Did Man walk on the Moon ?

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Was this the greatest technological achievement of mankind or the greatest orchestrated hoax of all time ?

Flag Waving

Missing Stars

in Shadow


Moon Rocks

The Golf Slice

The Technology

Apollo 11 Problems

At last, the definitave truth about the moon landings. Surely this one of the most unbelievable and extraordinary moments in history? Or was it unbelievable in the literal meaning of the word? It has been said that the technology of the 1960s wasn't up to the task of a manned moon mission, in particular the technical capabilities of the landing craft (the Eagle) and also the computing power of the guidance system. The processing power of the Apollo 11 computer has been likened to a calculator. But its the way you use it that counts according to NASA.

While there were many problems to overcome throughout the mission some people believe that NASA acted out the Apollo program in a movie studio, just to get ahead of the soviets in the space race! In fact NASA probably did launch its historic mission before it was completely prepared in order to beat the Soviets. But for it to have taken place in a movie studio would have meant tens of thousands of people were involved in the conspiracy.

It should be noted that Apollo 11 was part of the Apollo programme. There were two previous manned missions to the moon and Apollo 10 came within 8 miles of the lunar service during practice maneuvers. Apollo 8 was the first manned flight around the moon in Dec 1968. Apollo 9 was the first manned flight of the Lunar module in March 1969. Apollo 10 was the first manned flight of the Lunar module around the moon in May 1969.

The conspiracy theorists have produced vast amounts of what they call evidence that the whole mission was a fake. Here are just a few of the points.

Flag waving
The flag was erected using two aluminum poles at right angles to each other. As the flag pole was being planted it was twisted back and forth into the lunar surface to penetrate the surface. The free corner of the flag began to move in a manner that would be consistent with a breeze. But there is no breeze or wind on the moon's surface. However the aluminium tubes were very springy. On Earth the same thing would happen but the air resistance would quickly dampen the effect. On the moon there is no air resistance to dampen the movement of the flag and it therefore gave the appearance of a flag waving as a result of breeze. Also, it should be noted that the flag never moved when someone walked by it as you would expect if there was air between the astronaut and the flag. It only moved when the pole or flag was touched. Not every waving flag needs a breeze.

Missing stars
In a sky with no light pollution or atmosphere the view of the night sky should be spectacular. But stars are missing from all the Apollo photographs. Did NASA film makers make a huge production error and forget to turn on the constellations? No. Since the astronauts landed on the day side of the moon all exposure settings were for daylight. Photographers will tell you that its difficult to capture something very bright (the astronauts in their sunlit spacesuits on a sunlit surface) and something very dim (the stars) on the same film. The background stars would be simply too faint to see. Perhaps NASA should have had the foresight to predict that conspiracy theorists would use the 'missing stars' as evidence of conspiracy and therefore should have increased exposure times for some photos in order that stars and constellations would be included.

Illumination in Shadow
In this picture the astronaut is visible despite the fact that he is in the shadow of the lunar module. Since the only light source on the moon was the sun he should not be visible in the photograph proving there is a second artificial light source (studio light-according to the conspiratory theorists). Wrong again ! There actually is a second 'light source'. It's the reflection of sunlight from the moon's surface and this is powerful enough to illuminate the astronaut. The moon's surface is very reflective. When there is a full moon it can brightly illuminate the earth and it can be difficult to stare directly at it, and that's when we are 238,000 miles away. Many tests have been carried out showing how reflective light can illuminate objects in a shadow.

When the 16 ton eagle landed it should have blown the dust away from the immediate vicinity of the landing craft. But this was clearly not the case as can be seen from the astronaut's footprints around the craft. However the eagle had reduced its power to 25% and its gentle froward motion would have limited its impact on the ground even more.

Moon Rock
841 lbs of unique moon rocks were brought back. Thousands of scientists have examined the moon rocks that were brought back all over the world. No one disputes their authenticity. Unmistakable evidence of tiny impacts of microscopic dust is very evident in samples brought back. The Earths atmosphere shields Earth rocks from these type of impacts so we do not see microscopic dust impacts on our own planet.

The Golf Slice
Alan Shepard, commander of Apollo 14, became the first man to play golf at the exclusive Fra Mauro Golf Links on the moon in Feburary 1971. But, he did not slice the ball on his second shot as conspiracy theorists would have you believe. A slice in golf is a consequence of air pressure, aerodynamics and turbulence acting on the ball, all of which require air. And obviously you cant slice the ball on the moon when there is no air. It was the comment by Houston controller Fred Haise on Shepard's second shot, "That looked like a slice to me, Al", that caused the controversy. But as we know in reality
Haise commented in jest at Shepard's second shot (if you could call it that) which only moved the ball 2 or 3 feet, and not even in the intended direction. Don't give up your day job Alan!

The Technology
In 1961 the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory in Cambridge, Massachusetts, was awarded the contract by NASA to develop the Apollo guidance, navigation and control systems. MIT already had most of the worlds experts on guidance and control systems employed working on missile guidance and control systems. Most of the vast amounts of computational power required for the moon mission was provided by mainframes on the ground. Here, mission control computers did most of the work. There computers filled a whole floor of a building. But on board, Apollo also required a certain amount of computational power to enable the astronauts control the vehicle and communicate back and forth with computers and mission control on the ground. The technology was available in the 1960s, even if it did require a certain amount of 'brute-force application' to make it work.

The volume of evidence supporting the Apollo missions and moon landing is compelling. Twenty one astronauts went to the moon. Twelve astronauts walked on the moon. But unfortunately the historic words of Armstrong, 'One Small Step for Man ....' was all too quickly followed by a retreat by NASA for further planetery strolls. The Cold War I guess had a part to play in that.