by Alfred de Grazia
In the Iliad, Aphrodite leads her wounded lover Ares off the field of battle after he is pierced by the spear of warlike Athena-Venus, and in so doing is herself struck.
The poets and historians of ancient times may have known more than we do of disasters among the planets, "That the Moon was attacked and scarred by the comet Venus was known to the Greeks and described graphically by Nonnus." So writes Peter James, and we quote the fine passage from this historian of late ancient times, Nonnus:
The fable bespeaks cosmic cyclones, where earthly and celestial effects are simultaneously visible and apparently connected by an uncontrolled raging dragon-god.
The Moon, as a round rock in the sky, was a manifestation of the Goddess Aphrodite. What happened to it happened to her and what happened to her, in many cases, happened to it. We turn, therefore, to geology and astrophysics and ask what, if anything, happened to the Moon in the time of Homer. The Moon is old, as all matter and energy may be said to be old - even infinitely old if one considers that "matter" and "energy" are convertible events and that neither can become space or non-being. That is not a point to be disputed.
The question is whether the Moon, as a chemical agglomerate, pursued its present set of motions at the time of which Homer wrote. Moreover, was its chemistry the same after that time as it was before?
The moon is enveloped by a crust of igneous anorthosite to the depth of 35 kilometers, "which must have resulted from melted rock of at least twice that depth."  Lunar rocks were discovered to have undergone heating and bubbling, probably more recently. A large part of the soil consisted of tiny glass spheres, probably resulting from the evaporation of boiled lunar rock that collapsed back upon condensation in the cold. Some trace of organic, aromatic hydrocarbons were found in lunar sample returned by the astronauts of Apollo XI. Carbide rocks were found on the lunar surface. Rocks of the moon also revealed magnetic properties, a remanent magnetism that could not have been implanted by the moon's own weak magnetic field and certainly not at any time since the rocks solidified from a molten or gaseous state. The equipment implanted on the moon by astronauts of Apollo XII returned to its monitors on earth a record of moonquakes, averaging one a day. Lunar rocks were found to be rich in argon and neon; the larger the ratio of surface to mass, that is, the smaller the rock particle, the more of these gases was contained in it, leading to the conclusion that the source of the gases was external. Some unusually radioactive "hot spots" were observed.
It thus appears likely that the Moon experienced devastating events within a period of time into which the Love Affair might have fallen. Conventional theorists of lunar history have been relieved of a number of expectations, founded on the belief in a three to four billion years old object that, since then, "has been a remarkably quiet body suffering only the occasional large meteorite impact. Subsequent modification of the surface features has been mainly erosion due to the impact of small meteorites, cosmic rays, and particles from the sun. This is in great contrast with the earth's history which has been one of continued volcanic and mountain-building activity up to the present day." 
Nowadays, such statements are not to be heard. It is difficult to conceive how such could even have been written in 1972 in view of the lunar quakes and the other discoveries recited two paragraphs above. But the author of the quotation, Derek York, was holding fast to what others were telling him about the general situation and was supporting his faith by work that he had been hired as a specialist to do: radioactive clockwork. He used three clocks: the uranium-lead, the rubidium-strontium, and the potassium-argon methods of determining the ages of rock samples picked up and returned to Earth by the astronauts.
York offered, against Velikovsky's proposition of a recently molten lunar surface, alternative explanations based on the fact that all three tests showed the lunar surface to have been last molten 3.6 billion years ago at least. In each case, a determination of the amount of the first chemical element that radioactively decayed into the second element was used to estimate age, since physicists believe that we know the rate of such transmutation and can rely on its constancy over all conceivable time spans. York therefore argued that either
In reply, Velikovsky cited two additional "commonsense" tests in his favor. Geologist examining the samples of Apollo XI recorded "the extremely fresh appearance of the interior of all crystalline rocks, in spite of their microfractures and high potassium-argon age."  Moreover, noting a widespread glazing of the lunar surface, T. Gold, writing in Science had conjectured upon "a giant solar outburst in geologically recent times" that glazed lunar surfaces less than 30,000 years ago." 
Velikovsky mentioned here yet another prediction of his, earlier in time, that gained in validity when the Apollo 15 team discovered that the outflow of heat below the surface was almost three times greater than expected by those who believed that the moon originated gaseous and then became molten: those who thought the moon had always been thoroughly cold could make nothing of this internal heat at all.
