Throughout the 1950s and 60s, the Cold War era saw a number of technological innovations, which included the United States becoming the first country to build a functional lunar module able to successfully carry a manned mission to the moon and back. Many have argued since that, had there not been the tensions presented by an arms race at the time, perhaps our haste for getting to the lunar surface wouldn't have existed; further evidence for this is afforded us by our apparent leisure with taking manned exploration to further locales, namely our eventual plans for a Martian colony.
Our superpowers had more ambitious plans, however, than mere visitation to the moon. Such plans were never seen to fruition, but among them were mutual interests among the U.S. and Soviets in building moon bases, which at various times had actually been given consideration. Last year the National Security Archive featured a series of declassified documents that show us, decades later, just how serious some were about putting people on the moon, and keeping them there.
"The documents focus on three topics," a press release said. "Early U.S. military plans, including the possibility of conducting nuclear tests in space, the use of the moon to reflect signals for military or intelligence purposes, and U.S. intelligence analyses and estimates of Soviet missions and their intentions to land a man on the lunar surface." More specifically however, Army and Air Force studies from between 1959 and 1961 stated that "the creation of a military lunar base, with possible uses as a surveillance platform (for targets on earth and space)", had been a serious objective at the time. It was later determined to be too costly for any practical gains to be expected.
Such reports have helped fuel speculation that, somewhere along the way, there might have been some world power who actually succeeded with the aim at creating a lunar colony. In a recent Inquisitr article, titled "Proof Of Alien Presence On Moon? Old Soviet Moon Mission Photos Reveal UFOs, Alien Artifacts On Moon, Blogger Says", the notion was raised that swastikas have been found on the moon in the past, suggesting such things as a Nazi base that might exist there. The case specifically referred to in the article describes Scott Waring, a blogger from the website UFO Sightings Daily, who had been discussing anomalies in various Soviet era space program images. The Inquisitr article goes on to say, "He observes that his latest finding recalls a discovery several years ago of a swastika-shaped alien spacecraft parked on the lunar surface."
The Inquisitr piece featured the following photograph, which appears to have been of questionable origin, and thus highly dubious nature:
I wondered about this photograph (which was obviously doctored) not for any hope of legitimacy, but because I had been interested about where it may actually have come from. While searching for its possible source, I came across an article from back in 2010, which was discussing a purported swastika observed within the Schrödinger crater on the moon (for which, interestingly, the news source to which it had been attributed, rather than "Reuters", had been "Neuters"). The article circulated the web, but its origins had quite clearly been a site that had recently appeared at the time, www.ironsky.net. The original link to the article now directs you here, the site for the upcoming film Iron Sky: The Coming Race, a sequel to the film Iron Sky starring Julia Dietze and horror film superlative Udo Kier. Crater Schrödinger had been featured in the film as the location of a Nazi moon base.
So in essence, all these years later, a viral marketing promotional "hoax" associated with the Iron Sky film is still making its rounds on the web, offered by some as evidence that the Nazis made it to the moon even before U.S. and Soviet intelligence agencies had managed to determine that doing so would have been a fruitless endeavor, even with the demands presented by a space race ongoing at that time.
Still, knowing that the Iron Sky films are inspired by popular conspiracies associated with the Nazis and possible advanced technologies at their disposal, I couldn't help but think that the idea of a "Nazi Moon Base" spotted within a crater had deeper origins than their use as promotional vehicles for the aforementioned film. After I discussed the entire affair earlier this week on my podcast, a friend of mine with a background in aerospace engineering heard the program, and brought to my attention that there had, in fact, been an earlier instance that involved a purported swastika found within a lunar crater.
As it turns out, there was a book published many years ago, revised and updated in 1997, titled We Discovered Alien Bases on the Moon II by Fred Steckling. My friend told me that on page 133, the book notes Steckling's observation of what he believed to be a swastika on the moon:
"I discovered another huge marking or symbol which seemed to lean against the crater wall of a small crater west of Proctus (sic), between the Sea of Crises and the Sea of Tranquility. This extremely huge high rise symbol looks very much like the swastika used on Earth, denoting unity which all early civilizations recognized. While this symbol was also misused during World War II, the early civilizations, however, from whom the symbol was borrowed, greatly revered the swastika symbol which joins all men and all things in unity. One can safely say that those men who placed this gigantic symbol on the Moon were thoroughly conversant with its meaning.... It is about 1000 feet in size."
"Sadly," my friend noted, "he does not include this image in his book. Not that it would matter because his images are a silly collection of scratches, hairs, dust, glare, film problems, and out of focus blur."
Could this be the ultimate source of the "Nazi Moon Base" conspiracy theories? So far as the location of this "Proctus" crater (which my contact noted as a misspelling), the location in question is not to be confused with the Martian crater of similar name, crater Proctor. In likelihood, Steckling had been referring instead to the crater Proclus, which can be seen below:
Proclus is indeed a different location from that of the Schrödinger crater, but to the east of Proclus is the Mare Crisium, a mare basin that may be as old as 4.5 billion years. Mare Crisium, it so happens, was also the location of a lunar colony in Robert Heinlein's 1966 libertarian science fiction novel, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, in which an advanced supercomputer becomes self-aware and assists with an uprising at a penal colony.
In truth, the proximity between Heinlein's Luna City and Steckling's supposed "Nazi" monument may be inconsequential; there have been any number of fictional lunar colonies discussed in science fiction literature over the decades. Still, it is interesting to note that Steckling's idea of a swastika structure within a lunar crater might have served as influence for another fictional representation, and one good enough, at least, to have claimed its place in the rounds of Internet conspiracy theories about secret moon bases.