This week the Syfy channel announced that it plans to broadcast Aliens on the Moon: The Truth Exposed, a two-hour documentary from Robert Kiviat, the executive producer of the hoax documentary Alien Autopsy, that will explore whether ancient astronauts left structures on the moon and other solar system bodies. According to a press release, the special intends to challenge the “official” story of the moon by asking “what haven’t we been told about Earth’s closest neighbor?”
According to the press release, the special will assert the “undeniable existence of what look like installations, factories, saucers, hangers and huge satellite dishes, possibly trained directly on planet Earth.” Paradoxically, these dishes trained directly on the earth are also located “on the far side of our Moon,” according to the very next sentence. The special also intends to have plasma physicist Dr. John Brandenburg (identified here as a Defense Department expert even though the claim doesn’t appear in his biography) assert that the structures are threatening and that a military response is needed to protect earth from an imminent alien invasion.
The special also plans to rehash Buzz Aldrin’s 2005 claim to have seen a UFO while traveling to the moon in 1969. I’m not sure that there is time for the special to backtrack in light of Aldrin’s explanation, made on Reddit this week, for what he believes he really saw:
There were many explanations of what that could be, other than another spacecraft from another country or another world -- it was either the rocket we had separated from, or the 4 panels that moved away when we extracted the lander from the rocket and we were nose to nose with the two spacecraft.
More to my particular area of interest, the special will delve into the ancient astronaut theory, according to Syfy’s publicity materials:
Also, a lunar “pyramid” photographed by NASA that’s almost identical to those found in ancient Iraq will be analyzed, as will the possibility the same alien race that might have helped ancient cultures advance could be the ones who erected structures on the Moon and are monitoring mankind for some unknown purpose.
How, pray tell, might a Mesopotamian mud brick ziggurat be “almost identical” to anything on the moon? Well, that’s one of Richard Hoagland’s claims, later adopted by Mike Bara—and we know he’s an ancient astronaut theorists. According to a recent analysis, the photo of the alleged ziggurat is a hoax, as this comparison image of Hoagland’s “enhanced” image with the original raw NASA photograph made by Stuart Robbins quite clearly shows.
But the enhanced version does not resemble a ziggurat, even if we take it at face value! It looks more like a Tibetan monastery to me.
So why do I mention all of this? Glad you asked. It’s my policy not to discuss specific projects, networks, and producers I’ve talked to while their show is in production. But since Syfy chose not to ever call me back, I’m happy to report to you right now that the producers of this ancient astronaut extravaganza asked me to appear on it. Since they obviously went a different direction, I’ll share with you some of what they said.
On February 13, a Syfy producer named David (I’ll withhold his last name) wrote me an email saying “We’re interested in finding persons with experience in the field to review some photographs of alleged extraterrestrial structures. From your bio this seems to be your expertise.” It’s not. But I said I was game, and I asked the producer for more information about the program: “What exactly would you be interested in having me do? How do you intend to portray exoarchaeology? I ask because cable TV programs in general, and Syfy in particular, have not historically been particularly fair to those who have skeptical viewpoints, and I’ve been burned more than once by producers who didn’t notice that I am not a believer in fringe science.”
At this point, David asked me to agree to the show without knowing what I would be discussing or what the show would be about: “I can’t offer any particulars except that the show concerns exoarchaeology.” He told me that he would put me on the list of interviewees “for Syfy to approve.” Here was the clincher: “I’ve been told the network wants skeptical voices, but we won't know exactly how skeptical until the big wigs chime in.” Truth? Facts? Of course not! Syfy wants the right (i.e., low) level of skepticism to avoid driving away true believers. At least their network has the right name for that kind of manipulative distortion of truth: science fiction.
David finished by telling me he would be in touch once the production team heard back from the network’s executive suite about how fair and accurate they were allowed to be. I never heard from him again. And now we know how scientific the show will be.
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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