In the latest story posted on Lightspeed Magazine, Jack McDevitt imagines that the 1969 Moon landing wasn't the first. In fact, somebody else was there before we were - and NASA has been covering it up. Check out the story!
Here's the opening from McDevitt's "The Cassandra Project":
It's an odd fact that the biggest science story of the twenty-first century-probably the biggest ever-broke in that tabloid of tabloids, The National Bedrock.
I was in the middle of conducting a NASA press conference several days before the Minerva lift-off-the Return to the Moon-and I was fielding softball questions like: "Is it true that if everything goes well, the Mars mission will be moved up?" and "What is Marcia Beckett going to say when she becomes the first person to set foot on lunar soil since Eugene Cernan turned off the lights fifty-four years ago?"
President Gorman and his Russian counterpart, Dmitri Alexandrov, were scheduled to talk to the press from the White house an hour later, so I was strictly a set-up guy. Or that was the plan, anyway, until Warren Cole mentioned the dome.
It was a good time for NASA. We all knew the dangers inherent in overconfidence, but two orbital missions had gone up without a hitch. Either of them could have landed and waved back at us, and the rumor was that Sid Myshko had almost taken the game into his own hands, and that the crew had put it to a vote whether they'd ignore the protocol and go down to the surface regardless of the mission parameters. Sid and his five crewmates denied the story, of course.
I'd just made the point to the pool of reporters that it was Richard Nixon who'd turned off the lights-not the astronaut Eugene Cernan-when Warren Cole began waving his hand. Cole was the AP journalist, seated in his customary spot up front. He was frowning, his left hand in the air, staring down at something on his lap that I couldn't see.
"Warren?" I said. "What've you got?"
"Jerry.…" He looked up, making no effort to suppress a grin. "Have you seen the story that the Bedrock's running?" He held up his iPad.
That started a few people checking their own devices.
"No, I haven't," I said, hoping he was making it up. "I don't usually get to Bedrock this early in the week." Somebody snorted. Then a wave of laughter rippled through the room. "What?" I said. My first thought had been that we were about to have another astronaut scandal, like the one the month before with Barnaby Salvator and half the strippers on the Beach. "What are they saying?"
"The Russians released more lunar orbital pictures from the sixties," He snickered. "They've got one here from the far side of the Moon. If you can believe this, there's a dome back there."
"Yeah." He flipped open his notebook. "Does NASA have a comment?"
"You're kidding, right?" I said.
He twisted the iPad, raised it higher, and squinted at it. "Yep. It's a dome all right."
Read the rest at Lightspeed Magazine