AOL News has reported that a former NASA scientist believes that there are aliens on the moon watching humankind, and evidence of their existence may go back thousands of years.

For decades, researchers have claimed that strange objects have been seen on or above the moon. From mysterious pyramid shapes to unusual moving lights to tall tower-like objects and huge glass-like dome structures, stories and pictures abound claiming that Earth’s next-door neighbor is loaded with extraterrestrial artifacts.

Richard C. Hoagland — a former NASA consultant and curator of astronomy and space science at the Springfield Science Museum in Massachusetts as well as consultant to CBS News during the Apollo moon missions — has spent decades looking into what he asserts to be the truth about what was discovered during the numerous unmanned spacecraft missions as well as the manned Apollo voyages to the moon 40 years ago:

“The orbital photographs show us the scale of ancient ruins on the moon. And surface photography by the astronauts have shown remarkable, specific examples of anomalies that could only be explained through there being ancient remnants of some extraordinarily advanced technology.”

Hoagland — who is also the founder of The Enterprise Mission, an extensive private space research analysis website — further claims that NASA has discovered evidence of a primeval moon society:

“What NASA did not tell the American people is that it discovered the remains of an ancient lunar civilization, and to this day, that data and those artifacts have been withheld from the American people.”

In his book, “Dark Mission: The Secret History of NASA,” Hoagland alleges there are huge glass towers and domes on the moon that have produced repeated prismatic effects on Apollo astronaut photographs available on NASA websites. He also claims numerous geometric ground features are evidence of ancient structures.

For years, Hoagland and other notable researchers have quoted from “The Brookings Report.” “The Brookings Report” — which is short for “Proposed Studies on the Implications of Peaceful Space Activities for Human Affairs” — was a study commissioned in 1960 by NASA and put together by the Brookings Institution, a highly trusted think tank in Washington. One section of the report says:

“While face-to-face meetings with it [extraterrestrial intelligence] will not occur within the next 20 years (unless its technology is more advanced than ours, qualifying it to visit Earth), artifacts left at some point in time by these life forms might possibly be discovered through our space activities on the moon, Mars or Venus.”

Hoagland believes that NASA did indeed uncover evidence on the moon of an extraterrestrial civilization, but decided the public wasn’t ready to accept such information. But what about the astronauts who went to the moon? Wouldn’t they have spoken up if they had encountered any evidence of an ET presence there? Perhaps one of them already has.

Apollo 14 astronaut, scientist and 2005 Nobel Peace Prize nominee, Capt. Edgar Mitchell — the sixth man to walk on the moon — claims that while it’s possible aliens may have used the moon to stay hidden from Earth, Hoagland’s theories are a bit of a stretch:

“It’s just nonsense! But this isn’t to say that aliens haven’t used the moon or Mars. I’m not saying that. I’m saying that what Hoagland is pointing out doesn’t make any sense… most of what I have seen is either so fuzzy, out of focus or nebulous that it would stretch the imagination to be what it’s claimed to be. I haven’t seen anything that really definitively fits as a structure on the moon. I haven’t seen any credible evidence for it.”

But while Mitchell himself hasn’t seen evidence of an alien presence on the moon, he is a believer in the existence of intelligent extra-terrestrial life forms — as well as an apparent supporter of the ANCIENT ASTRONAUT theory — and is open to the possibility of a lunar base:

“There could very well be alien utilization of the moon. Those guys have to be in space out there somewhere. They may keep themselves concealed behind the moon… for me, it’s just a matter of the evidence, and the evidence, as far as I’m concerned, is overwhelming. Not only are they here, they’ve been here for quite a long time, and the more I’ve investigated, the more I realize it’s been much longer than any of us really thought.”

Mitchell – who grew up near Roswell, New Mexico, home of the legendary 1947 ROSWELL ENCOUNTER, wherein an alien spaceship allegedly crashed, killing its otherworldly crew —  believes the Roswell alien crash was a real event that was covered up by the military. He also asserts that more than one alien species has visited the Earth:

“It’s the preponderance of evidence that counts here. There seems to be far more than one species of visitors here, from all the evidence that I know, and several of them are investigating our people in their own way… their motivations are somewhat different, depending upon what species we’re talking about. Some seem to be here to help us and to be saying, ‘Hey, you’re about to destroy yourselves and your civilization with your way of doing things,’ and what others are doing — maybe they’re just looking at us.”

Reports have also indicated that both Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin saw UFOs shortly after their historic landing on the Moon in Apollo 11, on 21 July 1969.

According to a former NASA employee Otto Binder, unnamed radio hams with their own VHF receiving facilities that bypassed NASA’s broadcasting outlets picked up the following exchange:

NASA: “What’s there? Mission Control calling Apollo 11…”

APOLLO: “These ‘Babies’ are huge, Sir! Enormous! Oh my God! You wouldn’t believe it! I’m telling you there are other spacecraft out there, lined up on the far side of the crater edge! They’re on the Moon watching us!”

In 1979, Maurice Chatelain — former chief of NASA Communications Systems — allegedly confirmed that Armstrong had indeed reported seeing two UFOs on the rim of a crater:

“The encounter was common knowledge in NASA, but nobody has talked about it until now.”

According to Dr. Vladimir Azhazha, a physicist and Professor of Mathematics at Moscow University, Soviet scientists were allegedly the first to confirm the incident:

“According to our information, the encounter was reported immediately after the landing of the module. Neil Armstrong relayed the message to Mission Control that two large, mysterious objects were watching them after having landed near the moon module. But his message was never heard by the public-because NASA censored it. “

Still, there remain aliens-on-the-moon skeptics, including Peter H. Schultz, a Brown University geological sciences professor who is one of the scientists on the team analyzing lunar water data:

“In the past, we’ve seen impact flashes, and we may have had eruptions on the moon, but everything we’ve seen so far indicates that this is a very quiet place, except for a few punctuated events… I’ve seen all the photographs from the moon, and that’s just untrue stuff. And it’s too bad because you’ll have students who hear this on the news and believe that this is real.”

Schultz isn’t, however, rejecting the notion that there could be some form of life out there somewhere:

“When you do research, exploration and discovery, it’s easy to be wrong. This is why we do this. If we knew everything, we might as well stay in our houses. The fact is, we go out to explore to find out — you’ve got to find the evidence for it. Within the realm of possibilities, within the galaxy, sure that’s possible. But next door? I think this gets hard to fathom.”