Richard C. Hoagland

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Richard C. Hoagland
Richard Charles Hoagland[1]

(1945-04-25) April 25, 1945 (age 77)[2]
Known forAdvocating his beliefs in advanced ancient civilizations colonizing the solar system; accusations of corruption of NASA and U.S. government
Notable workThe Monuments of Mars: A City on the Edge of Forever
AwardsInternational Angstrom Medal for Excellence in Science, 1993.[3][note 1]
Ig Nobel Prize for Astronomy, 1997.[4]

Richard Charles Hoagland (born April 25, 1945), is an American author and a proponent of various conspiracy theories about NASA, lost alien civilizations on the Moon and on Mars and other related topics. Hoagland has been documented to misappropriate others' professional achievements and is widely described as a conspiracy theorist and fringe pseudoscientist.[5][6][7]


Hoagland has no education beyond the high school level. According to Hoagland's own curriculum vitae[2] he has no advanced training, schooling or degrees in any scientific field. Hoagland asserts he was a Curator of Astronomy and Space Science at the Springfield Science Museum, 1964–1967, and Assistant Director at the Gengras Science Center[note 2] in West Hartford, Connecticut, 1967–1968, and a Science Advisor to CBS News during the Apollo program, 1968–1971. In July 1968, Hoagland filed a copyright registration for a planetarium presentation and show script called The Grand Tour.[8]

A popular planetarium lecturer at the Springfield Science Museum, Hoagland produced a program called "Mars: Infinity to 1965" to coincide with the Mariners 3 and 4 missions.[9] He designed a room with special equipments to display the relative positions of the Earth, Mars and the Mariners during their trip and thereafter contracted with NASA to relay the pictures of the Martian surface, on a near-live-feed, to the general audience.[9] Hoagland co-hosted a radio program for WTIC (AM) in Hartford, Connecticut, The Night of the Encounter, along with Dick Bertel, covering the July 14, 1965 Mariner 4 flyby of the planet Mars.[10] Local newspapers had noted the radio broadcast to be history's first laser audio transmission.[9]

In 1976, Hoagland, an avid Star Trek fan, initiated a letter-writing campaign that successfully persuaded President Gerald Ford to name the first Space Shuttle the Enterprise, replacing the previously slated name for the prototype vehicle, Constitution.[11][note 3]

Hoagland authored the book The Monuments of Mars: A City on the Edge of Forever (published in 1987), and co-authored the book Dark Mission: The Secret History of NASA, which was ranked 21st on November 18, 2007, on The New York Times Best Seller list for paperback nonfiction.[12] Richard Grossinger, the founder of North Atlantic Books, writes that Monuments became the most successful title published by North Atlantic, and that at its peak the book sold over 2000 copies per month.[13] Grossinger also reports that Hoagland wrote much of the book while in Los Angeles county jail.[13]

Hoagland ran the now-defunct The Enterprise Mission website, which he described as "an independent NASA watchdog and research group, the Enterprise Mission, attempting to figure out how much of what NASA has found in the solar system over the past 50 years has actually been silently filed out of sight as classified material, and therefore totally unknown to the American people."[14]

Hoagland appeared regularly as the "Science Advisor" for Coast to Coast AM, a late-night radio talk show, until being replaced by Robert Zimmerman in July 2015.[15]

While Hoagland makes frequent reference to his receipt of the "International Angstrom Medal for Excellence in Science" in August 1993, the organization that awarded the medal, The Angstrom Foundation Aktiebolag, founded by Lars-Jonas Ångström, was not authorized by Uppsala University or the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences to make use of the academy's Anders Jonas Ångström memorial medal. The academy has long authorized only Uppsala University to use their medal for the Ångström's Prize (Ångströms premium), awarded yearly by Uppsala professors to physics students. Mr. Ångström stated in May 2000 that although his award to Hoagland was a mistake, he acted with good faith and with good intentions.[3][16][17][18]

Claims by Hoagland[edit]

Hoagland claims the source of a so-called NASA "coverup", with relation to the "Face on Mars" and other related structures, is the result of a report commissioned by NASA authored by the Brookings Institution, the so-called Brookings Report. The 1960 report, entitled "Proposed Studies on the Implications of Peaceful Space Activities for Human Affairs", is claimed by Hoagland, on page 216 of the report, to instruct NASA to deliberately withhold from the public any evidence it may find of extraterrestrial activity, specifically, on the moon, Mars or Venus.

