Richard Hoagland

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Richard Charles Hoagland (1945–) is, according to his biography at his webshite, is a former space-museum curator, NASA contractor, and consultant to CBS TV news. In the 1990s he started a program at Dunbar Senior High (Washington, DC) to get students involved with mission planning and data acquisition. This eventually grew into the Enterprise Mission,[note 1] which he claims many NASA senior officials support, and he has visited NASA centers multiple times[1] (as do a lot of tourists and journalists every year). He is also on the Board of Directors for American Antigravity.[2] And oh yes, he's a raving conspiracy theorist, loony, and crank.

Hoagland was "best pals" with Walter Cronkite, Carl Sagan, Arthur C. Clarke and Gene Roddenberry. Since he mentions these "facts" about 20 times a day, he clearly thinks that's all we need to know about him.

Although he has written of "my decades-long, demonstrated scientific competence"[3] he has no special knowledge of, or standing in, any branch of science. He has no education beyond high school and his count of peer-reviewed publications is exactly zero.


A page on the Enterprise Mission website implies that Hoagland was the first to hypothesize that a vast liquid-water ocean exists deep under the ice surface of Europa (one of Jupiter's moons) and that life may have evolved in that ocean.[4] The page cites the acknowledgements of Arthur C. Clarke's 2010: Odyssey Two, where Clarke credits Hoagland with the idea (Europan life-forms are involved in the book's plot).

While this is a somewhat plausible hypothesis and one that scientists itch to test,[5][6] Hoagland was not the first to propose it.[7][8] His popular-science article for the popular-astronomy magazine Star and Sky did introduce the idea to Clarke, though.[8]

Face on Mars[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Face on Mars

Hoagland's other most famous theory speculation is that the Face on Mars in Cydonia Mensae was made by aliens. He offers up as proof many coincidences about ratios of angles formed by structures in Cydonia Mensae. However, a detailed explanation by Ralph Greenberg, a Professor of Mathematics at the University of Washington, points out many statistical problems in the approximation rates and many other coincidental ratios taken from random numbers.[9] In May 2014, astronomer Dr Stuart Robbins examined Hoagland's pseudo-mathematical analysis of Cydonia features and, like Greenberg, found it to be invalid. He published his findings as a podcast and as an animated video.[10]


A non-exhaustive list (an exhaustive list would be, er, exhausting to compile):

  • The Face on Mars has been created by extraterrestrial intelligence.
  • "I was co-creator of the plaque on the Pioneer 10 and 11 probes that was a message to extraterrestrials" (actually Hoagland had no part in its creation at all.)
  • "The hammer-and-feather stunt on Apollo 15 was my idea" (actually it was Joe Allen's. Hoagland had nothing to do with it.)
  • "I coined the phrase "On the internet, nobody knows you're a dog"" (actually New Yorker cartoonist Peter Steiner did.)
  • The Juno rocket that launched Explorer 1 benefited from a secret anti-gravity boost.
  • Eclipses and transits create "torsion waves" that change the inertia of everything they pass through.
  • The Abydos helicopter is, well, a representation of a helicopter.[11]
  • The Apollo 1 astronauts were murdered.[12]
  • Iapetus, one of Saturn's moons, is artificial,[13] as is Mars's inner moon Phobos.[14]
  • There are semi-transparent glass structures on the Moon.[15]
  • 9/11 was not only a conspiracy, but a magic ritual, part of a secret war between the Freemasons and Knights Templar who control the US government on one hand, and the hashashim (which include Osama bin Laden as a key member) on the other.[16]
  • Judy Wood is correct in her analysis that the WTC towers were brought down by a directed energy weapon.[17] Planes did also hit the towers, but they were "copies" of the flights the media reported.
  • NASA has covered up nearly everything found by space exploration, because The Brookings Report (1960) said knowledge of ET would cause world chaos (actually, it didn't say that at all.)
  • NASA has an "obsessive, relentless"[18] fixation on launching only when any of five specific stars are at any of five specific elevations, as seen from either the Cape or Houston[note 2].
  • The Norwegian Spiral wasn't only a failed Russian missile test; the missile was intercepted mid-flight with a torsion field weapon, most probably — by "Nazi-derived off-world colonies", in order to intimidate Obama, who was accepting his Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo at that time. Apparently, the intimidation ploy succeeded and Obama cancelled the Constellation program, "blackmailed" (…) into "imprisoning" Humanity on Earth…[19] (If only someone else had manned spaceflight capability!)

Foundation of NASA[edit]

The perception seems to be gaining currency, chiefly because of the ignorance but eloquence of Hoagland, that NASA was founded by a bunch of Nazis and that its claim to be a civilian agency is a sham.

