|Fox program had questioned whether the Apollo
program really send mem to the moon. Did we land
on the moon? Do we have proof? Why did the flag
move if there is no atmosphere on the moon? Why
is there no crater under the spacecraft when it
landed and when it took off? Why haven't we gone
back to the moon if we have so much technology?
|Question Date: 2001-05-07|
Before discussing the questions you brought up, I
would like to say that the students should be
encouraged to not readily accept things told to
them by "experts," including the government! It
is important to think things through for
themselves, and not hesitate to question and
further investigate things that do not make sense
to them. From my own experience, I would caution
against immediately accepting things as true from
the media, especially tv (and particularly Fox -
didn't they also have a show on disecting an
alien?), as issues are often times presented to
sensationalize the matter. Unfortunately I did
not watch this program, so I had to ask some
friends who did watch it and find out what they
talked about on the show. Hopefully I got most of
the facts right.
Did we land on the moon?
believe without hesitation that we did land on the
moon. On a side note, think of this - if this was
some elaborate show to fake the general public, do
you believe the government and all the people
involved could manage to keep a secret of that
magnitude hidden so well and for so long?
Other than the footage, I would
imagine that the clearest proof we have been to
the moon are all the moon rocks that have been
collected. These rocks have been studied for
years now by many scientists around the world
(many not associated with our government) who all
agree and do not dispute that the rocks did not
originate from earth (different compositions,
etc.) If this was all a hoax, then someone would
have needed to create all these "fake rocks" to
fool so many scientists for many years (or,
somehow convince all the scientists invovled to go
along with the hoax!).
I have also heard that
astronauts placed a mirror on the surface of the
moon somewhere, and that scientists have used that
mirror to reflect laser beams back to the earth to
get accurate measurements on the distance from the
earth to the moon. However, you may want to
investigate that further to confirm it.
the flag move if there is no atmosphere on the
I'm not actually sure if there is movie
footage of a flag "moving in the wind" or not.
I've seen the photos where it appears it is
moving, but that could easily be explained.
First, I believe that a bar was added to the top
of the flag to support it so it didn't just hang
around the pole. Also, I imagine that as the pole
was mounted and then released, that there could
have been some vibration in the pole when it was
released that would "move" the flag.
there no crater under the spacecraft when it
landed and when it took off?
As for landing,
you probably wouldn't really expect a crater. If
you're going to land, you wouldn't have your
thrusters at full power that close to the ground.
The thurst from the engine at touchdown was
about 3000 pounds. This isn't a particularly
large thrust (look up what fighter planes use for
thrust for comparison). Here's an interesting
calculation for you to try: Thrust is force in a
given direction, and pressure, is force (or
thrust) per unit area. Take the 3000 pounds of
force and the area of the engine nozzle (it's
about 5 feet in diameter). and calculate the force
in pounds per square inch, or psi. Now compare
that pressure with what you might fill your car
tires with and see wha tyou get! One other thing
to note is that there was only a thin layer of
dust at the landing site, and beneath it was hard
rock, which would also help prevent forming a
Related issue: Why is there no dust on
top of the spacecraft?
intuition can deceive you if you apply "normal
life experience" to what happens in space. The
dust that was pushed aside from the thrusters
never plumes back up to land on the shuttle - once
it moves away from the craft, it keeps going.
There is no atmosphere to cause it to change
Another issue (photos): As I
understand it, one of the main arguments of the
Fox show was the space photos themselves.
aren't there stars in the photos? This may seem
convincing at first, but think about camera
exposures. Have you ever tried to take a photo of
a bright object in a dim background? You can
either get a good picture of the bright object
(person) with a low exposure time, or a picture of
the background (the stars) but then your bright
object would be over exposed. I suspect exposure
issues apply to a lot of the photo issues brought
Why haven't we gone back to the moon if we
have so much technology?
While we have the
technology to do it, I would guess that whether we
do or not is more a financial and political
decision. NASA must justify its annual funding to
the government, and so it also depends on their
priorities. For example, send a man to the moon,
or a probe to Mars. Obviously, it's not that
simple since there are many space based programs,
but hopefully you get the idea.
I have answered assuming you are talking about
this program: ``Conspiracy Theory: Did We Land on
the Moon?'', a Fox TV network
Apparently this TV show really got a
lot of people thinking hard about the truth of the
US moon landings, and starting to ask questions
about it. This, in and of itself, is a _very good
thing_! Asking probing questions about our lives,
and what the government tells us (what anyone
tells you to believe!) is a _VERY GOOD THING_ to
learn early in your lives, and one that will help
you out later in life too.
always asking questions, and wanting to see
'evidence' for the explanation of new discoveries.