Hoagland has also proposed a form of physics he calls "hyperdimensional physics",[19][20] which he claims represents a more complete implementation of James Clerk Maxwell's original 20 quaternion equations,[21] instead of the original Maxwell's equations as amended by Oliver Heaviside commonly taught today.[22] These ideas are rejected by the mainstream physics community as unfounded.[23][24][25][26][27]

Hoagland claims the "Face on Mars" is part of a city built on Cydonia Planitia consisting of very large pyramids and mounds arranged in a geometric pattern.[28] To Hoagland, this is evidence that an advanced civilization might once have existed on Mars.[28] In the years since its discovery, the "face" has been near-universally accepted as an optical illusion,[7] an example of the psychological phenomenon of pareidolia.[23][29][30] Similar optical illusions can be found in the geology of Earth;[31] examples include the Old Man of the Mountain, the Pedra da Gávea, and Stac Levenish.[32]

Although the Pioneer 10 plaque was designed entirely by Carl Sagan, Linda Salzman Sagan, and Frank Drake,[33] Hoagland has inaccurately asserted that he co-created the plaque with Eric Burgess.[34] In 1990, Hoagland tried to take credit for the plaque, asserting that "Carl for many years has been taking public credit for the Pioneer plaque which, of course, Eric Burgess and I conceived."[35] Later that year Hoagland went so far as to claim he designed the plaque when he said "Carl... was involved with Eric Burgess and me in the design of [the] message."[35] Burgess' own account is at odds with Hoagland's design claims, stating that "The design itself was created by Carl Sagan and Frank Drake, with the artistic help of Sagan’s then-wife Linda Salzman Sagan", without mentioning Hoagland at all.[36] Sagan's own correspondence regarding the matter also contradicts Hoagland's claims, specifically saying "he did not contribute one bit of data towards the message design."[37] Burgess recalls similarly, adding that all Hoagland did with regard to the plaque "was support me and say it's a good idea."[35] Hoagland's website still incorrectly credits him as 'co-creator of the "Pioneer Plaque."'[38]


In 2011, researcher Andrew Johnson created an in-depth, point-by-point denouncement of Richard Hoagland's "misappropriation" of his and Judy Wood's work in a speech given by Hoagland in Amsterdam on Sunday April 3, 2011. At various points in his nearly three hour lecture, Hoagland presented various theories, research and data originally and previously created by Wood and/or Johnson as his own, with no prior consent given.[39]

At various times, including on the July 2, 2013 Coast to Coast AM broadcast, Hoagland has claimed that the idea to drop a feather and a hammer simultaneously on the moon was his.[40] In fact, the stunt was conceived primarily by Joe Allen, with some help from Dave Scott and Jim Irwin.[41]

On Hoagland's own digital podcast, he claimed on the November 11, 2015 to have coined the phrase, "On the internet nobody knows you're a dog."[40] A simple check of the facts shows that Peter Steiner first published this phrase in a cartoon in the New Yorker published on July 5, 1993.

Responses by scientists[edit]

Many scientists have responded to Hoagland's claims and assertions. Professional astronomer Phil Plait described Hoagland as a pseudoscientist and his claims as ridiculous.[6] Plait has also criticized Hoagland for having no university degree.[16] Prof. Ralph Greenberg asserted that the logic of Hoagland's deductions from the geometry of Cydonia Mensae is flawed[7] and says that he is not a trained scientist in any sense. The claim that the crashing of the Galileo orbiter into Jupiter caused a "mysterious black spot" on the planet has since been disputed by both NASA and Plait. There is photographic evidence that a similar "black spot" was present in imagery of Jupiter taken in 1998. A second image referenced by Plait shows a dark ring which looks similar to the spot Hoagland cited.[42] In 1995, Malin Space Science Systems, NASA prime contractor for planetary imaging, published a paper critiquing claims that the "city" at Cydonia is artificial, the claimed mathematical relationships, and — very specifically — denying any claims about concealing questionable data from the public.[43]

In October 1997, Hoagland received the Ig Nobel Prize for Astronomy "for identifying artificial features on the moon and on Mars, including a human face on Mars and ten-mile high buildings on the far side of the moon." The prize is an award given for outlandish or "trivial" contributions to science.[4]



  • Hoagland, Richard C. (2002). The Monuments of Mars: A City on the Edge of Forever (5th ed.). Berkeley: Frog, Ltd. ISBN 978-1-58394-054-9.
  • Hoagland, Richard C.; Bara, Mike (2009). Dark Mission: The Secret History of NASA, Revised and Expanded Edition. Port Townsend: Feral House. ISBN 978-1-932595-48-2.
  • Hoagland, Richard C. (2015). Grossinger, Richard (ed.). New Horizon ... for a Lost Horizon, chapter in : Pluto: New Horizons for a Lost Horizon. North Atlantic Books. p. 312. ISBN 978-1583948972.