The Nazis[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Nazism

Actually the first NASA Administrator, T. Keith Glennan, was innocent of Nazi sympathies unless you count his college fraternity, Chi Phi, as Nazi (which nobody has ever done.) Glennan was a highly competent manager of science and technology, and former AEC member. He served as Administrator for 2.5 years.

The Nazis came along later, having been swiped from Peenemunde by the OSS, in a raid known as Operation Paperclip. Not until nearly the end of Glennan's regime did Wernher Von Braun and his fellow ex-Nazis join the ranks, to head up the newly-formed Marshall Spaceflight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. And a very Good Thing™ that was for US ambitions in space. Were it not for Wernher von Braun's rocketry genius, the first words from the surface of the Moon would most likely have been That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for the heroic proletariat. (Or perhaps, "It looks like a dirty beach."[20]).

The DoD relationship[edit]

The Space Act was signed into law on July 29, 1958, creating NASA as a civilian agency. Hoagland loves to point out that Sec. 305 (i) of the Space Act includes these words: "The Administration shall be considered a defense agency of the United States…" Sometimes, when he's being really dishonest, he stops right there. At other times, when he's being merely deceptive, he completes the sentence with "… for the purpose of Chapter 17, Title 35 of the US Code."

What he never does is explain what Title 35 actually is. In fact, Title 35 is exclusively concerned with patent law. Chapter 17 says that if an employee of a "defense agency" (as defined) files an application for a patent, the commissioner of patents may keep it under wraps while checking with the bosses of the relevant agency to make sure publishing it won't blow some cosmic secret. In other words, it simply brings NASA into line with other national enterprises in the context of boring old patent law. The Departments of Justice and Homeland Security have the exact same wording in their charters.

NASA Administrators from James Webb on have expended considerable political capital asserting the agency's independence from DoD. Certain activities of NASA are classified, to be sure — the ten DoD missions of the Space Shuttle come to mind — but the relationship is contractual only. In both directions.

Glass skyscrapers[edit]

The official NASA version.
Hoagland mucking around with an old print of the same photo... OMFG!! Glass Skyscrapers!1!

Hoagland claims that he has incontrovertible evidence of towering glass skyscrapers on the Moon, six miles or more high. They were obviously built by a now-dead Lunar civilization of very clever aliens.

The best example is a monochrome 70mm photo taken from orbit over Sinus Medii (AS10-32-4820) by Apollo 10. That lovely crater is Treisnecker. Look — no glass skyscrapers. Now consider Hoagland's version, pictured here. Oh look, skyscrapers.[note 3]

How does he do it? Well, he takes an old 10×8 inch glossy print of that shot which has been lying around in someone's private file for 30 years.[note 4] He slaps it on his office scanner which is not in a clean room. He loads the resulting image into Photoshop and cranks the brightness to the max. Voila!

Some of the fans are impressed by this comedy performance. More sober individuals will remark that such extremes of brightness are never used on images containing any substantial area of absolute black, because it's impossible to render the blacks. The slightest blemish, dust, scratching or smearing on the scanner glass will come up looking like maybe a glass skyscraper?

More glass skyscrapers[edit]

When the Chinese soft-lander Chang'e-3 started sending back moonscape images in December 2013, Hoagland captured them from the CNSA website and manipulated them using the "Equalize" tool in Photoshop. This has the effect of stretching the dynamic range of an image, ensuring that the full range of brightness from 0 to 255 is used. In this case, the effect was to reveal some CCD detector noise over one half of the images. Although the noise pattern extends to the full height of the images, it's only apparent in the top half against the black of the lunar sky. The bright terrain of the Mare Imbrium masks the pattern.

Hoagland wrote an enormously long web page[21] proclaiming that the pattern in the lunar sky was further evidence of glass skyscrapers, and a total vindication of his earlier "research" with the Apollo scans. On 22 April 2014 he went on Coast to Coast AM with a three-hour TOLDYA, unchallenged by host George Noory as usual.

More fact-oriented readers and listeners wondered why one of Hoagland's very own images clearly showed the noise pattern in the shadow under the Chang'e lander. The Exposing Pseudo Astronomy blog wrote it up on 1 May 2014, concluding that Hoagland's Photoshop manipulations were unacceptable as evidence, and explaining exactly how CCD noise is produced.

Hurricane control[edit]

After Hurricane Dorian stalled over the Bahamas in September 2019, eventually killing 80 people and doing nearly $5 billion damage, Hoagland said:

That hurricane was manipulated to provide an object lesson of total destruction to people who are unmoved by anything but the imminent fate of their physical reality. That was not accidental. That was a designed catastrophe.[22]

When mildly challenged, Hoagland retorted:

It's science, John. I have sources. I know there's technology to manipulate hurricanes.[22]

But of course, it isn't science at all. If it were, he'd have some evidence to back up his opinion.