If scientists did _not_ do this, we would never
learn about our environment! You,as soon to be
full and voting citizens of the USA, and members
of the world in general, must also ask to "see
proof", make your own decisions based on your own
knowledge, and use logic when addressing these
questions. You must make decisions about who to
trust and who is telling you the truth. I am a
scientist and I have to do this everyday in my
Having said that it is GOOD to ask
questions, you must also ask yourselves whether
Fox presented you credible evidence that we did
not go to the moon? We all know that we can't
believe everything we see on television, right?
Television is paid for by big business sponsors
who advertise on the networks and who want lots of
people watching their shows...the more sensational
the show, the more people will tune in! Just keep
that point in mind when watching television shows.
Many TV shows give you sound information, but some
do not. What sources of media (communication
channels...TV, newspaper, books, magazines,
movies, radio, etc.) do you think are most likely
to tell the truth without sensationalizing it? Do
you know of any?
Here's a question for you: Did
the Fox program interview anyone who believed we
went to the moon? Did they hear testimony from
both parties on this subject? This is called being
"unbiased" in journalism, and not "leading" the
audience to believe one way or the other. Did they
present both sides of the story to you, the
audience? Where could you get both sides of the
story about the moon landings?
Here's where I
went to get both sides of the story: some internet
websites. This is not to say that you should
believe everything you read on the internet
either, but you should consider the sources (who
presents the data you read about!) and make your
Philip Plait, a real astronomer,
had created a great website (link below)
addressing the very questions you have asked us
(WOW!), so I will refer you to him, since he is
the expert in the field of lunar flight. You
should check out his website, and _decide_ for
yourselves whether to believe what he says. I
believe him because I believe what he says is
supported by common sense and scientific
case you can't get to the website right away, here
are one answer I have copied from Philip's
website, and one of my own! However he has
answered all your questions on his
Concerning the rippled flag:
When the astronauts are assembling the American
flag, the flag waves. Kaysing says this must have
been from an errant breeze on the set. A flag
wouldn't wave in a vacuum.
Good: Of course a
flag can wave in a vacuum. In the shot of the
astronaut and the flag, the astronaut is rotating
the pole on which the flag is mounted, trying to
get it to stay up. The flag is mounted on one side
on the pole, and along the top by another pole
that sticks out to the side. In a vacuum or not,
when you whip around the vertical pole, the flag
will ``wave'', since it is attached at the top.
The top will move first, then the cloth will
follow along in a wave that moves down. This isn't
air that is moving the flag, it's the cloth
New stuff added March 1, 2001: Many HBs
show a picture of an astronaut standing to one
side of the flag, which still has a ripple in it
(for example, see this famous image). The
astronaut is not touching the flag, so how can it
he answer is, it isn't waving. It looks
like that because of the way the flag was
deployed. The flag hangs from a horizontal rod
which telescopes out from the vertical one. In
Apollo 11, they couldn't get the rod to sit
horizontally, so the flag didn't get stretched
fully. It has a ripple in it, like a curtain that
is not fully closed. In later flights, the
astronauts didn't fully deploy it on purpose
because they liked the way it looked. In other
words, the flag looks like it is waving because
the astronauts wanted it to look
Ironically, they did their job too well. It
appears to have fooled a lot of people into
Yes, we did go to the moon. There is a NASA
rebuttal to the Fox special at
of the best pieces of proof is that we brought
rocks back and they are very different from earth
rocks. They generally yield radiometric ages
older than 4 billion years--older than earth rocks
because the earth has been recycling itself by
plate tectonics. The moon rocks are also devoid
of water and other volatiles--very different from
earth rocks. In short, if they had created a
hoax, they wouldn't have concocted rocks that are
as hard to explain as the moon rocks.
In many ways this is more of a philosophical
question than a science question. If you weren't
an eye witness to an event are you willing to
believe what you are told or read about? Even if
you are an eye witness, are you willing to believe
what you see? I believe that we landed on the
moon just as much I believe George Washington,
Abraham Lincoln, and John F. Kennedy existed. I
wasn't alive when they were (or during the first
moon landing for that matter), so I have never met
them. Yet there is plenty of evidence that they
existed and the most simple explanation is that
they did indeed exist. Theoretically, the
founding fathers could have made up George
Washington, but I doubt they did.
