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Did men land on the Moon

Page history last edited by PBworks 17 years, 3 months ago



The simple answer is YES.


These are some of the most commonly asked questions or most common “proofs” that the Moon landings were somehow faked.



An Australian woman, Una Ronald, saw a coke bottle being kicked across the lunar surface during the Apollo 11 broadcast. Many other people confirm seeing this.


Una Ronald claims to have “stayed up late” to watch the live broadcast of the Apollo 11 moonwalk when living in or near Perth, Western Australia. She was amazed to see a “coke bottle” kicked across the lunar surface. This object was only seen during the live broadcast and was removed from replays in the days following. She also claims to have seen, about 7 to 10 days later, several letters mentioning the same thing in her local paper (The West Australian).


This claim has many irregularities, and researchers have discovered what might be an explanation. To begin, it is claimed that she “stayed up” to watch the live broadcast. This might have been the case in the United States, but it was not in Perth. The first step onto the Moon occurred at 2.56am on 21 July 1969 – Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). Perth is 8 hours ahead of GMT, so it occurred at 10.56am in Perth. That’s in the morning. The moonwalk video was actually received by ground stations in the eastern states before being transmitted to Perth (see http://www.honeysucklecreek.net/Apollo_11/index.html for more details).


The claim regarding the newspaper reports are also incorrect. For at least two weeks following the broadcast, there were no articles or letters regarding sightings of a “coke bottle” in either The West Australian or the Daily News, the only two daily newspapers in Perth at the time (see the Clavius website).


What Una Ronald probably saw was a reflection of Buzz Aldrin’s visor, reflected inside the television camera lens. This effect is known as catadioptrism, or “ghosting”. The effect can be seen here.


Fig. 1 - Buzz Aldrin demonstrates locomotion while an object appears to bounce across the lunar surface behind him (NASA: video downlink 110::14:03, et seq.)


Fig. 2 - The same frames as in Fig. 1 with guide lines to emphasize the reflection. The pink dots represent the visor highlight and the "bottle"; the yellow line joins them. The light blue lines identify the center of the image (NASA: video downlink 110::14:03, et seq.)

(Analysis courtesy of Clavius.org)


The tapes of the landings are missing, so no-one can check out NASA’s fakery.


This claim is misleading. Full footage of all the Apollo missions has been available to the public in various formats ever since the landings occurred. What the claim refers to is the slow-scan tapes from the Honeysuckle Creek telecommunication station in Australia, one of the ground stations that received the Apollo 11 broadcast. Because of technical limitations & the requirement to prepare the video for television broadcast, the Apollo 11 moonwalk images that were seen on television were of significantly less quality that that actually received at the ground stations (although television images improved with later missions). The video transmission from the lunar surface was broadcast at 320 lines per frame; this is incompatible with either the Australian PAL (625 lines) format or the US NTSC (525 lines) format. The easiest way to convert them was to have the lunar transmission shown on a monitor, then film the monitor with an appropriate TV camera. This resulted in some quality loss (like making a photocopy of a photocopy). The tapes that are ‘missing’ are high quality, slow-scan video tapes recorded at the ground station (320 lines). These tapes were sent back to NASA shortly after Apollo 11 and were subsequently put into long term storage, along with other tapes containing telemetry data. Many years later, they were moved to the Goddard Space Flight Centre (GSFC), again for storage. The Apollo 11 tapes, however, were mixed in with other tapes of telemetry data. Due to poor record keeping, the exact location of the tapes within GSFC is uncertain. NASA is confident the tapes are there – they just don’t know which box they are in, and there are a lot of boxes!


In summary, it is only the Apollo 11 moonwalk tapes that are misplaced and they do not show any new footage – they are simply of better quality.


How could they get it right the first time?


This claim is normally made by those who do not have a full appreciation of the US manned space programme, or the Apollo programme in particular. The “first time” was the culmination of a step-by-step approach that had been taking place for most of a decade.


The US manned space programme commenced in earnest with the one-man Mercury series. These flights allowed NASA to develop the basics of space flight, flight hardware, and ground control / tracking. This was followed by the two-man Gemini series of flights. This series explored aspects such as space navigation, rendezvous, and long duration flight.


While this was taking place, unmanned probes such as Lunar Orbiter, Ranger, and Surveyor were photographing potential landing sites and conducting soft landings on the Moon.


Apollos 2 though 6 were unmanned test flights of the Command and Service Modules (CSM), lunar module (LM), and Saturn launch vehicles. Apollo 7 was the first manned test flight of the CSM, a “shakedown” of the spacecraft. The Apollo 8 flight was originally planned to be a test of the LM in Earth orbit but development delays meant the LM would not be ready by the planned date. Instead, in an audacious move, Apollo 8 was sent on a lunar orbital flight without a LM. This provided NASA with much valuable data and was the first ‘close’ look at the lunar surface with human eyes.


