Christmas Eve, 1968: three astronauts recited versus from the Book of Genesis to the people of Earth. Frank Borman, James Lovell, and William Anders did a live presentation wishing us a Merry Christmas from 200,000 miles away. Although several audio postings have surfaced over the years, I hope you will enjoy this link that embeds pictures and music to the message.
Let’s end in prayer from the Agathestos Hymn, 6th Century, Greece as it is often repeated at Christmas:
Hail, thou restoration of fallen Adam:
Hail, thou redemption of the tears of Eve.
Hail, thou heavenly ladder by which God came down:
Hail, bridge leading from earth to heaven…
Hail, land of promise:
Hail thou from whom flows forth milk and honey.
Hail, space for the uncontained God;
Hail, door of solemn mystery.
COM = Cross on the moon.
We see many “lasts” this month. Sadly the Space Shuttle had its last flight. We remember the last men to visit the moon by celebrating the anniversary of man’s first steps on July 20th, 1969. Kennedy Space Center had over 6,000 workers see their last day building, refurbishing, and launching Space Shuttles.
Now is the time for “firsts”. We look forward to the first privately funded lunar rover and the return to science missions on the moon. Lava tubes anyone? Exotic metals and water in pure form? Google’s Lunar X Prize is the catalyst and teams are building space hardware today to meet the deadline’s prize in 2014.
Other Space missions plan to visit an asteroid and return with samples. These giant rocks in space make the task tricky because they do not have gravity.
Another “first” was installing a half-humanoid robot on the ISS (International Space Station). A collaboration of NASA and GM, Robonaut is an experiment with many options for firsts.
Catch you next month…
Michael Clark, 2011 President
Cross on the Moon
The potential use of the cross in the World Trade Center Memorial has been controversial. Many groups such as families of the victims want the cross to be included, while other organizations, notably American Atheists and the Coalition for Jewish Concerns, disagree.
Background from Wikipedia:
The World Trade Center was built using prefabricated parts which were bolted or welded together at the site. This process dramatically reduced construction time and costs. Using this process, t-beams and other types of cross beams were created and used in each of the World Trade Center buildings. When One World
The newly formed American Atheists led by founder Maldalyn Murray O’Hair in 1963 succeeded in banning prayer in public schools (Murray vs Curlett). She filed suit against NASA and lost. The issue was over Apollo 8 astronauts broadcasting the first 10 versus of Genesis from lunar orbit to the world on Christmas Eve. “For the people on earth, the crew of Apollo 8 has a message we would like to send you” said Anders just before they slipped behind the moon, in what to date was the most watched television broadcast to date: “In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth…”.
In the 1960’s, Rev. James Stout was under contract with NASA to coordinate 13 chaplains at the manned spacecraft center in Houston. The Apollo Prayer League was an important support to the Apollo program. Within a month after being formed, the League had 50,000 members, and soon there were prayer groups around the world. One of the projects of the Apollo Prayer League was to put a Bible on the moon. They succeeded but it took many attempts.
What few people do not know is that Frank Borman sent a message from space to earth to be recorded for later playback at his church. From C.L. Mersch’s book “The Apostles of Apollo” she describes the passage Borman chose from G.F.Weld’s “Prayer for Vision, Faith, and Works”
After mission control gave the thumbs up, Borman spoke: “ Okay. This is to Rod Rose and to the people at St. Christopher’s, actually to people everywhere:
Give us O God, the vision which can see Thy love in the world in spite of human failure. give us the faith, the trust, the goodness in spite of all our ignorance and weakness. Give us the knowledge that we may continue to pray with understanding hearts, and show us what each of us can do to set forth the day of the universal peace. Amen”
Frank Borman was supposed to read this in his church congregation that night but his space mission kept him away. I find this prayer relevant to today’s troubles. Especially in Christian remorse of a crazy man’s killing rampage in Norway that stunned the world.
Did you know Buzz Aldrin performed Holy Communion privately from the lunar module while on the moon? The gravity of the moon is 1/6th that of earth. Buzz said the wine curled slowly and gracefully up the side of the cup. Apollo astronauts were allowed 6 ounces of personal gear to take to the moon. He used his allowance to practice his faith. Aldrin later said: “It’s interesting that the first liquid ever poured on the moon, and the first food ever eaten there, were communion elements”.