You have to
ask yourself why would people make up going to the
moon or any other "big lie?" What purpose would
it serve? How would you make up such a "big lie"
and keep it a secret (especially if a lot of
people are involved)? We obviously have the
technology to go to the moon today if we can send
up space shuttles and space stations. I don't
think anyone with any sense would deny that the
space shuttles exist. Plenty of people have seen
them launch and land.
We don't go to the moon
today because there is no good reason to. We've
already been there and there isn't much point in
using our resources to send more people there
until we have the technology to keep them there
for more than a day or so.
As far as the
specific "questions" raised in the show; I would
have to watch it for myself. I'm not even sure I
believe that this show exists. I think the show
might be a hoax created in a studio to look like a
show that denies the moon landing. How do we even
know that the footage on the "show" is the same as
the real moon landing footage. Who can say?
Rather than believing the "show" just because
they tell you to, you should start exploring the
evidence of the moon landing yourself and come to
your own conclusions. Talk to eye witnesses, look
up news paper articles, look at the original
footage, see what people said at the time, learn
some physics, find out if we had the technology to
go to the moon back in the late 1960's. Be
aggressive in your search for knowledge, don't
just accept what someone tells you on a TV show
(or over email).
Did we land on the moon?
YES. We left
instruments and debris up there. For example: we
left seismometers that measured moonquakes. You
could not reproduce this data on earth. We
brought back rocks, and we could not reproduce
those chemically on earth! I personally know some
of the scientists who built the heat flow probes
and seismometers, and analyzed the data, as well
as worked with some of the lunar rocks. We just
could not reproduce that data on earth.
have proof ?
YES. See answer above. Also,
you can look at the video of the astronauts
playing golf and riding around on the moon - you
could not produce that low-g environment on earth,
and the computer graphics were just not that good
back then to create the videos
Why did the flag move if there is
no atmosphere on the moon?
I have never seen
videos when the flag moved on its own, as if in
Why is there no crater under the
spacecraft when it landed and when it took
There was no impact! It just blew dust
Why haven't we gone back to the moon if
we have so much technology?
Did we land on the moon?
Yes we sure
Do we have proof ?
Ask Tom Hanks
Why did the flag move if there is no
atmosphere on the moon?
There is gravity
is there no crater under the spacecraft when it
landed and when it took off?
There is a tiny
Why haven't we gone back to the moon
if we have so much technology?
There is no
national will to spend the billions
This is really an excellent question
and I believe we can use this question to examine
the way the mass media decides to present
Everyday very important discoveries
get made. Does the press try and educate the
public ? Generally NO. Instead the sensational
ridiculous claims get the press. the idea that we
really did not land on the moon , that it is a
conspiracy etc, etc, is PLAIN RUBBISH !!! Why FOX
news would present this is a mystery to me.
next show may provide us with evidence that the
EARTH IS flat and that Santa Claus really does
visit 3 billion people every December 25th ....
fill in something silly here!!!
There are all sorts of conspiracy theories about
alien abduction, government involvement with alien
races, experiments on people by aliens, and the
trip to the moon being a big hoax.
We did land
on the moon, we have soil samples, gas samples,
video (which, granted, is not all that great or
There is something called solar wind
created by heat, movement of bodies through space,
which could have moved the flag, it also could
have been moved accidently by one of the
astronauts, there are a myriad of reasons the flag
could have moved.
There is no crater
underneath the lunar lander because the force with
which we landed was not enough to form a crater.
A crater is usually formed from an high velocity
impact of a surface, fortunetely, the lunar lander
did not have such a landing or else the astronauts
could have died.
This last question is
somewhat of a mystery to me. Several
organizations have been interested in
"terraforming" or creating a livable atmosphere
over a long period of time with bodies just like
the moon, except they talk about doing it on Mars,
which seems silly when the moon, by comparison, is
just a hop-skip-and jump away. Remember however,
that there is (as much as I make fun of it) a
whole lot of department of defense secret research
going on and departments such as this in various
governments might "have dibs" on the moon and
therefore, the rest of us public scientists have
to go elsewhere to do our research. Just a stab
in the dark but this is a mystery to me too so
that's my best guess.
