More than 50 years ago, before man had ever set foot on the moon, the United States military hatched a daring plan to best the Soviet Union with a secret spy base on the lunar surface, dubbed Project Horizon.
The Project Horizon study was declassified by the National Security Archive last week, on the 45th anniversary of Apollo 11’s historic moon landing, as io9 reports, and is a fascinating look into a cold war mentality that placed victory over the Soviet Union above all else. Project Horizon was originally published in 1959, and at over 100 pages long, it details a plan to construct a “moon-to-earth surveillance system,” that would allow “communications with and observation of the earth.”
— Vera (@Joscarfas) July 21, 2014
Researchers at the time advocated setting up the Project Horizon base as a permanent installation, and recommended that construction begin as soon as possible:
“The program to establish a lunar base must not be delayed and the initial base design must meet military requirements. For example, the base should be designed as a permanent installation, it should be underground, it should strive to be completely self-supporting, and it should provide suitable accommodations to support extended tours of duty.”
Some ideas haven’t changed in the past half-century. As The Inquisitr previously reported, recently discovered holes in the moon, thought to be a byproduct of lava tubes, are being considered by NASA as a pre-formed shelter for astronauts sent to establish a permanent presence on the moon’s surface.
As ABC News reports, the Project Horizon documents also reveal that the military wished to investigate the effects of detonating a nuclear device “on and in the vicinity” of the moon. The plan was to send several astronauts to the moon to scout ahead, with reinforcements to follow soon after. The astronauts would have to construct a nuclear reactor once they arrived, and would be supplied with specially outfitted tractors to handle all foreseeable construction needs. The military even considered launching poultry and fish to the base, as sources of food for the 12 astronauts that would staff the moon base.
— WKRN (@WKRN) July 20, 2014
While scientists conceded that the technology didn’t exist to implement Project Horizon at the time, they nonetheless believed that it was only a matter of time before a permanent moon base was a fact of life:
“Based on present knowledge, the study has concluded that it is technically feasible to establish a manned base on the moon. “Technically feasible” is not meant to imply that the equipments are available, or the techniques are completely known.”
The full report on Project Horizon is available online at The National Security Archive.
[Image via Gizmodo]