Exposing PseudoAstronomy

June 23, 2009

The Apollo Moon Hoax: An Overview


Introduction

Yes, it’s been a long time since I’ve done a post … sorry folks, I’ve been busy with work and vacations and other stuff. But enough with excuses! In commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 landing by the lunar module “Eagle” piloted by Neil Armstrong and also manned by Buzz Aldrin, I am going to devote the next month of postings to a series that debunks the Apollo Moon Hoax.

In other words, the direct goal of these postings is NOT to prove we went to the moon, landing 12 men on the surface and bringing them successfully back (along with a load of lunar science). Rather, I will pick through the main hoax claims and show why each of them, in turn, is flawed.

The specific purpose of this introductory post is to discuss the hoax in general and why I will be debunking it as I state above.

All posts in this series:

Why the Hoax?

There is a small group of people who have made propagating the idea that the US government hoaxed the moon landings a significant part of their life’s work. In name, the four main people with whom I am familiar are Bill Kaysing (now deceased), David Percy (along with Mary Bennett), Ralph Rene, and Bart Sibrel. The two most active people in the “field” today are Rene and Sibrel, with Sibrel being the most visible.

One may ask, “Why do you think this was a hoax?” I cannot read these peoples’ minds, and I do not want to be accused of libel, so I am stating up-front that I do not attribute any of these reasons directly to any of those people. That said, in general, people like conspiracies and mysteries. It almost may seem anti-climactic to those Generation X and Y folks who were born over a decade after the landings that, “Yeah, we went to the moon.” It’s much more interesting to think that there is something else behind it. In addition, there is almost always an inherent distrust of “the Official story” and especially if that Official story comes from the government – a body that almost no one really trusts anymore.

But besides my attempt to psychoanalyze the conspiracy theorist mindset, there is a more direct, more visual reason: Anomalies. Anomalies are the conspiracy theorist’s bread and butter, the sustenance upon which they build their upside-down pyramid of cards.

Anomaly Hunting Defined

So that we’re all on the same page, I will define “anomaly hunting” for purposes of conspiracy theories: Anomaly hunting is searching for something – anything – that does not make sense to you within the context of the broader picture.

An example from the 9/11 Conspiracy is that when the Towers 1 and 2 collapsed, the debris/rubble only reached a few stories high, despite the skyscrapers originally reaching 110 stories high. How could they possibly have so little debris? There must have been something else going on – right?

Another example, this time from the JFK Assassination Conspiracy, is that the 6.5 x 52 mm Italian Carcano M91/38 bolt-action rifle that was used to shoot the president could NOT have been fired 3 times in the supposed 5.6 seconds that it was fired in (even though the Warren Commission found that it could have been up to 8 seconds). So there must have been a second shooter – right?

Well, to answer both of these … NO. These are apparent anomalies. They seem to make perfect sense when you present them at face-value because they appeal to general common sense. But there are really mundane explanations. First, for the Trade Towers, the explanation is that when one owns a building, they make money off of the empty space inside the building that people can then use for businesses (or living). The Trade Towers were up to 95% empty space by volume, and so when they collapsed, only the structure was what remained.

As for the speed of firing the rifle, it was only the first attempted reenactment by the Warren Commission that failed to duplicate the speed of firing. Since then – including CBS’s 11 volunteers in 1967 – many people have shown that it is a relatively easy task to shoot the rifle 3+ times in the time allotted, even if the minimum of 5.6 seconds is that time. A visual example of this was shown on Penn & Teller’s ‘Bullsh-t’ show, season 3 episode 3, where Penn successfully fired it 3 times in the space of 3.45 seconds.

Why Conspiracies Rely Upon Anomaly Hunting

So one may legitimately ask, “Why are conspiracies built upon anomalies?” The answer is because apparent “common sense” does not always apply. It is a very simple thing for me to look at a picture, hear about someone’s observation, or examine a video and see something that seems to defy what I expect to happen during a circumstance.

