Saturday, March 17, 2007

The Moon Landing - Why Do People Say It Was Faked?

` This post was originally from December 14, 2006:

` The other week, X-Dan and I were discussing some of the weird things people believe, and I told him that I had run into someone who actually believed the moon landing was a hoax (though he wouldn't tell me why when I asked him).

` However, A Person sitting across from me volunteered that she also believed this, and she told me why: Once, she saw a T.V. show where a picture of the moon landing looked just like a desert. And that was it. That was her reasoning.

` This is not terribly surprising since she also believes that there are real, honest-to-goodness walking, talking trees in the world, ones who herd the trees and speak Old Entish even though we know that this concept came from J. R. R. Tolkien's mind, probably sometime in the 1930s. In other words, her reasoning seems to be; "Someone makes up something cool; that means it's real!"
` Similarly, she has the same reasoning about
humans with wings even though there is not a scrap of evidence that altering the vertebrate body plan on such a fundamental level is even possible - not to mention the fact that there is some major contradictory evidence. She only said to me; "I don't need evidence. All I need to know is how I feel, and I have a good feeling."
` As someone has commented to me; "God, I hope she's never on a jury." Sad but true; I would say she is almost the type of person who would close her eyes and walk off a cliff if she strongly believed it wasn't there.
` Anyway, I figured that it was about time to address the subject of the moon landing and why the hell some people keep insisting that it didn't happen.
` So, what TV show was she even watching? Probably that FOX Conspiracy Theory show. Alright; bring it on! What are some of the points presented as evidence? Why do about 6% of Americans (not 20%, as the show claims) believe that the moon landing was shot on a sound stage? What visual glitches are there that supposedly reveal this?
` The Short Answer: These 'glitches' are all products of laymen who (of course) have trouble understanding cameras, space vehicles, the behavior of light, the physical properties of the lunar surface, etc, etc. And, as these things make no sense to hoaxists, the show is consequently biased to the extreme.
` (In fact, Professional critical thinker Michael Shermer describes the opening line;
"...Viewers are invited to make a judgment based on all available information." That information, of course, is not provided.)
` Want examples? Here are some of the visual 'glitches' that the 'NASA hoaxers' supposedly 'forgot to edit out' as listed in the show:

` Everyone knows that stars should be visible from the moon, so why is there barely any photographic evidence of this on the Apollo mission?

` EASY!! That's one I instantly figured out when I first heard it at age fifteen as a budding photographer: You need two different exposures to take photos of the moon compared with photos of the stars! The sun shining on the white moon and the white spacesuits is so bright that you wouldn't be able to let much light into your camera - it would be about as bright as a sunny day. In other words, taking a picture of the nighttime stars on a camera's 'daytime settings' will not work at all; the sky will look pitch black. (It simply doesn't matter how good your camera is.)
` On the other hand, in order to take pictures of stars from the moon (or at night on earth under bright stadium lights) you would need to open your shutter and aperture to such an extent that if your camera was accidentally pointed at the moon itself, the resulting photo would be so overexposed that it would only contain a blurry, glowing whiteness.
` This is why such a short exposure is needed for photos in any bright landscape. Even nighttime photos on earth of something in the comparatively dim light of a lantern will probably not reveal any stars in the background, lest you risk washing out the lit portion of the picture. (I know, I've tried it before!) In fact, the whole thing reminds me of
an Astronomy Picture of the Day I saw years ago, which I recommend taking a gander at. The text reads:
Here's something you don't see too often ... a detailed picture of the full Moon surrounded by a rich field of background stars. ...[P]ictures of the sunlit portion of the Moon made with earthbound telescopes or even with cameras on the lunar surface often fail to show any background stars at all.
` Why? Because the exposure times are too short. Very short exposures, lasting fractions of a second, are required to accurately record an image of the bright lunar surface. But the background stars (and galaxies!) such as those visible above are much fainter and need exposures lasting minutes to hours which would seriously overexpose the surface of the Moon.
` So, of course this stunning view really is a combination of two digital images -- a short exposure, registering the exquisite lunar surface details at full Moon, superposed on a separate very long exposure, made with the Moon absent from the star field. The final representation of Moon and background stars is very dramatic, even though it could not have been captured in a single exposure.
` (Emphasis mine.) Well, this applies even moreso on the moon, because the bright light is even more overwhelming when it's infiltrating your surroundings and bouncing off of everything around you.
` Ironically, the moon hoax believer I had mentioned to X-Dan was a professional photographer! Isn't that a hoot? As Steven Dutch encourages anyone who would doubt this simple principle;
Set your camera to 1/125 at f/8 (a setting typical of the slower films in use in 1969). Aim it at the night sky and shoot pictures. Tell me how many stars you see. Aim your camcorder at the sky and see how many stars you can film.
` Like I've said, I've done this, and it's very rare that I capture any stars at all - star exposures from my Minolta require more than two seconds (as opposed to 125th of a second) with 800 speed film (that's pretty high), and to my knowledge, my camcorder has captured about two stars total - and both were probably planets!
` Your eyes, of course, are similarly temperamental at seeing in different light levels, just not as extreme or as noticeable to you. This is why, for example, when you look out of a window of a dark room in twilight, you can see outside - but when you turn the light on, the view outside becomes almost invisible. Of course, when the moon is out, stars are also much harder for you to see.

