuming Ted Turner has put out another movie or television show promotion… *sigh*

    • Brian,
      The alien ship is just one of many examples of misinterpretation of information shot at the edge of resolution. If you look online, you’ll find lots of so-called anomalies. It’s almost an industry.

  9. I took time to go to google moon . My job requires me to do multitudes of photo analysis .
    Your debunking is just misinformation.
    Nothing in this picture shows pixels anomalies . Nothing . I worked at nasa for 4 years until 6 moths ago. The rumours of a fleet coming close to earth is very real . I dont know what is there on the moon , but my contact there are serious persons and are worried.
    To debunk you need solid proof . What is there i dont know. And im not saying its a alien ship . But it is there and its not a pixel anomaly . i am not saying anything because we dont know . You dont know and i dont know . I can at least say that is a true statement.

    • Bob,
      It’s clearly a pixel/sharpening issue. Did you take time to look at all the little dots that appeared in other craters when the sharpening filter was applied? Some of them are almost identical to the purported ship. There is no fleet en route to Earth. If so, hundreds of astronomers around the world would have seen and reported this in legitimate news outlets. Turner Radio posts all kinds of pseudo-scientific nonsense. This is only one example.

      • It is in India times , huffington post and Houston chronicle . And radio station Nasa expert (recordings available if you want) on a Montreal radio station also with contacts at Nasa said that even Nasa if baffled . He was clear on radio (800 000 listeners ) The NASA confirms that it is not pixel anomalies!
        They acknlowlege something is there . It could be rock formation , debris from something , but the image is perfect . It is a high definition picture . And im sorry but 23 years working on the field , and i assure you that its not an image anomaly . I am absolutely convince. Without a doubt that i dont know what the object is but ITS there.

        • bob,
          Believe as you wish. By the way, the Houston Chronicle story did not legitimize the speculations. It only reported on the speculations in an entertaining way. Also, please point us to the legitimate, named NASA source who has a bio available online. Even if that person is real, I certainly would understand him or her thinking it might be a rock formation – but a space ship? The picture by the way is not high definition. It was shot with a high definition camera but the crater’s a very small object and the image is greatly enlarged with subsequent loss of definition. PS. I could check the Huff Post and Hindu Times but I have much work to do today. Also Bob, did you not see the much more detailed LRO photo that I included in blog? It shows the crater in full sunlight. Nothing anomalous is inside.

    • the burden of proof is on the ones making the claims. the rational scientists (professional or amateurs) choose not to believe extraordinary claims without extraordinary evidence. and google is hardly evidence when the pictures displayed are not dated and no processing data accompanying them.
      one analogy that I like is that a trial, the jury has to choose between “guilty” or “not guilty”, not “innocent”. NASA, the “go-to” scapegoat is not the only agency with spacecrafts orbiting the Moon so if there was any inklings of truth to this, the funding crisis that space programs around the world experience would simply have disappeared long ago. if you really worked for NASA in the past, then come forward with the evidence let peers review it instead of cherry picking the facts that suits your claim. “space-apologists” is a term that comes to mind when I read about this non-sense.

  10. ‘Millions to hundreds of millions of tonnes, I should think, is readily accessible,’ says Genge. ‘You can strip mine the Moon and you can cook out the Helium-3.’
    Helium-3 is available in such low quantities on earth that even though nuclear fusion doesn’t even work properly yet, it is still worth US$16 million per kilo.
    Now that maybe is something you should explore and try to debunk for me .
    Maybe there are people minig there …..and maybe they re from this planet .

    • bob,
      You’re right about Helium-3 but let’s get serious – a mining operation? Do you think no one would notice with all the eyes, survey programs both professional and amateur, back here on Earth? It’s not my job to prove this exists. Rather it’s your job, since you raised the idea, to back it up with the facts that would make a closer look worth someone’s time. I see this all the time with conspiracy theories – they’re powered by surmise and innuendo.

  11. I can prove it easily . Find one other anomaly like that in any pictures from the moon earth or Annunaki for all i care . Just 1 .

  12. My stance is I need to see it to believe it. I’m not a nut but I’m open minded. While all the debunking blogs are a good read, all I can say is, in the images where I’m being told “it’s no longer visible” , it actually is, just very faintly. That to me brings the debunking credibility into question. I’ll accept its an unusual rock formation, but it’s certainly not a pixel problem.

    • Rich,
      If you still think it’s there, take a look at the additional photo I included in the article taken by the LRO in near full sunlight. There’s nothing unusual going on inside that crater.

  13. Ok let’s forget this ship for a sec. What about the ancient ship on the moon where they found the Mona Lisa e.b.e? There’s plenty of proof on that. If that’s real than why can’t this be

    • Carlos,
      First, this “ship” is not real for the reasons I (and Mick West) clearly described in photos and experiment.

      Mona Lisa e.b.e. is pure bunk. If I had another life to get to the root of every moon, comet and alien hoax out there I would. But with just one life to spare, I would rather spend it on more meaningful topics than fake aliens. I can only handle an occasional debunking, otherwise it’s a constant game of whack-the-mole. Sadly, disinformation and pseudo-science proliferate like dandelions in today’s world. We need to educate themselves and cast a skeptical eye on outrageous claims. It’s been said many times before but the more extraordinary the claim (i.e. Mona Lisa ebe) the more extraordinary the evidence must be to support it.