Apollo 9 followed with the manned test flight in Earth orbit. By this time, most of the problems associated with a manned landing had been resolved and Apollo 10 conducted a ‘dress rehearsal’ for the lunar landing. The LM itself was too heavy to conduct a safe landing, but descending down to 47,000ft above the lunar surface the LM systems and rendezvous techniques were confirmed.


Apollo 11 was the first landing attempt and its success was built on the experience gained from earlier missions.


The Soviets had more firsts in space yet they couldn’t fly to the Moon.


The Soviets did indeed achieve many of the space “firsts” but by the mid-1960s, the US had equalled and began to surpass the USSR. In fact by the time the last Gemini mission had been completed, the US had more hours in space than the USSR.


The USSR, too, had plans to reach the Moon, a fact not publicly confirmed until after the fall of the Soviet Union. The goal of a manned Moon landing had started as early as 1957. A two man spacecraft (the LOK) was designed and built, as well as a one man lunar lander (the LK). The spacecraft were to be launched to the Moon by the N-1 rocket. About 10 of the N-1 moon rockets were built but all of the four test flights were spectacular failures, primarily due to the first stage engine configuration. The USSR was unable to develop an engine with equivalent thrust to the Saturn V’s F-1s. This meant that a greater number of less powerful engines were required to boost the spacecraft into orbit. The first stage alone of the N-1 had thirty engines, and the problems associated with the control of the engines, as well as delivery of fuel to them, doomed the project. Even after Apollo 11, the USSR continued to attempt a lunar landing. The Soviet manned lunar project was cancelled in June 1972, and the N-1 programme in 1974.


Moon rocks could have been faked.


If you believe that the Apollo lunar samples were “faked”, then you must logically believe that the lunar samples recovered by Soviet probes were also faked, because they share similar characteristics of non-terrestrial origin.


Lunar samples have aspects which cannot be re-created on Earth. They show evidence of formation in a very dry environment with essentially no free oxygen, and a very low gravity. Some have impact craters on the surface and many display evidence for a suite of unanticipated and complicated effects associated with large and small meteorite impacts. Lunar rocks and soil contain gases (hydrogen, helium, nitrogen, neon, argon, krypton, and xenon) derived from the solar wind with isotope ratios different than Earth forms of the same gases. They contain crystal damage from cosmic rays. Lunar igneous rocks have crystallization ages, determined by techniques involving radioisotopes, which are older than any known Earth rocks.


Lastly, some people believe that the lunar rocks are actually lunar meteorites recovered here on Earth. Although there are lunar meteorites, their passage through the atmosphere destroys the characteristic “pitting” from cosmic rays that is found on samples taken from the Moon, and can be identified as being meteorites.




The technology didn’t exist to go to the Moon.


The technology for going to the Moon did not exist, per se, when the challenge was put forth by President Kennedy in 1961 – but it was created as time went by. There were numerous problems to be solved, and the resources of NASA and US industry set about solving them.


The launch vehicles had started life as ballistic missiles. Mercury (Redstone, Atlas) and Gemini (Titan) all used launch vehicles that started life as IRBMs / ICBMs. The Saturn series was developed for space exploration, and the F-1 engine enabled the Saturn V (the moon rocket) to successfully work.


NASA drew heavily on the aerospace industry to use their experience and expertise to design and build the craft that would safely take a living person into space and back again. MIT were contracted to design the computers that could guide a Moon vehicle (see later for more details). A space tracking network was built. Fuel cells were built to power the spacecraft (these were first tested in Gemini and initial problems overcome).


Medical experts, mathematicians, physicists, aerodynamicists, metallurgists, engineers of all disciplines – they all set about providing the means to achieving a national goal.


This entry cannot properly go into detail about how each of the problems was resolved. There are a multitude of internet resources available on each aspect, as well as books and NASA Technical Notes.


The Apollo computers weren’t powerful enough.


With the GHz home computers of today, we sometimes underestimate what the more ‘primitive’ computers of yesteryear could do. A primitive electronic computer was used to break German radio codes during World War II. They were also used to make the complex computations needed to build the hydrogen bomb. Even so, these computers were large and tended to fail regularly. The solution came about in several forms.


The first was the emerging electronic industry and the invention of the integrated circuit. This drastically reduced the size of computers, made them faster and more reliable, and NASA made good of them. By 1963, 60% of the total US production of micro circuits was being used by the Apollo project.


Next was what the computer actually had to do – or rather what it didn’t have to do. It didn’t have to run a spreadsheet programme, didn’t have to generate fancy graphics, and didn’t have to play games. They were specialised computers, not general purpose computers. These were concerned primarily with spacecraft guidance – a relatively simple speed / time / distance navigation problem in three dimensions.


