The Skeptical Teacher

Musings of a science teacher & skeptic in an age of woo.

Yes, We Really DID Send Humans to the Moon – LRO Images Apollo 11 Landing Site

Posted by mattusmaximus on November 16, 2009

Over the years you’ve no doubt heard claims that the Apollo Moon landings were an elaborate government hoax. Of course, this is one of the silliest conspiracy theory claims I’ve ever heard, but then once people start to venture down the rabbit-hole of conspiracy mongering I’m of the opinion that logic & reason go right out the window.  In any case, ever since these CT-lunatics (pardon the pun 😉 ) have started making their hoax claims a decade ago, one of their most oft-repeated mantras is: “If we really did send humans to the Moon, then why doesn’t NASA show us pictures of the landing sites?”

Well, here you go, an image of the Apollo 11 landing site as seen by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO)


A detailed description of this photo is given over at the Bad Astronomy blog:

We’ve seen it before, but this time LRO is in its 50 km mapping orbit, so the resolution on this image is far higher — about 50 or so centimeters (20 inches). In this image, the tracks made by Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin as they scampered on the Moon for 2 hours and 31 minutes are obvious. You can even see the lander footpads, each just less than a meter (a bit over a yard) across.

The bright spots south of (below) the lander are various scientific packages they installed, including the Lunar Ranging Retro Reflector and the Passive Seismic Experiment. If I’ve got the scale right, the faint dark trail going to the upper left is where they put the TV camera. Somewhere between that and the lander is the flag. The Sun was shining straight down in this image, so the flag isn’t visible.

The image above is a piece of a much larger photo taken by the LRO…


Hat tip to the Rogues at the Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe and Phil Plait at the Bad Astronomy blog for giving me the heads up on these new photos from the LRO.  Incidentally, Phil has a really detailed blog post on this new development – I recommend you check it out.

It’ll be interesting to see what sort of reaction the Moon hoax CTers will have to this news, seeing as how it addresses a critical claim they’ve been making all along (that no direct photos of the Apollo landing sites exist).  Of course, I predict that the CTers will engage in all manner of special pleading and goalpost moving to explain away this damning evidence – even going so far as to appeal to the conspiracy theory (i.e. NASA faked the photos) to rationalize their delusions.  Such thinking displays the unfalsifiable nature of conspiracy theories and shows how misguided & separated from reality these folks can be.

5 Responses to “Yes, We Really DID Send Humans to the Moon – LRO Images Apollo 11 Landing Site”

  1. […] If you believe we put a man on the moon…you’d be right. […]

  2. Wow, just when I thought the LRO images couldn’t get any more awesome, here’s even better images of the Apollo sites. Not that it’s going to shut up the conspiracy nutcakes, though; they’ll just claim that the LRO images were Photoshopped. Idiots.

    Btw, re: the flag at Tranquillity: I think the flag may not be visible as, iirc, it was accidentally blown over by the AS engine blast at liftoff. After all the precautions and planning for contingencies in training, Armstrong and Aldrin had somehow totally forgotten the consequences of planting a flag that close to an armed and “live” rocket engine. D’ohh!

    (although, like Dennis Miller, I could be wrong)

  3. anaglyph said

    Nah. NASA faked those images.

  4. remotekontrol said

    The Moon landings are without any shadow of a doubt completely & quite obviously fake.

    Please see my latest posting refering to Dave McGowans articles.

    Thanks =)

  5. […] Orbiter Camera of the Apollo 17 landing site (see my previous blog entry on earlier images here), which shows – yet again – more evidence that human beings really did go to the […]

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