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  #1  
Old 02-07-2004, 10:47 PM
Soup Soup is offline
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Did the Apollo 11 astronauts carry weapons?

Were the Apollo 11 astronauts prepared to defend themselves in the extremely remote chance that they encountered a hostile life form on the Moon?
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  #2  
Old 02-07-2004, 10:58 PM
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Are you serious?
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Old 02-07-2004, 11:00 PM
dolphinboy dolphinboy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Soup
Were the Apollo 11 astronauts prepared to defend themselves in the extremely remote chance that they encountered a hostile life form on the Moon?
You're joking right? I'm pretty sure that NO US spaceflights have included any kinds of weapons whatsover. There would be no use for them, would add unnecessary weight, and would be very dangerous to all aboard.

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  #4  
Old 02-07-2004, 11:01 PM
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No, they did not carry weapons.

We knew an awful lot about the moon before we ever landed on it. In particular we knew that there was no noticeable life there.

In the off-chance that there were evil anaerobic temperature-resistant microbes living there, the astronauts were always quarantined for a while after returning.
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Old 02-07-2004, 11:41 PM
RickJay RickJay is offline
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If there had been some aliens on the Moon, they either would have been aliens from another solar system or some form of rock monsters. If they were aliens from another solar system I would have to think their level of technology would make a .38 a useless weapon. And if they were rock monsters, well, the bullets would have just bounced off. So no, they didn't carry frickin' GUNS.
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Old 02-07-2004, 11:41 PM
davidm davidm is online now
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IIRC, there is a display in the Smithsonian of a survival kit that was carried by one of the early astronauts. Apparently, the thinking was that a capsule might splash down far from the intended target area and the astronauts could end up marooned in a life raft or on an island somewhere. I don't recall the contents of the kit but it's conceivable that it may have contained a knife for hunting or defense against wildlife or even hostile locals. IIRC the kit was from one of the pre-Apollo programs but it's possible that the practice was continued in the Apollo program. But, if they did have knives (or any other weapons) they weren't to be used on the moon and they wouldn't have actually been taken to it's surface.
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Old 02-08-2004, 06:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RickJay
If there had been some aliens on the Moon, they either would have been aliens from another solar system or some form of rock monsters. If they were aliens from another solar system I would have to think their level of technology would make a .38 a useless weapon. And if they were rock monsters, well, the bullets would have just bounced off. So no, they didn't carry frickin' GUNS.
How about regular guns?

I know it sounds silly, but think about it for a moment. This was the first time humans were to set foot on another world. Sure, it was a world that had been studied enough, albeit remotely, to ensure that the astronauts wouldn't encounter little green men. But don't you think that during some NASA brainstorming session that the possiblilty that SOMETHING might be up there came up? Hey, it's an alien world, maybe there WAS some silicone-based "rock monster" life up there. Or, if we managed to get a rocket up there, who's to say there wasn't some other visitors that got there first? 16th- and 17th- century explorers here on Earth came across creatures they never dreamed about. We're still finding some today (like the giant worms surrounding thermal vents deep below the ocean's surface).

I guess, due to weight and space considerations, astronauts can't be prepared for such an unlikely contingency as an angry alien big enough to actually harm them. And what would one bring anyway? As RickJay points out, a gun would be useless. How about a set of brass knuckles big enough to fit over an astronauts glove?
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  #8  
Old 02-08-2004, 07:10 AM
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I think the only gun ever launched to and tested in space was the 23mm cannon on the Almaz space station. That's for defending the station against Americans, not space aliens.

As for the Moon, we've been observing it for centuries and never found any sign of water, let alone life. (Until recently, anyway - there is now some inconclusive evidence suggesting presense of water ice, IIRC.) I don't think the Apollo peoople would have considered the possibility.
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  #9  
Old 02-08-2004, 07:16 AM
Sofa King Sofa King is offline
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Knives, razors, and shark repellant. As per the Smithsonian exhibit.
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Old 02-08-2004, 07:29 AM
Starguard Starguard is offline
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Believe it or not, I do remember reading a few times that the Soviets carried sawed off shotguns with them during their early space missions. This was not to protect themselves from any alien lifeforms, but instead it was to defend themselves against wolves and other wild animals here on earth after landing. The reason for this was that there were a few times when during re-entry, the landing capsule they were in would stray far off its intended course. This forced them to land in areas far off into the wilderness and caused their rescue parties several hours to get to them. While these cosmanauts waited, there was a very high and present danger that they could be attacked by wild animals, mainly wolves and bears..So...to prevent this, they started launching space vehicles that were equipped with both sawed off shotguns and other means of self defense...