Hoagland uses a number of classic conspiracy theorist techniques. We'll spare you an in-depth analysis, and just mock them.

Evil people[edit]

Evil societies, instead of using their vast resources and influence to just fucking buy the planet, sit in the background and waste their money manipulating our oaks. Of course! I knew it all along! DAYLIGHT SAVINGS IS A MASONIC CONSPIRACY TO ROB US OF OUR SUN!!! Plus, at their headquarters, they have an entire branch of people devoted to fitting their schedule to match obscure astronomical events… man, that's one hell of a handicap.

I imagine, every now and then, they have a conversation that goes like this:

"Jenkins, are we ready to implement our ultra-secret super-awesome plan?"
"Yes sir, but we missed the passing of the constellation Orion at a 33° angle over the Earth… I'm afraid we'll have to wait another ten years for it to come around again"
"Damn you, Orion! Always foiling our plans!"


"Ain't that funny? By analyzing photographs blown up to the point where we can see the pixels, I can read whatever I want into the pixels."
*Connects random blobs on photograph to make letters spelling out 'Richard C. Hoagland is a sexy beast'*
"And those fuzzy black-and-white blobs right there—here, I'll zoom in on them for you—" *zooms in to where you can't make anything out anymore* "OMG buildings! OMG a wall! OMG a face!"


"Look, when I run up this Mayan pyramid with a 40 year old wristwatch, the watch goes all spiky. It's torsion fields!!"

Lack of common sense[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Common sense

"I don't care if it's nearly useless and utmost expensive to cover in anti-radar coatings an artificial moon so large that it can be seen from billions of kilometers away even with the small telescopes amateur astronomers employ."[note 5]

Mathematical incompetence[edit]

In 2008, Hoagland wrote a web page called Von Braun's Secret.[23] He sought to show that the orbit of Explorer 1 was higher than expected by a margin that could not be explained by variability of the solid rocket fuel of the 1950s, or the fact that the Juno rocket had no guidance after first-stage burnout. According to Hoagland, "Von Braun's Secret" is knowledge of a secret anti-gravity effect.

He attempted to use the Tsiolkovsky rocket equation, which enables accurate calculation of the velocity contribution of a rocket stage. In so doing he made mathematical errors that invalidated his entire argument.

Form of the equation[edit]

The equation is usually written:


is the specific impulse of the fuel
is the acceleration due to gravity
is the initial total mass of the stage, including propellant,
is the final mass of the empty stage

Hoagland instead used this:

Where is the mass of propellant consumed.

That form of the equation is bizarre, but it is capable of returning a correct value, as long as the negative sign is respected. Hoagland ignored it.

Natural logarithm[edit]

Hoagland utterly failed to evaluate the natural logarithm. He quite simply ignored it. Note that, in his form of the equation, the logarithmic expression is certain to be less than 1, therefore the logarithm will be negative.

Stage by stage[edit]

The equation is valid for a rocket stage only. The whole point of rocket staging is that an empty fuel tank can be dropped off and thereafter no fuel needs to be expended accelerating the empty mass.

Hoagland evidently did not realize this. He applied the equation to three stages as a group. Where the specific impulse data for the three stages was unequal, he hand-wavingly took a mean value.


His work is shamefully invalid and, obviously, gave a totally wrong answer. He arrived at a figure of 3,520 ft/sec. When the calculation is done correctly, the value is 14,189 ft/sec.

The importance of this is that Explorer 1 had a velocity excess of approximately 600 ft/sec as it entered orbit. By Hoagland's mistaken figure, that is a quite surprising 17%.[24] In fact, the excess is only 4.2% — easily attributable to the uncertainty due to technical factors.


See the main article on this topic: Numerology

Hoagland espouses numerology, but he is as incompetent at this as he is at real arithmetic. He has said and written many times that the numbers 19.5 and 33.3 have special power within a branch of poppycock physics he calls 'hyperdimensional."[25]

He evidently does not understand that the position of a decimal point is of some importance, since he has also drawn attention to the occurrence of 195, 1950, 3.33, 0.333 and the times 19h30min and 19h50min. The derivation of 19.5 comes from solid geometry and it represents a latitude on a sphere.[26] However, to Hoagland, it's just as powerful when it's a longitude, a time, the apparent magnitude of a comet, the inclination of an orbit, the NASA budget in $billion, or the price of a shirt at Old Navy.[27][28]

RadioPodcast show[edit]

