Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Moon Landings

Links:

Moon Landings
Moon landings being true
1.
The ultra-competitive space race culminated in a contest between the Soviet Union and the United States, to see which nation would be first to put a man on the moon. Leaving aside the obvious political leverage of the American success, it was a seminal moment in human history. Men had long dreamed of reaching the moon, and it represented the culmination of years of research, technological innovation and the spirit of adventure.

While at the time it captured the hearts and minds of the millions of people who watched the live footage, it was, in a way, inevitable that people would seek to diminish the glory of the achievement, perhaps to discredit a government they were disillusioned by. Is it a coincidence that the first book claiming the moon landings were faked was released in 1974, the same year that the Watergate scandal did untold damage to the integrity of the Presidential office?

It is far easier to present the facts as they were and to offer a few of the major arguments that prove beyond any reasonable doubt that the moon landings were genuine, that Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin did, in fact, make the journey of a lifetime and set foot upon the moon.

At the height of the Cold War, winning the space race represented a massive feather in the ideological cap of the anti-Communists. As such, if there had been any way to discredit the United States, you can be sure the Soviet Union would have found it. The political damage they could have wrought would have been enormous had they been able to discredit the moon landings. Given that the Soviets were still suffering from the embarrassing climb-down of the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, any opportunity that would have allowed them to embarrass the United States would surely have been grasped with both hands. The fact that in the 40 years since that momentous occasion in human history, not one person from the Soviet camp has produced evidence to dispute the veracity of the moon landings, is as telling as any other evidence you care to name. It has been suggested that the Soviets were in on the hoax; this is too ludicrous for words, especially in an era when tensions between the two countries were so high. It is suggesting complicity in something which would be immensely damaging to their own regime, and that's simply absurd. Forget the arguments; the deafening silence from the Soviet camp is as incontrovertible as any other evidence.

It seems obvious to the point of absurdity, but the sheer number of photographs -- none of which show anything terrestrial -- is pretty compelling evidence. Much has been said about light sources, errant shadows and so forth, but this is all based on how light behaves in Earth’s atmosphere. The moon has no atmosphere to speak of, and so refraction and reflection will be slightly different. The Lunar Module was covered in reflective paneling, and so would have had a major effect on the way light was reflected onto the surface. Undulations in the moon’s surface would also have an effect on shading. The lack of stars has also been cited as proof, but the cameras were set to daylight exposure and would not have picked up the stars anyway. We should also consider the fact that the astronauts -- who were extremely well trained photographers by the time of the mission -- were there to photograph the moon, not the view of the stars from the moon’s surface. The sheer number of photographs which were taken, and the absence of anything more than weak circumstantial evidence, is a strong argument.

The Apollo Program, between missions 11 and 17, collected some 382 kilograms of moon rocks, which were brought back to Earth for analysis. Every scientist who has studied these rocks has accepted that they are of non-terrestrial origin and there is no peer-reviewed article that contradicts the claim they are from the moon. Moon rocks have a very specific geological composition which is distinct from both rocks on Earth and other celestial bodies, such as meteorites. Accusations that these samples could have come from lunar meteorites are specious; the first lunar meteorite was not discovered until the 1980s, and up until now, only 30 kilograms of lunar meteorite rock have been discovered -- less than ten percent of the mass that was brought back from the moon. Added to this is the fact that lunar rocks are not subjected to the same geological processes as those on Earth, and the rocks brought home were found to be in excess of 600,000,000 years older than the oldest known rocks on Earth. If you need any more evidence, the composition of those lunar rocks is identical to Soviet samples. Had there actually been a difference, you can be sure the Soviets would have pointed it out.   

It is interesting to note that out of all the people who have claimed the moon landings were faked, not one of them had any direct involvement with the program. As Dr. James Longuski, a professor of Aeronautics and Astronautic Engineering has pointed out, the sheer scale of the project would have made it impossible to keep everybody quiet. Over the course of the Apollo project, he estimates that over 400,000 people, or the equivalent of a small city, were involved in working on the project. The odds of every single one of them choosing to keep silent for over forty years, and not producing any evidence, or a memoir, or an overheard conversation suggesting the landings were faked, is another hugely compelling argument. There is so much money to be made by the person who definitively proves the Moon landings were faked, that someone would surely by now have tried to capitalize on that. The fact that no one has suggests that there is no hoax.