Did you know that Malaysia’s first astronaut practiced his Muslim’s faith by praying to Mecca even though he didn’t know which way to point? “How to Face Mecca from Space” 2007 post is here: Facing Mecca in Space
Did you know that a red covered Bible was left on the dashboard of a lunar rover? It was Apollo 17, the last time men traveled to the moon. The lunar rover was the third vehicle to roll on the moon. It weighed 463 pounds and could carry 2 astronauts plus 1,000 pounds of rocks. Although the astronauts drove about 4 miles on the moon, it was capable of a 50 mile range. Paraffin, the substance of bees wax helped cool its batteries. The rovers were stored under the lunar lander until needed. Did you know that duct tape could not repair a broken fender on the moon?
Besides a full size Bible left on the moon, about a hundred were brought in micro-film form and returned to earth. These were serialized by the Apollo Prayer League and distributed to a wide range of recipients, including Bob Hope and George Bush.
Well, I started this post describing the cross at ground zero and on the moon. There is a connection I leave to the reader. I end by citing Wikipedia again:
Some saw the crossed metal as a Christian cross and felt its survival was symbolic. Fr. Brian Jordan OFM, a Roman Catholic Franciscan priest, spoke over it and declared it to be a “symbol of hope… [a] symbol of faith… [a] symbol of healing”. One minister at the site says that when a family of a man who died in the attacks came to the cross shrine and left personal effects there, “It was as if the cross took in the grief and loss. I never felt Jesus more.”
A replica has been installed at the gravesite of Father Mychal Judge, a New York Fire Department chaplain who was killed in the collapse of WTC 1 on September 11. Other surviving crossbeams were salvaged from the rubble; one was given to a Far Rockaway, New York chapter of the Knights of Columbus in 2004. Another replica cross was fashioned by ironworkers from Trade Center steel and installed at Graymoor, the Upper West Side headquarters of the Society of the Atonement, a religious order of Franciscan friars.
Furthermore, I find logic in what a blogger at New York Magazine posted:
A cross of steel beams that remained among the rubble of the World Trade Center after the 9/11 attacks, and which became a beacon of hope for Christian rescue workers and mourners, has now become a symbol of controversy after organizers decided to include it in the National September 11 Memorial and Museum at ground zero. An atheist group, the New Jersey-based American Atheists, has filed a lawsuit objecting to the Christian imagery, saying its inclusion “constitutes an unlawful attempt to promote a specific religion on governmental land.”
The issue is that the atheists don’t want this “chance formation of the cross” in the 9/11 Museum. Does that mean the Metropolitan Museum of Art must remove all of the Religious paintings of notable artists down through the ages? That would be a very large portion of the Met in poor shambles. That would have to include the section on Greek Pagan Gods, that is religious too! This lawsuit is not a lawsuit on a Museum piece as is stated, it IS an attack on Christianity, and in my opinion all religions.
As an art restorer in my past, I can say that the 9/11 Cross is being blocked from Ground Zero Museum! Museums preserves history. Yes the Cross may be religious, but it is still part of the history. Fr Judge was highly regarded by the firemen. He was the Firemen’s Friar. He remained with the firemen in the Towers, until their death. The Firemen who survived gave Fr Mychal Judge “Victim 0001″. Fr Judge and the Firemen were able to be courageous because of their belief in the Truth of the Cross. Whether one believes in it or not does not matter, that IS part of the history, and it is still part of our culture.
June 2011- Moab UT: Recently, we received a heart felt email from a person wishing we would never succeed in placing a cross on the moon in her lifetime. She always wanted to look at the moon and not have a visible artifact left by mankind, even if it were the Christian Cross. I understand her objection and wondered if others believed, like her that we could place something on the moon that would be seen by unaided human eyes on earth. Honestly, I would have the same feelings if for example Cocoa Cola, Nike, or Gatorade started a campaign for placing their logos on the moon to change our view of the night sky.
The short answer is “no, we cannot change the moon’s appearance”. The size of our object would have to be much higher than the Egyptian pyramids. Not even a massive city sky-scraper could we see. In the Apollo program, astronauts could barely make out earth’s landmasses when standing on the moon.
