Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Was that a real fake or a fake fake?

There is some overlap between those who insist everything paranormal is fake, and those who insist the moon landings were faked. It seems some people get so hooked on calling 'fake' they just don't know where to stop. Tinfoil hats have never sold so well.

There are a lot of fakes in every part of the paranormal - there are fake ghost photos aplenty, there are fake psychics, just think of anything to do with the paranormal and someone has faked it. The fakes are so numerous that it's easy, and from a layman's point of view even logical, to assume that it's all fake.

It's not all fake. There are so many fakes out there now, and some of them are so good at it, that it's far more difficult to prove any real incident because someone can replicate that effect by non-paranormal means and use that to claim it's all done that way. An amateur photoshopper can produce a fake ghost photo in minutes, but that does not prove that all ghost photos are fakes. Stage magicians can replicate psychic effects by fakery - and there are many active fakes out there claiming to be real - but that does not prove that all psychics are fakes. It proves the effects can be replicated, it does not prove every incident was done that way.

This, however, is about a non-faked event that has been widely claimed to have been faked. An allegedly reputable British newspaper has even gone so far as to publish a list of ten reasons why the Moon Landings were faked. In case the link doesn't work outside the UK, here they are, with my responses:

1) When the astronauts are putting up the American flag it waves. There is no wind on the Moon.


There is no wind on the Moon, but there is a wire running along the top of the fabric flag. Otherwise it would just flop against the post. When they put it up, it waves because they are moving a flexible flag suspended on a wire. It does not move after that.

2) No stars are visible in the pictures taken by the Apollo astronauts from the surface of the Moon.

It was daytime on the Moon. They used film cameras to photograph an extremely bright foreground. If you take a photo of a scene on a starry night, and you have some form of lighting for that scene, you won't photograph any stars. You certainly won't photograph any during the day. If you were on the Moon, where sunlight is not attenuated by the atmosphere, the brightness of the foreground will mean setting the aperture to a small hole. Starlight will not register on the film. If there were stars in the photos, I would wonder if they were fake. That there are no stars is entirely to be expected. (To photograph stars, you need a very long exposure and a motor that moves the camera as the Earth rotates, or you'll just get streaks. Oh, and you have to do it at night).

3) No blast crater is visible in the pictures taken of the lunar landing module.

The module weighed 17 tons. The downforce of its rocket would have blown away dust from the underlying rock. If there were no underlying rock, the thing would have sunk into the ground. There isn't a crater but there is a radius of blown-away dust, and it's much bigger than the lunar module so it's hard to see. Since there is no air, the dust won't be carried away as on Earth, it'll fall straight back down. So the module is sitting on a rock with a thin layer of dust left on it.

4) The landing module weighed 17 tons and yet sat on top of the sand making no impression. Next to it astronauts’ footprints can be seen in the sand.

Sand? There is no sand on the Moon because sand is produced by weathering of rocks and there is no weather on the Moon. See 3). The module did not land on dust (sand), it landed on rock. That was deliberate. They had plans to go home, remember, and they won't have wanted to have to dig the ship out first.

5) The footprints in the fine lunar dust, with no moisture or atmosphere or strong gravity, are unexpectedly well preserved, as if made in wet sand.

It's not sand and it's not wet. It's fine dust. There is no air to form a breeze to move the dust. There are no worms or insects to disturb it. It never rains. Unless a meteorite hits those footprints, they'll last for ages. They might still be there now. If there were moisture and air, they'd have fallen apart very quickly. Gravity is not relevant to this part of the argument at all.

6) When the landing module took off from the Moon’s surface there is no visible flame from the rocket.

Why would there be? Flames form because of combustion with oxygen. There is none on the moon. You can see flames from a rocket engine in Earth's atmosphere because residual fuel is burning in the air. That can't happen on the moon. All combustion takes place within the rocket engine and any leftover fuel cannot burn once outside the engine.

7) If you speed up the film of the astronauts walking on the Moon’s surface they look like they were filmed on Earth and slowed down.