This is especially true when one talks about the environment of space, off Earth’s surface. Our every-day experience does not prepare us in any way for what to expect if we are in near-Earth orbit, on the moon, or elsewhere. The lack of air, the different gravity, lack of water, and other environmental factors change how things act and interact, giving rise to apparent anomalies.

Almost every single Moon Hoax claim deals with an apparent anomaly. From a lack of stars, to the C rock, to radiation belts, to the computer technology at the time, hoax proponents have come up with dozens of different anomalies within the Apollo program footage, photographs, statements, mission profile, and pretty much everything else that surrounds the program.

Final Thoughts

The next logical question may be, “Do conspiracy theorists have a coherent story, then, of what actually happened?” The answer may surprise you: No.

In general, the Moon Hoax evidences are almost all anomaly pointing-out from the Apollo program. Beyond that, each conspiracist has their own idea of what “really” happened, though they really do little to promote it when compared with how much work they do to find apparent flaws with the official explanation. And not all of their anomalies actually fit into their view of what happened, with many anomalies pointed out by other “researchers” contradicting their own ideas.

This is why my approach to debunking the Moon Hoax is to go through, claim by claim, and show why they are as they are. Once that is through, the conspiracists have nothing left to stand on because all observations can be explained by the “official” NASA story that we actually went to the moon.

28 Comments »

  1. Let me add: the conspiracy theorists of UFO are in contradiction with the “moonhoaxers”. They claim Armstrong saw spaceships on the edge of a crater, then there is the story of the fourth stage seen by Aldrin etc., but whatever, they take for granted Armstrong and Aldrin were indeed on the Moon!

    Comment by markogts — June 24, 2009 @ 4:29 am | Reply

  2. Agreed. UFO people who may also happen to believe in the moon hoax need to spend some serious time in a psychiatrist’s office … they must have some serious rationalization going on in their heads that would be interesting to study. But, as far as I know, the main moon hoax believers are NOT UFO=alien believers. Richard Hoagland is a good example of someone who is big on UFOs and “alternative” physics but also adamantly believes NASA went to the moon (though the purpose was to gather advanced-technology alien artifacts …).

    Comment by astrostu206265 — July 1, 2009 @ 3:28 pm | Reply

    • As far as alternative physics go, I think you’re at the forefront, astrostu. Anyone with basic science knowledge or anyone that may have participated in zero-G experiments will tell you that the hippity-hops the astronauts were doing is improbable in a 0.17 G environment. A simple push of a single foot would send the astronauts flying even in their 100 lbs suit. This is not the case in the NASA videos.

      You keep insisting that the lunar module could easily lift off with three astronauts and its own weight but also accept that these astronauts were doing the same little hops that a human could do with a 100 lbs suit right here on Earth. What kind of science background do you have, astrostu? Have you ever jumped inside a plane recreating anything between zero-G and 0.3 G?

      Why aren’t showing videos of these low gravity experiments?

      Attacking people because they don’t accept the propaganda, I think you should also be up for review at the psych’s office.

      Comment by foofoorabbit — July 18, 2009 @ 9:41 am | Reply

      • Have you seen Mythbusters? They pretty solidly refute this claim. As for my background, I have a BS in astronomy, minors in physics and geology, an MS in astrphysics/geophysics, and am almost at a PhD in astrophysics/geophysics.

        I ask you: What evidence would you require to falsify your beliefs that we didn’t go? — if you can’t think of any, then I’d say you’re about as close-minded as is the definition of a “true believer.” I also want to point out point out that hoax proponents don’t supply independent evidence that we didn’t go, rather they (as I’ve stated) look for apparent anomalies in the NASA evidence instead of supplying their own.

        Comment by astrostu206265 — July 18, 2009 @ 11:19 am

      • Mythbusters solidly refutes what claim? That you’re not sent flying in a close to a zero-G environment after pushing yourself with your legs? Give me a link to this episode because I don’t think it exists.