Here's something to
remember. The media are a powerful group of
people (producers, writers, movie-makers, tv
programmers). Many people take what they see on
television for "truth", but all TV programs really
are is someone's opinion being expressed through a
story that you see. Even when you watch CNN, NBC,
CBS, cable programming movies or documentaries,
these are all areas of media where a few people
are deciding what a great many people watch. Tell
your students that part of the importance of going
to school is to learn how to think for yourself,
and to question what you learn and see. Many
people let television think for them and let the
TV programmers decide what's true and what's not,
the really smart people go and find out for
themselves. Remember "Wag the Dog"? (movie) The
truth is out there, be smart enough not just to
question what you see but to decide for yourself
based on facts, not someone else's fiction.
I watched part of the Fox program that questions
whether the Apollo program really sent men to the
moon. I don't remember all of the points it
raises, but I will address the points that I
The program raised questions about
the photographs and film shot on the Moon's
surface. Some of the questions asked were:
do the pictures show things that are in the
Why do the crosshairs in some of the
photos appear to be behind objects in
Why do some of the films, which were
supposedly shot on different days in
locations, have exactly the same background?
can think of some simple answers to these
Why do the pictures show things that
are in the shade, if the sun is the only source of
light and it isn't directly shining in the shade?
Think about how we see, and how cameras take
images. Can I see something on earth that is in
the shade, if there is no direct light shining on
it? Of course I can, but why? If you can answer
this, you can answer why objects in the shade on
the moon still appear in photographs.
the crosshairs in some of the photos appear to be
behind objects in the photos? The implication
seems to be that the crosshairs were actually
drawn on the wall of the NASA studio in which the
photos were staged. But why draw the crosshairs
on the wall, when it would be so much easier to
put them in the camera? It sounds absurd to me.
I would bet that somebody airbrushed the photos
before publishing them, so that they'd look
Why do some of the films, which were
supposedly shot on different days in different
locations, have exactly the same background? I
don't know the answer to this for sure, but I can
remember once I picked up a ZIP disk that someone
left next to the computer, and I mistakenly
thought it was mine and wrote my name on it. It
turned out to be someone else's.
Why did the
flag move if there is no atmosphere on the moon?
Why was there no crater under the spacecraft when
it landed and when it took off?
Why haven't we
gone back to the moon if we have so much
technology? I don't know the answer to all of
these questions. But I do believe there are
answers. One possible answer is that the moon
landings were faked.
Another possible answer is
that there really are good reasons for all of
these strange observations, and that man really
has landed on the moon.
Think about all of the
possibilities, not just the ones that Fox wants
you to believe, and decide what you think is
One often hears sensational
theories, like the idea that man has never landed
on the moon. Some people claim to have seen
flying saucers, some claim to have been abducted
by aliens, some claim that flight in airplanes is
all a big hoax, some claim that JFK was murdered
by the CIA, some claim that Bill Clinton murdered
Vince Foster, and on and on. These theories could
be true, but how likely are they to be true? The
people who put forth these theories are often
skeptical of the "official line", then
around and accept some pretty strange
ideas with no skepticism at all.
but do it consistently!
Yes -- we did land on the moon, but as to proof,
any thing anybody has could be claimed to be
I have bounced laser beams off the
mirrors set up on the moon by the apollo
astronauts, so I know the were there. However, you
might think that I too am part of a conspiracy....
The flag was suspended on a spring loaded wire --
an moved as it was being placed. If you look at
the flag pictures from several differnet shots
after it came to rest, you will note that it did
not move later.
If the landing was faked, there
were several very hard to fake parts -- for
example the dust on the moon fell as the same rate
as the rocks and or hammers etc... You can measure
the rate of fall and see that the gravity was
different... This could be done by slowmotion
--but it would requre the astronauts to be in very
fast modion while being shot-- and without a
vacuum the dust would not settle so
The Lem only weighed about 1500 lbs on
the moon -- that amount of thrust is far lower
than a small jet plane-- and would hardly make a
Finally, as to why we haven't gone back
-- we went there originally partly as
publicity stunt and partly to fend off fears that
the russians would build a permanent military base
on the moon. (Such a base would be easy to defend
and could any point on the earth by tossing
rocks....consider a 2 ton boulder falling on a
city at 20 miles/second.) Politically, NASA seems
to be much more in the business of keeping us out
of space than getting us into it, they have fought
any private access to space and
made it illegal
to launch from the continental US or our
possessions. Nonetheless, I suspect that the near
future will change this a bit as we now have
private launch capability from platforms in the
To go to space, you have to have a
good paying reason or a military
This has not been the case for
30years, but the times are changing with China in
the going and with material processing costs
soaring on the earth. Still -- without lowering
the cost -- nothing much will be done.
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