    • Hi John,
      I do notice he’s selling a book for $24.95 about how he’s been in contact with various interstellar civilizations. That makes me pause. What do you think?

      • even though I haven’t read that work, one can surely predict a media circus when the owners of the intellectual property discussed in it show up to get their share of the loot.

  14. Interesting reading chaps, thanks. Just stumbling around the web reading up on this and ended up here. I can’t have any opinion other than there’s a very slim chance that it is a spacecraft, more of a chance that it’s a trick of light or pixelated imagery, without a high def image to work on it’s impossible to say for sure what it is. Making assumptions isn’t going to help anyone. So the quality question I suppose is – who can provide an image of sufficient quality for us to make a qualified judgement and how can we get them to publish it? Cheers for the entertainment!

    • Hi Huwmanchoo,
      Thanks for your comments. Based on the detective work done by Mick Brown described in the article as well as the high-res photo of the crater by LRO, it’s an artifact from oversharpening in an imaging program.

  15. This is all very interesting and one can take any position on any topic they like.
    Maybe it’s Aliens or just lighting……
    All I do know is this ..
    I do not trust this government about anything I wouldn’t trust them baby sitting my fish tank.
    As far as Eric Norton not using his real name …..well the way our government makes people disappear I wouldn’t use my name either.
    Let’s not forget that this is the same government that denied Area 51 existed. Even with the photos of the base …nope it was not there. The same government that nuked it’s own troops in testing and dumped Agent Orange on it’s troops in Nam..
    Go ahead Astro Bob you believe in this government and NASA I will take my changes with the weirdo’s and crazies out there least I know I can trust they tell the truth and believe in something.

    • Joe,
      Some of those weirdos and crazies would be happy to see us return to a world of fear and ignorance. I see their fear-mongering, pseudo-science diatribe all the time. Believing in something passionately does not necessarily make it true. While I don’t believe everything the government says, I feel a certain level of trust, especially when there’s no need to manufacture an explanation about this topic. Facts, reason and observations explain the ‘spaceship’ without need to resort to conspiracies.

  16. Hi Bob,

    Do you believe that there are civilizations of intelligent beings other than the one which exists on planet Earth? Have you ever had ‘an experience’ with other worldly beings? If so, can you give specific details?

    Are you associated with anyone who has knowledge of highly secretive information? If so, can you share details?

    Has there ever been information shared with the public that you believe to be true?

    Thank you for your consideration.

    Andromeda Cross

    • Andromeda,
      I do think that there is other life in the universe. I’ve never run into any aliens yet and haven’t head any credible reports of anyone else having done so either. Maybe some day …

  17. how come we would go to all of the trouble to build a space station when it would be a hundred times easier to build on moon ever thinkwe were told by aliens to stay off moon they are there mining the plentiful resources and hoe about transmission when austronaut said upon seeing back side if moon there really is a santaclaus that was code to let nasa know they were seeing alien base ands we have never went back eveh though there is enough helium 3 to solve our energy needs for thousands of years it cant takr a brain surgeon to figure we were told to stay away from moon it was theirs and would be trouble if we went back !!!!!!!!

    • Randy,
      It is hugely more expensive to set up an observing/research station on the moon. More risks as well. It’s far easier to set up a home in space just 250 miles away compared to 250,000 miles.

  18. You would think that if aliens told us to stay off of the moon, they would have to do one of two things.
    1. They would tell us that aliens told us to stay off the moon… or
    2. They would cover it up. Probably stop releasing photos while they were at it.
    Now, neither of those things has happened, but what the hell do I know, maybe the aliens told them to not tell the human race, and now the government is trying to secretly inform us about if through pixelated, mario bros-esque pictures of the far side of the moon. Hell, maybe the aliens did it themselves to strike fear into or hearts. If it was a scare tactic you would think they would have do something by now though… Again I don’t know, maybe you are right Randy. Maybe Astrobob is right though, which is what my appeal to logic is telling me.

  19. I personally, find the spaceship on moon issue a nonstarter for the simple fact that there are topics ad infinitum that can not be verified. Moreover, there are still so many mysteries right here on earth that are not only not solved, but likely phenomena still not observed or explored sufficiently if they have been observed. In Thomas Kuhn’s book “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions” He makes abundantly clear how ideological paradigms endlessly, morph, transform and ultimately fall as education and information its analysis and theories continue to become more complete. Reasons why this may stop are not foreseen. Differences in religion, culture or just character tendencies vary so greatly among peoples that the barbarism of war and genocide are still modern phenomena. No person or body of peoples can agree even in singular fields of study on numerous topics. I just enjoy imagining almost any thing to be possible and likewise trust as fact very little as certain. It’s just a privilege to be alive.

    • Stephen,
      Thank you for your thoughts on this. I would only disagree that the ‘spaceship’ on the moon is clearly part of the lunar landscape rather than an ‘unverified’ object. Once that term is applied, some people assume we’ll never know what it is, but in this case, we do.

  20. Young whippersnappers…. gawkin at the moon while high on wacky weed. I was lookin up at that rock when Neil Armstrong was in diapers. and I can tell ya….aint no floozie spaceship driver crashed her moon wagon up yonder. (Although my wife did plow my 1930 Bentley into a cornfield once).

  21. you said that the google image unfiltered does not shows the triangule in the picture I can see it even thoe,some one tried to damage the picture. is there
    don`t you see the dots?

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