        Mythbusters are the same guys that solidly refute the twin towers being victims of controlled-demo. This drops their credibility to the ground. I’m surprised a PhD student is using Mythbusters as a good source of info.

        I never said that man has never gone to the moon. I’m saying the Apollo missions were faked. Everything seen in pictures and videos is an elaborate NASA hoax. I have no doubt that man has gone to the moon.

        Comment by foofoorabbit — July 19, 2009 @ 5:46 am

      • foofoorabbit, you obviously haven’t seen the Mythbusters episode in question. Adam tried to reproduce a moonwalk in while wearing a simulated suit with weights identical to the original. He tried it three different ways: suspended by a cable that removed 5/6 of his weight; by simply slowing the camera down; and going on a reduced-gravity airplane flight. Neither of the ground attempts looked at all realistic, while the test on the airplane EXACTLY matched the motions we see in hours and hours of moonwalk TV coverage. Adam found that the way the real astronauts walked was indeed very comfortable and natural.

        I haven’t seen the episode relating to the WTC collapse, but if that’s what they said, then they’re absolutely right.

        You obviously seem to think your intuition about what “should” happen is superior to experimental evidence and detailed analytical and numerical modeling. I’d say you need to get a clue.

        Comment by Phil Karn — July 19, 2009 @ 9:45 am

      • A simple push of a single foot would send the astronauts flying even in their 100 lbs suit.

        Nope: http://www.clavius.org/gravleap.html here you have the explaination. They could actually jump higher than they did, but it wasn’t safe. The fact that they jump even for slow walks is a confirmation of the gravity, google for “froude number”.

        You keep insisting that the lunar module could easily lift off with three astronauts and its own weight

        Really, do you come here demanding to teach us the physics involved with Apollo missions and you don’t even know how many astronauts were in the lunar module? However, about the liftoff from the Moon:
        -No aerodynamic drag
        -1/6 gravity – which implies 1,7 km/s orbital velocity instead of 8.
        -about 100 km orbit height (1/3 of a typical Earth orbit)
        -2 astronauts and an empty lunar module, without legs. Mass of 4,500kg, weight about 7,400 N (on the Moon). Just to compare, the lightest NASA capsule, the Mercury, had almost 2,000 kg, for 20,000 N of weight.

        Now go calculate the delta V and consequent mass ratio and come back when you have clear ideas.

        Comment by markogts — July 19, 2009 @ 11:52 am

  3. I am not a hoax theorist and frankly think it is far easier to believe we went to the moon that to think there was a colossal cover up for 40 years. Ockham’s razor. But I have never been able to get a very good answer to one question, which if someone could give me one I would be most appreciative. 40 years ago, the technology we had was not a fraction of what we have now. Yet no one has ever been able to go back. The common answer is that once the US did it first, there was no more interest in going back. Yet we spend billions in lower orbit missions and the soviets built a space station to do further tests and research. This simply does not hold water. Of COURSE the rest of the world would want to go to the moon. Who would not hold a tactical or at least a boast-worthy technological advantage by being able to explore the moon and perhaps even colonize it? Why wouldn’t the US want to do this??? If we could fly there and back 40 years ago, isn’t it strange that we did not take the next logical step and no one else has been able to do it as well? If the US wanted to go back to the moon today, evidently it would take years of development and planning, but with primitive technology and limited knowledge of space travel, we already did it 40 years ago. Please don’t slam me. I just want a plausible answer to digest. Thanks.

    Comment by John — July 17, 2009 @ 1:30 pm | Reply

    • We landed on the moon SIX times between 1969 and 1972 (and orbited it two additional times). The reason people haven’t gone back since is that it’s incredibly expensive – it’s been done, the race between the Soviets and the U.S. is over, so what’s the point? Colonizing the moon is a ludicrous idea – there’s nothing there. You would have to import every drop of water, food, material, etc. It would be the biggest waste of money in the history of wasting money. Not to mention that the long-term exposure to space radiation would be highly lethal. You would need some sort of currently-not-invented force field to survive there.