I doubt if they were evef forced to use them though.
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  #11  
Old 02-08-2004, 11:14 AM
GreyWanderer GreyWanderer is offline
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In the movie Armageddon they brought guns with them for some reason. I could never figure out why.
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  #12  
Old 02-08-2004, 12:25 PM
Stephe96 Stephe96 is offline
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Maybe a little off topic, but when Jodie Foster is getting ready to blast off into space in 'Contact,' a mission director gives her a vial of cyanide "Just in case," and says that NASA has been providing astronauts with these since the beginning of the space program.

Anyone know if there is any truth to this?
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  #13  
Old 02-08-2004, 12:30 PM
AndrewL AndrewL is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephe96
Anyone know if there is any truth to this?
None whatsoever. Astronauts have never carried suicide pills.
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  #14  
Old 02-08-2004, 12:43 PM
kellner kellner is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Starguard
Believe it or not, I do remember reading a few times that the Soviets carried sawed off shotguns with them during their early space missions.
[...]
This site shows the first South African cosmonaut during his survival training with the Soyuz shotgun. Note that there is always at least one Soyuz craft docked to the ISS.

http://www.firstafricaninspace.com/h...lshoi/91.shtml
http://www.firstafricaninspace.com/h...ldsurv/1.shtml

The rest of the site is pretty interesting as well.
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  #15  
Old 02-08-2004, 12:54 PM
Kinthalis Kinthalis is online now
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Even if there WERE alien life encountered by the astranauts, do you really want such a first contact to involve guns?
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  #16  
Old 02-08-2004, 12:57 PM
herman_and_bill herman_and_bill is offline
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there was an earth based laser that could be used to protect the moon walkers
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  #17  
Old 02-08-2004, 01:05 PM
Loopydude Loopydude is offline
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Cosmonauts do

I add my corroboration of the stuff about Cosmonauts above. They do (or did) carry sawed-off shotguns in the capsule for the sole purpose of fending of wild animals after they landed (usually in a remote region of Siberia, where bears and wolves are more common than the average unarmed person would like them to be.)

None of the Apollo Astronauts carried weapons. As they landed in the ocean, I would think maybe a harpoon might have come in handy, but that wasn't considered necessary, I guess.
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  #18  
Old 02-08-2004, 01:06 PM
Soup Soup is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by herman_and_bill
there was an earth based laser that could be used to protect the moon walkers
There WAS? In 1969?
So while Buzz Aldrin is grappling with a moon monster, he calls in his coordinates to Mission Control in Houston, and they fire a laser across the void like an interplanetary gunslinger and pick off the alien punk? Nice shootin', Tex!

Upon further thought, I'm guessing that the astronaut's defense plan (if any existed) involved running back to the lunar module and blasting off for home.
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  #19  
Old 02-08-2004, 01:12 PM
Bruce_Daddy Bruce_Daddy is offline
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Yes. 1960's style "Death Rays".
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  #20  
Old 02-08-2004, 01:18 PM
MC Master of Ceremonies MC Master of Ceremonies is offline
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Originally Posted by Bruce_Daddy
Yes. 1960's style "Death Rays".
There's always one, isn't there
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  #21  
Old 02-08-2004, 01:23 PM
herman_and_bill herman_and_bill is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Soup
There WAS? In 1969?
So while Buzz Aldrin is grappling with a moon monster, he calls in his coordinates to Mission Control in Houston, and they fire a laser across the void like an interplanetary gunslinger and pick off the alien punk? Nice shootin', Tex!

Upon further thought, I'm guessing that the astronaut's defense plan (if any existed) involved running back to the lunar module and blasting off for home.
Hey Neil, watch this! I should of put a cite in my post.
I don't think they could just blast off, they had to wait till the mother ship was coming around so they could meet up.
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  #22  
Old 02-08-2004, 01:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RickJay
rock monsters
"Look for any weak spots!"
"It's a ROCK! It doesn't have any weak spots!"
--Galaxy Quest
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  #23  
Old 02-08-2004, 02:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GMRyujin
"Look for any weak spots!"
"It's a ROCK! It doesn't have any weak spots!"
--Galaxy Quest
"Maybe you could craft a rudimentary lathe!"

