Moon Landing Conspiracy Theorists Biting Dust On the 50th Anniversary of First Lunar Mission
Today, July 20 2019, at precisely 4:17:40PM ET, it is exactly fifty years since the Apollo Lunar Module ‘Eagle’ touched down on the Moon and while anniversary events are being held all over the world in honor of this monumental historic achievement, scientists and filmmakers are fighting for headlines in the ongoing battle over whether the Moon landing was faked.
Earlier this week, on July 18, The Sun printed a story about Bart Sibrel, a filmmaker who was once punched right in the face by astronaut Buzz Aldrin for accusing him of having lied about walking on the moon - who now claims he has “undeniable proof” that the lunar landings were just a hoax. One day later on Friday July 19, the Australian National University (ANU) published an article titled Lunar rocks debunk moon landing conspiracy theories which provides “hard evidence” dispelling any notions that the lunar landing was faked.
Notions that humans lived with dinosaurs, that the Earth is flat and the moon landings were faked occupy significant online real estate, but ANU scientist Professor Trevor Ireland, who specializes in studying space rock, said yesterday “the scenario of an unmanned mission retrieving the Moon rocks was also practically impossible.” Illustrating why, the professor said “lunar soil results from eons of bombardment and the rocks have compositions that are unique to the Moon… No conspiracy would have or could have made the Moon rocks.”
In total, five other missions that landed on the Moon have recovered a total of about 380 kg of Moon rocks on Earth. Working alongside Dr Ireland was Ross Taylor who worked on the NASA team who first analyzed the lunar rocks that Neil Armstrong brought back in 1969; Bill Compston discovered lunar rocks were much older than any on Earth and scientists Ted Ringwood and John Lovering determined that the moon contained a set of minerals not found anywhere on Earth.
Returning to Mr Sibrel, the filmmaker who accuses NASA of “perpetuating a conspiracy symbolic of government arrogance”, the Sun article quotes him saying “It was totally 100 per cent contrived - none of it is true” and like almost every conspiracy theorists before him he points to the “shadows on the moon” claiming he has “carried out experiments” that prove the pictures could only be recreated using electrical studio lighting.
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Professor Trevor Ireland from the ANU Research School of Earth Sciences holds a vial containing moon dust collected by Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong during his first walk on the Moon. Since 1969, the ANU has played a critical role in the analysis of moon material. Image credit: Lannon Harley, ANU
Come On, Pull the Other One
I am not a scientist, but I did study photography and filmmaking and I’ve taught these subjects to University students at degree level. Even amateur filmmakers and photographers know that the sun is about 93 million miles away and this is why the shadows in the Moon footage are parallel in most places and that if the light source were a nearby studio spotlight, the shadows would originate from a central point. Furthermore, the sun isn’t the only source of illumination on the Moon as it is also reflected from the ground causing some shadows to “appear” un-parallel.
If the scenes were filmed in a television studio, the standard set up of that time was to shoot in 30 frames per second and according to this BBC article, we know the video from the first Moon landing was recorded at ten frames per second in SSTV (Slow Scan television) with a specially adapted space camera, and that it couldn’t have been slowed down in post-production. In conclusion, let’s tomorrow celebrate a phenomenal act of human achievement and put aside those who fight to undermine not only the people who boldly went where nobody had been before, but the entirety of NASA and all of the dedicated scientists who have committed their lives to our better understanding of the Moon and the final frontier.
NASA Television have announced a Special Program called NASA’s Giant Leaps: Past and Future – Celebrating Apollo 50th as we Go Forward to the Moon airing on Friday, July 19, 1 p.m. ET.
Airing on the NASA Live page, the show will be broadcast from the historic Apollo mission control room at Johnson Space Center in Houston, NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida and the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama “telling the story of how we got there and how we’ll get there again.”
Top image: Astronaut on the moon. Credit: Vadimsadovski / Adobe Stock
By Ashley Cowie