Charity drive to feed the empty heads of the Nasa/moon conspiracy theorists

yes, there is a hell of a lot more light reaching the surface of the moon. yes, the sunlight is unimpeded. that’s the whole point, as i see it: here’s a phenomenon that DOES NOT HAPPEN on earth, where the sun’s rays are considerably more diffuse. but make the sun even BRIGHTER and suddenly it seems possible that the light reflected off the earth could be sufficient to provide “fill lighting”?
and this whole line of reasoning about light reflected off the lunar surface still makes no sense–the lunar surface would reflect light evenly everywhere, not focus it on the astronauts and the LEM. and certainly any light reflected back from the lunar surface would be irrelevant compared to the huge amount of unimpeded sunlight which would be DIRECTLY hitting the astronauts/LEM from above. if the moon were just a giant mirror, it might be a different story, but as we all know the moon is made of cheese.
by the way, a decent example of the phenomenon being discussed can be found at check out figure 3 on the right.

BickByro wrote:

jmullaney was quoting one of my all-time favorite Dilbert comic strips. Dogbert is wearing a turban with some mystic astrological symbols on it, and says he’s going to go into the business of being a prophet of doom. “I prophesize,” says Dogbert, “That the world will end in the year 2000. I base this prediction on the fact that 2000 is a big, round number. It’s biiiiiiiig and roooooooound…” (To which Dilbert, of course, snaps, “Stop that!”)

i see

BickByro wrote:

Easier, maybe. But significantly easier?

By the end of the 1960s, we could send human beings into space for weeks at a time. We could send space probes to the moon that could land safely on the lunar surface. What would have been so difficult about combining the two?

well, that leads up to one of the big points in the conspiracy theory, which is that no human being without a seriously thick lead casing could withstand the radiation of the Van Allen belt, to say nothing of the radiation directly impacting the moon from the sun (some also note that micrometeors would have torn the astronauts’ suits to shreds while they were galavanting about on the moon).

i can’t really comment on this one at all, as it goes beyond common-sense reasoning to a very specific knowledge of just how much radiation is out there, and where, and whether the astronauts would have been in harm’s way for very long according to the NASA flight plan. my web research turns up people on both sides basically saying “no, you’re wrong,” but no cecil-like independent authority seems to have stepped in to settle the issue.

here’s an intriguing factoid, though, from the “Numerous Anomalies and Scams Allowed” page:

“In a recent TV interview NASA chief Dan Goldin, (alias Dan Dare), openly admitted that mankind cannot venture beyond Earth orbit, 250 miles into space, until they can overcome the dangers of cosmic radiation. He managed to say this without any mention, or referrence to the Apollo missions 30 years ago.”

strange stuff, if this alleged quotation was truly uttered.

I hope I’m reading this right. I have a difficult time reading posts that lack proper punctuation and capitalization.

Why were the still pictures so clear and the movies so crappy? The still photos were taken using 35mm film; the movies were on 16mm film. 16mm film was used because it’s much smaller than 35mm (duh!) and takes up less space inside the space capsules. The cameras were also smaller. Unfortunately, when you enlarge 16mm film to 35mm, the image becomes grainy and dull.

Another thing about those cameras: The cameras were pre-loaded with film and pre-set before they were ever loaded onto the spacecraft. The astronauts could not even focus the things; think of today’s cheap “focus-free” cameras. What all that means is that some of the photos were over-exposed or under-exposed or blurry, and like any good tourist, NASA only shows the nice ones!

You ought to go to White Sands, New Mexico. Even on overcast days, you might want sunglasses to cut down on the glare. The Sands are so reflective, they’re sometimes visible on images taken by weather satellites. They are located in southern New Mexico, more than a hundred miles north of the Texas state line.

As for Earthshine, the Earth is inherently more reflective than the Moon (its albedo is higher as PLD said) because of the clouds and oceans (which the Moon lacks) and because the Earth is much larger than the Moon. Earth’s diameter is nearly 8,000 miles; the Moon’s diameter is, IIRC, about 2,400 miles. More surface area means more light reflected.

There are micrometeors, but nearly as numerous as the conspiracy mongers would have us believe. The radiation levels of outer space aren’t as strong, either. There IS a danger, but the spaceflights didn’t last long enough to expose the astronauts to serious levels of radiation. It is a problem NASA will have to solve before we send people to Mars, because those flights will have to last years.