I recently traveled across the US at night. At 33,000 feet, I couldn’t tell if there were car lights on the roads below. However, I could see major cities because they were outlined by their multi megawatt light sources. But at 33,000 feet, small communities remain dark. If you have been to New York City, when you’re in Battery Park, you can see the Statue of Liberty. When you’re on top of the Empire State Building, you will likely need binoculars.
The average distance from the center of the earth to the center of the moon is 238,857 miles but the moon follows an elliptical orbit, not circular one. The moon’s closest approach to the earth is 225,622 miles. See details at .
My commercial flight across the US was only 6.25 miles above the earth. Astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) orbit from 220 miles . They can see the Great Pyramids and the Wall of China. Likewise, we can see the ISS as a faint “star-like” object moving fast against the night sky. If we were to place the entire Space Station on the moon (153 feet long), it would not be visible to the human eye on earth.
To make our inability to see objects on the moon clear, we have left many large objects there that we cannot see. These range from Lunar Landers, 8+, to 4-wheel lunar buggies that allowed astronauts to cover large distances on the moon.
Nation States left behind 6 scientific instruments on the moon called retro-reflectors. Essentially, these reflectors continue to allow us to reflect a special light beam we send to the moon. The light has to be very powerful and precise to target where the reflectors are on the moon for it to work. By measuring the time in picoseconds our light takes to make the round trip, we know the distance to the moon in millimeters. From using a retro-reflector, we know the moon’s distance from the earth increases about 2 cm per year. Laser beams are used because they remain tightly focused for large distances. Nevertheless, there is enough dispersion of the beam that it is about 7 kilometers in diameter when it reaches the Moon and 20 kilometers in diameter when it returns to Earth. Because of this very weak signal, electronic, human eye observations are made for several hours at a time. By averaging the signal for this period, the distance to the Moon can be measured to an accuracy of about 3 centimeters .
My point is that any energy source in the visible spectrum would have to be very powerful indeed if we wanted to place a sign on the moon like “Eat at Joes” or shine a light on a massive Christian cross for us to see it on the earth. It’s just not practical to generate that kind of power.
We could consider building a reflector for visible light and use the sun for energy. I need to work the math but the moon’s soil is not an ideal reflector, having optical properties similar to coal. My intuition is we would need something on the scale of the state of Connecticut for the human eye to know something was there. That “something” would require machines to process the surface, perhaps laying hundreds of square miles of reflective film.
Getting equipment to the moon is not trivial. We are just beginning to explore the moon using private funds. A swag at the cost to place a simple lunar rover on the moon and have it last 2 weeks may be on the order of $70 million. Even a hundred of these rovers couldn’t shape the moon’s surface to reflect back a sign like “Drink Coke” from Cocoa Cola” or “Just do it” from Nike.
An optical property that allows us to see the man-in-the-moon is sunlight reflecting from contrasting lunar soils: those on the highlands (light) against those in its lunar mares (dark). Many of these have landmasses the size of Texas and Alaska combined! Giant lunar craters like Tycho, Keplar, and Copernicus also provide us visual references to the lunar surface. They also remind us how violent the universe is.
So let us take something we CAN see of the moon from earth: the lunar crater Copernicus. From earth, if you have exceptional eyesight, the crater appears as a white dot without a telescope. Copernicus is actually 93 km (58 miles) wide and is 3.8 km (2.4 miles) deep. It has crater rays extending 800 km (497 miles) that help us see it. Now that’s a big tattoo!
So what does it mean when we say “Put a cross on the moon”. In its simplest form, the cross could be a logo on a private rover. Escalating from there, we could contract a private company to place a 6 to 8 inch high cross in the lunar surface. By now we know such tokens of our faith would not be seen from earth. Instead, for a brief time, the cross would be seen through the rover’s HD cameras. The perspective would be seeing the cross with our bright blue and white planet in the background, and the stark gray lunar soil in the foreground. Many of us remember the image of an American flag planted in the lunar soil.
We cannot raise anything on the moon that could be seen from earth with the naked eye. Our picture of a cross rising hundreds of miles above the lunar surface is an artist’s symbolic interpretation. Notice we show many hands lifting the moon as our reference to needing many people to support placing a cross there.
