Moon Hoax or Hoaxer Lunacy?
by: Bill M. Tracer firstname.lastname@example.org http://home.midsouth.rr.com/akashicinstitute
(Notation: Our Thanks to Bill for letting WOTS do a repost on his article, you can also visit Bill's message board at <http://www.cosmographic.com/discussionboard/default.asp?>
Twice last year on February 15th, 2001, and then March 19th, 2001 the Fox TV network aired an excuse for a documentary called "Conspiracy Theory: Did We Land on the Moon?''. In addition to that, there are already several books out on this topic, not to mention a plethora of web sites devoted to this theory as well. In all of these sources the conspiracy theorists make some pretty bold and ludicrous claims that the Apollo missions were all faked. Of course videotapes of this waste of film are available for sale on-line.
Fortunately, in addition to web sites expounding boringly on this notion, there are as many, which reveal the other side of the coin. I include a list of links at the bottom of this Rebuttal to several of the best of these sites. I highly recommend them for several of them are written by serious scientists who are able to prove very well just how incorrect this silly conspiracy theory is. I applaud the writers of these most persuasive pieces for their work and devotion to the cause of truth. Like these other rejecters of the Moon Hoax theory, when I examine this so-called evidence, all I can see are examples of sloppy analysis. Every one of the pieces of data these folks call evidence can be shot down with a minimum of effort.
I'll illustrate that point with a few examples.
For instance the assumption that there was only one source of light on the Moon is among the worst of contentions. Have you ever been out at night when the moon was full and the sky clear? The light reflecting from the Moon on such nights has enough brightness to cast shadows. So how much more brightly do you think the Earth reflected light into the Moonscape landing sites? Duh, a great deal more. I've read different estimates ranging from 60 to 100 times more brightly. So the Earth provided an additional source of light, and could easily account for part of the alleged light and shadow angle problems. But the sources of light do not stop with just the Sun, and the reflections from the Earth, but anyone with the most rudimentary observational abilities can see that the environment suits, the landing modules and in fact almost all of their equipment were made of highly reflective materials. This reflectivity contributed to creating more diffuse illumination at the landing sites. The Moon itself also provided ambient reflective light to all of the settings of these lunar photographs.
The photo above shows some examples of this effect. Notice the small flag on the side of the landing module, just under the "K" indicator. The hoaxers claim this is evidence of a spotlight or later touching up. They say we should not be able to see this flag for it is in the shadow of the module. What they don't seem to understand is the extent of ambient light from the highly reflective lunar surface, and the very reflective white equipment used by the Astronauts. In this case it is very obvious that the large white mass directly underneath this flag on the side of the module is providing the necessary reflected light. Furthermore, look at the visor of the astronaut in this photo. You can actually see the lower half of the visor is illuminated by light reflecting from the Moon itself, even though this astronaut's front is deeply in shadow. No studio spotlights are involved here, just lots of ambient reflections.
The hoaxers supposed photographic analysis fails to take any of this into account and makes the invalid assumption that there is only one source of light, namely the sun. That is a very incorrect assumption. But it seems is not the only incorrect assumption being made, and actually probably not the most important invalid assumption. Vanishing point perspective, and variations in elevation are also issues these analysts do not consider. Hills and valleys will cause shadows to appear to fall at different angles when translated to two-dimensional photographs. This actually accounts for the biggest part of the alleged shadow angle discrepancies, which the Moon Hoaxers site as examples of fake photos. If fact the vast majority of the inconsistent shadow angles in so many of these photographs is due to the effect of differing elevation.
In the small photo above is found an example of differing elevation of the two astronauts, causing the shadows to fall at seemingly different angles, and of different lengths. This has nothing to do with multiple light sources as the advocates of the Moon Hoax theory suggest. Ian Williams Goddard created a web page, which explains these misunderstood phenomena quite well. Rather than reinvent the wheel I refer you to his excellent work, for a more thorough explanation of these ambient light, and differing elevation effects. This page is now found at: <http://www.badastronomy.com/bad/tv/iangoddard/moon01.htm>.
