Exposing PseudoAstronomy

July 14, 2009

The Apollo Moon Hoax: Why Is There No Blast Crater Under the Lunar Module?


For my continuing series in the Apollo Moon Hoax, I am going to address a claim that anyone who has taken physics could explain: Why there is no “blast crater” underneath the lunar module’s rocket engine on the moon’s surface.

All posts in this series:

The Claim

The basic claim goes as follows: Before the Apollo landings, real NASA scientists and real artists (as opposed to fake ones) thought that the engine firing may create a blast crater underneath the lunar module. Pictures of the real site, however, showed no such crater, not even a big depression in the surface, as though the module was just “placed there.”

Obviously, the NASA people who didn’t create the crater on the soundstage/set/Area51/whatever were trying to tell future generations that this was a faked event, leaking this information out so no NASA higher-ups would realize.

Let’s Talk About Pressure

In physics, I think almost everyone knows that much discussion is given to studying “forces.” What is a force? A force has units of mass * length / time2. In other words, a force can be thought of as “what it takes” to accelerate a certain mass over a certain distance in a given amount of time. Gravity is a force. A human stepping exerts a force. A rocket engine exerts a force.

Moving one step further in complexity, we get pressure. Pressure is force / area (mass / (length * time2) ). So while a human stepping exerts a force, when you divide that force into the area of a human footstep, you get a pressure exerted.

The concept of force is actually shown in a neat magic trick that my parents would never let me do as a child: Take a coin, such as a dime. Take a nail and a hammer. Try to hammer the nail into the dime. You probably won’t be able to. Now take a pin and try to hammer the pin into the dime. It will likely go in. Why? Because while you are exerting the same force through the hammer, it is concentrated over a much smaller area with the pin, and hence you are exerting a greater pressure.

Another way to think about that is to take your finger and push on your forehead. All you may get is a white mark for a bit before the blood returns. Now, think (don’t do!!) about what would happen if you took a pin and tried the same thing. You would puncture the skin because while you exert the same force, you are exerting a much greater pressure through the pin.

How Is Pressure Relevant? — The Crux of Debunking This Claim

First, some numbers: The lunar module (LM) descent stage engine had a maximum thrust of 9870 ft-lb, but this was throttleable back to a minimum of 1050 ft-lb. Sounds like a lot. But, the diameter of the nozzle was 63 inches, which is an area of about 3120 in2. Dividing this into the force (thrust) and you have a pressure range of 0.4-3.2 ft-lb/in2, otherwise known as psi. This is equivalent to the metric 2760-22,100 N/m2. But let’s stick with psi.

Anyone who owns a car probably knows that this is already significantly less than your tire pressure … by a factor of 10-100. When Apollo 11 landed, the thrust was down to about 1/3 of max, so down to around 1 psi.

Now let’s look at the average adult footstep: The average non-American weighs around 150 lbs. The average human footprint is around 50 in2 (don’t believe me? do the math yourself!). Divide the first into the second and you have the average human footstep exerting a simple 3 psi.

This is 3x larger than Apollo’s engines!!

The very fact that the astronauts walking on the moon did not create “blast craters” underneath them should be explanation enough as to why the engine did not create a blast crater under it — the pressure was simply too low.

Then Why Did They Think It Would Before?

Good question. The best explanation that I could find is that when the hoax believers say, “NASA scientists,” it implies all NASA scientists. But it could just as well mean 2 NASA scientists as 2000. Hence, I would hypothesize that this was a possibility that was raised by a few people, but the majority in the review board said it would not happen and so the missions went ahead.

As for the artist renderings, well, many of the pictures painted at the time also show a big yellow-red flame coming out of the rocket engine as the LM touches down. But – as was known by all NASA engineers who knew about the fuel system – the fuel used would create no visible exhaust “flame” while in the lunar environment. Hence, an artist rendering should be taken as just that – an artist rendering and not as a scientific gospel.

Final Thoughts

Well, this is actually one of my shorter posts, but I’m trying to be less verbose these days as some feedback I’ve gotten is that I type too much. Regardless of that, though, I think that I’ve covered this claim reasonably well. All because some people thought one thing prior to Apollo landing does not mean that Apollo finding something else is evidence of a hoax. That’s what scientific exploration is.



  1. After reading some of the debunking on this site, I’ve come to the conclusion that astrostu is just as unconvincing as what the hoaxers are putting out.

    Nice try, astrostu, nice try.

    Comment by foofoorabbit — July 18, 2009 @ 6:07 am | Reply

    • Is there a reason? Everything I say you can go and check for yourself since it’s based in reality and actual physics. 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 @ 11:13 am | Reply

      • I already have tons of video evidence of Apollo mission rehearsals and videos of the Apollo 11 crew faking the distance of Earth using a round porthole a mere 9 hours before they were “landing on the moon”. There is no way the Apollo 11 crew could have gone to the moon in 9 hours if they were still futzing around faking the Earth’s distance for the TV broadcast. Not to mention that once they’re in orbit around the Earth, it would be next to impossible to break free from the Earth’s orbit.

        So hanging out in orbit pretty much proves that there was no way the Apollo 11 crew went to the moon.

        Comment by foofoorabbit — July 19, 2009 @ 5:55 am

      • you might hate me but when i think about it, to me, people who think the moon landings were a hoax are like people who believe in a god and may not understand or believe the scientific proof other wise. at the end of the day scientific proof has proved they landed, but people still believe other wise,then the opposite like ‘there is a god but there is no scientific proof’. i don’t think there is any people out there pushing websites saying god is a hoax (and making money form it).

        Comment by Valdez_1969 — February 16, 2016 @ 2:33 pm

      • Unfortunately, for those who believe there should be no blast crater under the LEM, the recorded transcripts by the Apollo astronauts show them stating they saw dust rising to the point they claimed it blocked their visibility and had switch from manual to radar to land. There are also alleged photographs by the orbiter showing the disturbed lunar soil by the LEM.

        Comment by SR — February 16, 2016 @ 3:52 pm

      • SR
        You start off talking about blast craters, but switch mid-sentence to talking about dust.

        Are you having auto-correct issues? Please come back and finish your point about craters.

        Comment by George Birch — February 3, 2017 @ 2:51 am

      • Here’s some. Gravity is the most powerful force in our understanding large masses want to get larger so they eat anything that comes too close. The constant pull is accumulating and with no atmosphere to regulate it terminal velocity is non existent the so you need some really good brakes. Tell me again about that soft landing and how we cheated that rock.