Specifically with regard to the challenge of the tests, Velikovsky argued that lunar rocks would be argon-rich (and therefore seem very old) because they would have captured, while molten, some of the argon of the atmosphere of Mars. (In 1974, Russian reports spoke of a Martian atmosphere of argon in the 10's of percent.)  As for the reading of the uranium-lead test, the explorers had apparently sampled rocks not only poor in lead but in all volatile elements: bismuth, cadmium, thallium, indium, etc. He surmised, therefore, that the volatile elements had escaped their rock housings in a period of high heat and melting, such as the episode in Homer that occupies our attention. The third radioactive clock appears to be the most absurd of the three, since rubidium vaporizes and migrates from its housing with strontium even under the conditions of present-day temperatures of the lunar day (+ 150 degrees Celsius) and the continuous bombardment of surface rocks by hydrogen ions from the solar wind. A period of electrically and gravitationally induced heating such as occurred in the Love Affair would have greatly reduced the rubidium present in the tested rocks. Velikovsky and Wright  are not alone in their criticism of these tests. We cannot close these brief passages without referring to the brilliant critique offered of these and other clocks by Melvin Cook in his book, Prehistory and Earth Models 1966. In brief, what York regarded as impossible was true. "There is something seriously wrong with the radioactive clocks..." 
The one test that Velikovsky asked for was to determine the degree of thermoluminescence of lunar surface cores extracted at about three feet of depth to avoid contamination of the test by the effects of normal solar heat. The more the time that passes after a heat-up of over 150 degrees Celsius, the more luminescence is stored and given off in a laboratory re-heating. When the tests were performed on cores gathered by Apollo XII between 4 and 13 centimeters underground, it showed "anomalies resulting from disturbances "10,000 years ago." Such disturbances had to be thermal, that is, events of great heat upon the moon. Velikovsky thought that increased radioactivity may have promoted a quick-aging effect on even this test and suggests sampling from sites that are least radioactive.
We return now to the problem of the remanent magnetism in the rock samples brought back from all Apollo missions. Velikovsky's theory of the Mars-Moon encounters required that such fossil magnetism be traceable in the rocks, and it was found. Robert Treat has written the history of the affair, from which we quote:
Surface marring, "hot spots" of radioactivity, high past heat, and encounter with another large celestial body spell devastation. Fresh-looking rock, high thermoluminescence levels, "hot spots" seismic movement, and below surface heat spell recency.
The "recency" suggested by our interpretation of the explorations of the moon is "under 10,000 years." The world-wide historical and legendary record strongly indicates about 2700 years. There is good reason, therefore, after having passed the 10,000 year barrier, to proceed without hesitation to the 2700-year point.
The recent devastation of the Moon is the subject of an analysis also by Ralph Juergens  . He focused especially upon its hundreds of wavy rilles, its canyons and its craters. The craters are sites of explosions. Some, like Aristarchus, are still warm. The rilles cleave the surface and often seem to feed into the craters, going up-ground to do so with whatever they might once have carried. The craters seem to have exploded after the rilles reached them, since debris obscures the ends of the rilles.
Juergens examinations of the rilles shows that they cannot have been produced by water erosion; they flow uphill and have no deltas. Nor can they have been produced from the collapse of underground tubes that once carried lava; for the margins of the rilles reveal upturned strata and empty bottoms; Nor can gas explosions have created the rilles, for they are exceedingly tortuous; and they are not vented holes. Only electrical currents, declares Juergens, could produce the jagged trenches. The currents erupt, heat up the land and excavate it, and cause secondary melting in the rille valleys. They move as streamers upwards. A return stroke explodes the ground and creates a crater.
What caused the rilles to erupt and the craters to burst? On the basis of his general theory of the electrical nature of the solar system, to be explained later, Juergens posits that Mars and Earth-Moon each held (and hold) massive electrical charges of negative valence. These charges, on the close approach of the bodies, repel each other. But if the bodies are approaching with great momentum, the repulsion is not sufficient to divert them entirely. The charges are driven to accommodate. By "accommodation" is meant that, if there is any possibility of a reversal of charges on one or both bodies, the negative electrons will "flee" from each other. Assuming that Mars, with an atmosphere, and a larger surface, more readily permitted its electrons to flee to regions far removed from the nearest points of contact, positive ions would congregate and set up an anode-cathode relationship, that is, a situation matured for an exchange of thunderbolts. The rilles ditches erupted by a rapidly moving and charge-accumulating current. Craters are the spots where the exchange of opposite charges, attracted for discharge, occurred, usually at prominences of the two bodies. A map of the major rilles of the moon shows a concentration of them in the general area of the great crater, Aristarchus. Emanations of radon-222, whose parent element is radium-226, were detected from Aristarchus. The rays are several times more intense there than in areas farther removed, indicating a local source. Radium 226 isotopes decay rapidly. In 1620 years, half the element is transmutated; that is, it has a half-life of 1620 years. "If the radium were produced by an electric discharge to the Aristarchus site some 2700 years ago, more than 25% of it would still be there, emitting radon -222."  Lightning strokes of 100 billion volts can constitute a high-energy projectile capable of creating heavy elements such as radium-226.