` Some bright objects appear to go in front of the crosshairs in the images, therefore the crosshairs must be part of the background or added in later or something.

` That doesn't even make sense! What does make sense is that the very brightness of some of the photographed areas - they are white in every case - simply 'drown out' the crosshairs. They are so bright that the light bleeds around them - a basic and common phenomenon in photography on earth! If you'd like to see examples of this phenomenon, check out Ian Goddard's excellent moon photo experiments. (It's kinda far down on the page.)

` If there is no air to scatter light, all the shadows on the moon should be black - they aren't.

` Hello? They're standing on a bright white object! How could the shadows be black? In fact, the moon is so reflective that you can use it to see people in the dark from earth! Think about that a minute. (Think...think.... Anyone working with art, photography or 3D computer modeling should have firsthand experience working with light bouncing off of things and illuminating others.)
` This also involves an interesting property of moon dust; it tends to reflect any light source back in the direction it came from. So, if you were holding a flashlight to the moon, you could see the light, but someone standing off to the side would barely be able to make it out.
` That means, if the sun is shining from one side, light can reflect back in that direction, up under standing objects on the moon, and can easily light up the shadow side of a vertical surface. This effect is called heiligenschein (halo in German). It's actually the same effect that makes a halo appear around a person's shadow, particularly around their head.
` It also makes a person's shadow look as if they're standing in a spotlight as the Hoaxists claim - whether on the moon or the earth. All you have to do is look at your shadow on some wet grass or fine dust (as on a baseball diamond or the moon), and you can see a very pronounced light where your head is.
` If you would like to see photographic demonstrations of this counterintuitive effect via a toy moon lander and astronaut,
Ian Goddard has done a great job with this and the other phenomena discussed.

` Why are all the shadows not parallel to one another? Doesn't that mean there is another light source other than the sun?

` That might make sense if each object made more than one shadow, as with multiple light sources. However, for each light source, there must be one shadow. Three light sources? Three shadows; just look at the shadows cast by any lamp with more than one light bulb! Have you ever noticed as a kid that staring at your shadow on a wall with several lights behind you can make it appear somewhat that you are a many-armed Hindu God?
` As you can see in the moon landing footage, each object in fact has only one shadow, no Hindu Gods in Space to be seen! Why are they not parallel? Notice that the shadows seem to point away from only one area, in a specific pattern. That is because light from only one point radiates outwards in all directions - why would the shadows be parallel?
` In other words, these shadow angles have to do with perspective, along with uneven ground, and such a radiating pattern is a typical phenomenon for any view of long shadows that is not seen from very high off the ground. The effect is also exaggerated by wide-angle lenses, which I know - taking many pictures with one - can make straight lines curved and proportions look skewed.
` Naturally, this perspective of shadows happens every day on earth, so using the same reasoning, many earth photographs must be faked as well! That's exactly what this shadow perspective web page also demonstrates - gee, do you think that desert scene from planet earth was faked? Well, go out on a sunny morning or evening and have a look yourself!