        Comment by Bill Ray's — September 29, 2017 @ 5:50 pm

      • I was today using electric blower to blow off leaves from the GRAVEL on my patio just before pouring concrete. Guess what, the puny trust from blower was able to gouge a little crater when inadvertently I keep it vertically in one location for 2 to 3 seconds. Does it proof or disproof anything – you decide.

        Comment by Sigmund Fraud — November 1, 2017 @ 12:33 pm

      • It proves nothing. What kind of experiment is that?

        Comment by George Birch — November 2, 2017 @ 10:58 am

    • FooFooRabbit fail!
      Another good post man! Keep going ——>

      Comment by sasracer — July 18, 2009 @ 2:27 pm | Reply

  2. Your saying a human footprint will disturb loose dust more then a rocket engine carrying 6,000 pounds (lander weight)?

    Comment by Brian — August 19, 2009 @ 7:18 pm | Reply

    • No, I’m not. There’s a difference between “disturb,” “disturb locally,” and “make a crater.” The LM landing was effectively an industrial fan / wind generator for a movie set. The force was large, but by the time that force reached the surface of the moon, it was spread over such a wide area that it was a low pressure. It was less than the pressure of an astronaut making a footprint.

      In terms of amount of material “disturbed,” I would guess that the LM engine wins out. But, blowing dust around does not mean that you’ve created a crater.

      Comment by astrostu206265 — August 19, 2009 @ 9:21 pm | Reply

      • Try to imagine a take off in reverse no fan just jet nozzles.

        Comment by Bill Ray — September 29, 2017 @ 4:04 pm

      • Gravity is the best know accelerator known to man and take away atmosphere to prevent collision and you have no chance of slowing your mass. The fuel required still does not exist for that payload package The only way even to dream about landing on the moon is a controlled crash

        Comment by Bill Ray's — September 29, 2017 @ 5:28 pm

  3. Well when you watch the video of them landing there’s dust being blasted sideways and the engines stay on for 5 seconds on the ground until Armstrong orders them cut. I just don’t get why the ground is completely undisturbed – enough to leave footprints.

    Comment by Brian — August 20, 2009 @ 11:03 pm | Reply

    • The engines are cut before they land. During landing, there is a wire that extends beyond the LM footpads that, when it hits the ground, trips a “contact light” in the cabin so they know to cut engines. As soon as they do, the dust settles to the ground (accelerating at 1/6 Earth’s gravity) and land. Besides this settling allowing for there to be dust in the immediate vicinity, remember that there’s no atmosphere on the moon, so the lunar material was only disturbed where the engine exhaust actually impacted the surface. Step away from that immediate area, and it’s pretty much as if the LM descent never happened as far as the lunar surface material is concerned.

      Comment by astrostu206265 — August 20, 2009 @ 11:34 pm | Reply

      • why was there no dust on the landing feet then?

        Comment by tralay520 — August 6, 2017 @ 1:56 pm

      • You would have a very cloudy dirty fish tank atmosphere for quit some time. The dust partials would continue to float far from the site not settling like you proposed

        Comment by Bill Ray — September 29, 2017 @ 4:09 pm

  4. That is not true. The engines work on mass (gas) ejection (see Newtons laws). On hitting the ground the gas has to go somewhere, so it goes radially sideways and should cause a ‘blast patch’ in the dust removing any dust that would provide footprints.

    Comment by Mick — August 21, 2009 @ 4:34 am | Reply

    • if i blow on the ground at dust or sand at 1 to 5 PSI some dust would move but not all of it.

      Comment by Valdez_1969 — January 24, 2016 @ 6:01 pm | Reply

      • That fine dust would have kept them from leaving lander for Some time you have a good understanding of partical size but the straw needs to run on rocket fuel and carry three tons

        Comment by Bill Ray — September 29, 2017 @ 4:16 pm

    • Newtons what. Put an apple in a vacuum and introduce a tractor beam called gravity and do the math to slow it down.

      Comment by Bill Ray's — September 29, 2017 @ 5:18 pm | Reply

  5. “The engines are cut before they land”

    This contradicts the actual video of them landing though…

    If all the dust settled gently back to the ground why are the landing pads completely free of dust?

    Comment by Brian — August 21, 2009 @ 12:46 pm | Reply

    • What video are you watching? The two I have seen of Apollo 16 and 17 landing, engines are cut before they land. Dust settling before they land is also consistent with why there is no dust on the lunar landing pads, as I have addressed in this blog.

      Comment by astrostu206265 — August 21, 2009 @ 12:51 pm | Reply

    • I do see a few pictures of landing pads that DO have a small amount of dust in them.

      But I wouldn’t expect much because, without an atmosphere, the dust tightly hugs the surface as it flies out at high velocity from under the LM instead of billowing up into clouds as you’d expect on earth. This is very evident in the 16mm movies of each landing.

      Pictures of the area under and near each LM also show a very obvious “scouring” of the surface from where the loose dust has been removed and blown away. The patterns are different for each mission because they depend on the exact motion of the LM just before touchdown. You can also tell how the LM was moving at touchdown by how the contact probes are bent. Those are the long gold-wrapped rods that come out from under three of the four pads (the front pad lacks a probe to ensure that it couldn’t interfere with the ladder).

      I consider those scoured areas to be the exact craters that people say should exist. Sure, they don’t look like the usual lunar craters, but why should they? Natural lunar craters are formed by one of two processes: hypervelocity “primary” impacts from objects that hit at many thousands of meters per second, thus behaving much like high explosives going off just below the surface, and “secondary” impacts formed by ejecta coming out from primary craters and hitting the surface at much lower speeds.

      The LM, on the other hand, settled slowly to the surface while blowing at it with a big gas nozzle with a very low pressure sufficient to lift and blow away fine dust but not much else. So why *should* it produce the same kind of crater?

      Comment by Phil Karn — March 31, 2010 @ 2:03 am | Reply

      • then why is the dust sticking on their boots just from walking around?