As Charlie Duke, an astronaut on the Apollo 16 mission said, “We have been to the Moon nine times. Why would we fake it nine times, if we faked it?" It is a pertinent question and it does seem that if you are going to tell a lie, it is far easier to do it once and then stop, than to keep exaggerating the lie over the course of the next few years. Sooner or later somebody would have made a mistake to give the game away. The fact that nobody did, again, illustrates the fact that indeed, these astronauts did make it to the moon. With six separate Apollo missions actually reaching the Moon, and each time making multiple moonwalks, it seems a ridiculously elaborate hoax, at a cost of millions, if not billions of dollars to perpetrate.

While the moon landings were incredibly difficult and dangerous, the evidence we have presented here offers a convincing argument of the truth behind the matter. While ridiculously elaborate and misguided conspiracy theories add a frisson of mystery, they should never be allowed to diminish what was an incredible achievement.

2.
It's only a product promo, but it's a smart one: Nvidia reckons the judicious application of its graphics technology can debunk one of the world's favourite “moon landing was a hoax conspiracies”.

As a demo of the VXGI – voxel based global illumination – technology included in the company's new Maxwell graphics architecture, a few enthusiasts at the company put together a rendered reconstruction of a scene that conspiracists say “prove” the landing was a hoax.

The theory is that the photo below has too much light on Buzz Aldrin, since the sun was behind the mission's lunar module. QED, they claim, Aldrin was lit by some other light source, proof positive that the whole thing was shot in a studio.

VXGI, the company explains, breaks the geometry of a scene into 3D voxels, each of which is analysed for opacity and emittance, letting the system work out how light bounces around in a scene. Maxwell is designed to accelerate that kind of compute-intensive operation.

For the moon lander analysis, the researchers looked over the original footage and noticed the reflection from Neil Armstrong's space-suit, showing up as a bright spot of light that moved with the camera. Putting the characteristics of the space-suit into their analysis the researchers were able to reproduce the conditions they say led to Aldrin being so apparently-anomalously well-illuminated in the photo.

There's one more detail they dealt with on the way: the lack of stars, which the conspiracists say should show up in images from the moon (something extensively discussed and debunked in terms of picking an exposure that would show Aldrin without flaring out the whole scene).
Mark Daly, leader of the demo team, says the stars aren't absent, they're just not visible to the naked eye. “But they’re there. And our demo team was able to find them by digitally changing the exposure on the shots to reveal them.”

3.
If there's one thing I hate, it's writing a rebuttal against something that really is so outlandish, that a rebuttal is a waste of time. But as you readers know, my life is geared to educate the masses on astronomy and related topics. Once again, the "swill network" otherwise known as FOX, has chosen to do great scientific research, and present the public with garbage. So was the case when FOX broadcast something called "Conspiracy Theory - Did We Land On the Moon"?

First of all, lets take a look at the track record of the FOX network. First, several years ago, they broadcast something called "Alien Autopsy", a film that they told the public was real, when it was actually made in someone's basement. Then it was a news special that indicated that the Pyramids in Egypt were built by aliens, the same aliens that built the pyramids and the so-called "face" on
Mars.

Now come the Lunar Conspiracy, where so called experts have "proof" that the moon landings were filmed in a secret movie studio in area 51. Now, I can't go into all of the FOX details, but I will explain a few of them, and then give you a website where you can actually prove FOX wrong, on all of their claims. Here is the proof, according to FOX, (in Italics), that we didn't land on the Moon.