Lastly, NASA could do the bulk of the computations before launch, and then have the large computers required for real-time work back on Earth. The spacecraft onboard computers could be simple.


When the first Mercury missions were launched, they did not even have any computer aboard the spacecraft. Its orbital path was completely dependent on the accuracy of the guidance of the Atlas booster rocket. Re-entry was calculated by a real-time computing centre on the ground, with retrofire times and firing attitude transmitted to the spacecraft while in flight. Gemini flights needed to conduct attitude changes and rendezvous in space, and needed some type of computer. IBM eventually created a basic digital computer that met all the needs of the flights.


The Instrumentation Laboratory of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) was involved in designing computers for ballistic missile applications, and so were a logical choice to create the computers needed for Apollo. They were contracted and produced two computers for the task. The first was the Apollo Guidance Computer (AGC). The AGC was fitted to the Command Module (CM) and provided many of the functions required for a journey into lunar orbit and return. The second computer was for the Lunar Module (LM) itself, required for a safe landing and rendezvous with the CM. The LM actually had two virtually identical computers aboard; they were programme with different software for different tasks, but provided redundancy in case of failure. These LM computers were the Primary Guidance and Navigation System (PGNS, pronounced ‘pings’) and the Abort Guidance System (AGS, pronounced ‘aggs’).


The memory capability of these computers is tiny compared to today, with the AGC eventually having a 36Kb ROM and a 2Kb RAM. Yet even in the early 1980s, one of the first ‘home computers’ – the Tandy MC10 – only had 4Kb of RAM!


The astronauts could enter data via a Display & Keyboard panel (DSKY, pronounced “disky”), essentially just some number pads and a numerical LED readout. They would press a PROG (programme), NOUN, or VERB button followed by a two-digit number.


A complete guide to the history of onboard computers in the US manned space programme can be found at the NASA History of Computers website. A detailed description of the functions and operation of the AGC can be found at the Apollo Guidance Computer.


Enthusiasts have even recreated Apollo computers, and confirmed that they were capable of performing the computations necessary for spaceflight. You can even build a functional AGC yourself.


The lunar landers crashed during tests on Earth – how could they work on the Moon?


Once again, this claim is normally the result of ignorance of the Apollo programme specifics. The LM was designed to operate in an airless, low gravity environment. They could not and would not ever be flown on Earth; the LM was tested in space (see below). What this claim normally refers to are crashes of what were called the Lunar landing Research Vehicle (LLRV) and Lunar Landing Training Vehicle (LLTV).




The astronauts need to practice for a lunar descent, but simulators of the day could only provide part of the training needed. A flight trainer was developed by NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Centre to give the astronauts the required experience. Jokingly called the “flying bedstead”, the single seat LLRV had a vertically mounted jet engine in a basic aluminium framework. The jet was throttled to take 5/6th of the LLRVs weight, simulating lunar gravity. Two variable thrust rockets provided control of the LLRVs rate of descent, and small reaction control jets on the extremities (similar to what was fitted to the LM) gave the pilot control over pitch, yaw and roll. They were also fitted with an ejection seat for emergencies. Two LLRVs were built, and their success led to a further three LLTVs being produced. Eventually three of the craft would be lost in crashes. They were considered hazardous to fly, but the astronauts considered the experience gained from them to be vital in training for a lunar landing.


The LM was never flight tested.


The LM was never flight tested on Earth, but it certainly underwent a barrage of tests. The structural strength, the systems, the engines – they were all tested and retested to ensure they would perform their tasks.


They were flight tested – unmanned – in Earth orbit during Apollo 4, 5, and 6. Apollo 9 was the first manned flight test of the LM, again in Earth orbit. During this flight, the LM was extracted from the S-IVB stage, powered up, and the Descent Propulsion System (DPS) was tested by flying to over 100 miles from the CSM. The Ascent Propulsion System (APS) was then tested by separating from the descent stage, and a rendezvous performed with the CSM. With the exception of the landing radar, this tested most of the primary systems aboard the LM which would be required for a lunar landing.


Apollo 10 also tested the LM, this time in lunar orbit and descent close to the surface. The only test that remained was a lunar landing itself. An unmanned test landing was considered (the LM could land automatically) but with a high degree of confidence in the LMs capabilities, it was argued that this was not justified. The next mission would be a lunar landing attempt.


The Lunar Rover was too big to fit in the LM.


The Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV) was used on Apollo 15, 16, and 17. It was a small, electrically (battery) powered vehicle that extended the range around the LM to which the astronauts could explore. The J-series LMs were able to have the LRV (which was folded away) mounted on the side of the descent stage. Once on the lunar surface, the LRV was deployed; it was “unfolded” and prepared for use. In its stowed configuration, the seats, control panels, and wheels all folded inwards to reduce the LRV’s size.


