In the race for technical advancement, both the USSR and the United States were engaged in a Cold War, intending to win the space race and claim themselves as the most technically advanced nation. The Soviet Union emerged as the first nation to land its spaceship on Moon and launched its satellite into space. On Sep 13, 1959, Luna 2 is known to be the first unmanned vehicle to descend on the Moon.
It was in 1966 when the USSR conducted its first successful landings and managed to capture the first photographs of the moon’s surface with the help of Luna-9 and Luna-13 flights. Soon, the United States followed the steps of the USSR and conducted five successful unmanned landings on the Surveyor.
Surprisingly, the Soviet Spaceship Luna-16 came back to Earth carrying evidence of the existence of life on the Moon. It consisted of lunar soil possessing evidence of alien life, challenging the existing theories associated with the moon, and holding the scientists accountable for the origin and evolution of the Solar system.
For the first time in the history of mankind, on September 24, 1970, an unmanned spaceship brought a sample of the lunar soil to Earth. Luna-16, the Soviet Spaceship descended on Earth from the lunar Sea of Fertility carrying 101 grams of lunar regolith in a hermetically sealed container.
Following the footsteps, in February 1972, Luna 20 utilized a drill with a 25 cm hollow bit to collect another sample that was hermetically sealed on the Moon that too just 120 kilometers from the Luna 16 landing site.
In the USSR, hermetic containers brought back from the Luna missions were sent right to the lab so that the contents could be studied and photographed. However, even after dozens and dozens of pictures were put together in an atlas in 1979, a few of the components’ biological nature was not noticed.
“Luna-16” was made by the design group of NPO named after S.A. Lavochkin. Georgy Nikolaevich Babakin was in charge of the group. On November 17, 1970, Soviet scientists made a report about the first findings of a survey of the material characteristics of the lunar soil.
On December 21, the order from the USSR’s Minister of General Machine Building was made public. It said that developers and makers of ground-based space infrastructure facilities would get bonuses. (In 2020, documents about the USSR’s moon program were made public.)
The images were further examined by the Biologists from the Russian Academy of Sciences, Stanislav Zhmur from the Institute of Lithosphere of the Marginal Seas, and Lyudmila Gerasimenko from the Institute of Biology to grab more details.
It was specifically noted by the scientists that some of the particles in the photos were almost the same as fossils of recognized species on Earth. Essentially, it was observed that some round pieces of regolith that were brought back by Luna 20 looked a lot like fossils of coccoid bacteria, like Siderococcus or Sulfolobus, in terms of size, shape, distribution, and the way the spheres get distorted when they become fossils.
Analysis of the Fossils found on the Lunar Surface By USSR
The editorial team of the 1979 atlas discovered how interesting the shape of a fossil was that was found in the regolith of Luna 16. They thought it was a small meteorite crater due to its spherical shape with strong spokes.
However, Zhmur and Gerasimenko witnessed an instantly recognizable resemblance between the fossil and modern spiral filamentous microorganisms, such as Phormidium frigidum, found in growing stromatolites in Shark Bay, Australia, and spiral filamentous microorganisms from the early Proterozoic shiungites of Karelia.
In 1994 and 1999, the outcomes of their recent study concerned with these particles were shared at conferences on astrobiology in Denver.
At the very same conference in Denver, Zhmur and Gerasimenko also said that they had found microfossils of living things in some carbonaceous meteorites that came from a place far beyond the moon.
“We thought the most interesting thing they found was the fossils in the meteorites.” Even though no one disagreed with the fact that these microfossils were once living things, the scientific community’s rejection of these facts led to a negative image of scientists.
At a convention on the moon and other planets held in Houston in March 2000, it was said that all carbonaceous and Martian meteorites that had been checked for pollutants showed signs of contamination.
Even though microorganisms that generally remain on human hands and surface can conveniently colonize meteorites before they are analyzed and because petrification can happen in a short period of time, fossilized microorganisms in meteorites are now generally believed to be evidence of recent contamination from Earth.
The fossils that have been found on the lunar surface are different. Each specimen from the Moon was put in a sealed jar on the Moon and only opened in the lab, where it was studied right away.