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618 Davis Drive,  Mt. Vernon, IN  47620
Phone:     (812) 838-3120
Francis L. Ridge, Coordinator      

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               Message From Coordinator

May 1, 2017

Greetings Everyone!
If you have been reading the reports of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter team the last few years you know very well that anything of interest found in the LRO images has been played to the hilt to continually support and promote the NASA effort and future programs. They haven't missed anything. At least not until we discovered the structures (natural or artificial) on the lunar Far Side at Paracelsus C! Not only are reports conspicuously absent, but NASA contacts we have successfully used throughout the years have not even acknowledged receiving our paper or passed on comments of any kind.  So far, 930 scientists and other researchers have read our paper and over 20,749 people have seen the analysis video. This tells us that Paracelsus C has struck a nerve at NASA and it is imperative that we continue to look more for even more compelling artifacts on the moon, especially the back side.

VIDEO: "Image Analysis of Unusual Lunar Structures in Paracelsus C"

PAPER: Analysis paper by Mark Carlotto, Fran Ridge & Ananda Sirisena
Analysis_of_Unusual_Structures_on_the_Far_Side_of_the_Moon_in_the_Crater_Paracelsus (ResearchGate)

Scanning the Moon live and recorded with a telescope and scanning NASA images for anomalous targets is what we are all about. Prior to last year the emphasis was on live scanning, but in 2016 the new findings on some NASA images has taken us into some exciting and fruitful ventures.

Two major projects were completed in 2016:
1) June 2016 - The discovery and initial report on the anomalies in Paracelsus C.
    Nov 2016 - Analysis published in Journal of Space Exploration
    Nov. 29, 2016 - Analysis video produced by Dr. Mark Carlotto, "Unusual Structures on the Far Side of the Moon".
    As of this date 930 researchers have read our paper and over 20,720 YouTube viewers have watched our video analysis!

Unusual Structures on the Far Side of the Moon

2) The final report on the Blair Cuspids
50 Years Later LRO Looks At The Blair Cuspids
which includes the analysis video.

3D Analysis of Lunar Spires


2017, An exciting new year!!!

Jan 3
3D Views of Sinkholes & Skylights on the Moon

Sinkholes and Skylights on the Moon

Jan 4
Lunascan Project began new fact-checking and re-researching Richard Hoagland's claim of a "Shard" in Section 33, Near Side. No formal report written.
Jan 13
Mark Carlotto's analysis:

The Shard

Jan 16
NASA report suggests cratering more intense than previous thought.

Jan 18
Mark Carlotto's analysis video "A Bridge at the Edge of the Sea of Crisis."

A Bridge at the Edge of the Sea of Crisis?

which included imaging of a "natural bridge" on the moon, discussed in this NASA/LRO report:

Jan 24
A Closer Look at the Moon: Geometrical features Near Ukert

All overflight videos collected by the Project over the years:

We are still searching for some former colleagues who have not been in the loop for a while and are needed for the present projects. Dr. Mark Carlotto is already onboard, but the VGL group of Lan Fleming, Mike Lomax, John Floyd & Bill Koehler have not been located. Also sought is Alexey Archipov.* If anyone knows the whereabouts or working email addresses of these men please let us know.

We only we able to conduct one live scanning mission (#95) on April 15th of last year. Weather had been a problem all over the country with the midwest being no exception. The work on the Paracelsus C discovery took precedence by June. After that it became necessary to plan a move to another location about 30 miles east of Mt. Vernon and operations were shut down here and some equipment moved. We're still in the process of finding this location and not sure if it will happen.

After getting over 300 researchers involved in our Paracelsus C discovery I began trying to garner interest in RIPTILA and maybe fund a private mission.. This would be major step forward in lunar observing and recording since the weather and time of day would be no problem, and anyone could participate without the need of an expensive telescope. In the months ahead I'm going to try to get SPACE-X interested.