Lunar Roving Vehicle


LRV in stowed configuration (NASA AP15-KSC-71P-206)


LRV checkfit on the Apollo 15 LM (NASA AP15-S71-31409)


LRV checkfit on the Apollo 15 LM (NASA AP15-71-HC-682)


LRV in stowed position on Apollo 15 LM (NASA AP15-KSC-71PC-415)


The LM should have left a big crater under it from the engine.


The LM’s Descent Propulsion System (DPS) was capable of producing 10 000lbs of thrust. Some people claim this should have left a crater underneath the engine when it was landing.


There are two aspects to consider when evaluating this claim. Firstly, the DPS on the LM was able to be throttled from 100% thrust (10 000lbs) down to about 10%. During the final stages of the landing, the DPS is only producing about 2600lbs of thrust.


The next aspect is to consider what sort of effect 2600lbs of thrust would have. A Harrier jump jet produces about 27 000lbs of thrust, more than 10 times that of a landing LM, to conduct a vertical takeoff – do they leave craters behind?


The DPS did leave behind indications of its rocket motor, but it would not have dug any craters.




The astronauts could not have survived passing through the Van Allen Belts; radiation would have killed them. The Apollo spacecraft would have needed 6 feet of lead shielding to protect the astronauts from radiation.


To understand why this claim is incorrect, we need to have an understanding of what we mean when we talk about radiation. Radiation is something we are constantly exposed to. Mobile cell-phones emit radiation; your CRT-type computer monitor emits radiation; we are exposed to radiation from the Sun every day.


What we really refer to in the context of this claim is ionizing radiation – that is, radiation which can produce detrimental effects in materials and organic tissue. Ionizing radiation strips electrons from atoms, which can upset the normal biological processes in a living thing. Damage sustained can vary from mutations to death of the living cells.


Ionizing radiation also comes in two forms – waves and particles. Electromagnetic (EM) wave radiation is the type we are most familiar with, such as X-rays or Gamma radiation from a nuclear explosion. There are, however, high energy charged particles such as alpha particles, beta particles, protons, and neutrons. This distinction becomes important when we consider the damage each can do, and the type of shielding required to protect us against the harmful effects of each type of radiation. In general, particle radiation is more dangerous than EM radiation, and the bigger the particle the more damage it can do.


Most of the radiation we are familiar with comes from the Sun, which emits EM radiation and charged particles. The Earth’s atmosphere protects us from the majority of the harmful EM radiation. Particle radiation is stopped in a different way. Because alpha and beta particles have an electrical charge associated with them, they are susceptible to magnetic fields. The Earth’s magnetic field tends to deflect these particles away from us, but in doing so they collect in two areas around the Earth – the Van Allen Belts. The Belts (an inner and outer) vary in density, being thickest near the Equator and thinnest near the poles. This high concentration of particles poses a hazard if we wish to pass through it.


So how do we protect ourselves against the effects of these radiations? The different types of radiation require different types of protection; EM radiation will normally require thick shielding, but particle radiation requires substantially less. Some types of EM radiation are easily stopped. Most of us probably have sunglasses which protect our eyes against ultraviolet (UV) radiation; it can be stopped by a thin layer of the correct plastic. Protection against X-rays or Gamma radiation, however, normally requires several centimetres of lead or concrete.


Alpha particles can be stopped by a sheet of paper or our own layer of skin; they only become dangerous if ingested. Protons can progress further, but still only require about a centimetre of material to halt them. Beta particles can penetrate deep into the body but are normally too small to cause significant damage. The problem with Beta particles is if they strike large atoms; these impacts cause X-rays to be emitted from the atom. Metal atoms are quite large and so are more liable to produce this ‘re-radiation’(known as Bremsstrahlung). The best materials to protect us against Beta particles are those which have lots of hydrogen atoms in them (hydrogen being a ‘light’ atom which won’t emit X-rays if struck). Water is ideal for this, but having a layer of water protecting us in space is not really practical. Instead, we can use materials like high-density polyethylene (HPDE).


Now we have to consider how we can limit our exposure to the radiation we cannot protect ourselves against. In general it is preferable to receive a higher dose of radiation for a short period than a lower dose over a longer period. This is because although the higher dose may cause more problems in the short term, the low dose will produce continuing damage and your body simply may not be able to keep up - even though the damage is slight at any one moment.


Thick shielding on a spacecraft will normally mean more weight; the more weight a spacecraft has, the more fuel is needed to launch it and propel it in space. The heavy the spacecraft is, the slower it will likely travel. The solution is to make a trade-off between shielding and speed. Less shielding means a greater exposure to the radiation, but increased speed means the duration of that exposure is reduced.