      Comment by Chris — June 16, 2010 @ 1:56 pm | Reply

  4. John, allow me to answer you with my two cents. Moon missions were a risky business that has been done in rush and with a great taxpayer money expense. You say “we spend billions in lower orbit missions”, but these costs are just a fraction of the Moon Program ones, no matter what anti-NASA politicians want you to believe. Total ISS costs, shared on several international partners and over 30-years lifespan are about 100 billion dollars. The Apollo program lasted 14 years, was “USA-only” and costed 135 billion dollars (at 2005 value). (Source wikipedia).

    So, first point, we spend today in (civilian) space far less as we were spending forty years ago. Second, you cite “tactical advantage”. Don’t you think that from a military point of view, to control the near space is far more important than patrolling the Moon? Look at GPS, Keyhole, NOSS and last but not least, the SDI. From my perspective, to go to the Moon meant also a great step for the missile technology that was useful to the military. But later, military needed something different from the science/civilian industry. And that conflict between NASA and the military has been one of the reasons for the failure of the Shuttle concept.

    Third point: technology: IMHO, the rocket technology didn’t leap forward as electronics did. Surely, space travel knowledge is today almost the same as it was at those times. Orbital mechanics was well understood two centuries ago, hundred years ago Hohmann & co. took care of all the details, and Gemini missions explained everything that was needed for two weeks of space life. Yes, today our probes deliver much better pictures, with greater resolution and less noise, better bandwidth, but still they go in the space with the same technology Germans used to bomb London. Saturn V was “better”, in terms of thrust, than the Space Shuttle. It has been a great disappointment for me to discover that the new Constellation program is an evolution of the Apollo approach rather than something new, based on new concepts. But let’s face it: Space Shuttle has never been conceived as a vehicle for Moon missions, for the simple fact that you can’t reeenter with V2 without ablative protection: the ceramic tiles are capable only of V1 reentries, and, as Columbia showed, not even for that actually. So 30 years of Shuttle experience are next to useless for Moon missions. Same goes for the X-33 Spaceplane and the Delta Clipper: great visions that showed up as unfeasible.

    So the actual situation isn’t that strange: we have an underpayed NASA that is trying to get the best out of the residual Shuttle fleet. Done that, they will complete a project that is 50% already done (I wonder if they will recall old retired engineers for the Ares-Orion🙂; they will just use better materials, get therefore greater efficiency, a glass cockpit and, of course, nice webcams with facebook plug-in all over.

    Comment by markogts — July 17, 2009 @ 2:19 pm | Reply

    • You’re quite right about electronics leaping ahead while rocketry has remained stable. There has been one major innovation in the past few decades in orbital mechanics, the use of gravity slingshots. The gravity assist sequences for MESSENGER to Mercury and Cassini around Saturn (using repeated flybys of Titan) are breathtaking. And once a stranded communication satellite was put into a more useful orbit by swinging it around the moon twice. But they’re not especially relevant for most travel in the earth-moon system, and in any event they tend to take a lot of time, a luxury in a human mission.

      I was also disappointed at first by how much Constellation resembles Apollo, but after thinking about it I changed my mind. If you want to put humans into space and bring them back, Apollo was basically a pretty damn good design — and it still is. By all means, gut and replace the computing and communication hardware, add solar panels and make the command module reusable.

      But with rocket propulsion essentially the same today as 40 years ago, the overall Apollo architecture is still pretty good. And it has two features whose importance didn’t become painfully obvious until we removed them from the Shuttle: a launch escape system and a protected heat shield.

      The one aspect of lunar exploration that I think needs much more emphasis is in-situ resource utilization. We have to stop throwing away spacecraft just because their tanks are empty. Otherwise we just won’t be able to afford a sustained program.

      The moon’s crust, like the earth’s, is about half oxygen by weight. If we can find ice at the poles, that could change everything.

