Did the Nazis really build a secret space station on the moon?
Americans have proved especially adept at kicking up conspiracy theories about the mysterious, widely unexplored frontier of outer space with far-reaching suspicions about the first lunar landing and UFO programs filling up slots on the History channel. It is a Finnish producer, however, that chose to channel one of the more interesting rumors, that of a secret lunar Nazi space station, into a full-length science-fiction comedy. The movie Iron Skies, from the makers of the successful parody series Star Wreck, will be released in April 2012. In the movie, Nazi scientists, at the end of WWII, make a scientific breakthrough that allows them to send spaceships to the dark side of the moon (sent from a secret Nazi base in Antarctica, no less) to build the “Schwarze Sonne,” a military space station. (Here’s a link to a German site with more details about the film)
These rumors of ambitious Nazi space programs and secret super-advanced Nazi aeronautics technology originated, unsurprisingly, during WWII itself. A 1945 issue of Life magazine claimed there had been “plausible schemes” drawn up by the Third Reich to not only build such a space station, but to arm it with a sun gun that would use mirrors to weaponize sunlight by focusing it into a destructive, burning beam. The article did note that the laws of physics suggest such a mirror-sunlight weapon could be impossible to create, but the space-station theory, a more difficult one to disprove, lived on.
Vladimir Terziski, the Bulgarian president of the American Academy of Dissident Sciences, is a modern believer in the space base. He believes that the Germans landed on the moon as early as in 1942, seventeen years before the Soviet Union’s Luna 2 mission landed what has been known throughout history as the first human machine on the moon. (Read his article here)
Smithsonian Space History Curator Michael Neufeld believes that the reality is much less exciting, however, saying that the Nazis absolutely did not have any sort of space program—their technological ambitions were for weaponry and warfare. Neufeld said, “This is a typical misunderstanding. People equate a rocket program with a space program, and the German rocket program was about building weapons only. That was the only reason Nazi Germany supported rocketry.”
Although they never developed space shuttles, German rocket engineers played an important role in the National Socialist regime and after its fall. During WWII Germans engineered the V-2 rocket, which, while doing little to help Germany’s war efforts, ended up being a key tool for developing space travel in the Soviet Union and the United States. Many German rocket scientists, including Wernher von Braun, played important roles in Russian and American space programs after the war.
But for anyone who is still intrigued by secret moon stations and space Nazis, here is a trailer for the upcoming movie Iron Skies: Iron Sky Teaser Trailer