Almost 20% of the American public believes that we didn't go to the Moon.  
FACT:
A Gallop poll taken in 1999, and a CNN poll taken in 1995, indicate that 6% of the public believes that we did not go to the moon. By the way, that is the same percentage of people that don't believe in God. And according to Gallop, 6% is the amount of people that believe in ANY poll of ANY question that is asked to them, indicating that the belief is NOT widespread.
There was no blast crater under the LM so we didn't land there.  
FACT:
In reality, there should NOT be a blast crater. The LM descent engine was made to slow the craft down, and not blast off. Since it only generated 1050 pounds of thrust (not 10,000 lbs like FOX said), and the gravity on the Moon is less, and the engines were shut off BEFORE impact, there can't be a blast crater.
Since the stars were not visible in the photographs, it proved they were not on the Moon.  
FACT:
With the Lunar landscape lit brightly from the Sun, the photographs were very fast, and the aperture had to be closed down. Stars would not appear in the photos because the stars would be too faint to register on the film. If you take a photo here on Earth, under the same conditions, the stars would not appear in your photos.
The flag was waving, caused by the breeze in the studio where it was filmed. The Moon has no air, so a flag cannot wave.  
FACT: The astronaut was setting up the flag, and shaking the pole that it was attached to. A flag DOES wave in a vacuum.
There were shadows on the Moon going in different directions; proof that there was more than one light source. There is only one light source on the Moon, and that's the Sun.  
FACT:
There are TWO light sources on the Moon. The Sun is one of them, and the Earth is the other. On the Moon, the Earth would appear as almost "Full", and would actually shed more light on the Moon, than the "Full" Moon does on the Earth.
Astronauts would have been burned to death from the radiation in the Van Allen Radiation Belts.  
FACT:
Traveling at around 25,000 mph, the astronauts would have made it through the radiation in about an hour, receiving 1/25 of the radiation that is considered dangerous by the government.

Moon landings being fake
1.
It's now been nearly four decades since Neil Armstrong took his "giant leap for mankind" — if, that is, he ever set foot off this planet. Doubters say the U.S. government, desperate to beat the Russians in the space race, faked the lunar landings, with Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin acting out their mission on a secret film set, located (depending on the theory) either high in the Hollywood Hills or deep within Area 51. With the photos and videos of the Apollo missions only available through NASA, there's no independent verification that the lunar landings were anything but a hoax.

The smoking gun? Film of Aldrin planting a waving American flag on the moon, which critics say proves that he was not in space. The flag's movement, they say, clearly shows the presence of wind, which is impossible in a vacuum. NASA says Aldrin was twisting the flagpole to get the moon soil, which caused the flag to move. (And never mind that astronauts have brought back hundreds of independently verified moon rocks.) Theorists have even suggested that filmmaker Stanley Kubrick may have helped NASA fake the first lunar landing, given that his 1968 film 2001: A Space Odessey proves that the technology existed back then to artificially create a spacelike set. And as for Virgil I. Grissom, Edward H. White and Roger B. Chaffee — three astronauts who died in a fire while testing equipment for the first moon mission? They were executed by the U.S. government, which feared they were about to disclose the truth.

Far-fetched as the hoax theory may seem, a 1999 Gallup poll showed that it's comparatively durable: 6% of Americans said they thought the lunar landings were fake, and 5% said they were undecided.

2.
Ever since NASA broadcast its visits to the moon between 1969 and 1972 to millions of people around Earth, conspiracy theorists have debated endlessly over ph­otographs and video of the journey. Judging by the dedication some have to the cause, the subject of whether or not the moon landings were a hoax rivals only the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and the presence of Area 51 in popularity. The Fox Network even aired a television special in 2001, nearly 30 years after the last Apollo mission, titled "Conspiracy Theory: Did We Land on the Moon?"

Poring over every single detail for inconsistencies and potential government tampering, people who buy the moon landing conspiracy theory strive to prove NASA never went to the moon -- instead, they believe the organization filmed a series of fake moon landings in a studio, complete with props, astronaut costumes and intricate lighting setups.

But why would NASA and the U.S. government pull off such a strange stunt? The moon landings took place during the Cold War and a tense point in the nuclear arms race, an era in which the two world superpowers, the United States and the Soviet Union (or what is now Russia), competed for technological superiority. Some believe that because sending astronauts into outer space and onto the moon would be incredibly expensive, the U.S. didn't have enough money to complete the project. According to the conspiracy theorists, faking the moon landings would be much cheaper -- if it were convincing enough, it could still send a message to Russia that the United States had the better technology.

What are some of the claims by the moon landing conspiracy theorists? What have they pointed out, and do their arguments have any validity? And what do scientists have to say about these conspiracy theories?