        Comment by tralay520 — August 6, 2017 @ 2:00 pm

      • Everything else didn’t tightly hug the surface why the dust. Your crater concept only happens when you hit so hard you bury everything like at the speed of sound. This is a rock we landed on not a peat marsh

        Comment by Bill Ray — September 29, 2017 @ 4:23 pm

      • Read the cabin/transmission transcripts. The pilots of the Lunar Lander said visibilty was so much reduced from dust from the descent rocket they has to go to radar to determine their distance from the surface.

        Comment by S Reed — September 29, 2017 @ 4:33 pm

      • The moon is a tractor beam trying to eat anything that come too close. What are you using for brakes. They could have said anything trying to follow what they thought the conditions would warrant you know like to fool us

        Comment by Bill Ray's — September 29, 2017 @ 5:10 pm

      • Radar and dust don’t work well together at all

        Comment by Bill Ray's — September 29, 2017 @ 5:12 pm

    • That’s not video you’re watching, it’s film. You might think that’s nitpicking, but it’s not. The film camera mounted in the LM window didn’t record any sound, just the images out of the window. The radio chatter you hear was recorded on Earth and there were no images recorded on it. The audio loops may or may not have included timestamps encoded into the audio data, but the film camera definitely didn’t log any timestamps on the film. To produce the footage you’re referring to somebody had to synch up the audio recorded on Earth with the film footage recorded on the moon. Whoever did it didn’t get it completely right.

      Comment by gordon — November 23, 2016 @ 1:26 pm | Reply

    • Yea because it’s a glider. Wow

      Comment by Bill Ray — September 29, 2017 @ 4:17 pm | Reply

      • No, it’s falling a couple of meters in 1/6 go.

        No big woof. So to speak.

        Comment by Woof — September 29, 2017 @ 8:09 pm

      • One way to the land on the Moon is with an overhead cable train. Zziip! You can hear retract after delivering an Apollo Astronaut onto the surface of the Moon.

        Comment by SReed — September 29, 2017 @ 8:48 pm

      • To lift off from the Moon the cable should be aligned properly, but if off only by be a degree or less, no worries, the LEM “will be torquing into it at lift-off.” The Moon Landing Hoax is a good hoax, isn’t it?

        Comment by SReed — September 29, 2017 @ 9:07 pm

      • Tedious troll is tedious.

        Comment by Woof — September 29, 2017 @ 9:21 pm

  6. It was Apollo 11, here’s a link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2BvbD-1qZtc

    Comment by Brian — August 21, 2009 @ 4:25 pm | Reply

    • Okay, I’ve watched that video. It looks as though by the time they’re around 100 ft off the surface, they start to kick up a cloud of dust (~8 min into the video). At 8:30, you hear “kickin’ up some dust” and they’re ~40 ft off the surface. At 8:33, you can see the shadow of one of the antennae that will trip a contact light. At 8:51, you hear “contact light” and 3 seconds later, “engines stopped.”

      I honestly can’t tell when they actually landed from that video. To me, it looks to be about 8:58 because that’s where you last see motion. But you also cannot tell when the dust settled, so I think the Apollo 11 footage is fairly useless for this experiment.

      The Apollo 16 landing is here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OuoKxD2W-kg . By around 80 ft, at 3:02 into the clip, you see dust being kicked up. By 3:12, you can see the triggers sticking out of the LM feet. You hear “Contact!” at 3:33, “Stop” at 3:35, and pretty much as soon as he says that, the dust thins, and just after that, you see a jolt and the LM has landed with a “boom!” according to the astronaut at about 3:36.5.

      I realize the timing of the dust vs. the landing is incredibly close there, but that is how I see it. However, this does pretty plainly demonstrate that the engines are cut before they land, disputing your post.

      Comment by astrostu206265 — August 29, 2009 @ 11:45 pm | Reply

  7. Well I guess my post would be disputed if it wasn’t for the fact that there’s only 2.5 inches of dust on the lunar surface – and anyone can clearly see a great deal of dust being blasted out radially as they land. They even comment “kicking up some dust”.

    Yet later we see perfect undisturbed dust and even little pebbles sitting under the rocket nozzle. Why isn’t the ground scorched at least from all the superheated exhaust gas?

    Then they are on the ground for about 5 seconds and Armstrong says “cut engines”. He doesn’t say “cut engines” when they are still coming down.

    I guess I’ll just say let the readers decide what they see and come up with their own judgement based on the evidence.

    Comment by Brian — August 30, 2009 @ 1:24 am | Reply

    • “Scorched”? Do you know the composition of the lunar surface? How much oxygen is in its atmosphere? Also, do you know the purpose of the nozzle on a rocket engine, and how they behave in a vacuum?

      So what makes you think that the LM descent engines should “scorch” the lunar surface? Have you considered the possibility that you’re applying your earth-bound intuition to an alien world where it doesn’t apply?

      Comment by Phil Karn — March 31, 2010 @ 2:07 am | Reply

      • are you considering that you may be applying alien characteristics to something you’ve never even been to? and that you are applying numbers like 1/6th the atmosphere, when you don’t even know what the atmosphere really is up there….you are just going by what a corporation, that is involved in a world wide hoax, is telling you.

        Comment by tralay520 — August 6, 2017 @ 2:07 pm

      • This craft was not flight worthy on earth and it’s only prayer for staying upright is rocket thrust. You are still fighting a lot of gravity with no mechanical control surfaces to keep you upright. Next time you are at the ocean tides are made by the same forces that want to suck your spaceship into moon

        Comment by Bill Ray's — September 29, 2017 @ 4:36 pm

      • The rocket fuel carries its own oxidation. Hence space travel in our time

        Comment by Bill Ray's — September 29, 2017 @ 4:39 pm

  8. Brian

    Do you have a web reference for a clear photo showing the moon surface under the landing module of Apollo 11 ? please, thanks

    Comment by Mick — September 2, 2009 @ 5:03 am | Reply

  9. This site says the “diameter of the nozzle was 63 inches”. At Skeptic Wiki it says “[t]he circular engine nozzle had a diameter of 54 inches”. At Apollo artifacts (http://www.apolloartifacts.com/2007/09/tr-201-bipropel.html) Maximum diameter: 34 inches (minus nozzle extension)(I understand the nozzle extension was added on later (15, 16, and 17) imaginary trips to the moon to increase the amount of payload and fairy dust.)

    I’m not very good at physics. If I want to figure the amount of psi, do I take an average of these three numbers, or should I just make up a fourth number?

