Author Topic: Sigh. TV show Cooper's Treasure - new Mercury has its own crankery  (Read 607 times)

Offline Everett

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Apparently, Discovery channel is going to air a new series called "Cooper's Treasure," where, as best as I can determine, On Cooper's Mercury mission he was taking photographs, where he was apparently to look for missile sites, and some in the south Caribbean somehow or other showed evidence of treasure carrying shipwrecks. And supposedly he kept the pictures, poured over them for years in secret, and Cooper became like a father figure for the guy on the show, Darrell Miklos, and now he's looking for the sunken treasure.

I suppose we're obligated to point out how wrong it is. (Look for missile sites globally with a camera? Seriously? And as if he got to keep the camera and pictures anyway, if they existed in the first place.) (I suppose a first step is to see whether this guy was ever even in the same city as Cooper) My guess is, since the show doesn't actually require them to find anything, this guy is looking for a wreck using normal methods that actually exist (as in looking at sources), and made the whole space program story up to get on TV.

Offline ka9q

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Re: Sigh. TV show Cooper's Treasure - new Mercury has its own crankery
« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2017, 04:17:27 PM »
I don't actually know, but it is not at all implausible that early Mercury astronauts were quietly asked to photograph missile sites and other places of military significance. Remember the technology of the time; there were no digital cameras, no mass digital storage devices and no high speed digital radio links able to send data to the ground. Early spy satellites used film that was dropped on small return capsules and recovered, often by airplanes plucking them out of the air as they fell on parachutes. It was extremely complex, slow and tedious.

The 'space age' was very new, but it had long been obvious to everyone that it would be utterly impractical to get airspace clearance for every country an orbiting satellite might fly over. So a main feature of the first international space treaties was the classification of orbital space as outside any country's territory, open to everyone just like the high seas. Exploiting that access for intelligence purposes was a very high priority for a United States desperate to get photos of military sites deep in Soviet territory. (And vice versa.)

As for Gordon Cooper capturing pictures of sunken treasure sites, I'm certainly willing to agree that's nuts. Far better and more recent imagery from commercial reconnaissance satellites is now widely available to the public via Google Earth if nothing else. But it doesn't mean there wasn't some element of truth to the original legend as I just described.

Offline Everett

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Re: Sigh. TV show Cooper's Treasure - new Mercury has its own crankery
« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2017, 08:49:43 PM »
I don't actually know, but it is not at all implausible that early Mercury astronauts were quietly asked to photograph missile sites and other places of military significance. Remember the technology of the time; there were no digital cameras, no mass digital storage devices and no high speed digital radio links able to send data to the ground. Early spy satellites used film that was dropped on small return capsules and recovered, often by airplanes plucking them out of the air as they fell on parachutes. It was extremely complex, slow and tedious.

The 'space age' was very new, but it had long been obvious to everyone that it would be utterly impractical to get airspace clearance for every country an orbiting satellite might fly over. So a main feature of the first international space treaties was the classification of orbital space as outside any country's territory, open to everyone just like the high seas. Exploiting that access for intelligence purposes was a very high priority for a United States desperate to get photos of military sites deep in Soviet territory. (And vice versa.)

As for Gordon Cooper capturing pictures of sunken treasure sites, I'm certainly willing to agree that's nuts. Far better and more recent imagery from commercial reconnaissance satellites is now widely available to the public via Google Earth if nothing else. But it doesn't mean there wasn't some element of truth to the original legend as I just described.

Good point. I guess I got a little too hung up on the precise wording "look for." Taking photographs of known or suspected missile/military sites is perfectly sensible; looking for sites that were previously unknown is pretty unlikely to find anything, to the point of being pointless, given the circumstances.

I suppose we're more or less obligated for due diligence in pointing out how crazy it is? I guess step 1 would be seeing if they were ever even in the same cities at the same time, but than again, this guy on the show can make up whatever personal backstory he wants. Another point I suppose you could make is that if he did take pictures, he would hand over the camera right after the capsule was recovered, and likely never actually see the set of developed pictures in the first place, and if he did, it would be years later. (After the analysts had spent weeks pouring over every single picture.)
« Last Edit: May 01, 2017, 09:20:24 PM by Everett »

Offline bknight

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Re: Sigh. TV show Cooper's Treasure - new Mercury has its own crankery
« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2017, 06:52:21 PM »
After watching the first two(?) episodes, Darrel has the "key" map from his father and discovered a wreck where someone had drawn an arrow.  Did the "secrets" install a new and different tech tool to find nuclear sites, doubtful, but not impossible.
Did Gordo read a license plate from space, very doubtful.  Did he draw a lot of maps from what he saw, possible.  Will they lead to vast fortune?  TBD.
Truth needs no defense.  Nobody can take those footsteps I made on the surface of the moon away from me.
Eugene Cernan