` Photos on the moon are perfectly framed - how could an astronaut do this with a camera attached to the front of his spacesuit?

` That's absolutely right - this is why most of the moon photos are not widely-known! Only the ones that frame scenes were selected for public display in the media. Even so, the astronauts were drilled in taking photos in this way thousands of times because moon photos are among the most valuable ones on earth.
` As for the man who designed the cameras not being able to come up with an answer while he was on the spot? That is hardly evidence - he was under a lot of pressure and apparently didn't have time to think of anything to say.

` In more than one scene, the scenery is identical, yet are meant to be in a different place - therefore, those backgrounds must be reused.

` Example #1: The same mountain is the background of two different scenes. Y'know, this happens all the time on earth. Have you ever been walking through a desert full of large rock formations? Have you ever taken a photo of a mountain from one hill, and then taken another from another hill? Your view will be the same in any number of spots when it is difficult to gauge distances due to clear air.
` I have in fact done this myself - I have three photos taken from three ledges, and while the scenery leading up to the rock formations in the distance looks far different, the rock formations look exactly the same. Of course, without trees on the mountains or haze, it is hard to tell how big they are, so the rocks can look much closer than they are.
` The moon is like this all the time; there is no haze, or air for that matter, and it's nothing but wide-open spaces. That mountain, for example, was many miles away from the camera, though it may look like a boulder that is only meters away. So, if you take a photo and then move three hundred feet away, the background will look the same to the naked eye, yet you have an entirely different foreground.
` In fact, when the two 'identical' background images are superimposed on one another, you can see that the mountain is being viewed from two slightly different angles. I've seen this demonstration of parallax - ironically, the superimposed image was made by a moon hoax believer.
` For anyone who doubts their sense of vision can be fooled, it is important to emphasize that the size of moon rocks is hard to judge because a small one looks the same as a large one! To prove this to you, you yourself can watch a video in which two Apollo 16 astronauts are probing the moon's surface. A little more than halfway through, they turn towards a large, black rock that looks about 4 meters across.
` Perspective-wise, it drastically grows to the size of a large mansion when they head toward it... and keep heading toward it! Right at the end, you hear this; 'Wow, Charlie, that's a big rock! ...the closer and closer I get to it, the bigger it is!' See? Even they can't tell! (Similar things happen in deserts, actually - I once set off for a rock formation that looked ten meters away and it took me fifteen minutes to get there! I finally looked behind me and the people I'd left behind looked like ants!)

` Example #2: These two scenes were supposed to be in different places and one day apart, the hoaxists say, yet the hill is the same. That would be suspect, of course, except they're actually not in two different places and one day apart - the reason the two clips look like they are shot at the same place and at the same time is because they are! Each clip was taken from the same video at Station Four, the second one shot merely three three minutes from the first. The accompanying audio on the show, however, was taken from a completely different video altogether!
` What are they trying to pull, here? Some kind of hoax? Of course, there are more than photography technicalities involved; the behavior of objects on the moon and space vehicles has also drawn the attention of hoaxists:

` There wasn't a blast crater from the lunar lander engines, which were capable of 10,000 pounds of thrust.

` Yes, capable. Of course, when you are landing a plane, what happens so that you don't dive into the ground at Mach .8? You slow down before you kill yourself! Same principle applies everywhere, even when you park your car at speeds less than 60mph, as Bad Astronomy guy Phil Plait explains....
` The thrusters in the film were only using 3,000 of those 10,000 possible pounds of thrust. The nozzle had an area of 2,300 square inches, so that is about one and a half pounds of thrust per square inch. Not a lot.
` To compound this lack of blast crater it is important to take into account the fact that in a vacuum, rocket exhaust has no air to constrain it, and so it spreads out much faster there than on earth. Therefore, to expect the thrusters to make a large mark is to not understand that there is no reason to expect it to begin with.

` The rocket didn't blow all the dust away when it landed, though it should have.