Contributions, introductions, forewords[edit]


  • Hoagland, Richard C. (Author (with NASA Lewis Research Center)) (1990). Monuments of Mars: City on the Edge of Forever (VHS tape). Cleveland, OH: NASA Lewis Research Center. OCLC 23350482.
  • Hoagland, Richard C. (Executive Producer, Writer (with Geline, Robert J.)) (1992). The Monuments of Mars: A Terrestrial Connection (VHS tape). New York: BC Video Inc. OCLC 41520112.
  • Hoagland, Richard C. (1996). Hoagland's Mars, Vol. 1, The NASA-Cydonia Briefings (VHS tape). Venice, CA: UFO Central Home Video. OCLC 41559991. Short version, revised and updated
  • Hoagland, Richard C. (2008). The Hypoerdimensional Election of Barak Obama and 2012 (DVD). The Enterprise Mission.
  • Hoagland, Richard C. (Disk 1: "The Gods of Cydonia: The Case for Ancient Artificial Structures in the Solar System") (2005). God, Man and ET: The Question of Other Worlds in Science, Theology, and Mythology (DVD). Venice, CA: Knowledge 2020 Media. OCLC 58528205.


  1. ^ A private award presented to Hoagland by Lars-Jonas Ångström in Washington, D.C., August 1993; not to be confused with the long-established Ångström's Prize (Ångströms premium), awarded yearly by professors at Uppsala University to physics students.
  2. ^ The Children's Museum, formerly The Science Center of Connecticut, is home to the Gengras Planetarium.
  3. ^ In "Why 'Enterprise?'", The Enterprise Mission credits the 1976 Space Shuttle letter-writing campaign as being "organized by Richard C. Hoagland and a small group of associates, including White House consultant, Jerome Glenn." Glenn is the co-founder and Director of The Millennium Project, a think tank. His résumé posted on his organization's website mentions that he was "instrumental in naming the first Space Shuttle the Enterprise."