Alexey Archipov (*) has collected reports of fast-moving objects on the Moon for many years, including observations recorded in the literature as well as direct correspondence with individual observers. As of 1997 only 114 cases had been compiled. Reports of FMOs are indeed rare and comprise only about 5 percent of current reported lunar Lunar Transient Phenomena (LTP). From an analysis of the available LTP reports, Arkhipov (1994a) recognized three types of moving objects. Since only 66 usable data points were available from his list, a contour-smoothing technique had to be utilized to demonstrate FMO distribution patterns across the lunar surface. The only statistically significant feature on his map was the excess of points in the Mare Imbrium region relative to the Mare Nectaris-Mare Foecunditatis region. Indeed, 19 data points fall inside the f=1.5 contour of Region A. The area within this contour constitutes 0.131 of the entire visible lunar disk. The probability that >19 points would fall within this contour by chance on the basis of the binominal distribution is 0.0006. With respect to Region B only one data point falls within the f<0.5 radius, yeilding a probability of <1 point inside this area, comprising 0.148 of the visible surface, of WB=0.0003. Obviously these calculated probabilities are sufficiently low to contradict the expected uniform distribution of FMO events should they be of terrestrial origin. The apparent correlation of FMO events with certain lunar regions for what are presumably random events is certainly unusual, however, possible selection effects must also be considered. I'm planning a report on Fastwalkers and EMOR missions, and as soon as I get it completed I'll update this page.

Other notes from the January 1, 2016 briefing

We experienced a great and very successful 2015.  We completed a major project. During the last two months of the year we had taken all the recordings from all 94 missions and, using a special ripping program, filed them on two separate external hard drives for security. These include a few experimental missions in the beginning, with 24  missions with the massive 16" f/4.5, followed by 16 missions with the 10" f/6, followed by 50 missions with the present 8" system. There were 16 missions before the STU (Scope Transport Unit) was constructed and 28 missions were carried out with that great mount operated from the lab. On April 8, 2011 the work really took off with much better imaging (and in glorious color) with the TCCM.This was a Ford van and the Meade LPI camera was first used (3 missions). By September 18th  the Celestron SSI came into play with 33 missions. On August 29, 2014  LIMO replaced the TCCM and is an 8x10 trailer and so far there has been 18 missions.

A normal scanning mission usually has four recordings of up to two hours each, depending on sky conditions and how long the Moon is in view. The most important recording is the SSI camera or Camera 4. The live images from the scope are recorded directly to a DVR. Next, there are the Quad recordings, the Q-Select, and the CabCam recordings which are initially made on VHS recorders, then converted to DVD. These are filed away after they are ripped to the hard drives. Analysis or review of the data can be accomplished by using the hard drives on any pc or monitor anywhere.
As mentioned in my message of November 1st, it has been relatively "quiet" on the email communications end, but the project has been very busy here. So far we have conducted 12 scanning missions in 2015, and that's a record since the weather has not been really favorable during mission "windows". We usually do analysis work during winter shut-ins and we have completed the analysis of 8 out of the 12 at this point in time.

A fourth computer has been added to the LIMO system. Rather than toggling between VMA (Virtual Moon Atlas) and SKYGLOBE on the Quad camera 3 position, the additional computer and monitor displays the current sky with Moon and star locations near the horizon in realtime. By placing the cursor on the Moon or planet (or star) we can get the exact coordinates.

Earlier in 2015 we had some interesting and notable events:

20150509. RIPTILA Mission proposal for private funding created, first draft sent to colleague.
20150510  RIPTILA-M Mission drafted for NASA submittal.

What's a routine mission like? And how do we determine when a mission is favorable?

If we wanted high-definition, high-powered images of the Moon, we're in the wrong place. The midwest is not a suitable location for lunar imaging by any means. We would also have to go to a larger scope with better res. And the imaging would require time-consuming stacking. What we want is a suitable backdrop so we can obtain and document any anomalies, in particular, things we refer to as "fastwalkers". This requires many hours of watching, recording, time-dating. Our next mission will be #95!!!! Missions usually last 1.5 to 2 hours.

Lunar "windows" are times when observing the Moon is possible and under the right conditions. Our VMA Graphics program tells us what we can see at a certain day and time. A check with the weather channel tells us if we are in a potential "go". Some of most interesting missions involve the western hemisphere in the wee hours.

A Mission Sheet is a form on a clipboard. Prior to the mission, the date and mission # is printed at the top. The rest is blank and is used to take notes. A small insulated cooler is used to carry the blank DVDs and VHS Mission data tapes to the trailer, or LIMO (Lunar Imaging Module & Observatory). Once the power strip is energized and the equipment is all powered up, the recording tapes are placed in the data recorders, as well as the CD in the SSI cameras DVR.