` No, it should not have: On earth, a landing rocket creates quite a dust cloud because the exhaust pushes the air around it, which picks up all kinds of extra dust. In an airless environment, the only dust that can be stirred up must be in direct contact with the exhaust (or other dust particles), which is why there are no dust clouds anywhere in the Apollo footage. In fact, instead of thinning the dust, cover on the ground, such rockets can create a ring of slightly thicker dust around the edges of the exhaust range.

` Self-proclaimed physicist, Ralph Rene, says that if the astronauts shifted around in the lunar lander during landing or takeoff, it would have crashed.

` Evidently, Rene doesn't know how rockets work - all of them need to adapt to a shifting center of gravity because of the way rocket fuel sloshes around. Systems that compensate for this are also made to correct for astronauts moving about; as you can see here, the lander's nozzles 'gimbal' during descent, and while ascending, extra thrusters do the job of stabilization.

During the descent phase, the LM must be slowed (braked) to place it in a transfer orbit from which it can make a soft landing on the lunar surface. To accomplish braking, descent engine thrust is controllable so that the precise velocity (feet per second) necessary to alter the vehicle's trajectory can be achieved.
` For a soft landing on the lunar surface, the weight of the LM must be matched by an upward force so that a state of equilibrium exists, and from this point, the descent engine is shut off and the LM free falls to the lunar surface. The thrust of the descent engine provides this upward force, and since the weight of the vehicle is a variable (due to consumption of expendables) this is another reason why the magnitude of the engine thrust is controllable.
` In addition, the center of gravity is also variable and the thrust must be such that it is in line with the LM center of gravity. This is accomplished by gimbaling (tilting) the descent engine.

During the lunar ascent phase, the flight control portion of the GN&CS commands the ascent engine. In this phase, control of the thrust direction is not achieved by gimbaling the engine, but by attitude control, using the Reaction Control Subsystem (RCS) thrusters.
` This is necessary during ascent to keep the vehicle stabilized, because the center of gravity changes due to propellant depletion. The ascent engine is not throttleable, since the function of this engine is to lift the ascent stage from the lunar surface and conduct rendezvous. The proper orbit for rendezvous is achieved by means of a midcourse correction (if necessary) in which thrust is directed by attitude control, and thrust magnitude is controlled by controlling the duration of the burn.

` Um... do I need to add anything? If you didn't catch that, what the nice man is saying is that the lunar lander had to be built to not crash when the weight of fuel (or astronauts) shifted by keeping itself level! Similarly, airplanes are built with a myriad of computer-controlled systems to help them not crash! It's a practical thing, really.

` When the top half of the lander took off, there was no flame coming from the rockets. Therefore, wires had to have been used to lift it up.

` Unlike booster rockets on earth, it is supposed to be that way in space; in order for lunar module rockets to work properly, they had to be fueled by hydrazine and dinitrogen tetroxide which do not release a visible flame. So, if the flame is supposed to be invisible, then how is no visible flame evidence that it wasn't there?

` The footage of the astronauts and rovers are simply slowed down so that they look like they're in a low-gravity environment.

` Okay, then; simply speed up the footage of the astronauts. The show has the video clips, which I've actually seen before and did not think they looked much like anything happening in normal speed.
` The clincher is this; if you look at the rover, you can clearly see dust being kicked up. If this were on the earth, the dust would interact with the air and billow into a large cloud behind the rover. (Ever see the huge trail of dust in the air behind a tractor or a truck on a dusty road?) However, in the airless environment of the moon, with no air resistance to hold the dust particles above the ground, you would expect to see the dust flying up and then falling straight back down, much like gravel does; this is exactly what the film shows!
` An airless sound stage? I highly doubt it.

` The flag could be seen to wave, but flags cannot wave in a vacuum - therefore there was a slight breeze in the film that they forgot to correct.