  1. ^ "Mars Pathfinder Conspiracy". Coast to Coast AM. June 17, 1997. Retrieved November 16, 2012. Art Bell confirms that Hoagland's middle name is Charles.
  2. ^ a b Richard C. Hoagland on Facebook
  3. ^ a b "rich-ang.jpg". The Enterprise Mission. Retrieved April 18, 2013. Image of an Anders Jonas Ångström memorial medal of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and Lars-Jonas Ångström with Richard C. Hoagland in Washington, D.C.
  4. ^ a b "The 1997 Ig Nobel Prize Winners". Improbable Research. Archived from the original on November 14, 2021. Retrieved November 14, 2021.
  5. ^ Oberg, James (January 21, 2008). "The dark side of space disaster theories". The Space Review. Retrieved November 16, 2012.
  6. ^ a b Plait, Phil (2008). "Richard Hoagland's Nonsense". Bad Astronomy (Blog). Retrieved November 16, 2012.
  7. ^ a b c Greenberg, Ralph. "The D&M Pyramid On Mars And Richard Hoagland'S Theories About Cydonia". Archived from the original on July 19, 2014. Retrieved July 30, 2014.
  8. ^ Library of Congress. Copyright Office (July–December 1968). Dramas and Works Prepared for Oral Delivery. Catalog of Copyright Entries: Third Series. Volume 22, Parts 3–4, Number 2. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office. p. 108. Retrieved November 9, 2012.
  9. ^ a b c Sanderson, Richard (August 10, 2000). "Springfield's Link to the Red Planet". Springfield Journal. Vol. 26, no. 3. Archived from the original on October 27, 2002. Retrieved November 16, 2012.
  10. ^ "The Night of the Encounter". Retrieved November 17, 2012. Page includes a half-hour of excerpts from the 1965 WTIC radio program in the MP3 format.
  11. ^ Deming, Joan; Slovinac, Patricia; et al. (July 2008). "NASA-wide Survey and Evaluation of Historic Facilities in the Context of the U.S. Space Shuttle Program: Roll-Up Report" (PDF). Washington, D.C.: Prepared by Archaeological Consultants, Inc. for NASA. p. 36. Retrieved November 17, 2012. Report cites Heppenheimer, Tom A. (2002). Development of the Space Shuttle, 1972–1981. History of the Space Shuttle. Vol. 2. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press. pp. 100–101. ISBN 978-1-58834-009-2.
  12. ^ "November 18, 2007: Paperback Nonfiction". The New York Times. Retrieved November 22, 2012. Rankings reflect sales, for the week ended Nov. 3 ...
  13. ^ a b Grossinger, Richard 2010. The North Atlantic Books List 2: Categories. March 11, 2010.
  14. ^ Hoagland, Richard C.; Bara, Mike (2007). Dark Mission: The Secret History of NASA. Port Townsend: Feral House. p. I. ISBN 978-1-932595-26-0.; Ibid., 2009, p. 57.
  15. ^ "Richard C. Hoagland". Coast to Coast AM. Retrieved April 11, 2013.
  16. ^ a b Robert Roy Britt (March 18, 2004). "Scientist attacks alien claims on Mars". Retrieved July 30, 2014.
  17. ^ "Richard C. Hoagland: Biographical Information". The Enterprise Mission. Retrieved April 19, 2013.
  18. ^ Plait, Phil (2008). "Richard Hoagland's Credentials". Bad Astronomy (Blog). Retrieved April 19, 2013.
  19. ^ "The Enterprise Mission – Physics Lab". The Enterprise Mission. Retrieved April 11, 2013. An online repository of "hyperdimensional physics"-related papers.
  20. ^ Hoagland, Richard C.; Wilcock, David (May 15, 2004). "Hoagland & Wilcock on Coast to Coast". Coast to Coast AM (Interview). Interviewed by Art Bell. Retrieved December 6, 2007. Transcript courtesy of The Enterprise Mission.
  21. ^ Bearden, T. E. "Maxwell's Quaternion Equations". Rex Research. Retrieved April 11, 2013.
  22. ^ See Maxwell's equations § Conventional formulation in SI units (especially details on Lorentz–Heaviside units)
  23. ^ a b Charles M. Wynn, Arthur W. Wiggins, Quantum Leaps in the Wrong Direction: Where Real Science Ends... and Pseudoscience begins (Joseph Henry Press, 2001). ISBN 0-309-17135-0
  24. ^ "hyperdimensional physics | Exposing PseudoAstronomy". Retrieved July 30, 2014.
  25. ^ expat (March 19, 2014). "The Emoluments of Mars: Proposal for an experiment to test "hyperdimensional physics"". Retrieved July 30, 2014.
  26. ^ Further proof of the misguided nature of Hoagland's "hyperdimensional physics" is the definitive failure of the WISE mission to find the large trans-Neptunian solar system bodies that Hoagland claimed existed through his theories. URL:
  27. ^ Chu-Carroll, Mark (October 31, 2010). "Free Energy by Switching Cameras (Classic Repost)". Good Math, Bad Math (Blog). Retrieved April 10, 2020.
  28. ^ a b "Exposing PseudoAstronomy Podcast – Shownotes Episode 59". Retrieved July 30, 2014.
  29. ^ Britt, Robert Roy (March 18, 2004). "Scientist attacks alien claims on Mars". CNN. Retrieved October 12, 2007.
  30. ^ Normand Baillargeon, A Short Course in Intellectual Self Defense: Find Your Inner Chomsky, p. 177 (Seven Stories Press, 2007). ISBN 978-1-58322-765-7
  31. ^ Dunning, Brian. "Skeptoid #97: The Face on Mars Revealed – New high resolution imagery has proven that this hill on Mars doesn't look quite so much like a carved face after all". Skeptoid.
  32. ^ "Badlands Guardian Geological Feature". Google Maps. Retrieved April 26, 2007.
  33. ^ Posner, Gary P. (November–December 2000). "The Face Behind the 'Face' on Mars: A Skeptical Look at Richard C. Hoagland". Skeptical Inquirer. Amherst, New York: Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. 24 (6): 20–26. Retrieved April 17, 2013.
  34. ^ Posner, Gary P. "My Response to Bara/Hoagland Rebuttal". Gary P. Posner. Archived from the original on October 31, 2013. Retrieved April 17, 2013.
  35. ^ a b c "A Skeptical Look at Richard C. Hoagland". Skeptical Inquirer, November 2000
  36. ^ "The Pioneer Plaque: Our Calling Card to the Cosmos". The Star Splitter, January 13, 2015
  37. ^ "Sagan's Reply". Carl Sagan, September 6, 1990
  38. ^ "Enterprise Mission". Richard C. Hoagland, July 6, 2018
  39. ^ "Is Richard Hoagland on a ‘Dark Mission’?". Andrew Johnson, April 11, 2011
  40. ^ a b "Open letter to Richard Hoagland". The Emoluments of Mars, April 22, 2017
  41. ^ "Apollo 15 Lunar Surface Journal- timestamp: 167:22:58 ". NASA, April 15, 2005
  42. ^ "PIA01496: Jovian Dark Spot". NASA. Retrieved June 28, 2006.
  43. ^ Malin, Michael C. (1995). "Observations of the 'Face on Mars' and similar features by the Mars Global Surveyor Orbiter Camera". Malin Space Science Systems. Retrieved April 18, 2013.

External links[edit]

Hoagload biography sites
Debunking websites