Now we can return to examine the original claim.


The Apollo spacecraft were constructed such that a majority of harmful radiation was stopped by the outer shell and equipment inside it. To travel through the Van Allen Belts, the spacecraft trajectory took it through thinner parts of the Belts at great speed, limiting the exposure by the crew. Even so, the crews wore dosimeters to measure the amount of radiation they had been exposed to.


Two metres of lead shielding would not be required to protect the astronauts (though it would do a very good job of protecting you against radiation from a nuclear explosion!). In fact, due to Beta particle radiation (as found in the Van Allen Belts), heavy metals would be counterproductive (due to the re-radiation of X-rays). This is why the spacecraft used light materials such as aluminium and specialised plastics in its construction.


Finally, Dr James Van Allen (the discoverer of the Belts and after whom they were named) himself has said:


“The recent Fox TV show, which I saw, is an ingenious and entertaining assemblage of nonsense. The claim that radiation exposure during the Apollo missions would have been fatal to the astronauts is only one example of such nonsense."


There is no dust on the LM footpads, when there should have been dust blown up by the LM’s engine.


“Dust” behaves differently in a low-G, airless environment that what we would normally expect here on Earth; it doesn’t “billow” or “float”. The loose portion of the lunar surface was blown outwards from underneath the LM. Even so, there were small traces of it on the LM footpads.


Lunar dust on LM footpad (Crop of AS16-107-17442, courtesy of lunaranomolies.com)


This is similar to what happened with one of the unmanned Surveyor probes. After landing, the camera showed there was no lunar soil on the footpads. NASA wanted to investigate the properties of the lunar soil, and so they “burped” the Surveyor’s rocket motor for a second to disturb the soil. Some of the soil landed on the footpad.


Lunar dust on the photometric chart on the end of omniantenna B of Surveyor 6 (Courtesy of lunaranomolies.com)


The astronauts couldn’t survive the + / - 280F temperatures on the Moon.


To begin, you must remember that when we talk about temperature in space – or on the Moon – we talk about it a little differently than normal. What we generally refer to here is air temperature. In space there is no air to ‘heat’, so it doesn’t have a temperature per se. Things can still get hot or cold, though; it depends on factors such as sunlight hitting them. That’s why the Apollo spacecraft would rotate on its longitudinal axis in space (known as ‘BBQ mode’). This would heat the spacecraft uniformly. If it didn’t, one side would get very hot and the other side would get very cold.


Similarly, on the Moon, the temperature of an object depends on how much sunlight (actually a form of EM radiation) that it absorbs. A dark-coloured object would absorb a maximum amount of heat whereas a white or reflective object would absorb a minimum.


The lunar missions were planned to land and take place during the lunar “morning” (remember, a lunar ‘day’ is nearly 30 days long). This was so that on landing, there would be shadows to help the astronauts judge a suitable landing area, and so that heating from EM radiation would be minimised.


So the surface of the Moon may reach high temperatures at the height of the lunar day, but not everything does. To protect them against the environment, the astronauts wore what were called Extravehicular Mobility Units (EMU) or, to us, a spacesuit. These were coloured bright white to help reflect sunlight and reduce heating. The lunar boots provided thermal and abrasion protection. The outer layer of a lunar boot, except for the sole, was made from Chromel-R (a material made up of stainless steel fibres). Ribs on the sole increased thermal insulation qualities and provided traction on the lunar surface.


The EMU was connected to a Portable Life Support System (PLSS) backpack, which provided oxygen and water for cooling / drinking. Inside the EMU, the astronaut wore a pair of special ‘long johns’ called the Liquid Cooling Garment (LCG), which had cooling tubes woven into them. Water would flow through the tubes, removing heat, and then into the PLSS where it would be cooled by a sublimation process. The LCG could remove about 2000 BTUs per hour from the astronaut.




The Apollo 1 astronauts were killed because Grissom was going to “blow the whistle” on the fakery; he even hung a lemon on the spacecraft.


This is one of the more odious claims made by people. The Apollo 1 fire which killed astronauts Virgil ‘Gus’ Grissom, Edward H. White II, and Roger Chaffee, was a tragic accident. The fire did highlight flaws in the construction of the Command Module (CM) and testing procedures, but it was nothing more than an accident.


The fire was started by an electrical short near the feet of the astronauts in the CM, and was probably spread by glycol leaking from the environmental control system.


To understand the fire, there are several things we must know. The fire occurred on 27 JAN 67 during what was called a ‘plugs out test’. This is a full dress rehearsal countdown where the spacecraft runs entirely on its own internal systems, exactly as it would just prior to launch. Because of delays and time pressures, another test of the CM would be run concurrently. This was the leak check, where the CM would be pressurised to ensure there were no oxygen leaks. The CM used 100% oxygen in the capsule. There were hazards with this, but the complexity and weight of providing a ‘two-gas’ system (oxygen / nitrogen, like normal air) were considered negligible. Both Mercury and Gemini had used 100% oxygen cabin atmospheres without incident.