    Now the thrust of the LM is similarly random, but that’s not so relevant because the engine could be throttled back to 10% of the full power. What was the percentage at the moment of the landing? This Clavius site figued out the weight of the LM and the amount of thrust needed to hover on the moon: “a thrust of 2,634 lbf was required to hover or descent at a constant rate.” See: http://www.clavius.org/techcrater.html

    Plugging in (2,634 lbf) divided by (908 in2) and I get 2.9 psi. That is nearly 3 psi, which is the same as the human foot. So shouldn’t it leave a foot print? But weight (ha) there’s more.

    The Youtube video of the Apollo 11 landing has audio of the whole thing: watch?v=2BvbD-1qZtc
    49 seconds to touchdown at 75ft; 27 seconds at 30 feet (audio: picking up some dust) going down at 2 and one half feet per sec.

    There is also a transcript of the landing at: http://history.nasa.gov/alsj/a11/a11.landing.html
    1. 102:45:17 Aldrin: 40 feet, down 2 1/2. Picking up some dust.
    2.102:45:21 Aldrin: 30 feet, 2 1/2 down. (Garbled) shadow.
    3.102:45:43 Armstrong (on-board): Shutdown
    102:45:44 Aldrin: Okay. Engine Stop.

    So the dust is being picked up from 40 feet away! And the dust picking continues until the engines are shut down 27 seconds later. Obviously the LM did not continue to descend at 2 1/2 feet per second or it would have reached the ground a lot faster. Also, the thrust minimum was 2,634, because that would be the amount necessary to hover. To slow down the craft, it would necessarily be greater. So 3 psi is the minimum.

    Like I said, I don’t know physics, but it seems to me that if the dirt was being moved at 40 feet away, more dirt would be moved at 30 feet, and even more at 20, 10, etc… Also it seems that the force would be applied to an increasingly focused area as the nozzle approached the lunar surface. (Of course, it didn’t actually happen. But let’s pretend it did for science.)

    If the LM moved an increasing amount of dirt in a more focused direction for 27 seconds, it seems there would have to be a crater.

    Comment by Christopher Marlowe — September 4, 2009 @ 4:58 pm | Reply

    • And guess what? On most of the missions there IS a crater! It’s just subtle and shallow, with a scoured appearance that’s quite different from the hypervelocity impact craters found everywhere else on the moon. You can see them in many of the pictures taken of the undersides of the LM and of the landing pads. The location of the “crater” depends on the mission, because they were generally moving sideways in some direction just before landing.

      A good example is AS12-46-6778 from Apollo 12. The LM was moving to the right just before landing, as can be seen by how the contact probes are bent to the left. This picture shows the -Y (left) leg from behind. Just in front of it is a very definitely scoured-out area hit by the descent engine right before landing.

      Comment by Phil Karn — March 31, 2010 @ 2:20 am | Reply

      • Everything is soft and bouncy on the moon like a big bounce house. 🤡

        Comment by Bill Ray's — September 29, 2017 @ 4:45 pm

  10. I feel the flag flying in the wind is the best proof. No atmosphere no wind no flying flag. So math majors tell me how the flag flew.

    I watched this in black and white TV in the summer time back in the day. The first moon landing. The first images shown where upside. Does anyone remember that?

    Comment by mmaoneill@gmail.com — October 9, 2009 @ 6:26 am | Reply

    • It’s on a pole. The astronaut is twisting the pole as they push it into the ground. What are you expecting to happen when somebody twists a pole with a flag on it?

      Comment by gordon — November 23, 2016 @ 1:31 pm | Reply

  11. “I feel the flag flying in the wind is the best proof. No atmosphere no wind no flying flag. So math majors tell me how the flag flew.”

    It’s a rod at the top of the flag holding the flag up (look at pictures… the flag is *straight* at the top)

    Great little blog. like that you crunched the numbers too. I didn’t realize there was so little pressure required to do the landing. Makes total sense though. 6000 lbs, 3120 square inch nozzle. All they need was 2psi to levitate.

    Comment by Mark — October 18, 2009 @ 3:33 pm | Reply

  12. Yeah, right! Rocket nozzels HAVE to have enough thrust to bring the craft down at a safe speed and it’s a hell of a lot more than 1 psi! what a joke. The “pressure” of an engine supplying it’s own oxidizer is the same no matter where it may be. i.e. on earth or on the moon or in space. The oxidizer is what gives the engine the ability to create thrust.

    Comment by Mike — November 19, 2009 @ 5:35 am | Reply

  13. The point is that the moons gravity is 16.7% than that of the earths. Thus you would need about 16.7% of the force to make it hover on the moon than on earth. Thus it should take 16.7% of total force to safely land the LM on the moon than it would on Earth.
    Easy concept, you can do the math yourself. My truck weighs about 3400 pounds, if some strong guys could dead lift 300 lbs each, it would take 12 men to lift my truck off the ground on earth, but only 2 on the moon. And logically if the LM does not make craters hovering 1 inch above the earth, why would it on the moon?
    Yes the soil is softer, probably around 16.7% the stiffness of earth, lol. So all is relative, there is less dense ground but much less force being applied in this situation as well. So why would anyone assume that a crater would be created any more on the moon than on earth?

    Comment by Rhino — November 24, 2009 @ 1:43 am | Reply

    • We have an atmosphere mainly. Something to push off. Up there it’s just you and the gravity and it will eat all 16.7 % of you

      Comment by Bill Ray's — September 29, 2017 @ 4:51 pm | Reply

  14. This site should also explain conspiracy theorists’ claim that there should be a lot of noise from the booster engine from the lander on camera when they were landing.

    This is due to there being very little air on the moon, you need air for sound waves to work. And since the moon has about 1 trillionth the atmospheric pressure than that of earth at sea level (yes the moon does have air if you do your research) then technically sound should be as loud and travel as far as 1 trillionth as it does on earth. In other words you could scream in someone’s ear on the moon and they could not hear you!

    Comment by Rhino — November 24, 2009 @ 1:46 am | Reply

  15. And I agree with this site with the around 1 psi for thrust according to my calculations!

    And even at that, that is right at the opening of the rocket engine, and by the looks of pictures looks like it is still going to be a couple feet off the lunar surface upon landing. Even if it were only 1 ft off the surface it would still disapate a lot of that force out to a bigger surface area and decrease that 1 psi. Thus even less likely to make a crater.