Our moon cross will be small. Lunar rovers will be our eyes to see it from earth. Explorers will come later. We will pray for them and they will offer up prayers from the moon. It has been this way since mankind went into the unknown.
But this mission, should you accept it, is more than physically placing a small cross on the moon. It is about recognizing His plan when confronted head on with the universe. It is about acknowledging that God loves us and that we need Him in our lives, even as we are overwhelmed by how small we are compared with the universe. We are important to the Creator. Past explorers knew this and carried the Bible to build their personal relationship with Him.They built sanctuaries in remote places and prayed on oceans, continents and mountaintops. Space explorers will be no different. God’s promises to connect with us are timeless. Hopefully you see that we should not limit our reverence for Him when only on this planet.
COM = Cross on the moon.
Greetings on Easter’s eve,
Everyday, Christians celebrate Christ’s sacrifice to pay for mankind’s sins since creation and into our future. This is especially true tomorrow, Easter Sunday. For some churches, Easter and Christmas are the most attended services of the year. These are festive days. As Christians, we know the son-of-man endured human pain to be closer to us. We do not know why bad things happen to good people but we know He will not forsake us. Every Easter, we are reminded that our God chose to experience being human. In the physical sense, God understands intimately conception, birth, maturation, and emotions: all leading to His experiencing human death. He rose from the dead and visited many afterwards. Our celebration continues here on earth and we outwardly show our faith.
Recognizing the cross’s meaning is at the core of the Gospel. There should be no mystery why we place the cross inside and outside churches, as grave markers in cemeteries and placed along roadsides as memorials. We wear the cross as more than jewelry. These acts will continue because we remember what happened 2000 years ago and look to God’s promise of everlasting life.
The intent of placing a cross on the moon is an extension of our remembrance and desires to build a personal relationship with Him. In Tim Keller’s book: “A Reason for God”, he answers critics who say Christians believe to be superior to non-Christians with this statement:
“We should think of churches as hospitals for sinners, not museums for saints”
His meaning was that Christians should recognize their “brokenness” and be humble because of what Christ did for us. When attending church this Easter Sunday, remember how much our God loves us amidst the celebration of resurrection. No other faith has their king willing to experience all aspects of being human.
Next month I will provide technical launch status. The countdown has begun for a handful of teams.
Michael Clark, President
COM = Cross on the moon. In late February we witnessed the last launch of Space Shuttle Discovery. It carried among other items Robonaut-2, a humanoid assistant to the International Space Station. The Shuttle undocks early March 7th for its final landing at Kennedy Space Center.
On February 8th, Business Insider headlined: “Elon Musk’s SpaceX Rocket To Carry Moon Rover To Historic Apollo 11 Site”. The effort is to win Google’s Lunar X prize by Astrobotic Technologies and students at Carnegie Mellon University. Link to the story is here.
In February Orbital Sciences failed to place into orbit a $424 million NASA satellite. A nose cone fairing did not separate thereby preventing the vehicle in reaching orbit. A similar event occurred in 2009. Orbital Sciences has a separate contract with NASA to supply Space Station, estimated to be $1.9B. Those vehicles will be Taurus-2, not Taurus XL that has been experiencing nose cone failures. Link to the story is here.
Finally, we recently were treated to this headline: “Secret Mission: Bible on the Moon”. See video and story here: . The short version is that on Feb 5th, 1971, Edger Mitchell took microfilm bibles to the lunar surface on Apollo 14 and brought them back to earth. That was roughly 40 years ago. In the article, the interviewer asks Ms Mersch, author of a recent book: But what is the significance of sending a bible to the moon?
Carol Mersch: Through the years the Bible has crossed many continents, many countries, many distances. And it was not unnatural, then, that the Bible be carried to another celestial body. For more information on Carol Mersch’s book, “The Apostles of Apollo,” click here: http://apostlesofapollo.com/
God Bless everyone…
Michael Clark, president Cross on the Moon.
Once again, I am a a few days behind giving status for the month. The race for funding a private unmanned lunar expedition is in full gear. Since Google’s Lunar X prize vanishes in 2014, teams are competing for launch schedules as well as vehicles to place them into lunar orbit. Lead times are incredibly long and very pricey. To that end, one team benefited from Draper’s donation of $1M and another team Astrobotic Technology http://astrobotic.net/ submitted $1M as down payment for a launch vehicle. Many more dollars are required and even small individual contributions are greatly appreciated. Here at COM we will channel up to 90% of your donation to your team’s efforts. We cannot do more because of US tax laws.
