# Are there no telescopes on Earth capable of confirming the recent NASA pics of 'moon debris'?

Just like it says on the tin.

I’ve been told elsewhere that there isn’t, but I’d expect a more authorative reply here.

No. The reason the recent pictures were a big deal is because this is the first time since the end of Apollo that we’ve been able to photograph the surface of the moon with enough detail to make out the landers. So if we’d been able to get those kinds of photos from Earthbound telescopes, why would these pictures be of interest?

–Cliffy

Nope. The problem is resolution:

So, even the big ol’ Hubble floating up there in orbit can’t do it. The recent pictures came from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), which is actually orbiting the moon. Because it’s much closer, it has an easier time seeing small details.

The maximum resolving power of a telescope is determined by its diffraction limit, which is a function of the size of its optics. The Hubble is the most powerful telescope in orbit, and has a mirror 2.4 meters in diameter, giving it a resolving power when observing the moon of about 100 meters. There are larger telescopes on Earth, but they are limited by the distorting effects of the atmosphere. In any event, none of them are large enough to even theoretically be able to image items on the moon with the resolution of the pictures just released (which I think were 3 meters per pixel).

But you can ‘observe’ the moon landings another way - laser reflectors were left on the moon by Apollo crews, and people can and do routinely bounce light off them and receive it back on Earth.

The Apollo lander is roughly 10 meters wide at the legs. As seen from the earth, its apparent size should be about 5 milliarcsecond (1 arcsecond is 1/3600 of a degree, and a milliarcsecond is 1/1000 of that).

The resolution of a telescope is limited by its aperture, even if the mirrors/lenses are perfect. In order to resolve a 5-milliarcsecond feature, you need a 20-meter telescope. There isn’t one. And even if we had one on earth, the image would be further degraded by the earth’s atmosphere (which is why the Hubble is worth spending billions of dollars on).

Bear in mind that the LRO is much, much closer to the moon than any other imaging equipment. The pics that were released last week were taken from an altitude of about 110km, and even then only show the landers as a few pixels.

Once the LRO is in its final, 50km orbit, the resolution will be improved.

And search would have brought up probably dozens of threads which already had that information in it.

Do the people who think that the moon landing was a hoax think that nothing ever landed there or that no people ever landed there? I realize that there might be a broad range of opinion in the nutball community but is there some consensus?

Moon debris (by which I assume you mean human left items) are seen pretty frequently. Some observatories have high powered lasers that shine onto the mirrors left by the Apollo missions. You can see the reflection with a powerful telescope. Video here.

So yes, we’re seeing this stuff all the time, to the chagrin of conspiracy theorists and morons everywhere.

If you mean why arent we sending satellites to the moons orbit more often, thats because its expensive to do so.

I’m sure you meant 10 feet wide for the lunar module bases. I seem to recall that they’re actually about 14’ across, if you want to be technical.

I’ve been having a lot of fun studying the LRO images in detail, and comparing them to diagrams of the astronauts’ traverses on the lunar surface. Can’t wait until they lower the orbit - one article online says the resolution will improve 2-3 times.

I’ve heard some from the Tin Foil Brigade claim that we have sent objects to the Moon, just not people . . . therefore artifacts on the Moon prove nothing. :smack:

Wikipedia lists the lunar module’s “landing gear span” as 9.07 meters.

Right you are - I was thinking of the descent stage “platform” itself because that seems to be what shows up in the orbiter images. Naturally, the gear span is wider.

Carry on.

That would be a fascinating person to talk to, just to dig into what’s motivating them to believe in the hoax.
I mean, what’s the point of admitting that yes, we as a species do have the engineering ability to get objects off of earth and to another world, but getting humans there is so impossible that we[they] had to fake it?

I think their notion is that, while humans might be okay in orbit, radiation (Van Allen Belt, maybe?) farther out would cook us like popcorn, so the best we can do is send robots and aluminum gizmos out there and hope they land where we want them to. Or something, I’m not up on the latest in psychoceramics (the study of crackpots).

Ivan,

As you are a CTer in the 9/11 and Kennedy arena, can I presume you are one in the moon landings as well?

If that’s the case, wouldn’t you think the current NASA pics are just a a lie too?

Could Hubble spot the Viking landers on the surface of Mars with any degree of clarity, or (assuming it could find them, and they were adequately illuminated) the Voyager probes heading off into deep space?

Your faith/patience with the search function is much stronger than mine.

The Viking landers are roughly the same size as the lunar landers, and much further away, so you’ve got the same problem only more so. The Voyagers, though, might actually be possible, so long as you’re content with seeing a single pixel slightly brighter than the immediate background, and aren’t concerned about any sort of detail.