The rear doors are opened. The small Sennheiser receiver is pulled out and placed on the roof. The scope mount's bottom turret, hanging on the left wall, is removed and placed on the drum base just outside LIMO's right door. The upper turret with the scope yoke bearings is placed over the center bolt. The scope case is removed from the trailer and the scope is wing-nutted to the yoke. The finder and camera is attached to the scope and the mount's power strip is plugged in to the extension cord. The SSI camera is removed from a drawer in the LIMO and is then attached to the scope back. The weather-proof box on the outside of the LIMO and to the right of the door is opened and the umbilical cords are extracted and plugged in to the scope and finder lines. With everything ready to go in just 7 minutes, the image of the cross-haired finder view of the Moon should be visible in the upper left of the Quad monitor (#1), and the larger version of that Camera 1 image should be displayed on Monitor #2.

Left-clicking the mouse on the SSI camera's computer for the imaging program shows the live focused image of the Moon on the huge 42" monitor hanging above the rest of the equipment. The SIMRANGE is about 600 miles up, compared to the Moon's actual 240,000 mile distance. The FOV is about 400 miles.

Monitor #2 (below the big screen) now displays the image from the Quad's lower right, the same view as the 42" but has the Quad time/date stamp at the top. Although all the recordings have the audio time dub on the left channel (and aircraft transmissions on the right), the big screen has no obstructive video time/date stamp. It does, however, have the WWV feed.

Monitor # 3 displays the current computer-generated lunar phase. The mission is ready to go.

Right before the REC buttons are depressed, the operator goes to the lab and fine-tunes the WWV time signal on the short wave receiver, and then hits the power-on button on the Sennheiser body pack transmitter. The exact world time is now transmitted to the LIMO outside and redistributed by an audio amplifier to all five data recorders.

Returning to the LIMO, the scope focus is checked and rec buttons on all recorders are depressed. Using the hand control pendant, the scope is maneuvered over the Moon to the upper right, then the Earth's rotation carries the view to the terminator, where the scope is then moved again to the right, each "slice" being a little lower on each subsequent "scan" pass. When the scans get too low, the scope is moved back up to the top, or a target area is selected. Periodically a target area is selected and the scope is locked into automatic track, such as over Copernicus or Tycho. 

The surveillance is so intense that one can't keep his eyes locked on the monitors for very long. Besides the various chores and checks, the operator has to take breaks, such as coffee or bathroom breaks. At those times the scope is put into automatic tracking. This feature is very helpful in the event a cloud passes over the Moon. If anything happens during the mission that needs to be noted, the data is placed on the Mission sheet.

The counter on the SSI DVR ticks off the minutes and seconds and when the mission enters the 1.5 hour area the mission is either carried to the full 2 hours or is terminated if seeing conditions are not optimum. Some times an obstruction terminates the mission.

Once the mission is over, the CDs are finalized and the tapes are allowed to completely run out. Once this is done the recordings are placed in the "cooler" and taken into the lab and the Sennheiser transmitter is turned off. The teardown takes a little longer than the setup, but within 15 minutes the LIMO is locked up and the team retires for the evening.

The next day the VHS recordings are processed to DVD, labelled, checked, the stored away for later analysis. The tapes are rewound and re-used on the next mission. The CDs are ripped and data stored on the external hard drives.

Later, the discs are reviewed in 15-m increments and notes taken. If any anomalies are found, the real work begins. The SSI camera recordings have the time dub as well as a footage (Elapsed Time Indicator) to time/date any portion of the recording or report.

Each mission takes about 5 hours of work, ultimately. We never know what we are going to get. This "fishing trip" may take us into 100 missions or more before we hit real "pay dirt". The Lunascan Project was established in September of 1995, two years before the web site was put up in September of 1997. But one year after the project began work,  ULO/ulo_960921 was tracked.

Francis L. Ridge
The Lunascan Project

snail mail: The Lunascan Project
                  618 Davis Drive
                  Mt. Vernon, IN  47620

Phone:     (812) 838-3120