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  #24  
Old 02-08-2004, 04:36 PM
Ranchoth Ranchoth is offline
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Originally Posted by scr4
I think the only gun ever launched to and tested in space was the 23mm cannon on the Almaz space station. That's for defending the station against Americans, not space aliens.
Polyus *may* have had a working cannon onboard, but it failed to acheive orbit.
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  #25  
Old 02-08-2004, 05:59 PM
ElvisL1ves ElvisL1ves is offline
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In Tom Hanks' serial From the Earth to the Moon, there was a possibly-invented scene of the astronauts chatting with Armstrong about his first words. My favorite suggestion was "If you had any balls, you'd say 'My God, what is that thing?', scream, and cut your mike".
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  #26  
Old 02-08-2004, 10:19 PM
Santos L Halper Santos L Halper is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by herman_and_bill
there was an earth based laser that could be used to protect the moon walkers
Just on the off chance that I'm not being wooshed - The lasers used with the Apollo reflectors are to accurately measure distance, not to zap hostile aliens. As quoted on the page you referenced, the beam had spread to seven kilometers (4.35 miles) in diameter by the time it reached the moon. That's over 9500 acres. Someone standing on the moon wouldn't even be able to see or feel the beam, let alone be injured by it...
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  #27  
Old 02-09-2004, 01:38 AM
Grumple Grommit Grumple Grommit is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AndrewL
None whatsoever. Astronauts have never carried suicide pills.
How do you know?
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  #28  
Old 02-09-2004, 05:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Grumple Grommit
How do you know?
Thus sounds the bell to mark the end of the discussion...
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  #29  
Old 02-09-2004, 05:43 AM
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On the suicide pill thing--why would they even need to carry them? If it ever hits that "in case" they're floating up in pretty hard vacuum--all they'd have to do is cycle through an airlock without a suit, or similarly pull a Major Tom.
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  #30  
Old 02-09-2004, 06:25 AM
Futile Gesture Futile Gesture is offline
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Originally Posted by Drastic
or similarly pull a Major Tom.
What, form a rock group called Tin Machine? Wouldn't that just be professional suicide, not yer actual suicide? And it might take more time than they had available; picking who got to be the lead guitarist etc?
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  #31  
Old 02-09-2004, 07:04 AM
CalMeacham CalMeacham is offline
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Although they're otherwise pretty good science fiction films, I think it's hilarious that Robinson Crusoe on Mars has titular hero Paul Mantee with a gun on Mars, and It! The Terror from Beyond Space shows the crew with not only guns, but grenades as well. (They also smoke in the space ship, and never secure anything, even during takeoff.) Of course, in this movie they do encounter a giant person-killing whatsit, so you could argue that there really is a justification for carrying arms. But they didn't really know it until the second expedition to Mars.
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  #32  
Old 02-09-2004, 11:24 AM
Ike Witt Ike Witt is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GreyWanderer
In the movie Armageddon they brought guns with them for some reason. I could never figure out why.
IIRC, the Criterion Collection version ( ) of the movie includes commentary in which somebody says that miniguns were added to the rovers to help facilitate the sale of spin-off toys.

Also, what kind of problems would have to be overcome for a space station to fire an onboard cannon?
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  #33  
Old 02-09-2004, 01:57 PM
Humble Servant Humble Servant is offline
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Would ordinary earth guns even work in the Lunar atmosphere? What would happen if you tried to fire an unmodified shotgun on the moon? What modifications would be required?

(I can remember the return of the first astronauts from the moon. There was real concern over the danger of hostile aliens--microbes, I mean--and there was indeed a nerve-wracking quarantine period.)
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Old 02-09-2004, 02:56 PM
Umbriel Umbriel is offline
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I recall seeing the survival kit at the Smithsonian referenced by davidm, and being taken aback by the fact that it contained fishing hooks and line, until I realised that it was for survival on Earth... I don't recall any firearms, which I think would have made more of an impression, though I'm pretty sure some sort of utility knife was present.

If we had ever carried an eqivalent to the "Soyuz shotgun", it would likely have been the Air Force's AR-7 Survival Rifle (best known for its appearance as the "sniper rifle" in Bond's attache case in From Russia With Love. Link is to the site of current manufacturer Henry Repeating Arms). Our water-landing recovery mode, however, presumably made fish hooks a more practical survival tool than rifles.

Re Humble Servant's query, any metallic cartridge firing weapon should be able to fire in a vacuum. Primer and propellant are all self-contained within the sealed cartridge. The only problem with firing weapons underwater, by way of comparison, is that a barrel full of water will cause the chamber to burst just as surely as packing the barrel with dirt. I believe I've seen reference to special "swimmers' pistols" which presumably have sealed barrels, but that wouldn't be necessary for operation in a vacuum, and I've digressed already.