The pressure in the CM would normally be about around 3 psi in space. This means with a vacuum outside the capsule, the air inside the CM would be ‘pushing out’ at 3 psi. Because the leak check needed to recreate the same pressure differential as would be experienced in space, the pressure in the CM would be raised to at least 3 psi above normal atmospheric pressure (14.7 psi) in order to get that same 3 psi ‘push’. That meant that the pressure of 100% oxygen in the CM at the time of the accident was at least 18 psi. At this pressure, everything within the CM became saturated with oxygen. Post-fire tests showed that under those conditions, some materials which were normally considered to be fire resistant would literally explode if ignited.


Once the spark ignited a fire, it spread rapidly throughout the CM. At this stage, the astronauts were doomed. The CM had a hatch for emergency exit, but it was secured by 12 bolts which had to be first removed. The hatch design also prevented exit. A major concern in space was that the hatch might ‘blow out’, causing sudden decompression. For this reason, the hatch was designed to seal under pressure. Once the fire started, pressure inside the CM rapidly rose, making it impossible to open the hatch.


After the fire, the capsule was redesigned. An oxygen / nitrogen mix would be used inside the CM until it was in space, and the hatch was changed so that it could be opened in a few seconds. Other changes included better quality control of wiring, and re-evaluation of the flammability of materials inside the spacecraft.


The ‘lemon’ incident refers to a lemon that Gus Grissom hung on the CM simulator – not the real spacecraft. It was to highlight the frustration he felt with the simulator not keeping pace with the changes that had occurred in the real spacecraft. Switches, systems, procedures, etc, that had changed in the real CM were not reflected in the simulator, and so the astronauts were not training with a device that was a mirror of the real spacecraft.


Armstrong refuses to be interviewed about the landings.


This is a totally false claim. Neil Armstrong has given many interviews about his experiences with Apollo 11. Perhaps it would be best to let him speak for himself about this:


“I recognise that I am portrayed as staying out of the public eye, but from my perspective it doesn’t seem that way, because I do so many things, go so many places. I give so many talks, I write so many papers, that, from my point of view, it seems like I don’t know how I could do more. But I realise that, from another perspective, outside, I’m only able to accept one percent of all the requests that come in, so to them it seems like I’m not doing anything. But I can’t change that.”

(Neil A. Armstrong to Stephen E. Ambrose and Douglas Brinkley, Houston, Texas, 19 September 2001)


Astronauts refuse to swear on the bible that they landed on the Moon.


This claim originates from a certain Bart Sibrel, who promotes his DVDs claiming that the Moon missions were faked. He is notorious for using false credentials and false premises to gain access to astronauts, where he confronts them and demands that they swear on a bible that they have walked on the Moon. He has forced his way into astronauts home, made veiled threats against them, and been chased by police for stalking astronauts. He also fails to publicise those astronauts who have acceded to his demands and sworn on the bible about their experiences.


His most recent stunt was to ambush Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin. A phoney interview with a Japanese educational television network was set up, and when Aldrin arrived with his stepdaughter, Sibrel confronted him with a camera crew. Sibrel harassed Aldrin and blocking his path. When Sibrel called Aldrin “… a coward, a thief and a liar…”, 72 year old Aldrin decked the 37 year old Sibrel with a left hook to the jaw. Sibrel tried to have Aldrin charged over the incident, but the LA County District Attorney declined to file charges, saying Aldrin had been provoked.




The astronauts could not have operated the camera or wound the film with gloves on.


The lunar cameras were normally a Hasselblad 500EL camera. It was specially modified so that the astronauts could use them whilst wearing their EMU suits.


The Apollo Hasselblad 500EL camera fitted with a 'pistol grip' for operation of the shutter release. Note the 'spade grips' on the lens for easy adjustment whilst wearing gloves


The shutter release was a big black button on the front of the camera, easily used while wearing lunar gloves. The camera was also fitted with a “pistol grip”, which allowed the astronauts to hold the camera and use a ‘trigger’ to activate the shutter.


The lens aperture could be adjusted via a ‘spade grip’ on the lens, again easily used while wearing gloves.


Finally, the camera was equipped with an electrical winder, so there was no need to ‘wind on’ the film. The film itself was in individual magazines which could be changed as required.


There were no viewfinders on the camera. Additionally, all the lunar photographs are too good; they all look professionally done.