    Comment by Rhino — November 24, 2009 @ 2:04 am | Reply

    • it does dissapate in low and no atmosphere, you can tell this by watching a rocket blast off from earth. at low altitude the gas exiting the rocket is held tightly together at the bell due to the high atmosphere pressure, at the rocket climbs to very high altitudes you can see the gas expands greatly due to low pressure. and also for Mike’s comment at number 12. Mike no one is saying there is different thrust rating on a rocket on here or space or the moon. yes there all the same.

      Comment by Valdez_1969 — February 16, 2016 @ 2:11 pm | Reply

  16. I didn’t word that last sentence very well…
    I should have said…
    Even if it were only 1 ft off the surface, it would still disapate a lot of that force out to a bigger surface area on the lunar surface making the total force put onto the surface a bit less than 1 psi. Thus even less likely to make a crater.

    Beacause of course the engine does not touch the surface, thus the PSI from the calculated square area of the booster does NOT equal the PSI applied to the surface simply because the surface area affected will be a little bit larger than that of the square area of the booster opening.

    Comment by Rhino — November 24, 2009 @ 2:14 am | Reply

  17. Thrust is not measured in ft-lbs. Thrust is measured in pounds. Foot-pound is a unit of work, not a measure of force.

    Anyway, you can kick up dust with a feather. So even at one psi, or a tenth of a psi, you offer no empirical proof that dust wouldn’t be kicked up. Or a crater created.

    Comment by Sunny Meadow — September 23, 2010 @ 2:51 am | Reply

    • So what’s the problem? The LMs *did* erode their landing sites. It’s obvious in the landing films and in the still pictures of the areas under the LMs.

      Comment by Phil — September 23, 2010 @ 8:35 am | Reply

  18. Most ridiculous explanations i have ever heard! you comparing the LM’s engine with a FOOTPRINT (1 psi vs 3 psi) LOL. First, its two different forces. Second, even a leaf blower will move small rocks and thats 0.5 psi (LM engine is at 1.5 psi to be exacly then add the heat) and to give you an idea how powerful the LM engine was when landing (at 3000 lbs thrust) just take a look at NASA original footage – dust is being kicked up when LM is 100ft from lunar surface and 1 min later it lands, with no disturbance on the surface can be seen whatsoever(!), that doesnt add up! Not even ONE single photo matches the claimed video and vice versa.

    Comment by Ola — April 4, 2011 @ 7:56 pm | Reply

    • Agree.
      Also, consider USA’s political situation. There was a massive public fear of the Soviets building a missile base on the moon (lol). Apart from that, the Cold war gave USA’s government enough motivation to want to fake a landing.

      Comment by CCCP — April 13, 2011 @ 4:15 am | Reply

      • What certain people in the US government would have LIKED to do was irrelevant. They simply didn’t have the means to pull off a hoax of that scale. Nixon couldn’t keep Watergate quiet for more than a few months, and it was nothing compared to the scope and scale of a hypothetical Apollo hoax.

        It was far, far easier to actually go to the moon than to pull off a hoax and keep it airtight for 40+ years.

        Why is it so hard to believe that we went? Because you don’t personally understand how it was done? 400,000 very bright and motivated people worked very hard on Apollo. They also spent a lot of money. There were no fundamental physical barriers, just a lot of engineering problems to overcome.

        Comment by Phil Karn — April 21, 2011 @ 11:57 am

    • I’d love to take a look at the NASA original footage, but it no longer exists of course. Possibly the most significant event for mankind in the 20th Century if not in history and NASA claims someone taped over it! C’mon does anyone really believe that? And of course they’ve now got hollywood to digitally reproduce the originals so any anomalies can be easily explained away. I take more care of my laptop data than apparently NASA does with such immensely precious data. What a crock!!

      Comment by Stray76 — April 21, 2011 @ 8:03 am | Reply

      • Yet another argument from personal incredulity — just because it seems like a crock to you doesn’t prove that it was.

        You’re used to hard disk drives costing less than $100 that contain 3 million megabytes of information. That technology simply didn’t exist in 1969. The tapes made of the A11 EVA were made strictly as BACKUPS in case the special scan converter failed. This would have allowed us to see the EVA after the fact by playing back the tapes through the converter after it was repaired.

        But the converter didn’t fail, and plenty of recordings of its output (in standard TV format) were made and still exist. No one stopped to think that 40 years later it might be possible to do a better job of playing or converting those backup tapes to standard format.

        It’s hardly as if there’s no other evidence of the landings. There’s a MOUNTAIN of overwhelming evidence, including many high quality film photos (far better than anything we saw on TV even on the later missions) and hundreds of kg of rocks that have been examined by geologists all over the world.

        Comment by Phil Karn — April 21, 2011 @ 12:03 pm

    • If you look at pictures of the underside of the LM, you will note that the descent engine DID move quite a bit of small-grained dust. You can easily see it in the 16mm films made of the landing, and many crews also complained that it made it hard to see during the last seconds before landing.

      Lunar craters are made by extremely high velocity impacts that behave essentially like powerful explosives. Why would you even expect a rocket engine to make the same kind of hole?

      Comment by Phil Karn — April 21, 2011 @ 12:07 pm | Reply

      • You could land a hoover vacuum in blower mode, and it would make a greater depression that trying to ease an 8000 pound or whatever LM onto a dusty surface, a floury surface according to this idiots temperature analysis.

        Are we stupid? Yes, then 911 was also pulled by a guy in a cave with a Cricket cell phone, and he directed this production as well, LOL.

        Use some common sense, or you deserve to be a fool.

        Comment by Marlena Heidenreich — September 15, 2011 @ 8:56 am

    • I don’t know what pictures you’ve seen, but those returned by Apollo 11 (which, as the first landing, examined the underside of the LM in detail) show very obvious signs of erosion by the descent engine. Several inches of the loose dust on the surface was blown away. Underneath that, the lunar regolith gets much harder. The astronauts even had trouble pushing the flagpole in more than a couple of inches, and Aldrin reported that it blew over at liftoff.

      Comment by Phil — September 15, 2011 @ 5:27 pm | Reply

      • Well, yeah, post-moon landing data would favor the idea of hardened regolith just inches away from the surface, however they are at a contradiction: did the jet impact the surface or not? Why are the footprints leaving such deep impressions if that is the case? How does the regolith actually harden at 16% earth-gravity so close to the surface without the top soil being hard too? Also, if the flag fell over- what’s so hard about a current photo of the landing site?

