Is this an Extraterrestrial Structure on the Moon?

NASA has photographed an alien building on the surface of the Moon! Hearing news like this certainly makes one sit up and pay attention, but is it is correct?

I heard about this from the Following the Nerd blog which featured a large image of the Moon centred on its South Pole.

The Moon’s southern polar region. (Image credit: US DoD)


The alien edifice is tricky to spot, look to the left of the image and find the East-West meridian. There is a crater almost at the edge of the disc and just above it is a tiny black perfect rectangle. Hmm, an alien artefact in the form of a black monolith on the Moon, how original! The crater is called Boltzmann and is about 75 km wide so the artefact would have to be constructed on a cyclopean scale, at least 20km long.

The mystery “object” (arrowed)  appears to lie partially on the rim of Boltzmann Crater, the larger crater to the right is Drygalski. (Original image credit: US DoD)


Looking for evidence of extraterrestial intelligence preserved on the airless wastes of our satellite is not new and has been proposed numerous times, most recently by the well-known SETI theorist Paul Davies. This image is not new; in fact it is nearly twenty years old as it was made by the Clementine spacecraft during its six month mission to the Moon in 1994. Images like those above are not one off-photographs, instead they are assembled from numerous (hundreds at least) of smaller images. Usually these overlap, but the coverage is not complete and there can be small areas of missing or very low quality data. In this case it was easy to find the original image used in making the larger map.

The original image from the Clementine probe (Image credit: NASA/DoD)


Alas, it is clear that the alien building is just a block of lower quality data. NASA has NOT photographed an alien building on the Moon. If this does not convince you then there are other images of the same area. You can see a fine panorama of the region made by an amateur observer at Lunar Photo of the Day and the area has recently been imaged by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. You can find Boltzmann at Lat: 74.9°S, Long: 90.7°W in the Act-React Quick Map . Keep zooming in until you are sure there is nothing there!

image of Boltzmann from LRO

A recent image of Boltzmann Crater: still no sign of alien activity. (Image credit: NASA)


(Article by Colin Johnston, Science Communicator)