From July 2015 to October 2016 Hoagland hosted a two-hour, five-nights-a-week radio chat show, The Other Side of Midnight, initially live via Dark Matter Digital Network, streamed onto the Internet, and archived for members only. On 3 May 2016 the show transferred to KCAA-AM, and in November to KIYQ Las Vegas[29] The show returned in June 2017 on a reduced schedule of two nights a week, and was plagued with technical and scheduling issues, necessitating many repeats. Starting on 14 October 2017, the show abandoned the medium of radio in favor of BlogTalkRadioWikipedia. The inaugural show in this format lasted only about 20 minutes before audio problems overwhelmed it.[30]

Major publications[edit]

  • Hoagland, Richard C. (2002). The Monuments of Mars: A City on the Edge of Forever (5th ed.). Berkeley: Frog, Ltd.. ISBN 978-1-58394-054-9. 
  • Hoagland, Richard C.; Bara, Mike (2009). Dark Mission: The Secret History of NASA, Revised and Expanded Edition. Port Townsend: Feral House. ISBN 978-1-932595-48-2. 
  • Hoagland, Richard C. (2015). New Horizon ... for a Lost Horizon, chapter in Grossinger, Richard: Pluto: New Horizons for a Lost Horizon. North Atlantic Books. pp. 312. ISBN 978-1583948972. 

In March 2017 Hoagland announced a new book, The Hidden History of Mars: A War In Heaven, promising a free copy to paid-up members of The Other Side of Midnight. As of March 4, 2024, they're still waiting.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. Not to be confused with the space shuttle Enterprise; which was originally named "Constitution" but re-named "Enterprise" after a letter campaign organized by Bjo TrimbleWikipedia and Jerome GlennWikipedia, which Hoagland likes to take credit for since he used his access to the mass media to support it. He seems to be a Star Trek fan.
  2. The stars are Sirius, Regulus, and the belt stars of Orion. The elevations are -33°, -19.5°, 0°, +19.5°, and +33°. Hoagland has web-published a "Table of Coincidence" which purports to prove this ridiculous idea, and fails. Considering that the Shuttle's on-time performance was only 41% (55 of 135) the evil NASA conspirators must have had a hard life ("Dammit, Jenkins! Foiled again!")
  3. Never mind those skyscrapers should have heights of kilometers and that would be quite hard to miss
  4. That "someone" is Ken Johnston, who at one time was in charge of an Apollo photo archive and kept a set for private use.
  5. Saturn's moon Iapetus. See "Claims" above.


  1. The Enterprise Mission biography of Hoagland. Archived from
  3. Facebook, 27 mar 2011 05:30 EST
  4. The Enterprise Mission - Europa. Archived from
  5. Carolyn Porco: Could a Saturn moon harbor life?, TED talk by the leader of the Imaging Team of the Cassini mission.
  6. A Submarine for Europa, Universe Today
  7. Hoagland's Credentials, Phil Plait's Bad Astronomy
  8. 8.0 8.1 Gary P. Posner, The Face Behind the "Face" on Mars: A Skeptical Look at Richard C. Hoagland
  9. Greenburg's letter to Hoagland
  10. The Cydonia Region of Mars Explored
  11. The "LostTombs" Revisited: "Success Has a Thousand Fathers …", Part VI. Archived from
  12. Untitled screed. Archived from
  13. A Moon With a View - part One. Archived from
  14. For the World is Hollow … and I Have Touched the Sky! Archived from
  16. Who's The Enemy: -- The "End of Days" Begun?. Archived from
  17. A Nobel Torsion Message over Norway? Archived from
  18. Caption to Fig. 5-10, Dark Mission
  19. A "Nobel Torsion Message" Over Norway? Part II and Part III. Archived from
  20. “It Looks Like A Dirty Beach”. Changing the Times, 15 May 2011.
  21. The Moon Goddess Chang'e … Her Pet Jade Rabbit and a Flock of Lunar Crows Hoagland says it took him four months to write that trash
  22. 22.0 22.1 The Other Side of Midnight 29 December 2019, blogtalk radio with John Hogue.
  23. Von Braun's Secret. Archived from, 2008.
  24. On Coast to Coast AM, in a four-hour exposition of this rubbish, he said it was 30%.
  25. Hoagland's explanation, such as it is, of hyperdimensional physics. Archived from
  26. For the derivation by geometry and trigonometry, see this blogpost.
  27. Exposing Pseudoastronomy has done an analysis and concluded that Hoagland's references to 19.5 are mostly false.
  28. Hoagland discusses Old Navy with Art Bell
  29. Other Side of Midnight show archive A post-election show in November was billed but never actually happened.
  30. Hoagland's radio show goes from bad to worse to FAIL --"Emoluments of Mars" blog