Ken Skeldon, of the University of Glasgow, has been touring with his lecture about moon hoax theories. He spoke at UTS for Science Week. He picked a few of the popular “facts” used to promote the idea that NASA’s moon landings have been faked and debunked them. It was very entertaining. I really can’t capture how much fun he made it; the presentation included Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin being played backwards and some trippy optical illusions, but here’s the gist of the argument anyway. I didn’t need this lecture to be convinced that people who think the moon landing was hoaxed are fruits, but it was good to have the science of it as well as the politics. (Not that I’m finding NASA all that impressive these days; but its current failures shouldn’t negate its past successes.)
The flag is waving; it shouldn’t because there’s no atmosphere.
Because there’s no atmosphere, the flag had to have a rigid pole to hold it open. There is no footage showing the flag waving on its own; however there is footage of it moving while the astronauts were struggling to get the flag into place. Once they let go, it took a little longer to stop moving than it would on earth, because there were less forces acting against it.
There aren’t any stars in any of the pictures, but there are no clouds on the moon to block them.
Because the moon is reflective, it has an incredibly bright surface. The cameras had to majorly underexpose in order to show the astronauts in the pictures at all; if the exposure had been normal, the surface and the astronauts would have been “washed out”.
There are non-parallel shadows in the pictures, suggesting multiple light sources.
It’s an optical illusion that a single light source only gives parallel shadows; shadows meet at the light source.
The astronauts and lunar module appear to be lit in the shade.
On a clear night, the moon appears crisp because sunlight from behind it reflects in all directions, regardless of what angle it hits the moon at. This is what makes the moon such a bright light source. The astronauts and lunar module had light from the sun behind them to illuminate them.
Dust anomalies: there were no plumes of dust from the moon rover, and no crater was formed when the lunar module landed.
The moon rover didn’t leave plumes of dust as cars do on earth, because of the reduced gravity. The lunar module didn’t form a crater upon landing because it didn’t crash down; it drifted down gently.
The astronauts wouldn’t have been able to survive the radiation they would be exposed to in the Van Allen Belt.
The Van Allen Belt consists of three types of radiation: alpha particles (protons), beta particles (electrons) and gamma radiation (light radiation, which is actually harmful). They only passed through the alpha radiation, which is much easier to block: it is blocked with polyurethane, as opposed to gamma radiation, which can only be blocked with lead.
Some photos with different foregrounds have identical backgrounds.
Without anything in between, relative distance is harder to judge; the photos were taken from different angles and/or distances.
Some of the pictures show “props” that are clearly man-made.
The brain can make anything seem like anything else, given the suggestion.
And some proof that the moon landings did happen…
* All the live video footage was transmitted by a network of satellite dishes during the Apollo missions, including some in Australia (The Dish).
* Over 382 kg of moon rock was brought back.
* Gravity measured from original footage checks at 116/earth’s gravity, as expected.
* Over 130 separate lunar energy studies rely on reflectors left behind by astronauts.
Some reading material…