Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Were The Moon Landings Faked?

Fred Butler at Hip and Thigh posted a link today to a clip from the television talk show The View in which Whoopi Goldberg expressed some doubts as to whether or not the Moon landings were faked.

Oh, wow! I almost feel sympathy for Goldberg. It is horrible to have to display your ignorance on national television that way. “Who took the pictures?” have you ever heard of a tripod, Whoopi? And then Walters has to cap it off by trying to explain that Mike Collins, still in orbit aboard Columbia, was some of taking the pictures. And people watch this show?

Okay, about the flag, when they set it up it began to swing, not from air resistance but from gravity and inertia. Without air to slow it down, the bottom corner of the flag kept swinging like a pendulum for quite some time. This is been replicated in vacuum chambers more than once. Mythbusters on the Discovery Channel recently did a whole show debunking many “the Moon landings were faked” myths.

Several years ago, I was sitting in my office and I had a picture from Apollo 15 on my computer desktop. A really nice color shot of one of the astronauts standing by the flag in front of the lunar module with the lunar rover parked close by. A guy came into my office, saw the picture, and remarked, “You know that was all faked, don’t you?” Initially, I thought it was joking, but it was soon evident that he was quite serious. After a few minutes, it was also quite apparent to me, that no amount of discussion would change his mind. This was my one and only personal encounter with a Moon-landing Denier.

The main “evidence” that was brought up that day, the same “evidence” that such Moon-landing Deniers always point to, was; #1) the waving flag; #2) the lack of stars in the background of the photographs from the Moon; and #3) the shadows of objects in the photographs from the Moon. The waving flag we have already dealt with. The lack of stars in the backgrounds of the photographs is easily explained when we understand that the camera’s aperture was set to take photographs in full daylight. Compared to everything in the foreground, the dirt, the rocks, the lunar module, and the astronauts, all standing in full sunlight, the stars are too faint to show up in the photographs. The problems with the shadows disappear when you realize that the surface of the Moon is not flat and uniform. Shadows cast on a sloping surface will seem to be pointed in a different direction from shadows cast on a flat surface.

The fact that so many people believe that the Moon landings, all six of them, were faked, and denying the Moon landings while using personal computers, cell phones, the Internet, and watching satellite television, is just another testimony to the total inadequacy of the American education system!

For detailed refutation of the "Moon myths" see here and here.

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