      Comment by Phil Karn — July 19, 2009 @ 10:03 am | Reply

  5. The moon conspiracy theorists and the Hoagland-style UFOologists may be in conflict, but I think they have a lot in common (besides sloppy thinking).

    The moon hoaxers don’t believe we humans had the technical ability to go to the moon, while Hoagland doesn’t believe we humans were capable of inventing the everyday technologies now around us so we must have gotten them all from super-intelligent space aliens.

    The common thread is a lack of confidence in the talent, intelligence, creativity and overall ability of humans to make major technical advancements. Why? Deep-seated personal insecurities. Your average conspiracy theorist can’t even begin to explain how Apollo (supposedly) worked. He wouldn’t have a clue how to design a moon mission himself. And he’s well aware of it.

    About 400,000 people worked on Apollo at its peak. If it succeeded, that means an awful lot of people were a heckuva lot more talented and accomplished than our poor conspiracy theorist. And that really hurts. But there’s a way out: simply deny that it ever happened. There’s no need to feel inferior to 400,000 people who not only failed, but who had to lie to cover it up!

    Our conspiracy theorist no longer has to feel like a loser. Now he’s one of the very few ultra-smart people who weren’t taken in by NASA’s diabolical trickery. Now he can become a morally superior hero for blowing the whistle on government wrongdoing. All in the comfort of his own mind.

    Comment by Phil Karn — July 17, 2009 @ 9:26 pm | Reply

    • Totally agree. You can extend this analysis to almost every conspiracy theory. Can’t understand the water vapour laws? Go for chemtrails! Don’t grasp geopolitics nor structural engineering? Here you have the 9-11 conspiracy. And so on…

      Comment by markogts — July 19, 2009 @ 11:13 am | Reply

  6. […] The Apollo Moon Hoax: An Overview […]

    Pingback by The Apollo Moon Hoax: Two Interviews (of Me) « Exposing PseudoAstronomy — July 18, 2009 @ 7:47 pm | Reply

  7. I have a question.

    It takes a certain amount of fuel to transport every ounce of mass to the moon and back. This is why the lightest materials are used; save weight, save fuel.

    My question is, which scientific instrument was sacrifice in order to bring a golf-club and a golf-ball to the moon?

    Comment by himnextdoor — February 17, 2010 @ 3:18 pm | Reply

    • Well, every mission allows astronauts to take a certain weight for their personal belongings, let it be a bible, a heap of stamps or whatever. Nothing strange here.

      Comment by markogts — February 18, 2010 @ 1:57 am | Reply

    • Shepard didn’t take an entire golf club with him to the moon. He took just the end and stuck it on a tool he already had.

      I also used to think these things were a waste given the weight limits and all the experiments that scientists wanted to fly. But there’s something to be said for including things that amuse or interest the average member of the public who, after all, is paying for these missions.

      Dave Scott’s hammer and feather experiment on Apollo 15 hardly pushed the frontiers of modern science. And a similar experiment could have been done much more cheaply on the earth in a vacuum chamber (albeit at 1G acceleration). But it has become one of the most frequently shown clips from the entire Apollo program.

      There’s just something about space travel that excites school kids. It often motivates them to learn science that they otherwise find dry and dull. Science education is so vitally important for our future that it alone justifies in my mind the cost of the space program.

      Comment by Phil Karn — February 18, 2010 @ 12:43 pm | Reply

  8. Thank you for your comments Phil. I agree with you; Rockets, space, aliens… what a great way to introduce kids to science.🙂

    I think that we can all accept that sooner or later, and regardless of whether or not the Apollo project was an elaborate hoax, technology would develop to the extent that a moon landing would eventually be possible. In some ways it is surprising that we didn’t get there sooner. The Chinese, Greeks, Egyptions, and many others including the Mayans had a good grasp of mathematics and astronomy but somehow, they never made the technological leaps that occurred in the Western world over the last century or so. Our science was based on their science but for some reason they never cottoned on to silicon or electrons or steam-engines. Why?