Contrary to scr4's comment, the astronautix link indicates that the cannon on the Almaz station was intended, and successfully tested, for use as an anti-satellite weapon, not to repel boarders.

In answer to Adam Yax's question, the primary issues to be addressed in using a cannon, or any other gun, in space would relate to extremes in temperature. Temperature extremes could make metal parts brittle and vulnerable to breakage, cause them to jam due to thermal expansion or contraction, render springs and other delicate mechanisms inoperable, etc. Also, liquid lubricants might vaporize in vacuum, further increasing the risk of jamming.
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  #35  
Old 02-09-2004, 02:59 PM
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An unmodified shotgun should work fine on the Moon, or anywhere else they're a vacume. Gunpowder doesn't require any outside oxygen to burn, and the cartridge is sealed airtight anyway.

The one danger I can see for a gun being fired in a vacume is overheating. With no atmosphere to help cool the barrel, something like the minigun in Armageddon would overheat a lot more easily than if it was being fired on earth.

IIRC, the one Russian space station to carry a gun had a rocket which would fire at the same time as the gun, to offset the force of the gun's recoil.
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  #36  
Old 02-09-2004, 03:21 PM
Umbriel Umbriel is offline
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My last post should have read "not just to repel boarders", though I wonder just how fearful of a You Only Live Twice scenario the Soviets were.

AndrewL's post mentioned the recoil issue. While that's an important consideration for a cannon firing off a space platform in free orbit, I don't believe it would be for astronauts firing small arms on the moon. While the moon's gravity is 1/6th Earth's, the firer's mass wouldn't be diminished. The recoil would thus feel no greater, though the firer might have to take a little more care to keep his footing in low gravity.
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Old 02-09-2004, 03:39 PM
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Re: The recoil of the Almaz cannon—I seem to recall that the station had a specially designed RCS system designed to compensate for the cannon's recoil.
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  #38  
Old 02-09-2004, 04:46 PM
ForgottenLore ForgottenLore is offline
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How do you know?
Gemini and Apollo astronaut Jim Lovell stated quite clearly in his book Lost Moon: The astronauts did not carry suicide pills. His take on it was that it would have been redundant to do so. If he were marooned in space and faced with the certainty of a slow painful death, all he'd have to do to commit suicide quickly would be open the hatch.
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  #39  
Old 09-03-2010, 07:33 AM
epl442 epl442 is offline
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Originally Posted by Soup View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by RickJay
If there had been some aliens on the Moon, they either would have been aliens from another solar system or some form of rock monsters. If they were aliens from another solar system I would have to think their level of technology would make a .38 a useless weapon. And if they were rock monsters, well, the bullets would have just bounced off. So no, they didn't carry frickin' GUNS.
How about regular guns?

I know it sounds silly, but think about it for a moment. This was the first time humans were to set foot on another world. Sure, it was a world that had been studied enough, albeit remotely, to ensure that the astronauts wouldn't encounter little green men. But don't you think that during some NASA brainstorming session that the possiblilty that SOMETHING might be up there came up? Hey, it's an alien world, maybe there WAS some silicone-based "rock monster" life up there. Or, if we managed to get a rocket up there, who's to say there wasn't some other visitors that got there first? 16th- and 17th- century explorers here on Earth came across creatures they never dreamed about. We're still finding some today (like the giant worms surrounding thermal vents deep below the ocean's surface).