The Moon Landing Hoax Evidence
So what sort of evidence have conspiracy theorists gathered that might suggest the whole event was a fake? Nearly 40 years of research has given them some interesting points:
1. There aren't any stars in the background.
One detail doubters often point to is the background of many of the NASA photos. In pictures of the moon's landscapes, there aren't any stars in the sky -- it just looks like a big, black void of space. Since the moon has no atmosphere, shouldn't there be millions of stars dotting the background of these photos? If the landings were faked on a studio stage, did the photographers make a huge mistake and just forget to "turn on" the stars?

Unfortunately for conspiracy theorists, the nature of photography strikes down their argument. The light from the sun hitting the surface of the moon is too bright for any camera to capture something in the distance -- it would wash out any light coming from distant stars in the sky. Even if you were standing on the surface of the moon yourself, you would have to block the landscape from your vision to see any notable points of light. This happens for the same reason that stars are harder to see in big cities than in wide open fields -- there's a lot more light bouncing around from street lamps in the city, so the stars are hidden from view. Your best bet to see the countless numbers of stars in space would be to travel to the dark side of the moon.

2. The "C" rock
One of the most famous photos shows a stray moon rock that appears to have the letter "C" written or stamped on it. This gives off the impression that most of the larger moon rocks seen in pictures from the moon landing are simply props -- a set designer could have labeled this stray moon rock with a letter and accidentally left it turned over for the camera to see.

Scientists and representatives from NASA claim the "C" is just a photographic glitch -- a stray hair that found its way into the developing process -- or a hoax in itself. There's a possibility someone took the original, untouched photo and added the "C" in afterward.

More Fake Moon Landing Evidence
3. Different shadow lengths
Some people point out that some of the shadows given off by the astronauts are different in length, even though they might be standing close to each other. This might suggest that a faulty lighting system was set up on a stage somewhere, and NASA failed to notice any inconsistencies.

Scientists argue that the photos were taken on rough, hilly landscapes, which are bound to produce all kinds of wacky shadow lengths no matter where you stand. If you take a picture on a snow-covered hill, for instance, the same kind of effect will likely take place.

4. The American flags appear to "flap" in the breeze.
In video footage of the astronauts hoisting up American flags and planting them in the ground, a slight breeze appears to life up the fabric. The moon, however, shouldn't have such types of weather -- there isn't an atmosphere on the moon, so there isn't any air to blow around and ruffle the flags. Was the flag scene filmed in a drafty studio or outside? If it were a hoax, were the filmmakers just too lazy to redo the shot?

The flag was constructed specially for the moon's surface. A taut wire runs through the fabric along its top, allowing it to stand erect like a windswept flag on Earth. Without the wire, the flag would droop like any other flag hanging in space. The astronauts simply because the flapping themselves by struggling to plant the flagpole into the ground and bumping it around.

5. Slow-motion film and wires
Some have pointed out the possibility that in order to create the effect of weak gravity on the moon, the astronauts were carried by thin wires and filmed jumping around. NASA then slowed down the film, according to the conspiracy theorists, in order to make it look like they were floating through the air. Doubters have gone far enough to construct their own wiring systems, film themselves and slow down the footage to compare it to NASA's video.

Scientists refute this claim because of the dust kicked around by the astronauts as they jump around the moon's surface. If NASA filmed the video on Earth, the dust would gather into clouds because of air in the atmosphere. Instead, the dust is kicked up and falls right back to the ground without collecting or floating around. NASA would have had to build an entire studio and suck all of the air out to create a vacuum, something that would be incredibly difficult even by today's standards.

So are these points enough to prove that the moon landings were just fakes? Dr. David McKay, Chief Scientist for Planetary Science and Exploration at NASA's Johnson Space Center, noted after Fox's conspiracy theory television spot that faking the moon landing and duping thousands of scientists around the world would probably be more difficult than keeping the secrets of the Manhattan Project. And on Sept. 3, 2006, the European Space Agency's (ESA) SMART-1 probe purposefully crash-landed on the surface of the moon -- before it touched down, it was taking images and data from the moon's landscape, including that of previous moon landings. The ESA hasn't released any photos or video, yet, but doubters and believers alike are waiting to see any concrete evidence of past expeditions.

