The Cassandra Project by Jack McDevitt and Mike Resnick begins at a news conference led by Jerry Culpepper, on July 20, 2019. During the Q&A after the report, a reporter plays from his gooseberry, the latest generation of handheld device, a recording of astronauts about to land on the moon six months before Armstrong. Hoax, practice, a mistake? Whatever it was, Culpepper was in for it and then he got a phone call from an eighty year old retired Navy chopper pilot who told him how one of the three astronauts on that flight stumbled and the bag he was carrying spilled some rocks on deck. He left the question of why an astronaut was carrying rocks if payload was so crucial in those launches. The diary of an astronaut from another flight mentions walking on the moon before Armstrong. So what is up with all of this? Why not celebrate these earlier walks? What is being covered up? This is what billionaire Bucky Blackstone wants to know. He has tried to hire Culpepper away from NASA and is funding private flights into space.
A former astronaut, a couple of astronaut’s kids, former NASA employees, and politicians kept telling Culpepper to leave it alone. But he couldn’t. He discovered some photographs of the dark side of the moon and had an expert, a former girlfriend, authenticate them. She discovered some discrepancies with Russian and American photos of the same area. There was a cover up and he had to leave NASA. He joins Bucky’s company as its spokesperson. Even the President of the United States gets involved. Why are sections of the dark side of the moon missing from official NASA pictures?
Bucky needs to fly to the moon to solve this problem that takes us back to the Watergate break-in and to Tricky Dick himself. What a flashback especially in 2019. It seems to be all Greek to everyone and requires some Holmesian logic to solve, but it gets solved as only a government and entrepreneur can collaborate. Here’s to everyone’s fantasy, fly me to the moon…..