In this interview, Kaysing claims that no one traveled in space AT ALL until the Space Shuttle flew! Insane! And he says the Challenger accident was actually Christa McAuliffe’s murder! Why was she killed? Kaysing claims it was because she refused to repeat the “lie” that you can’t see stars while in space! Actually, you CAN see stars in space as long as you aren’t facing a brighter light source at the same time (Sun, Moon, Earth, etc.).

Kaysing claims the moon sets are still in Area 51; why weren’t they destroyed? What kind of a hoaxer fails to destroy evidence of his hoax?

And wouldn’t someone producing a fake film of a spaceflight include the stars instead of leaving them out?

tracer: just thought of another little point regarding:

“By the end of the 1960s, we could send human beings into space for weeks at a time. We could send space probes to the moon that could land safely on the lunar surface. What would have been so difficult about combining the two?”

Getting them back would have been the difficult part. Probes don’t come back.

As for jab1, I don’t see a problem with my punctuation. But if it will make you happy, I can begin capitalizing…

Let me start from the bottom…

I’m not going to comment on Kaysing; whether he’s a nut has no bearing on this.

As for your question, “wouldn’t someone producing a fake film of a spaceflight include the stars instead of leaving them out?”…

Well, to hear NASA tell it, you wouldn’t expect to see stars in the REAL film (that’s how they explain the stars’ absence, you see). Assuming that NASA is not lying about that fact, I’d guess that if they were going to make a fake film, they would most certainly NOT include stars, since their presence would be a dead giveaway. So the answer to your question is no.

Going back to the top of your post…

It seems to me that if they could fit a dune buggy inside the LEM, they could have fit some bigger reels of film. But in any case, are you saying that both the still and movie cameras were pre-set or only the movie cameras? Because when you look at some of the still photos that were taken, and the different distances the astronauts must have been focusing from, it’s hard to believe the cameras could possibly have had a fixed focus.
As I was researching this more today, I noticed the interesting point of the famous “booster separation” film, in which you see very clear COLOR footage of the ring of flames coming from the detaching stage. Why wasn’t this camera or one like it used on the moon?

As for white sands, sure, they’re pretty reflective. But (1) the moon is coated in grey dust, not white silica and (2) I’m still not convinced that, were you to stand next to a building in the middle of the Sands such that the sun was causing the building to cast its shadow directly upon you, the light reflecting from the sand outside the shadow would cast enough light upon you as to give the impression that you were not standing in a shadow at all. But I welcome evidence to the contrary.

You’re confusing me with this bit about the earth being more reflective than the moon because of its clouds and oceans. Pretty much everyone who has been debating with me so far has touched on some variant of “without any atmosphere, the moon’s surface RECEIVES more sunlight, therefore it is only natural to expect it to REFLECT that sunlight back up onto the astronauts.” You yourself seem to have just been addressing this point. If I’m reading you right, you’re trying to have it both ways.

But in any case, I was never arguing that the earth was not brighter, as viewed from the moon, than the moon is viewed from earth. Just that even a tenfold increase in the moon’s brightness as viewed from earth would not be enough to allow it to overpower the relative darkness of a shadow cast by the incredibly brighter sun, thus creating the illusion of a “second sun.” I don’t think it would work on the moon either.

And the problems with the radiation that I’ve read about haven’t focused as much on the interplanetary radiation one might encounter on a trip to Mars, but simply the Van Allen radiation belt that must be crossed to get even as far as the moon.

And again, I’m not looking for another person to just tell me “oh yeah, it’s safe.” Show me some figures proving that the astronauts would not have been roasted.

jab1 wrote:

In fact, you know how sometimes, when the moon is just beginning to wax and is a teeny tiny thin crescent, you can see the rest of the moon glowing a dim, dark gray?

That’s Earthshine.

There was high-quality movie footage shot on the moon, but it wasn’t seen much because of the circumstances. News crews that wanted to cover the landings as they were happening had to make do with very grainy television broadcasts from the surface. Once each mission returned, it took a little while to develop the film and when it was ready it wasn’t news anymore. Books and magazines about the moon landings could only include the stills.