It should also be pointed out that visible light, as well as heat, has been observed from time to time, from Aristarchus and other sources. Again, a sign of recency.
Glass found that glass ejecta along the banks of the Hadley Rille and procured by the astronauts of the Apollo 15 and 17 expeditions exhibited significant peculiarities in comparison with other moon glasses. Tests on one sample showed that cooling rates of 1000 F/ sec. were necessary to form the glass. The researchers considered the possibility that volcanic eruption might have caused the glass to form, but the cooling rate was too fast. So they conjectured meteoritic impacts. However, for meteorites, the glasses are too uniform and are not splashed or shattered. Furthermore, meteorites would not line themselves up along a rille valley, if such is the case here. Juergens conclusion is acceptable  . The glass is a product of an electrical current that melts instantaneously, explodes simultaneously, and withdraws its heat immediately along the meandering course of the rille before streaming upwards from the ground at the end of the rille.
The surprises that the Moon holds for scientists are not ended. Because of the nonexistence or prior extirpation of life forms that would have ingested radioactive carbon, there appear to be no possibilities of applying Carbon 14 tests to Moon material. Still, the electrical mechanical behavior of the Moon and Moon-space are coming to be better understood. The Moon's several spherical asymmetries deserve pondering. Unmanned excavating apparatus may bring back more material for analysis. Moreover, ancient records and myths are still largely unanalyzed.
The "beauty of raiment" with which the Graces "clothe her body" and the "refulgent ointment" with which they anointed the Moon, once her love affair with Mars was ended, may refer to a shift to a position nearer Earth; the month of 29.5 days replaced a longer month  . Greater brilliance indicates that the change was in orbital radius, rather than in orbital speed.
It is also possible that the lines of Homer may be a reference to a chain of colorful low mountains whose origin has baffled astrophysicists. Juergens has suggested that, if the theory of electrical discharges is credible, the explanation of these anomalous protruberances may lay in a simple and surprising theory of cosmic welding  . They are Martian material electrically heated and exploded, which fastened electrically upon the surface of the Moon.
To the wishful eyes of men, women, and children of the eighth and seventh century, Aphrodite emerged more beautiful than ever from her escapade with Mars. Perhaps it grew less lovely thereafter, for Plutarch was speaking of its craggy appearance seven centuries later  . The astronauts and geophysicists of today have to report the disillusioning fact that the face of the classical beauty was ruined.
1. Dionysiaca, I, 213-23, trans. W. M. D. Rouse (Loeb Library).
2. Neil P. Ruzie, "The case for Returning to the Moon," Industrial Research (July, 1973), pp. 48-54, p. 51.
3. Derek York, "Lunar Rocks and Velikovsky's Claims," II Pensée no. 2( May 1972), p. 18.
4. "When Was The Lunar Surface Last Molten," II Pensée, no. 2,( May 1972), p. 19.
6. James B. Pollack, "Mars," 233 Scientific American (Sept. 1975), p. 110.
7. Also in Pensée (May 1972), loc. cit.
8. Ibid., p. 21
9. "Magnetic Remanence of Lunar Rocks: A Candid Look at Scientific Misbehavior," II Pensée, no. 2 (May, 1972), p. 21-2.
10. "Electrical Discharges and the Transmutation of Elements," IV Pensée 3, (1974), pp. 45-6; "Of the Moon and Mars, Part I," IV Pensee 4 (1974), pp. 21-30.
11. Juergens, "Electrical Discharges...," op. cit., pp. 45-6.
12. "Of The Moon..," op. cit., pp. 27-8.
13. Velikovsky, Worlds in Collision, pp. 342-4.
14. In a communication to the author, October 1973.
15. "The Face of the Moon."