|By PR Newswire||
|October 25, 2007 05:59 PM EDT||
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., Oct. 25 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Dr. Ken Johnston, former Manager of the Data and Photo Control Department at NASA's Lunar Receiving Laboratory during NASA's manned Apollo Lunar Program, was abruptly terminated Tuesday morning, October 23rd, from JPL's prestigious "Solar System Ambassador" (SSA) Program. All evidence of Dr. Johnston's exemplary 4-year participation in the NASA outreach effort to "communicate the importance of NASA aerospace programs to the public around the world" has been scrubbed from the official JPL SSA website, without formal notification of Dr. Johnston as to cause.
Johnston is a key participant in the upcoming October 30th, 2007 Enterprise Mission press briefing at the National Press Club in Washington, DC (Zenger Room, 9:00 AM). At that time, Johnston will reveal how NASA ordered him to destroy key Apollo lunar images and data more than 40 years ago, rather than allow them to be preserved for academic and public study. Johnston will testify how he disobeyed these NASA orders, secretly preserving the critical Apollo images -- and the never-officially-published lunar discoveries recorded on them. According to AP, NASA is currently embroiled in a similar controversy with Congress because of the agency's planned destruction of supporting data from a recent aviation safety study.
Johnston's startling Apollo allegations have recently appeared in a new book, "Dark Mission: the Secret History of NASA," co-authored by former NASA consultant and CBS Science Advisor, Richard C. Hoagland and Mike Bara, an aerospace engineering consultant. According to Kay Ferrari, JPL Director of the SSA Program (in a phone call to Johnston last week), it was Johnston "being quoted [as] criticizing NASA in Hoagland's new book, 'Dark Mission,'" that prompted her to ask for Johnston's resignation from the SSA Program. When Johnston refused, citing First Amendment protections of free speech afforded all NASA employees, even those at JPL, Ferrari apparently decided to remove him arbitrarily from the SSA Program this week without cause.
JPL's ultimate decision to fire Dr. Johnston was initiated, according to Ferrari's phone call, "by an initial inquiry to JPL from James Oberg, of NBC News." Oberg is a former NASA contractor and a colleague of Johnston's at NASA's Manned Spacecraft Center during the Apollo Program in the 1970's. According to Ferrari, Oberg, in his e-mails, raised "serious issues regarding Johnston's credentials" and his "crackpot accusations" against the agency. Oberg's NASA contractor history begs ethical questions regarding his efforts to get Johnston terminated, based on Johnston's testimony in "Dark Mission" and intention to present further "missing" Apollo images and data at the National Press Club.
Dr. Johnston will present documentation of his claims, credentials and key role at NASA October 30th.Enterprise Mission
CONTACT: Mike Bara of Enterprise Mission, +1-310-701-3152,