        Comment by Thomas Brinkley — March 10, 2013 @ 12:13 pm

    • Agree again video footage and photos do not add up.
      Fake landings the best one for me is at 135000 miles out they have a man say TALK on the video!!!!
      it was a film show nothing more blue sky at 135000 miles no way.

      Comment by cool jay — May 27, 2012 @ 6:43 am | Reply

  19. The only reason that an individual would contradict the actual moon landing that did happen is pride. Making a conclusion without all of the scientific facts that gifted people with intelligent have worked painstakingly to formulate is a very foolish act. Making these types of judgments about complicated calculations without knowledge or understanding will only lead to gross error. It would be as if a person with just a high school degree says that he can perform a heart transplant on a patient. It would be absurd and ignorant for that person to think that, much less say it. Is it easier to believe that man has gone to the deepest part of the ocean which is seven miles deep or build a building one quarter of a mile high (world trade center) than man has gone the moon? A man will contradict another just to be right even thought he is not. This basis of pride caused a man to destroy his own hand by someone telling and warning him that a lit stove is hot and he will get burned badly and him saying that it will not burn me and then putting his hand on the stove and then burning his hand. Foolish is’nt it?

    Comment by Tom — June 16, 2011 @ 6:10 pm | Reply

  20. LOL, so releasing a big beach balloon had more pressure, that needed to left several thousand pounds of “eagle” even on the moon, LOL.

    Your government are a bunch of liars, and they will BBQ you soon, so just admit it, and quit trying this rubbish to feed your own delusion, you look even stupider than the government’s 60’s idiots.

    There are just too many physically impossible anomalies, even the dust off their boots falls back to the “moon” much to quickly. That rag that drops off the backpack in that guywire footage also falls to fast, and the slo-mo is plainly amateurish and detectable.

    Not saying someone didn’t go to the moon, but very very doubtful, but that footage is all staged at MGM Borehamwood studio, NONE of those surface shots are on the moon, Buzz and Neil are boldfaced frauds ON EARTH, LOL.

    Comment by Marlena Heidenreich — September 15, 2011 @ 8:52 am | Reply

    • For someone so certain there are so many “physically impossible anomalies” you sure don’t seem to know much about physics.

      Comment by Phil — September 15, 2011 @ 4:54 pm | Reply

      • The hoax believers’ logic seems to be something like “I find it incredible that NASA went to the moon in the sixties, therefore it is in fact not credible.”

        Comment by George Birch — December 9, 2016 @ 8:27 pm

    • Even the moon rover buggy kicked up the dust which fell back the same as dust would on earth!!!!

      Comment by cool jay — May 27, 2012 @ 6:44 am | Reply

      • It did? You sure of that? When I see the dust being kicked up by the rover, even though it’s extremely fine particles it encounters absolutely no air resistance. No clouds form; it just follows a perfect parabolic arc. And it does so while accelerating at only 1.62 m/sec^2 (lunar gravity), not 9.8 m/sec^2 (earth gravity).

        The movies of the rover on the moon are among some of the best proofs that they were really there. Even today it’d be next to impossible to fake it convincingly – for someone who knows physics, anyway.

        Comment by Phil — July 9, 2012 @ 9:19 am

  21. Hello and good day to you. The astronauts did leave “blast craters”…. the famous boot prints in the soft lunar surface. I excitedly wait for your response sir.

    Comment by Dustin — July 29, 2012 @ 8:29 am | Reply

  22. Ok……..so how come NASA have just published photos of the blast marks made by Curiosity as it landed??

    Comment by David — August 12, 2012 @ 4:43 pm | Reply

    • Do you see a blast crater?

      Also, completely different situation. The LM was headed down and had horizontal velocity, the engines were not firing at a fixed location on the surface for any length of time. And they shut off before landing.

      Curiosity was lowered by a “sky crane” where the crane’s engines, eight of them, were aimed at the same spot on the Martian surface for at least 15 seconds, and each produced anywhere from 90 to 700 lbf (foot-pounds, or 400-3100 N) of thrust, but I don’t have the specs on the nozzle opening so don’t know the actual pressure. And, they didn’t form any “blast craters.” They disturbed the regolith (for example, this image). The reason the color looks different is that it removed the upper bit of regolith that’s red and exposed basalt (volcanic rock) beneath.

      Comment by Stuart Robbins — August 12, 2012 @ 6:18 pm | Reply

      • Although there were eight rockets on the MSL (Curiosity) descent stage (the “sky crane”) four were shut down during the hover phase to minimize blown dust and pebbles. Look closely at the descent stage and you’ll notice the nozzles are arranged in four pairs, one in each pair canted outward. I think they continued to fire away from the lander as it was lowered to the surface. The others were not required as the stage had already decelerated to zero velocity and lost weight, having burned off much of its fuel. (The descent stage used monopropellant rockets fueled by hydrazine without any oxidizer. The hydrazine was decomposed by a catalyst, making a hot gas to expel through the nozzles.)

        One big difference between the rockets on the MSL descent stage and the descent engine on the Apollo lunar module are the sizes of their nozzles. The LM engine had a much bigger nozzle that spread the exhaust out over a larger area. But it still did a pretty good job of scouring the lunar surface and blowing dust.

        Comment by Phil — September 20, 2012 @ 1:42 am

      • At least two Apollo lunar landings did not shut down the descent engines until they were on the surface: Apollos 11 and 15. You can see the dust continuing to blow in the 16mm movies taken of each landing.

        Comment by Phil — September 20, 2012 @ 1:44 am

  23. I think the best evidence of the moonlandings is that the Soviet Union accepted them.If the US faked the moonlandings to “win” the cold war I doubt that the Russians would have kept quiet these last 40+years.

    Comment by Nils — September 19, 2012 @ 3:33 am | Reply

    • I think that’s one of many of the good lines that we did really go. Of course, people who are already conspiracy-minded will point out that the Illuminati or New World Order just control both sides, but that’s a whole separate “issue.”