` Why wouldn't a flag wave in a vacuum if it was swinging around on an outstretched pole? No reason: When the flag swings around - as it is fixed at the side and top of a pole, the attached parts of the flag move while the unattached parts simply follow. As the flag does not billow (= catch the air) at all it is clear that this due to inertia, not the presence of air.
` On top of this, the horizontal bar holding up the top of the Apollo 11 flag could not be fully extended due to malfunction and the flag was not stretched out. Therefore, it is a little bit uneven like a curtain that is partly extended. People on the subsequent missions actually liked the way it looked - as if it were a still image of a waving flag - so they purposely did not extend the horizontal bar all the way. In fact,
NASA's website says:
At their technical crew debriefing, Armstrong and Aldrin reported few problems with the deployment. They had trouble extending the horizontal telescoping rod and could not pull it all the way out. This gave the flag a bit of a "ripple effect," and later crews intentionally left the rod partially retracted.
` ...If NASA's word means anything to the hoaxists. Well, it's not like you can see dust being blown around. Watch with your own eyes - the dust goes up, then falls back down as if it were heavy. This is what happens when there is no air to provide resistance - hence the experiment where a hammer and a feather were dropped and both fell at the same speed.

` The astronauts would have gotten very ill or died when they passed through the Van Allen Belts. Even the cosmonauts were worried about it. Therefore, surviving through them is impossible.

` Errrr... yeah. Great logic. First of all, the metal hull of the ship blocked most of the radiation, and second of all, they were only exposed for a short amount of time, about an hour. (Here is a more detailed explanation.) Third of all, the cosmonauts were worried because that was before anybody had done it. However, after some extensive testing, it was finally deemed feasible, hence, it was attempted.

` The father of the moon hoax, Bill Kaysing, claims that some astronauts were killed, including the three in the Apollo 1 fire, because they wanted to 'blow the cover' on NASA's lies.

` Wow. First you don't understand photography, then physics and engineering, and now you're into accusing NASA of killing people? I don't care if he worked on the Saturn engines, he was not scientifically trained - rather, he was more like a tech. And to start getting all paranoid and Big Brothery about it... that's just low.
` And then, when Jim Lovell, two time astronaut and commander of Apollo 13 called him a "kook", Kaysing tried to sue him for slander. How extreme is that?
This guy really does sound like a kook - look at (or listen) to some of the stuff he's said to the celebrity interviewer Nardwuar!
` Note that he claims astronauts do not ever mention seeing stars in space (to cover up the first moon hoax claim I have so elaborately explained), even though they quite often tell people just how dazzlingly bright they are! It's scary - this man really believes what he says is true:

How much space stuff since 1959 has been real? What space stuff is real today? Did the Challenger blow up? Did NASA know it would blow up?

Yeah, and you know why it blew up? Because Christa McAuliffe, the only civilian and only woman aboard, refused to go along with the lie that you couldn't see stars in space. So they blew her up, along with six other people, to keep that lie under wraps. I claim that Christa McAuliffe was murdered.

So when the Challenger blew up, it wasn't because of O-ring problems, it was because NASA murdered the people because they didn't want to go along with the gags?

Well, Christa McAuliffe was a woman of great integrity, and she would not agree to say that you couldn't see stars in space.

So, Bill Kaysing, are you saying that Roberta Bondar, Canada's first women astronaut, never actually made it in space, 'cause she was on the Shuttle.

Well, I'll tell you what - the Shuttle is a possibility. After all, it's low altitude. I haven't done a great deal of research on the Shuttle, but several people have said that the Shuttle is actually faked, also.

Did people see Apollo 11 take off?

Well, yes, certainly.

So what happened, then, if they saw it take off? The rocket took off - if we didn't go to the moon, what actually happened when Apollo 11 took off?

The Apollo 11 vehicle, or Saturn 5, was sent out of people's sight, and then it was jettisoned into the South Atlantic, where all of the six that were launched now reside. There were no astronauts, of course, on board. They were hidden away carefully, to be returned, allegedly in their command capsule, by being dumped out of a C5A transport plane. It was easy to do all of this, because they had total control of everything.

So they were not on the rocket when it took off, then?

No, they were not.

How 'bout any actual atmosphere, like John Glenn in space, Yuri Gargarin - were they actually in space?

I doubt it.

What I'm still curious about, Bill Kaysing, is that - did NASA kill those astronauts in 1967, (Apollo 1 fire) did they kill them on purpose because they knew too much? Or was it actually an accident that happened?