This is quite true – there were no viewfinders. The camera could be held in the hands, or mounted to the chest of the EMU. By using a small aperture setting, they increased their ‘depth of field’ (the minimum and maximum distance between which the picture would be in focus). This gave a good tolerance for errors (called ‘zone focusing’). Additionally, a lot of shots were pre-planned, giving the aperture setting, distance, and direction in advance. To give them an even greater edge, they did an extraordinary thing – they practised. The astronauts were given cameras to practise with. They took images all the time during simulation; afterwards they examined the images and discussed how to improve them. This allowed them to become familiar with the camera, and train themselves in how to best aim the camera while in an EMU.


Additionally, not all the Apollo lunar photography was 'perfect' - far from it! Examination of the various films taken (available online from the Lunar and Planetary Institute website) show that many were inadvertent shutter releases, out of focus, poorly framed, affected by light leakage, etc.


The film would have melted in the heat.


It’s important to remember that in a vacuum the only ways to transfer heat are by conduction (physical contact) or radiation (being in direct sunlight). The film was in a film magazine, so was not heated by radiation. That leaves conduction. The film was in contact with the metal film magazine in some places, so it could undergo heat transfer via conduction. The film magazine would be heated via radiation at various times. The cameras and magazines, however, had a polished aluminium finish in order to reduce the amount of radiation heating. Also, when in sunlight the magazine would not immediately ‘jump’ to a very hot temperature; it would slowly heat as it absorbed solar radiation. Likewise, when in the shade, the magazine would slowly cool, radiating heat away. Because the magazines were being variously exposed to sunlight and shade, the temperature of the camera and film within operating limits.


The film would have been fogged when exposed to radiation


Film is affected to some degree by the various types of radiation in space, but the film chosen for Apollo was a special type that could withstand the journey into space without compromising its ability to correctly record colours. The film was made by Kodak-Eastman and known as SO 368 Ektachrome MS colour-reversal film (which had an ASA 64 rating) and Kodak 2485 black and white film (ASA 6000 rating). The colour film was developed from a film type (XR) designed to record colour images of US nuclear tests. The film magazines also afforded some protection, and when not is use they were stored in containers which further reduced the effects of radiation. You only need to think of some other examples to see that the radiation was foreseen. The first ‘spy satellites’ used photographic film which was ejected and recovered by aircraft. The first lunar satellites used photographic film which was developed onboard the satellites and then passed in front of a TV camera for transmission back to Earth. None of these systems had problems with the radiation in space.


Who filmed Neil Armstrong coming down the ladder?


The TV camera that gave us images of Armstrong descending the LM ladder was mounted on a special stowage area on the side of the LM. Known as the Modularised Equipment Stowage Assembly (MESA), it was hinged at the bottom and contained various equipment that would be needed during the lunar exploration. As astronauts exited the LM, they pulled on a D-ring handle that released the MESA and allowed it to swing down. The television camera was then activated from within the LM, and allowed images to be seen back on Earth. The same camera was later removed and placed on a stand to allow further images of astronaut activities around the LM.


Apollo 11 MESA during training


There are no stars in the photographs; this would have shown they were faked.


The reason no stars are normally seen in the Apollo photographs is because the exposure settings required for a correct image on the lunar surface was not sufficient for the stars to register on the film. To our eyes, the stars appear quite bright but they are actually quite dim; our eyes have far greater capability than film. The camera setting for most shots was 1/250th of a second at F8 or F11. You can try an experiment yourself to see how the stars don’t appear (you’ll need a tripod for this). Use an exposure of about 1/25th of a second, at night, around a lit area (such as near a streetlamp) with stars in the background. You’ll see the stars don’t appear. An exposure time of about 30 seconds will be required to get the stars to show up.


The shadows aren’t parallel as they should be.


Not all shadows will be parallel; it depends on the sun angle and the terrain upon which the shadow falls. Some examples are shown below; you can demonstrate this effect for yourself by taking your own images in similar conditions.


Fig. 1 - View from directly overhead to establish the direction of the shadow relative to the optical axis.


Fig. 2 - View from approximately 30 feet (10 meters) away. The irregular shape of the shadow is apparent.


Fig. 3 - View from approximately 45 feet (15 meters) away.


Fig. 4 - View from approximately 60 feet (20 meters) away. The rock shadow appears nearly horizontal.


Fig. 5 - A low angle view of the rock depicted in the following photographs.


Fig. 6 - View from directly overhead to establish actual direction of shadow relative to optical axis. The shadow at upper right is cast by the gnomon.


Fig. 7 - View from approximately 25 feet (8 meters) away. The difference between the rock shadow and the gnomon shadow begins to appear.


Fig. 4 - View from approximately 50 feet (17 meters) away. The difference between the gnomon shadow and the rock shadow is pronounced. The rock shadow appears nearly horizontal.

