(Yes, this will take a while…)
If you haven’t noticed yet, this is really starting to bug me. The amount of web pages, videos, and general chatter about the “secret in plain sight” near Casa Grande blows my mind. Since the myths themselves have perpetuated via short sound-bites, flashy videos, and really shallow explanations, I’ve decided to compile the list of counter-references in similarly short explanations (with pictures! when available).
If you’re not tracking what these crosses are, here’s a quick (wholly disputed by me) synopsis:
Corona Satellite Calibration Targets consist of 272 (273!) concrete calibration markers embedded into the Earth’s surface in and around Casa Grande, Arizona, United States. The markers are commonly believed to have been used to aid camera calibration for the Central Intelligence Agency’s CORONA spy satellite program. The markers formed a square 16-by-16-mile (26 by 26 km) grid, and were maintained from 1959 (1966!) to 1972. Some of the original markers can still be found on satellite maps and ground inspection.”
To be clear, the assertion I am disputing is:
“The Arizona Concrete Crosses were built to calibrate the CORONA spy satellite system, and were abandoned in 1972 at the end of the program.”
Within any scientific discipline, this is called a hypothesis. I would like to propose a null hypothesis in its place:
“The Arizona Concrete Crosses were not built to calibrate the CORONA spy satellite system.”
My alternative hypothesis is: “The Arizona Concrete Crosses were built as ground control points providing a known datum for aerial photogrammetric cameras. Any use of the crosses by CORONA was supplemental.”
If you’ve read this far, feel free to use the links below to familiarize yourself with the Concrete Crosses and the alternative facts used to describe their origins and use.
Myth Reference Links:
- Arizona Republic newspaper articles:
- “How Casa Grande crosses helped fight the Cold War“
- “Corona spy satellite timeline” (collated and partially incorrect)
- “How the Casa Grande crosses calibrated spy-satellite cameras“
- National Public Radio:
You shouldn’t believe everything you see on YouTube or social media… or even this blog…without researching it further. Every assertion I make on these blog postings will have quotes from declassified references from the U.S. government’s files on CORONA and the National Reconnaissance Program. I will provide links to the NRO’s “FOIA for All” program which holds many CORN docs (not “corn dogs,” as my son misread).
While this approach may be overkill and present these posts like they are research papers, I will provide enough plausible information to make you think about the hasty generalizations made about these concrete crosses in Arizona. But, I will warn you… truly understanding the *real* story will take longer than those five-minute YouTube videos.