3.
The theory that the moon landings were hoaxed by the US government to assert their victory in the space race over Russia, is something which has grown in popularity over time.

Recent polls indicate that approximately 20% of Americans believe that the U.S. has never landed on the moon. After the Apollo missions ended in the seventies, why haven’t we ever been back? Only during the term of Richard Nixon did humanity ever land on the moon, and after Watergate most people wouldn’t put it past Tricky Dick to fake them to put America in good standing in the Cold War.

In this list I have presented some of the proposed evidence to suggest that the moon landings were hoaxes. I tried to include NASA’s explanations to each entry to provide an objective perspective.


10
The Waving Flag
Flag-Waving-Moon-Landing 9803 600X450
Conspiracy theorists have pointed out that when the first moon landing was shown on live television, viewers could clearly see the American flag waving and fluttering as Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin planted it. Photos of the landing also seem to show rippling in a breeze, such as the image above which clearly shows a fold in the flag. The obvious problem here is that there’s no air in the moon’s atmosphere, and therefore no wind to cause the flag to blow.

Countless explanations have been put forward to disprove this phenomenon as anything unusual: NASA claimed that the flag was stored in a thin tube and the rippled effect was caused by it being unfurled before being planted. Other explanations involve the ripples caused by the reaction force of the astronauts touching the aluminum pole, which is shown to shake in the video footage.
9
Lack of Impact Crater
Picture1
The claim goes as follows: had NASA really landed us on the moon, there would be a blast crater underneath the lunar module to mark its landing. On any video footage or photograph of the landings, no crater is visible, almost as though the module was simply placed there. The surface of the moon is covered in fine lunar dust, and even this doesn’t seem to have been displaced in photographic evidence.

Much like the waving flag theory, however, the lack of an impact crater has a slew of potential explanations. NASA maintains that the module required significantly less thrust in the low-gravity conditions than it would have done on Earth. The surface of the moon itself is solid rock, so a blast crater probably wouldn’t be feasible anyway – in the same way that an aeroplane doesn’t leave a crater when it touches down on a concrete airstrip.
8
Multiple Light Sources
Moonlightingdiscrepancy1
On the moon there is only one strong light source: the Sun. So it’s fair to suggest that all shadows should run parallel to one another. But this was not the case during the moon landing: videos and photographs clearly show that shadows fall in different directions. Conspiracy theorists suggest that this must mean multiple light sources are present -suggesting that the landing photos were taken on a film set.

NASA has attempted to blame uneven landscape on the strange shadows, with subtle bumps and hills on the moon’s surface causing the discrepancies. This explanation has been tossed out the window by some theorists; how could hills cause such large angular differences? In the image above the lunar module’s shadow clearly contradicts that of the rocks in the foreground at almost a 45 degree angle.



7
The Van Allen Radiation Belt
Belt
In order to reach the moon, astronauts had to pass through what is known as the Van Allen radiation belt. The belt is held in place by Earth’s magnetic field and stays perpetually in the same place. The Apollo missions to the moon marked the first ever attempts to transport living humans through the belt. Conspiracy theorists contend that the sheer levels of radiation would have cooked the astronauts en route to the moon, despite the layers of aluminum coating the interior and exterior of the spaceship.

NASA have countered this argument by emphasizing the short amount of time it took the astronauts to traverse the belt – meaning they received only very small doses of radiation.
6
The Unexplained Object
Moon Stuff012
After photographs of the moon landings were released, theorists were quick to notice a mysterious object (shown above) in the reflection of an astronaut’s helmet from the Apollo 12 mission. The object appears to be hanging from a rope or wire and has no reason to be there at all, leading some to suggest it is an overhead spotlight typically found in film studios.

The resemblance is questionable, given the poor quality of the photograph, but the mystery remains as to why something is being suspended in mid-air (or rather lack of air) on the moon. The lunar module in other photos appears to have no extension from it that matches the photo, so the object still remains totally unexplained.