      Comment by Stuart Robbins — September 19, 2012 @ 10:53 am | Reply

    • I agree. It’s especially good for those who may not understand the science or engineering, but who possess a good intuitive understanding of human nature. You’d think the notion that the Russians would sit on an Apollo hoax during the Cold War is so utterly absurd as to not require any comment, but believe it or not there are some who claim they did just that. They even claim the Cold War itself was a hoax, along with nuclear weapons…

      Comment by Phil — September 19, 2012 @ 9:28 pm | Reply

    • The entity which would have assassinated kennedy would have likely been international. The reason for faking the moon landing was not likely used to “win” the cold war, but rather to end the space race. Globalist regimes do not find open technological growth to be in their best interest. Watch the money masters documentary

      Comment by Thomas Brinkley — March 10, 2013 @ 12:41 pm | Reply

  24. You can give people hard physic evidence and they still won’t believe it because some red neck who has no scientific background argues the toss. Idiots

    Comment by Ben Davy — December 26, 2012 @ 1:26 pm | Reply

  25. Thank you to everyone who has patiently and clearly explained your point of view.
    Calling people names like stupid and idiot seems to be more the condition of the author of those words than the recipient.
    This has been interesting reading.

    I, myself, go back and forth on this subject.

    The thing I have kept forgetting to consider is that there is no atmosphere on the moon and this changes things a lot from what I experience and consequently assume.

    I have looked closely at many moon landing pictures and videos and what I’ve concluded from them is,
    1. There are some small amounts of dust on the landing pads this is not obvious you have to look real close to see it, some landing pad pictures show this better than others. Since there is no atmosphere dust would move outwards away from the engines thrust then drop quickly to the surface so the pictures seem consistent with what you would expect to see in an environment without atmosphere.
    2. Dust is sprayed out radialy from the nozzle. This supports the idea that the engine actually caused this.
    3. The dust is piled up at the edge of the landing pads pointing in the direction of the engine. This would be difficult to fake without the engine actually causing it.
    4. Dust falls differently in the lunar videos than I would expect to see on earth supporting the idea that there is no atmosphere. Again, I don’t know how you could fake this effect.
    5. There isn’t much of a crater and with a nozzle 2 to 3 feet in diameter you would think the engine would blast a hole large enough for the LM to disappear into but thanks to some of the explanations here I understand that a larger nozzle will produce a wider area of thrust with a lower directional force like we see in the Mars curiosity pictures. It’s like having a one inch thick garden hose that you partially close with your thumb in order to create more pressure and more of a jet stream. (Thank you Phil for your thoughts on this).
    6. Another good point made on this page is that the LM were moving laterally as they were descending and the Curiosity sky crane on Mars was hovering as it dropped Curiosity.
    7. The flag waving always occurs while someone is messing with the main flag pole (meaning it has nothing to do with wind) I’ve never seen a video of a flag on the moon all alone and waving.

    I’m an amateur photographer and I do struggle with some of the lighting effects in some lunar images like;
    some pictures are shot facing directly into the sun and areas of the LM in the shadow which should be black are brightly lit and the men exiting the LM are lit up like a Christmas tree with some indications on their boots, arm pits and back pack that a flash has occurred at an angle facing the camera. Then there are other pictures taken directly facing the sun and the LM foot pad and person exiting the ladder are in the shadow and blacked out as one would expect. I know the surface of the moon is all lit up with reflected sun light but then all objects should display similar brightness’ not like I see in the images.

    These pictures seem to be my final issue with this subject.

    I know about how shadows point at different angles depending on the moon surface and the lens cross hairs appear to be missing in places where the lighting is real bright these I can explain away. It’s the oh so well lit men exiting the dark side of the LM that just doesn’t work for me.

    Any thoughts on this?

    Thanks for your patience and rational explanations to this controversial subject.

    Comment by No Name — August 30, 2013 @ 10:19 am | Reply

  26. No crater = landing on solid rock. There, you could have summed it up in just a few words.

    As for the flag waving around, it was still supposedly waving from the energy exerted upon it from planting it and straightening it up.

    As for an atmosphere… come on, there is indeed an atmosphere on the moon. Science fact. Yet, it’s so thin, it’s considered negligible.

    As for wind? It’s a little thing called solar wind.

    Now, how about a scorched spot? Nothing? Hmmm… So, if I were to stick my hand under the nozzle, I wouldn’t get scorched either because of zero oxygen? Come on… And, why was dust/pebbles pictured undisturbed under the LM? These are the only parts of the puzzle that has yet to be clearly explained. If these two things can be conclusively debunked, I will finally be able to believe this supposed MANNED moon landing was real. The evidence that can be seen on the surface through high powered telescopes from Earth could have all been put there by remote controlled robots.

    Someone, please, explain my last two inquiries. These things have been bugging me.

    Comment by Also Known As Human — March 5, 2014 @ 11:08 pm | Reply

    • The LRO photos show the lunar surface was scorched by the descent stage. And yet the photos taken by the apollo astronauts show no sign of this. So NASA should decide which one is it. They can’t be both true

      Comment by proof by contradiction — May 12, 2014 @ 11:31 am | Reply

  27. Did anyone address the lack of atmosphere to propel or decelerate against. We are fighting the same gravity that moves our oceans. The force thrust to overcome the moons pull and space craft momentum would be considerably more than I have seen demonstrated. What is terminal velocity in space? This would have been the first experiments conducted to consider when landing on a unknown rock. They were not. A worlds escape velocity should have also been calculated. they were not. Easy to understand space travel and rocket propulsion in any given environment but accurate gravity considerations do not exist yet in space and what we do know was ignored.

    Comment by Bill Ray — January 26, 2015 @ 9:59 am | Reply

    • What? There’s an awful lot of “not even wrong” in that message.

      Comment by Woof — October 15, 2015 @ 5:38 pm | Reply

  28. Psi aside the Lm came to a rest on the lunar surface. So, after the engines stopped it would have had the same 3 psi a human being would have had. We see plenty of footprints from the astronauts but the landing gear has not even made a dent in the surface. I originally thought that since there is only about 2″ on dust on the surface maybe it was all blown away on decent. However, take another look at the photos and you will see plenty of moon dust directly underneath the LM. Makes no sense.

