Exposing PseudoAstronomy

November 16, 2011

Podcast Episode 11: Dust and Rock Claims of the Apollo Moon Hoax

It seems like I just put out an episode. Which I did. Here’s the second regular episode for the month, another one on the Apollo moon hoax/conspiracy. I’m trying to go through the claims that don’t rely on a bunch of photographic evidence because, obviously, that’s difficult to do during a podcast.

So I picked about a half dozen claims related to the specific category of claims of dust and rock, and I discussed two rock-related independent ways to show that we actually did land and bring back astronauts.

It’s also a bit long, almost 40 minutes. Enjoy.



  1. The Moon may not be as dry as our textbooks claim. Fairly recent results, from Chandrayaan-1 and from meticulous analysis of microscopic melt inclusions, have found evidence of water both on the surface and at depth. Of course, the quantities are insufficient to falsify your explanation of footprint-persistence, and some of the evidence is actually evidence of hydrogen which is _assumed_ to be oxygen-bound. The new information is fairly well covered in a wikipedia article (part of which I wrote.)


    I can’t miss an opportunity to ride my hobby-horse (some would call it an obsession): The melt inclusion data was profoundly misunderstood by Richard Hoagland. This “science advisor” went on the radio and announced that the Moon has as much water as the Earth. Oh dear. He later clarified that by saying he meant “pound for pound.” Just as wrong, Richard. Why don’t they appoint a science advisor who understands science, I ask.

    Comment by Expat — November 16, 2011 @ 9:32 am | Reply

    • As soon as I said it on the podcast, I figured I’d need to clarify later. I’ll clarify the water issue on the next episode.

      Comment by Stuart Robbins — November 16, 2011 @ 10:02 am | Reply

    • I take it you don’t mean liquid water here…

      Comment by Trebor — November 18, 2011 @ 2:00 am | Reply

      • Correct. Results over the last decade have pointed to H2O molecules bound in the rocks, and there is also still the idea that ices may be trapped in permanently shadowed regions at the south pole in craters.

        Comment by Stuart Robbins — November 18, 2011 @ 9:36 am

  2. Answer to the puzzler:

    There is less dust on the side of the moon visible from Earth. As the Earth orbits the sun and the moon is dragged along, They collect any space dust that is in their path. When the moon is in front of the earth, the far side collects the dust that is in the earth’s orbit. When the moon is behind the earth, the near side is protected by the leading earth which collects the dust before it can settle onto the moon’s surface. I’d assume that the equator region of the exposed surfaces of the moon would collect the most dust, and there would be less as you progress to the poles.

    Good luck to me!

    Comment by chip cherry — November 16, 2011 @ 11:20 am | Reply

  3. I enjoyed the podcast but I’m a bit puzzled by the answer to the last puzzler in that I figured that the north end of the compass would point straight down at the magnetic north pole and that the south end of the compass would point straight down at the magnetic south pole, the north and south ends of the compass being painted blue and red respectively.

    As I understand it, it is the magnetic south pole of a compass needle that is painted blue and points north and according to Wikipedia, the magnetic north pole is in fact located in the northern hemisphere from where it is apparently advancing toward Russia.

    I was surprised to hear you say that the magnetic north pole is located in the southern hemisphere and since ‘north’ and ‘south’ are arbitary designations it would seem unreasonable to assign ‘north’ to the southern pole and ‘south’ to the northern pole.

    Surely, if the north pole was in the south and the south pole was in the north then the earth would actually be flat, wouldn’t it? 🙂

    Comment by himnextdoor — November 19, 2011 @ 1:55 pm | Reply

    • This gets into semantics issues with definitions. The magnetic north end of one magnet is attracted to the south magnetic end of another, and it is repelled by the north magnetic end of another. A compass needle has a magnetic north end and a magnetic south end; the magnetic north end, at Earth’s magnetic “equator,” will point towards Earth’s magnetic south pole. It is also pointing towards(ish) the North geographic pole. The magnetic north/south poles are, by the physics definition of magnetic north and south, flipped with respect to the geographic poles. So the north magnetic pole which attracts the south point of the compass is near Earth’s south geographic pole; Earth’s south magnetic pole which attracts the north point of the compass is near Earth’s north geographic pole.

      It’s tricky and obnoxious semantics, I will fully admit to that. If I were giving this to students as a test question and it were worth 10 points, I’d give them 9 for saying that it would point up and down, only taking off a point if they got which way was up wrong. And then they would probably try to argue with me when they got their tests back.

      Comment by Stuart Robbins — November 19, 2011 @ 6:39 pm | Reply

      • Ah! I see. North/South is determined by the compass and of course, the ‘north’ end must point south… to the north.

        I get it; the end of the magnet that is painted blue is defined as the ‘north-pole’ of the magnet. And it is attracted to the south-pole.. er.. which is located.. to the north. Ha ha! Good one.

        And actually, it would be very confusing if it were the other way round; if the magnetic pole in the northern hemisphere were painted blue then all the compasses would be wrong wouldn’t they and then where would we be? Not where we were going, that’s where!

        After much consideration, I propose we keep the north pole painted red.

        But what happens when the poles flip? The north pole ends up in the north, blue, and the south pole ends up in the south, red. Would North Dakota be to the south of South Dakota? What will we call the North Sea?

        My head hurts 🙂

        Comment by himnextdoor — November 20, 2011 @ 1:27 am

      • Sometimes not thinking is much easier. Of course, then we get into the situations that I blog and podcast about.

        Comment by Stuart Robbins — November 20, 2011 @ 12:37 pm

  4. The problem with your puzzler as stated is that the “north” end of the needle in a compass (usually the one that’s painted orange or red) is actually its north-SEEKING end. That’s the south pole of the magnet in the needle.

    Conversely the “south” end of the compass needle is actually its south-SEEKING end, i.e., the north pole of the needle magnet. With that clarification there’s no confusion.

    Comment by Phil — November 22, 2011 @ 11:49 pm | Reply

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