No, it was no accident. They murdered them because, you see, I found out just recently that whenever NASA was in trouble they would call on the CIA No we all know that the CIA has and can kill anybody they want without any feeling of conscience whatsoever. So it's my feeling that the CIA was hired by NASA to very adroitly kill Grissom, Chaffee and White.

` Crazy dude! Anyway, if you've wondered about many of these questions, I hope I've presented to you a fair amount of information about the show. (And there are many more at Phil Plait's Bad Astronomy website, one of many that I referenced for this post. There is an even longer treatment by Michael Shermer.)
` Of course, there are many other moon landing objections than those posed on the show. For those there are, for example, a very exhaustive account - exploring every area from the behavior of heat on the moon to sound in a vacuum - by Robert A Braeunig - who has studied all of the appropriate areas of science to explain all these things.
` There is also a more entertaining account by the aforementioned Steven Dutch, covering everything from rocks to telemetry and isn't as... well, exhausting to read. And, if you like, an excellent page about moon soil - is it really from the moon? There is even an article on the subject by Cecil Adams of The Straight Dope, which is always somewhat amusing to read.


G-Man said...

Sequin!! Welcome back amongst your friends sweetie. I can honestly say this to you....
Of all the Urban Myths that are floating around these days, Your debunking of this one was by far the most brilliant and comprehensive. I really don't know what gets into peoples heads sometimes, but you answered every issue beyond a shadow of a doubt!!
Really Spoony, This was an outstanding piece of work!
You just hammered me speachless..
This is beyond term paper quality....This is publishing material.
I'm sooooo glad your back. Much love to you baby.......Galen

Galtron said...

Wow! That Kaysing guy really is paranoid and you are really clear-headed on the matter!
I agree with your, ah, blog boyfriend, here! This is some good work! Send that into a newspaper or something! I'm serious!

Gareth said...

I read with interest when you were taking about exposure times. I saw the word "exposure" and immediately thought of nakedness, but I was to be disappointed when you pointed out that it was concerning cameras :'( Why oh why must you do that to me. I get so excited sometimes ;-)
My cousin (kind of) bought a new camera a few weeks ago and decided that he wanted to try to take a pic of the full eclipse of the moon a couple of weeks ago over here so he set up his tripod in his back garden and waited for the eclipse to happen. The moon was supposed to be a copper colour. He took the shoot and ......... got a lovely bright white photograph of his flower beds because the exposure was too long :P

I agree with the other Gs - it is good to see you back among us. Now about that exposure thing ..... ;-)

S E E Quine said...

` Ughhh! Finally! I've been trying all day to reply to my comments, and the internet keeps going out!

` I'm glad you are impressed with this post. It is considerably more original than the last, though Certain Individuals for some reason thought the article was mine, despite the fact that I made it expressly clear that it was not:

` Yes, sadly I have no time to write an original article (much like a lot of instances before this, only moreso). I had you for a minute, though, didn't I?
` Without further ado/newts/jock straps:

Facilitated Communication
& the Power of Belief
How Time magazine got it wrong

by Lawrence Norton

` I'm surprised that anyone could miss that. Anyway... I am also intending to publish the moon hoax post in a newspaper, as this one is mine! Thanks for the support!

` Ha ha! That's the way it goes with cameras, Gareth! I've had those experiences a lot as a teenager!
` Next time, tell your cousin (kind of) that it really helps to experiment with different settings with something like this and to in fact, take several pictures at several exposures so that at least one photo will probably turn out decently!

Edward Baker said...

That is a very thorough and readable debunking of a conspiracy theory, it really does take care of all the points that similar people have made to me.

I once met a Shuttle Pilot, and he was asked in front of me about this conspiracy theory, and he managed to put put it down using a political argument on the Space Race - it seems that the Russians at least were convinced!

My Blog Post on meeting Shuttle Pilot

S E E Quine said...

` That's so awesome! You know, this brings to mind the alleged time when somebody denied that one of our moon guys was ever on the moon - to his face! Of course, being on the moon and all, he quite understandably punched him in the nose! Bwa haaa!