    It’s an important question. Western science was inhibited through the Dark-Ages; scientific thinking had scholars branded as heretics. Gallileo was placed under house-arrest by the Catholic Church for daring to know that the earth wasn’t the centre of creation. (Notwithstanding that all points are central with respect to the universe but that is another story.)

    Now, I can understand why the Catholic Church would be against Gallileo going public, the political implications that would surely follow could undermine the authority of a God of creation, but I cannot understand why it would ignore the truth that science could illuminate or the possibilities that science could yield. Even at a pragmatic level, science could offer an edge that could strengthen its position. But did it?

    Besides, the Church were quite aware of the military implications of science; the military were. Technology and military development go hand in hand in a relationship that is similar to burglar-alarms and burglary techniques; it’s about ‘getting an edge’.

    My point is that space travel might have been achieved a thousand years ago if science had been allowed to develop freely. Perhaps the Ancient Egytians could have achieved it two-thousand years earlier if they had been allowed to. But history tells us the same old story; civilisations rise, enjoy the fruits of technological innovations, live for leisure, get fat, get attacked by hungry hordes, fall… round and round… and each time, the conquerors rely on their technology. It’s about ‘getting an edge’.

    In fact, it could be argued that scientific devlopment is primararily rooted in the search for a method to kill as many people as quickly as possible; it’s a method through which one group’s dogma can be imposed on another. I think it would be fair to say that the military lead the way that technology, based on science, develops. True, there are many pacifists who have lit the way scientifically but if the military can think of a use for it, they will. Where would the atom-bomb be without Einstein?

    I wonder: was there anyone in history who was clever enough to understand the logical implications for a species whose survival depended on defence; its ability to kill its own kind? I’m beginning to understand why the Church would want to kill science. Human technological achievement is inevitible. It’s the way we’re built. It’s a survival thing. It is bound to lead to a to destuction on a massive scale. I wonder who was the first person to stand on this planet and realise that mankind is destined to be the cause of its own destruction. And when.

    However, we are talking about ‘The Apollo Moon Hoax’ so I should mention why I bring all of this up. Scientists can be as bigoted as religious zealots in the sense that they have unquestioning faith in their disipline but they make lousy politicians. In fact, scientists are used by politicians. Look at the global-warming fiasco if you need proof. The thing is that just because something stands up to scientific scrutiny doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a fact. A hoax could be perpetrated taking science into account, such that it would pass a test, tick the boxes, so to speak. In other words, science could be used to trick a scientist into supporting some premise or another. It’s possible even if it is unlikely. So, it is my opinion that good science must take this into account.

    So, back to the moon.

    Comment by himnextdoor — February 19, 2010 @ 11:08 pm | Reply

    • I actually think the Apollo program happened about as quickly as it could have once the underlying science and technology was ready. Indeed that was JFK’s thinking. Apollo had to develop a lot of that technology itself, but that still wouldn’t have been possible within the scope of a program to send humans to the moon unless the fields were ripe. Just look at all of the crucial pieces: communications; semiconductors; computing; materials; industrial and systems engineering. These were all pretty new fields in the 1960s.

      I have to disagree with you on your last point. The whole purpose of science is to determine the rules by which the physical universe functions, and most of its mechanisms are about detecting and correcting human errors in observation and experiment. As long as the subject is properly within the bounds of science (ie., is objectively falsifiable, doesn’t stray into value judgments, morality, the supernatural, etc) then I know of no better way to determine its veracity than with the scientific method.

      This is not to say that those other things aren’t also important, they’re just outside the purview of science.

      Comment by Phil Karn — March 1, 2010 @ 1:20 am | Reply

  9. After examining some of the rocks strewn around the lunar surface, I wondered why there were no bounce marks which would indicate their trajectory. Some of those rocks had rolled down hills; why are there no trails indicating what must have been a descent?

    I’m just wondering and there’s another thing too… I’ll wait for your responses to this.