But that changed a few years ago. A filmmaker named Al Reinert went through all the lunar footage in the NASA archives and made a film called For All Mankind. Like the still pictures, all the movie footage is stunning because Reinert chose the best shots there were (from over 6,000,000 feet of film, according to the IMDb summary.). The images in that movie belong somewhere in this debate, although I don’t know if there’s enough to convince the skeptics one way or the other. I do remember one shot that would have been hard to fake. It’s taken from the ascent stage during liftoff from the moon. After two hours of the grandeur of the astronaut’s exploration, that one shot makes it all look small again. You can see the landing site, the experiments that were left on the surface, lots of footprints and even some tracks from the rover. And then as the camera rises up you see how little of the moon they really covered. The detail at the beginning of the shot is too good for a model, and the end of the shot is too vast to be a soundstage.

Wow, checking the date at the IMDb, that movie came out in 1989. It doesn’t feel like that long ago.

interesting new points.

tracer—really? (said with no sarcasm). I’ve always wondered why the nearly-new moon was sometimes so clearly visible. I always assumed it was some sort of sun-related effect, but that does make more sense. Although I don’t recall ever seeing a COMPLETELY new moon being illuminated by this “earthshine”–why is that? I don’t suppose you have a link? I’m still wondering how much of a difference it would make in terms of lighhting up the astronauts’ suits to the degree apparent in the photos.

Robot Arm—come on now. You’re telling me Neil Armstrong and crew return to earth and are hailed as heroes of the space age as mankind stares into the night with a new sense of accomplishment… but since it took a week or two to develop the color footage, nobody ever bothered to look at it? They had moved on?
Get outta here. Not even in today’s sound-bitten world do people have such short attention spans. In those days, with as big a deal as the moon landing was… no way.
I’d like to check that movie out, though.

Hola Jab1. Long time no see. :slight_smile:

Ok now…


Secret channel? Is there any human left alive today who doesn’t know that frequencies are a naturally occuring thing that can be used by everyone? Sort of like a “secret gravity” or a “secret color.”

…and are you really asking to a cite dealing with KGB files from the 1960’s and 70’s? Are you aware that we had this little disagreement thing going on called the cold war?

If so, do you have any idea what that implies?


Freedom—I just meant that there are a lot of available frequencies, and if you didn’t tell someone where to look it could take a while. I understand that you can’t “lock up” the airwaves.

Not sure where you’re coming from with the KGB rant. The Cold War’s over, if you didn’t notice, and PLENTY of Soviet data/footage has been declassified and made available to Americans. I don’t see why their records of confirmation of the moon landing would still be kept secret, and if they are, then I again must question those who claim to “know” that the Soviets actually did such a thing.

Armstrong’s mission was to get to the moon and get back. I don’t think Apollo 11 took anything that wasn’t necessary, including the good cameras. And by the later missions, public interest and news coverage had dropped off quite a bit.

Besides which, I think I’ve seen footage from the moon that’s better than the live transmissions (16mm, maybe). For someone doing a TV documentary, that’s more than good enough. At the time of the moon landings, everyone was amazed by what the pictures contained. 20 years later, Reinert was the first person to think to show the beauty of the moon missions in a big-screen theater. He was the first person who needed the best footage from the moon (35mm?), so he was the first person to show it.

BickByro: It doesn’t take much of a laser at all to reflect off of the ALSEP reflectors - McDonald Observatory made hundreds of measurements using these reflectors up until 1985.

You seem to dismiss the difficulty of simulating 1/6 gravity, but trust me it’s not easy. We have plenty of footage of things dropping on the moon - hammers, feathers, dust, rocks, you name it. You can easily measure the time it takes for this stuff to hit the surface, and from that calculate the moon’s gravity. This would not be easy to fake.

And anyway, don’t you find it a bit silly to suggest that NASA managed to fake all this stuff so convincingly, but ‘accidentally’ used two stage lights to give double shadows? Isn’t a better explanation simply that the Earth threw one shadow?

There are several good reasons why the Earth can throw a shadow on the moon. First, the moon has no atmosphere. Second, the Earth is much bigger than the moon. Third, the Earth has a much higher albedo. Add it all up, and you get two shadows and a lot of fill lighting.