I guess, due to weight and space considerations, astronauts can't be prepared for such an unlikely contingency as an angry alien big enough to actually harm them. And what would one bring anyway? As RickJay points out, a gun would be useless. How about a set of brass knuckles big enough to fit over an astronauts glove?
THis is why we didnt go to the moon,the average american wont go to the offy without a pistol in hios pants+a 12 bore on the back seat.You really think theyd send the worlds best tech all that way with no weaps?
The plans for apollo wrere released years ago but there are 2 compartments still classified & listed as shelves or storage-one was for cyanide & other means of takin ones own life & the other may well have been a crossbow type weapon.The space shuttle on the other hand does have classified weapons.it carrys a diamond laser,a maser cannon & is rumoured to be testing the plasma cannon in conjunction with the new aurora -the replacement for strealth & capable of sub orbital flight.Along with pulse detonation.Which was originally designed as an engine but has interesting properties as a silent weapon-which the shuttle also can deploy in satellite form,like emp burst modules.
What we have now is all from tech collected from 1948 onward -1948 being the year the actual microchip was discovered -there is no way on gods green earth we went to the moon in 69 in what amounts to a sinclair zx spectrum & a nissan micra! we cant go there NOW -so there is no way we went then-if we cant go now,it follows we never went as it is so risky sending men when there are a dozen critical manouvres that need to be calculated to the micro level.The moon fotos have prooved to be easily replicable (even a tv show mythbusters did it-this is how easy this is 2 replicate) No one ever questions the camera on arnstrong when he went down the ladder-according to nasa the camera couldnt pan to get him-so someone must have gone out 1st +positioned it (also it should have been covered in dust were it panned thus)or perhaps they did it on a film set... why does armstrong refuse to speak,why has aldrin several times threatened to? id love it to be true but like santa claus it simply has 2 many holes in its story line,never happened+still cant happen as we can only just survive the outer atmosphere & that costs trillions to maintain.sorry just dint happen
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  #40  
Old 09-03-2010, 08:02 AM
friedo friedo is offline
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  #41  
Old 09-03-2010, 08:04 AM
handsomeharry handsomeharry is offline
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  #42  
Old 09-03-2010, 08:05 AM
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Lack of brains... must be a zombie.
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Old 09-03-2010, 08:07 AM
Sigmagirl Sigmagirl is offline
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My favorite is how the microchip was discovered in 1948. If my grandfather had just gone out in that field a day earlier, he might have discovered it!
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  #44  
Old 09-03-2010, 08:10 AM
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THis is why we didnt go to the moon...
So you have thoroughly researched this subject?
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  #45  
Old 09-03-2010, 08:19 AM
StusBlues StusBlues is offline
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Originally Posted by ForgottenLore View Post
Quote:
How do you know?
Gemini and Apollo astronaut Jim Lovell stated quite clearly in his book Lost Moon: The astronauts did not carry suicide pills. His take on it was that it would have been redundant to do so. If he were marooned in space and faced with the certainty of a slow painful death, all he'd have to do to commit suicide quickly would be open the hatch.
I would imagine that the intended use of cyanide pills would have been in case of capture by the Soviets.
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  #46  
Old 09-03-2010, 08:45 AM
Disposable Hero Disposable Hero is offline
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[QUOTE=Soup;4526043]
Quote:
Originally Posted by RickJay
How about a set of brass knuckles big enough to fit over an astronauts glove?
I love this image!

"Hah, bow before Zoid puny earthlings!"

*punch, smash, wham*

"Aggghhh, run away, run away!"

btw on a semi-related note I do recall a story about the Soviets testing a ground-based laser on the first US shuttle mission. Not powerful enough to cause any damage but definitely not a friendly gesture and a strange thing to do.
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  #47  
Old 09-03-2010, 08:47 AM
Telemark Telemark is online now
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Just a reminder that this 6 year old thread was bumped today with some, well, interesting thoughts on the space program.
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  #48  
Old 09-03-2010, 08:56 AM
CalMeacham CalMeacham is offline
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Since this thread was originally published, I've come across other examples of weapons being carried aboard pioneering spacecraft in science fiction. Most notably, it's in Heinlein's first juvenile, Rocket Ship Galileo. Of course, if they hadn't had those rifles aboard the Galileo, the novel wouldn't have worked, but you can see Heinlein straining to rationalize them, especially as weight was definitely a concern. his hero, Dr. Cargraves, rationalizes carrying a couple of Garand rifles with the justification that, like the Russian cosmonauts mentioned above i the thread, their ship might return to Earth in some wilderness area. It's noteworthy that the film that was loosely based on the novel, Destination Moon, doesn't feature guns on the ship at all.


There were plenty of other guns aboard spaceships, besides those in Galileo, Robinson Crusoe on Mars, and It1 The Terror from Beyond Space. I'm surprised how common they were, especially considering how catastrophic an accidental discharge aboard a space ship would be. I suspect most writers and filmmakers didn't care and/or saw the dramatic potential and/or liked drawing the analogy to the Western Frontier. Heck, it's all just "Wagon Train to the Stars", right?
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  #49  
Old 09-03-2010, 09:02 AM
johnpost johnpost is offline
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i found a page describing the weapons used (no zombie weapons or phasers) click here

Last edited by johnpost; 09-03-2010 at 09:03 AM..
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  #50  
Old 09-03-2010, 09:52 AM
silenus silenus is offline
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Proof positive that we are losing the fight.
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