(Images courtesy of Clavius.og)


You can see the flag waving on the Moon, showing it is being blown by a breeze.


The only time the flags have ever been seen ‘waving’ is when the astronauts were adjusting the flagpole, twisting or hammering it into the lunar surface. Some people see the wrinkles in the flag fabric and take this to mean the flag is moving – but it’s not. The flag was made of a nylon material, rolled up and stored on the outside of the LM ladder. When the flagpole and flag were erected, some of the wrinkles in the fabric of the flag remained in the low lunar gravity.


The backgrounds in some photos aren't right, the LM changes size but the mountains don’t. This proves the LM was moved around a movie set as required for good shots. They also have the same background for different locations.


It depends on the photographs in question, but it is normally a simple matter of perspective. The mountains in many of the shots are a significant distance away from the LM, so when you move closer to the LM (which will now appear larger) there is no apparent change in the mountains. Similarly, the backgrounds can appear the same when taken from different locations. There is a well-known case were people have claimed that the same mountain range appears in the background of two different Apollo missions that went to two different landing sites. This was a mistake by the person making the claim, and both shots were from the same mission.


Some photographs have a person / object in shadow but they are lit, proving that addition lighting was used.


Each individual claim needs to be examined separately, but in general they are the result of the same causes. Firstly, the lunar surface itself reflects a significant amount of light (think about how bright it is on a night with a full moon). Secondly, the EMU suits worn by the astronauts were of a bright white material which itself reflected a lot of light. Even the light reflected off the Earth itself contributed to a minor degree. All this reflected light helped illuminate some of the objects that were in shadow. Finally, during the developing of the images themselves, some photos were ‘pushed’ to help show detail in the darker areas. This can be seen where other areas in full sunlight tend to be a little ‘washed out’ (overexposed). Examples of this effect have been reproduced by Ian Goddard, and can be seen here here.


An image shows the letter C written on a moon rock; it was a prop. The C was there to indicate where it was to be placed on the movie set used for the fake images.

The infamous ‘C’ can be seen in some versions of AS16-107-17445 and 17446. Even some of the versions from NASA websites show this. Steve Troy of Lunaranomolies.com did extensive investigation into these images. What he discovered was that although the ‘C’ appeared on many images, it did NOT appear on the original image transparencies. Following up with the Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI) in Houston (which had copies of the original transparencies), he found that one of the prints in their collection was the source of the mark. The Apollo images were taken on transparency film, like slide film, and not negative film as most 35mm camera users would be used to. Under microscopic examination, it could be seen that the ‘C’ was actually a small hair or fibre which had found its way onto the transparency during the printing of the images. At some point that print had been scanned and has since been widely distributed on the Internet.

The crosshairs in some of the photographs disappear behind objects, proving the photos were faked.


The crosshairs, or fiducials, are placed on the images through a reseau plate inside the camera. A reseau plate is a glass plate that has the fiducials etched into it, and the film being exposed sits against the reseau plate. As the light passes through the reseau plate onto the film, it superimposes the fiducials on the film.


The ‘disappearing’ fiducials always go missing when against bright white objects in the images. This is a photographic phenomenon known as ‘washout’. The bright white in the emulsion washes or bleeds over the thin fiducial lines (they are about 0.1mm thick), obscuring them. This has been confirmed by photographic experts who have reproduced the effect on numerous occasions.


Who took the photographs of the LM lifting off the Moon?


This is another example of lack of understanding of the events on the Moon. Apollos 15, 16, and 17 all had a Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV) which had a television camera mounted on the LRV. This camera could be remotely controlled from Earth, allowing mission control to film the astronauts at work. When each mission ended, the LRV was parked nearby to the LM, and was used to film the lift-off of the ascent stage. Because of the time delay involved in sending the camera operation signals to the Moon, it was very tricky to be able to film the lift-off of the ascent stage. The results were poor for Apollo 15 and 16. At the end of Apollo 17, Mission Control LRV camera operator Ed Fendell successfully captured the lift-off of the ascent stage as it raced into the lunar sky. Television broadcast of the discarded descent stage continued after lift-off, and Ed Fendell panned the LRV camera around the now unpopulated lunar surface for some time.


A professional photographer, Jack White, has discovered hundreds of anomalies in the Apollo photos, indicating that they have been faked.


Mr White, a journalist by education and advertising man by trade, is a self-claimed ‘image analyst’ who has a penchant for “discovering anomalies” in thousands of images, ranging from the JFK assassination to 9/11, from the New Orleans ‘Hurricane Katrina’ disaster to Apollo.


None of his claims have ever been able to withstand close scrutiny. He has continuously displayed ignorance of the events and technical details of Apollo, and makes basic errors regarding the science of photography.


A full rebuttal of all his Apollo claims can be found here.

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