If it were true that you couldn’t see Earth’s shadow and that the shadowed areas on the moon should be completely black, then this would have been trivially easy for NASA to fake. To suggest that they managed to fake zillions of other complex details, including ones that no one would even recognize other than a few engineers and scientists, yet completely screw up the lighting makes absolutely no sense.

Then ask yourself this: of the tens of thousands of physicists, astrophysicists, and astronomers who have looked at the moon footage, the only ones to see anything wrong are a couple of flakes running a web page.

And it’s easy to answer; they DID take high-quality movies. The ones broadcast back to Earth were grainy, but there’s high-quality stuff that was taken on the Moon.

Actually, I dug up the photos after I wrote my message, and laughed myself silly. All the allegedly “faked” photos were explained with amazing ease. Some of the objections to the photos were so absurd that one wonders if a sane person would make them.

If I go outside on a moonlit night I can damn near read a newspaper. If I was 250,000 miles CLOSER to that light source, doesn’t it make sense that it would illuminate things even more?

Look; Some evening, put a big cardboard box in an empty room. Turn on a 100W lightbulb hanging in the middle of the room. The room will be illuminated. You will notice that anything behind the box is in shadow, but you can still see what’s behind the box. The room isn’t any more reflective than the Moon, unless it’s a room made of mirrors, right?

If you can see something behind the cardboard box, you’ve pretty much explained beyond any doubt or question why you can see things in shadows on the Moon. The 100W bulb in your room isn’t any brighter than the Sun is, so how can you see behind the box? Simple; light is scattering off of other surfaces. As to why some things in the photos look darker in shadow than others, I would submit that shadow contrast always look more varied in photos than it really is. That’s why you can’t see stars in the photos, after all; the contrast blacks them out.

It’s night now and the only light sources in my room are the 100w bulb in my overhead lamp and my computer monitor. If I turn off my monitor I can still see things that are obstructed from the overhead lamp and in show. I can clearly read the titles and words on the video game boxes below my desk.

Not without someone picking up the original signal. You’ll have to trust me on the theory, but I was an electronic warfare operator, and the interception of radio signals is absurdly easy. Intstruments do exist that will provide an easy-to-surf pictures of a large portion of the EM spectrum. Direction finding those radio signals (e.g. triangulating the source) is also quite easy. A transmission from an orbiting spacecraft would have been easy to identify as coming from the wrong place, and as others have pointed out, the Russians would have loved to demonstrate just that.

The Apollo astronauts WERE subjected to alpha radiation; they reported funny flashes in their vision, in fact, which is consistent with what could happen if an alpha particle went through your retina. Who knows, some of them might yet get cancer. One, Jim Swigert, has already died of cancer, and there might be others.

As for the mystical, deadly Van Allen belts, give me a break. They weren’t in the belts for long; the dose of radiation wasn’t going to fry an egg, much less a human. this link gives an excellent explanation for why the Van Allen belts would not kill you.

I am disturbed and dismayed that I haven’t yet seen anybody refer to the Straight Dope Staff Report on this alleged hoax. While it doesn’t address all concerns (with conspiracies like this, it’s impossible to tackle everything, because new things keep coming out of the cracks of the old), it does tackle some of them.

Because a completely new moon, by definition, is hanging up there in the sky at high noon, directly in the sun’s glare. You’d have to be staring straight at the sun to see the completely new moon, and that’s generally considered a bad idea.

I’m sort of curious- if the whole moon laning deal was a hoax, why didn’t Apollo 13 go like clockwork?

I mean, if the whole idea was to trick the American people into thinking that NASA was omniscient and infallible, capable of sending men to the moon and back without a hitch, what went wrong with Apollo 13?

Why didn’t NASA just put Jim Lovell on its lunar studio set, film him on the phony moon, send the shots to the television networks, and get their positive publicity? WHY would NASA stage a phony crisis, which only made them look bad?

because they were losing almost interest and they needed to show that nasa could provide a drama, with the astronauts going home safely.(i don’t believe fox though)

Astorian, I don’t think you have to be much of a devil’s advocate to see how the Apollo 13 problems would add to the realism of the hoax, and to make a public that was losing interest in the space program start paying attention again.