    Comment by Steel — June 12, 2015 @ 10:10 am | Reply

  29. The LM allegedly weighed 15,000 Kg. The descent rocket engine would have needed to have supported this weight which would be equivalent to having to support the weight of 2 cars on earth. Can you imagine the force of an engine needed to counter the weight of 2 cars and how this downward force would affect the dust on the ground? Surely it would have blasted all dust away from a large area around the landing spot? But as a second point when you look at the detailed photos of the Eagle on NASA’s website – try zooming in to the panelling of the top sections of the LM. Surely this is not precision engineering but rather a poorly constructed prop. The panels are warped and are poorly attached with what appears to be very patchy riveting. The thrust deflectors look like they are made of fabric. Why are the panels different colours – surely the dark ones would absorb heat and the interior would have been like an oven?
    I looked for technical drawings on NASAs website but the drawings supplied are just sketches with no actual detail and are not dimensioned. I’m sorry but everything I see looks faked . It had me believing at the time – mind you I was only 11 so I can be forgiven! Then there is Armstrong’s cryptic message at the 25 year anniversary – that seals the deal for me. Why else would he compare himself with a parrot if not to tell people that that is precisely what he was?
    Then when you look at the need for the US to deliver on Kennedy’s pledge and there’s your motive.

    Comment by Phil — July 8, 2015 @ 1:25 pm | Reply

    • Those “panels” that you weep about are not structural. They’re sunshades. Multi-ply metal-coated mylar. Doesn’t matter how they’re attached so long as they don’t fall off.

      Comment by Woof — October 15, 2015 @ 5:45 pm | Reply

      • Sunshades. Ha ha! Have you ever gotten a suntan? A sunburn? Despite the protection of Earth’s atmosphere? Yet the astronauts had “sunshades” and not one of them had health problems from being completely exposed to radiation from outer space. The Moon has a giant hole in its Ozone layer. The Moon has global warming issues. Ask Al Gore. But a sunshade protected the astronauts. Got it. Also, it’s a good thing none of the Astronauts ever got leg cramps in their sleep from running around on the Moon and then accidentally shoving their foot through the Lunar Landers thin Mylar walls. But that’s never happened to any of you: sunburn, leg cramps.

        Comment by SReed — September 29, 2017 @ 6:12 pm

  30. https://www.hq.nasa.gov/alsj/frame.html

    Why not use the transcripts? From Apollo 15

    “104:41:36 Irwin: 120 feet. Minus 6.

    104:41:39 Scott: Okay. I’ve got some dust.

    [Scott, from the 1971 Technical Debrief – “I could see dust – just a slight bit of dust. At about 50 to 60 feet, the total view outside was obscured by dust. It was completely IFR (Instrument Flight Rules). I came into the cockpit (that is, switched his attention from the view out the window to the instrument readings that Jim was giving him) and flew with the instruments from there on down.”]

    104:41:40 Irwin: Minus 5; 100 feet at 5; nine percent fuel; minus 5.”

    DUST! DUST! The total view outside was obscured by dust on landing Apollo 15! It was IFR rules!! They flew by instruments from 50 to 60 feet above the surface!

    Look at this image: https://www.hq.nasa.gov/alsj/a15/AS15-87-11842.jpg
    You can see the Descent Engine Nozzle almost touching the ground. There’s no crater!

    The caption of the photo states
    “Compared to some other missions, there doesn’t seem to be as much evidence of sweeping by the Descent Engine exhaust as there is in some other missions, particular Apollo 12.”

    No evidence of sweeping, despite the transcript they had to fly the last 60 feet down by instrument because the dust obscure their view? Really? And t here’s no crater?

    Here’s another photograph of the nozzle. Any sweeping?? The nozzle is practically touching the surface!

    Here’s another photo:

    Notice the nozzle and the lovely construction: the warped panels with gaps, the “scotch tape” holding some together. This protected the astronauts from space radiation in the atmosphere-less moon for 2 or 3 earth days.
    Yeah right. Do you see any dust on the foot pads?

    This pic claims to be brightening of the soil from the Descent Engine Exhaust

    Here’s the caption of the photo:
    Rev. 38 Pan Camera Frame 9798, LM Detail ( 346k )
    Stephen Tellier scanned a portion of Pan Camera frame 9798, which was taken during CSM Rev 38 at about 151:37. At that time, Dave and Jim were in the LM after the completion of EVA-2. A prominent feature of this image is the darkening of the soil around the LM and along a corridor extending from the LM toward 11 o’clock. See a comparison with frame 9377 by Markus Mehring, who has processed the images to account for differing orientations, different scales due to differing CSM-LM ranges, and different foreshortening due to differing CSM elevation angles. As Jack Schmitt discusses in the Apollo 17 commentary, the surface around the LM became brighter after being swept by the descent engine exhaust. As can be seen in photos taken on the surface, areas subsequently disturbed by the astronauts became relatively dark again. At locations relatively far from the LM, disturbed soil had the same brightness as undisturbed soil, another indication of brightening due to the engine exhaust.

    There’s No Crater in the photos. The Exhaust wouldn’t disturb the ground? NASA itself is claiming there was a crater!

    Here’s a pic of the LM and its shadow. Nice touch up.

    Here’s a photo of damage to the engine bell when they landed “hard” per the transcript. Where’s the sweeping from the dust? Where’s the crater from the overhead photos?

    Try again.

    Comment by Scott — August 12, 2015 @ 9:21 pm | Reply

  31. I dont believe in the moon landing story as it was told to us at all. The multiple light sources, now that is the biggest red flag. Its literally impossible for that to happen.

    Comment by Henry — September 27, 2017 @ 10:35 pm | Reply

    • Show me any, ANY image where there are two light sources that MUST be casting two shadows from a single object.

      Comment by Stuart Robbins — September 28, 2017 @ 10:24 am | Reply

      • The most obvious to me is the NASA footage showing the lunar module blast off from the moon. It is totally being hoisted by a cable. The blast is very week and not sufficient for lift. I wish they would have recorded the find and connect to the home bond staged rocket. Maybe on a blooper real somewhere. The footage is on Netflix

        Comment by Bill Ray — September 29, 2017 @ 8:58 am

    • Bill Ray is correct. See this video of the Lunar Lander weaving back and forth on its descent. Lol!

      The same YouTube channel has many more videos

      Comment by SReed — September 29, 2017 @ 6:02 pm | Reply

  32. Check out the video of the Apollo 12 Lunar Landing in a helicopter; a “Viper 264”

    Comment by SReed — September 29, 2017 @ 6:30 pm | Reply

  33. “Just took timeout for a snack and a little water.” Ha ha!

    Comment by SReed — September 29, 2017 @ 8:14 pm | Reply

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