Archaeological exploration of the Moon: Results of SAAM Project
AV Arkhipov (firstname.lastname@example.org)
"The Moon — Secret Zone"
Institute of Radio Astronomy, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, the proceedings of the conference "SETI-XXI"
"It was the excursion. Our aim was to review
surface rather for planning future research than for
make them ourselves. A number of sites were examined and recommended for selection
the most appropriate site excavation. "
John Wyndham, "The Last Lunarians"
The relevance of the search of ancient human artifacts on the surface of the celestial bodies pointed out by many authors (eg A.Klark, Shklovsky, Sagan, Dzh.V.Foster, A.R.Freytas, M.Dzh.Karlotto, D. L.Holms). In the years 1992-2000. the author made an attempt to archaeological exploration of the moon as a strategically important body in the near-Earth space (the project SAAM — Search for Alien Artifacts on the Moon). Main objective of the study was to develop a method to find a candidate in the archaeological sites of the moon and the Catalogue of the most interesting areas and sites for further study in situ. Proposed and implemented a number of algorithms for computer-aided search of unusual, rectangular parts in images of the lunar surface high resolution camera of "Clementine." As a result, scanning approximately 80,000 images of the polar regions of the moon compiled a data bank for 128 shots with suspicious objects. Morphological analysis suggests three main groups of finds:
a) local accumulations of depression, ranked in the quasi-rectangular lattice, and located in the plains of the lunar surface;
b) the quasi-rectangular patterns of narrow lineaments (low ridges, ledges, cracks and fissures) located at higher elevations;
c) quadrangle hills with dips on top, surrounded by a depression with a flat bottom and rectangular outlines.
Overlay round funnels, and locality of such formations can doubt the traditional explanation of any rectangular parts of the moon network of tectonic fractures that control the shape of impact fracture surface. An attempt was drawing pictures of the same type of evolutionary sequence of rectangular formations that are at various stages of destruction. These sequences are interpreted as the gradual collapse of some subsurface voids having a rectangular shape and are sometimes arranged in two tiers. Using a special algorithm revealed the existence of the moon stealth local patterns consisting of very low ridges of rectangular shapes. Perhaps, as manifested yet unbroken emptiness, or we see the final stage of their destruction, fall asleep regolith. Further progress of space exploration will undoubtedly fuel the public's interest in extraterrestrial archeology. Therefore, discussion of possible archaeological sites on the moon seems inevitable.
The idea of lunar archeology discussed long before space flight. Back in the 1930s, John Wyndham (alias J. Beynon) wrote "The Last Lunarians" — a fictional account of an archaeological expedition to the Moon (lit.1). In 1948, Arthur C. Clarke's story in "Time" described the find on the moon alien artifacts left behind by visitors from the stars before the appearance of mankind on Earth. In this A.Klarku half a century ago, it was clear that such a discovery, "the scientist must not be afraid of being branded a fool and discuss the absurd assumption" (lit.2). It is understandable why the idea of exploring the Moon for human artifacts is not popular among selenologists. However, the abnormal features on the lunar surface needs to be investigated, regardless of their interpretation. Sooner or later, but archeological face of our satellite will be clarified, especially during the inevitable colonization of the moon.
It has been previously shown (lit.3, 4) that the moon can be used as an indicator of extraterrestrial visits to our solar system. Unfortunately, the discovery of alien artifacts on the moon is outside the interests of the majority selenologists because of their orientation to the natural formations and processes. It is also not interested in the vast majority of archaeologists, as archeology is still in effect at the pre-Copernican geocentric positions. Indeed, as an arena of archaeological research usually considered only the Earth, seeing it in complete isolation from other cultures of the galaxy.
In 1992, the original project was launched Search for Alien Artifacts on the Moon (SAAM) — the first attempt of the archaeological exploration of the Moon. Justification lunar SETI, the wording of specific principles of lunar archeology and selection of the most interesting areas on the Moon were the first phase of the project (1992-95). Preliminary results (lit.5) show that the search for alien artifacts on the moon is a promising strategy for SETI, especially in the context of plans for the development of the satellite. The aim of the second phase of the SAAM (1996-2001) was the search for promising sites for archaeological research. This second phase of the project included:
a) the development of new algorithms for space archaeological reconnaissance;
b) the use of these algorithms to detect archaeological sites on the Moon;
c) the study of the reaction of "big" science in this area of research.