    Comment by himnextdoor — February 19, 2010 @ 11:19 pm | Reply

    • There actually are plenty of rock trails. They’re especially visible in the mountainous areas explored by the later Apollo missions. Apollo 17 brought back plenty of pictures of boulders that had rolled down mountainsides leaving very conspicuous trails.

      Comment by Phil — September 10, 2011 @ 4:17 pm | Reply

  10. Great blog, astrostu. You seem to be a well educated astronomer (and other sciences) and have spent a great deal of time and reasoning on this.
    I would love to hear your take on this –

    When viewed from the lunar surface, how big should the earth appear to be relative to the sun?
    I am not an astronomer but, from the lunar surface, I believe the earth should appear to be many times larger than sun. The Apollo photos taken from the lunar surface show the opposite…..the earth appears tiny and the sun appears huge…can you explain to me why this is so?
    There are numerous examples of this. http://www.lpi.usra.edu/resources/apollo/catalog/70mm/magazine/?134 This link has several photos taken from the same magazine on Apollo 17 that show the earth to appear much smaller than the sun.

    Comment by sunkat — March 30, 2010 @ 6:38 pm | Reply

    • Thank you. Very roughly speaking, since Earth’s diameter is ~4x (actually about 3.67x) that of the moon, Earth should appear 4x larger in the moon’s sky than the moon does in ours. In angular size, that’s about 2° across compared with the sun’s/moon’s 0.5°. To a 70mm lens on a 35mm film (I don’t know if that’s actually the size film, but based on that link that’s the length of the lens), Earth would still probably look somewhat small compared with the rest of the field of view.

      But, it would be larger than the disk of the sun. I make that emphasis because, at least in the photos at that link, you can’t actually see the sun’s disk. All you see is a highly saturated circle that’s creating lens flares like crazy. From the photos, I would argue that it’s actually impossible to tell what the size of the sun’s disk is, even relative to other objects in the field. Another issue is that there isn’t an image (at least that I saw at that link) that has both Earth and the sun in the same frame. This is still a non-issue, though, if (a) all the images were taken with the same focal length lens, but also (b) considering that even if they were in the same frame or all taken with the same length lens, the saturation of the sun and the lens flares would still make it impossible to determine the angular size of the sun.

      Comment by astrostu206265 — March 30, 2010 @ 7:32 pm | Reply

      • The Apollo still cameras used 70mm film. The lenses were generally 60mm, though on the “J” missions (15,16,17) also carried a 500mm lens. The 60mm lens with such a large film format gave a moderate wide-angle view, which made focusing and aiming easier without a viewfinder.

        Those little cross-hair marks on Apollo surface photography are from “reseau” marks. They were etched into a piece of glass right in front of the film at 1 cm spacings so accurate angular measurements could be made even if the film stretches a little. The useful area of the image was about 54×54 mm. With the 60 mm lens, the reseau marks are spaced at 10.3 degrees; with the 500 mm lens, about 1.24 degrees.

        Comment by Phil Karn — March 31, 2010 @ 12:43 am

  11. It has been said that the velocity of the Saturn V rocket was too low for the Apollo capsules to break free of Earth gravity. What can one answer to that?

    Comment by Viper — September 9, 2011 @ 11:41 am | Reply

  12. That who said this thing was wrong. Get the masses of the various Saturn stages, the payload at each travelpoint, the discharge gas flow and apply the Tsiolkowsky equation: you’ll see that it fits perfectly. There is nothing to dispute here: it’s basic math.

    Comment by markogts — September 9, 2011 @ 12:25 pm | Reply

  13. why NASA does not return to Moon from half century?: because in Moon there are alien beings, now or ancient alien in ruins cities, religion, politicians, do not want that Humankind knows that: when aliens will come to Earth, goodbye religion and all its Lies

    Comment by tonyon — February 29, 2016 @ 2:44 pm | Reply

  14. Just a little correction: Neil Armstrong was the commander of the first moon landing. Buzz Aldrin was the pilot.

    Comment by magnarnordal — April 28, 2016 @ 6:23 am | Reply


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