(sigh) So if you speed up a film, it looks like it was filmed at speed and then slowed down before showing it to anyone? You can make the same claim about 'Gone with the Wind'. The astronauts were still human when they landed on the Moon, they still moved like humans, but under lower gravity they had to make those movements slowly or they'd have hurt themselves. Imagine waking up tomorrow and finding out you're six times as strong as you are now. Try to pick up a cup as you always have, and it'll shatter in your hands.

8) The astronauts could not have survived the trip because of exposure to radiation from the Van Allen radiation belt.

Here is the Van Allen belt. And here's the simple answer. They didn't go naked. The amount of shielding required was calculated from experiments and that amount of shielding was used. That's why the ship looks like it's covered in tinfoil. It was. You could have made a lot of hats out of the shielding they used.

9) The rocks brought back from the Moon are identical to rocks collected by scientific expeditions to Antarctica.

One. The Moon formed from the Earth. It's much the same rock. Two. These will be the scientific expeditions to look for meteorites that might be moon fragments, yes? The clue is in the weathering. Moon rocks might have the same composition as Earth rocks but they have not been weathered by wind, rain, ice or sea. The ones found in Antarctica might have been. It depends how long they were there. Besides, why aren't the moon rocks the same as the gravel you can buy in a garden centre? If it was all a fake, they would be.

10) All six Moon landings happened during the Nixon administration. No other national leader has claimed to have landed astronauts on the Moon, despite 40 years of rapid technological development.

No other nation has bothered to try. The Russians sent up a robotic ship, there have been a few moon probes from other nations, but the expense of sending more people to the Moon can't be easily justified. Besides, we've seen photos of it. The whole place is a dump. There's nothing on that rock worth having. If the astronauts had found lumps of gold or pools of oil, you can bet the entire thing would be populated by now. Nobody else has gone because there's nothing there but rocks, dust, and an American flag and you can get all those things here.

Nixon was a bit dodgy, yes, but he didn't run the space programme. He paid someone else to do it. This is the 'fake by association' game - because Nixon did a few dodgy deals, everything that happened in the whole of America while he was in charge is therefore a fake. It's a ploy I'm very familiar with because it's the same as 'I have a hundred fake ghost photos so all ghost photos are fake'.

What these people can't seem to get their heads around is that the Moon is a different place. It has no air so there's no wind. If the flag moved in the wind, the footprints would have been filled in by wind-blown dust. If the footprints aren't affected, there's no wind, so the flag can't have moved. The arguments are not even logically consistent!

The moon landings really happened. People worked out how to build bridges and tall spires before the invention of cranes, they explored the north and south poles long before the invention of flight, even before the internal combustion engine. Dickens wrote his novels long before the invention of the word processor. Modern technology is all very nice but it was not essential for any of those things, nor was a mega-gigahertz computer with enough disk space to store all the information in a country and fifteen gigabytes of memory necessary to run the lunar module.

They piloted it, you see. People can do that.

People can do a lot of things if they just get off their backsides and stop pretending the world is full of weaklings like themselves.

I despair. The whole world has gone soft.

4 comments:

Liana Brooks said...

I'd never know what the actual arguments against the landing were. This made for interesting reading. Thank you :o)

Marie Dees said...

My uncle worked for NASA from the start of the space program through the shuttle program. I love this type of stuff.

Marie

Southern Writer said...

Was this post inspired by the NASA confession that they erased the original video of the moon landing, but not to worry - Hollywood recreated it for them? I guess that explains who was holding the camera. Okay, I'm just kidding. One thing I'd like to know, though, is if we can see that flag with a good telescope?

Romulus Crowe said...

I don't think there's a telescope that can see the lander from Earth. They might be able to turn one of the space telescopes to look at it, but the optics in those are designed to look way out at the stars so the moon might be too close for them to focus on.

They also have extremely sensitive light collectors. The brightness of the moon might burn them out.

I don't know if it's possible, but I'd love to see a photo of that flag and the lander base sitting on the moon.

It won't silence the sceptics though. They'll shout 'faked' whatever you show them.

As every paranormal investigator knows, once a sceptic has made up their minds, nothing will change it.

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