Then one of my favorite Moon Hoax silly ideas is the notion that the lack of stars in the sky of the Moon photos is somehow evidence that they are faked. This one is the most ironic to me, for it is exactly the opposite of what it pretends to be. As it turns out starlight is so dim even on the airless moon, that the film used on these missions could not be exposed long enough for the stars to register in most cases. In other words if the film had been exposed for the stars to show, then the rest of the images would be over exposed and the astronauts would have been forced to remain motionless for more than 30 seconds to keep from being blurry white blobs out of focus.
Above we see an example of the starless vista as seen in the Moonscape photos. How would you like to have that rock in your garden?
But anyway, the part I find most ironic about this, is that if the Apollo missions really had been faked then one would think they would have provided the stars to be a convincing touch. If we had seen stars in the background of the Apollo photos then that would have been evidence of a fake. So the fact that the stars are not on the photos is actually evidence that they DID go to the Moon instead of evidence that they did not. There are a few examples of Apollo photos when they did longer exposures were a few stars show up very dimly, but again these exceptions were cases of intentional extended exposures. The clavius site listed below has some good explanations about this film exposure issue.
Another one of the arguments that I find especially annoying is the invalid contention that the flag fluttered as if in a breeze. I read the actual transcript of the Apollo 11 mission, and found it very interesting that it was stated therein they had difficulty with getting the flag to remain stable in the soil. When the astronauts tried to insert the pole in the Moon ground it would go only a short way, then refused to go any deeper. This triggered the astronauts to twist and push with great force. Even then it was barely able to remain standing once the pole was released. Note the lean of the flagpole in the first picture above. The motion of forcefully pushing the pole in place created an increase of "kinetic energy". A kind of momentum was built up by this effort, which in the Moon's near vacuum continued in the form of a swaying motion of the outstretched flag held by a small wire along it's edge. This movement persisted for a while after the flag was left. Considering that it was not fully stable even then, as the astronauts moved about near the flag, their foot falls could have easily shook the ground enough to create additional flutters. But none of these movements had anything to do with a breeze on the airless Moon.
One last bit of sloppy analysis on the part of these Moon Hoax folks is found in their exaggerated data regarding the lethal levels of radiation found in the magnetic Van Allen belts that surround the Earth. The proponents suggest that no Human could survive the trip, as the spacecraft passed through the belts on their way to the Moon. And while it is true that there would be some concern if the astronauts stayed in that area for very long, the Apollo craft passed through the Van Allen belts at their narrowest point about 25,000 MPH. Going at such a great speed, they were not in the zone of danger long enough for any significant exposure.
Some may call me a debunker, but really those who hold claim to this absurd conspiracy theory are the actual debunkers. They are debunking the reality that human beings have walked on the Moon. I'm no debunker, but rather another voice of reason seeking to cry out above the media hubbub that looks to sensationalize this lunacy trying to debunk the achievements of our space program. But personally I find it rather hard to believe that the folks selling books and videotapes on this topic are really sincere with this insulting theory. They are just making bucks off of that gullible 20% of the population, whom they claim, doubts that we actually ever went to the Moon in the 60s and 70s.
Ultimately, it is obvious to me that their real goal is to unscrupulously stir up a sensationalist controversy, which they have artificially created for their own profit. I could go on, but this report is already too long, so I'll sum up by saying simply that some conspiracy theories may be real, but others are not worth the medium on which they are recorded. In my view, this "We didn't really go to the Moon" conspiracy theory falls into the latter of these categories.
There's an article on this topic at the web site called "Bad Astronomy", devoted to looking at astronomy mistakes in movies and TV shows. The URL for the main site is: http://www.badastronomy.com . Or if you prefer the direct link to the article is: http://www.badastronomy.com/bad/tv/foxapollo.html .
Other good sites include:
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