Astronaut Ken Mattingly also saw a light that flashed across
the lunar sky before disappearing behind the horizon, however NASA believes that
this light was in all probability just a micrometeorite.
NASA scientist, Farouk El Baz (left), however, was not convinced the
light seen by Mattingly was a micrometeorite. He stated in Saga magazine "The
one thing I can’t explain – that I do not know about or what it could be are
those enormous flashes of light. There’s no question about it, they are very tremendous things, not comets,
not natural. Three were seen over the western part of the Moon, one by Ken
Mattingly on Apollo 16, and two by Ron Evans and Harrison Schmitt on Apollo 17."
This Apollo 17 (7th-19th December 1972) sighting was detailed
Command Module: What are you learning?
Ground Control: Hot spots on the
Command Module: Where are your big anomalies? Can you summarise
Ground Control: Jack, we’ll get that for you on the next pass.
Command Module: Hey, I can see a bright spot down there on the landing
site where they must have blown off some of that halo stuff.
Ground Control: Roger. Interesting. Very … go
to KILO KILO.
Command Module: Hey, its grey now and the number one extends …
Ground Control: Roger. We got it. And we copy that’s its all the way down there. Go to KILO KILO
Command Module: Mode is going to HM.
Recorder is off. Lose a little communication there, huh? Okay, there’s Bravo,
Bravo, select OMNI. Hey, you know, you’ll never believe it. I’m right over the
edge of the Orientale. I just looked down and saw the light flash
Ground Control: Roger. Understand.
Command Module: Right at the end of
Ground Control: Any chance of … ?
Command Module: That’s on the east of
Ground Control: You don’t suppose it could be a Vostock? [A
Russian space probe.]
Command Module: I’ll be damned. I’ve
got to mark that spot on the map. (24)
Where the flashing light came from has never been disclosed, if
any answer was ever found. The idea that the flashing light could have been from
a Vostock is bizarre. The Vostock was an obsolete Russian space probe that
couldn’t even reach the Moon, let alone perch on the edge of a crater flashing
its lights. The flashing lights continued to be a mystery during this
mission as this later transcript testifies:
Capcom: America, Houston.
We’d like you to hold off switching to OMNI Charlie until we cue you on
Command Module: Wilco.
Lunar Module: Was
there any indication on the seismometers on that impact about the time I saw a
light flash on the surface?
Capcom: Stand-by. We’ll check on that, Jack.
Lunar Module: A UFO
perhaps, don’t worry about it. I thought somebody was looking at it. It could
have been one of the other flashes of light.
Capcom: Roger. We
copy the time and …
Lunar Module: I have
the place marked.
Capcom:: Passed it onto the back room.
Lunar Module: Okay, I’ve
got it marked on the map too.