5
Slow-Motion Walking and Hidden Cables
In order to support claims that the moon landings were shot in a studio, conspiracy theorists had to account for the apparent low-gravity conditions, which must have been mimicked by NASA. It has been suggested that if you take the moon landing footage and increase the speed of the film x2.5, the astronauts appear to be moving in Earth’s gravity. As for the astronaut’s impressive jump height, which would be impossible to perform in Earth’s gravity, hidden cables and wires have been suggested as giving the astronauts some extra height. In some screenshots outlines of alleged hidden cables can be seen (the photograph above supposedly shows a wire, though it is extremely vague).
4
Lack of Stars
A16 11446551
One compelling argument for the moon landing hoax is the total lack of stars in any of the photographic/video evidence. There are no clouds on the moon, so stars are perpetually visible and significantly brighter than what we see through the filter of Earth’s atmosphere.

The argument here is that NASA would have found it impossible to map out the exact locations of all stars for the hoax without being rumbled, and therefore left them out – intentionally falling back on an excuse that the quality of the photographs washes them out (an excuse they did actually give).

Some photographs are high-quality, however, and yet still no stars are shown. Certainly eerie, considering you can take pictures of stars from Earth in much lower quality and still see them.



3
The “C” Rock
C-Rock-Actual-C
One of the most famous photos from the moon landings shows a rock in the foreground, with what appears to be the letter “C” engraved into it. The letter appears to be almost perfectly symmetrical, meaning it is unlikely to be a natural occurrence. It has been suggested that the rock is simply a prop, with the “C” used as a marker by an alleged film crew. A set designer could have turned the rock the wrong way, accidentally exposing the marking to the camera.
NASA has given conflicting excuses for the letter, on the one hand blaming a photographic developer for adding the letter as a practical joke, while on the other hand saying that it may simply have been a stray hair which got tangled up somewhere in the developing process.
2
The Layered Cross-hairs
Sibrel Crosshair
The cameras used by astronauts during the moon landings had a multitude of cross-hairs to aid with scaling and direction. These are imprinted over the top of all photographs. Some of the images, however, clearly show the cross-hairs behind objects in the scene, implying that photographs may have been edited or doctored after being taken. The photograph shown above is not an isolated occurrence. Many objects are shown to be in front of the cross-hairs, including the American flag in one picture and the lunar rover in another.

Conspiracy theorists have suggested NASA printed the man-made objects over a legitimate photograph of the moon to hoax the landings – although if they really planned on doing this, then why they used cross-hairs in the first place is a mystery.
1
The Duplicate Backdrop
Aulishite-1

The two photos from the Apollo 15 mission shown above clearly have identical backdrops, despite being officially listed by NASA as having been taken miles apart. One photo even shows the lunar module. When all photographs were taken the module had already landed, so how can it possibly be there for one photo and disappear in another? Well, if you’re a hardcore conspiracy theorist, it may seem viable that NASA simply used the same backdrop when filming different scenes of their moon landing videos.

NASA has suggested that since the moon is much smaller than Earth, horizons can appear significantly closer to the human eye. Despite this, to say that the two hills visible in the photographs are miles apart is incontrovertibly false.
The Stanley Kubrick Theory
Sun Earth Moon
This loose extension of the popular conspiracy theory states that acclaimed film director Stanley Kubrick was approached by the US government to hoax the first three moon landings. There are two main branches of this somewhat implausible theory: one group of believers maintain that Kubrick was approached after he released 2001: A Space Odyssey (released in 1968, one year before the first moon landing), after NASA came to appreciate the stunning realism of the film’s outer-space scenes at that time; another group contends that Kubrick was groomed by the government to film the moon landing long before this, and that 2001: A Space Odyssey was a staged practice run for him.

So what evidence might support such claims? Well: apparently, if you watch The Shining (another Kubrick picture), you can pick up on some alleged messages hidden by Kubrick to subtly inform the world of his part in the conspiracy. The most obvious is the child’s Apollo 11 shirt worn in only one scene. Another supposed gem is the line written on Jack Nicholson’s character’s typewriter: “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”, in which the word “all” can be interpreted as A11, or Apollo 11.

If you aren’t convinced yet, Kubrick made the mysterious hotel room in the film number 237. Guess how many miles it is from here to the moon: 238,000. So divide that by a thousand and minus one, and you’ve got one airtight theory right there.

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