As I write this, the Steelers and the Packers are playing in the Super Bowl. A 30 second commercial costs $3M. In comparison to the Lunar X-Prize, the logos on the rover will be broadcast to the earth many times in HD, certainly longer than 30 seconds and the population coverage to the world will be larger than tonight’s sporting event. It is no wonder why we at COM propose to sponsor placing the Christian cross on the vehicle that goes to the moon. This symbol of our Christian faith has its roots in knowing that God so loved us, He experienced human suffering and paid the price for our sins. No other world religion claims a god who loves us so much that he/it wanted to experience our pains. We may never know why God permits pain and suffering but because of what happened at the cross, we know He truly loves us.
Thanks for your support…
Michael Clark, president Cross on the Moon
COM = Cross on the Moon; Hello! I am actually writing this status in early January 2011. I hope your Christmas was wonderful on several levels. The Lunar X teams have until 2014 to win the prize. NASA is sweetening the pot with side-contracts. We will see a private company placing a rover on the moon, perhaps in 2012 which is the target Astrobotic Technology has set. Their launch vehicle comes from Space X, NASA’s provider to resupply the Space Station.
But no matter what we do on earth, or the moon, nothing will compare to that one Solitary Life we celebrate every December. I close with this passage from a card I received from a Board member:
He was born in an obscure village. He worked in a carpenter shop until He was thirty. He then became an itinerant preacher. He never held an office. He never had a family or owned a house. He didn’t go to college. He had no credentials but himself. He was only thirty-three when the public turned against him. His friends ran away. He was turned over to his enemies and went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed to a cross between two thieves. While he was dying, his executioners gambled for his clothing, the only property he had on earth. He was laid in a borrowed grave. Nineteen centuries have come and gone, and today he is the central figure of the human race. All the armies that ever marched, al; the navies that ever sailed, all the parliaments that ever sat, and all the kings that ever reigned have not affected the life of man on this earth as much as One Solitary Life.
COM = Cross on the moon; In the U.S. we have a unique holiday in November- Thanksgiving. We surround ourselves with family and friends and give thanks to one another. Our small volunteer staff extends their heart-felt thanks to our supporters this year.
Two things are important to share with you before the new year:
1) We will forward 90% of your donation to any registered Google Lunar X Team that you choose. We cannot by law make it any higher. For instance, if you want your $100 donation to go to team “X”, COM will provide you tax exemption for $100 but only $90 can be forwarded to “X”. 10% will be used by COM to continue the mission.
2) Having given several copies as gifts, I recommend this book: A Reason for God by Tim Keller. I am happy to discuss theological points he makes within it and how it applies to COM.
May God Bless Everyone,
Michael Clark, President
Cross on the Moon.
COM = Cross on the Moon; October heated up for space activities. Specifically NASA awarded 6 US companies for their ILDD (Innovation Lunar Demonstrations Data) program. Funding can range from $10K to $10M each. Read about it here (NASA) and here (GLXP). The teams are:
- Astrobotic Technology Inc., Pittsburgh, Pa.
- The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, Inc., Cambridge, Mass.
- Dynetics Inc., Huntsville, Ala.
- Earthrise Space Inc., Orlando, Fla.
- Moon Express Inc., San Francisco
- Team FREDNET, The Open Space Society, Inc., Huntsville, Ala.
Then Google’s Lunar X-Prize held thier 4th yearly mission progress meeting October 8 where 14 of 23 teams attended.
You may not be aware of another non-profit organization: World Space Week Association (WSWA). Founded in 1981, they plan activities for October 4-10 every year. Information is here.
Still another non-profit space organization is the Moon Society. They posted a 2007 video this month on “Why the Moon?” along with the origins of Phobos, a Martian moon with similar origins as our moon.
Lastly, Cross on the Moon is a US recognized tax exmpt non-profit organization. We haven’t made a strong appeal for donations this year but as Google’s prize ends in 2014, many teams are now in thier testing phases along with scheduling launch providers. Please contribute to sending a cross to the moon aboard a private space craft.
Michael Clark. President Cross on the Moon.