Another Moon Hoax

The Canberra Times reports on a different moon hoax from the late 1960s which it, in turn, read about in the most recent newsletter of the Canberra Skeptics society. This hoax was perpetrated by a grad student named Ray Crawford who had managed to get his hands on some NASA stationery:

"Shortly after the first moon landing Dr John Lovering at the ANU [Australian National University] received a piece of moon rock to analyse. Ray wrote a letter purporting to be from NASA to Dr Lovering requesting he present a sample of his urine at the US embassy at 3pm on a certain day; this was to be sent to NASA for analysis in case John had become infected by some alien life form.'

Dr Lovering, for all his intellectual eminence, seems to have fallen for the hoax and to have consulted an ANU biochemist about the best way to collect the requested specimen.

'But as urine samples are best collected early morning' Mr Griffith reports [and as this seemed at odds with the request to Dr Lovering to show up with his sample at 3pm] the biochemist 'smelled a rat'.

'So the US Embassy staff were contacted. Of course they knew nothing about this and, after a lot of coming and going with NASA, the urine sample went down the drain, so to speak. The Yanks were not amused and tried their hardest to find out who was behind the letter. But, as with the weapons of mass destruction, the CIA just could not get its act together on this one either.'"

Extraterrestrial Life

Posted on Thu Jun 05, 2003


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