Posted by mattusmaximus on August 26, 2012
Neil Armstrong died today. The first human being to ever set foot on another world – the Moon – died today. It is with more than a hint of nostalgia that I write this, because as I reflect back upon my 40 years of life I have to marvel at the fact that humans walked on another world before I was even born!
Let’s hope we can get back “out there” even more, for the sake of Neil’s memory and the future 🙂
In closing, I can think of no better way to close than by referencing this amazing obituary for Neil Armstrong from The Economist Magazine:
Aug 25th 2012, 20:38 by T.C.
ASTRONAUTS do not like to be called heroes. Their standard riposte to such accusations is to point out that it requires the efforts of hundreds of thousands of backroom engineers, mathematicians and technicians to make space flight possible. They are right, too: at the height of its pomp, in 1966, NASA was spending about 4.4% of the American government’s entire budget, employing something like 400,000 workers among the agency and its contractors.
But it never works. For Neil Armstrong, who commanded Apollo 11, the mission that landed men on the moon on July 20th 1969, the struggle against heroism seemed particularly futile. The achievement of his crew, relayed live on television, held the entire planet spellbound. On their return to Earth, the astronauts were mobbed. Presidents, prime ministers and kings jostled to be seen with them. Schools, buildings and roads were named after them. Medals were showered upon them. A whirlwind post-flight tour took them to 25 countries in 35 days.
As the first man to walk on another world, Armstrong received the lion’s share of the adulation. All the while, he quietly insisted that the popular image of the hard-charging astronaut braving mortal danger the way other men might brave a trip to the dentist was exaggerated. “For heaven’s sake, I loathe danger,” he told one interviewer before his fateful flight. Done properly, he opined, spaceflight ought to be no more dangerous than mixing a milkshake. …
Read the rest of the obituary here
Posted in space | Tagged: Apollo, Apollo missions, astronaut, Cold War, death, Earth, engineering, exploration, farwell, landing, Moon, NASA, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Neil Armstrong, obituary, one small step, rocket, science, space, technology | 1 Comment »
Posted by mattusmaximus on September 7, 2011
We’ve been here before, and I’m sure we’ll be here again, folks. NASA has just released a set of even higher resolution images from the Lunar Reconnaissance 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 Moon! Here are the images…
Clearly visible are equipment left on the Moon’s surface (such as the base of the lander which is casting a clear shadow) and numerous tracks left by the astronauts’ footprints in the lunar regolith. And here is a magnified version of the above image, centering on the base of the lunar lander itself:
[**Aside: Bad Astronomer Phil Plait has an excellent analysis and specific breakdown of these newest images here.]
Sadly, this probably won’t stop conspiracy-minded Moon hoax theorists from spinning their usual nonsense denying the fact that we sent humans to the Moon (see this excellent analysis by Bad Astronomy of the Moon hoaxer claims). That’s because, no matter what evidence is provided (even including high-resolution images of the landing sites and human footprints on the Moon), these conspiracy theorists will attempt to rationalize it away, such as by invoking the all-powerful Conspiracy (i.e., all the images are faked, except – of course – the very images the hoaxers use to claim the Moon landings didn’t happen). Case in point, just today I received the following comment on an earlier blog post on this matter:
Haha – your photo’s prove the fake – look closely at the image of the Apollo 14 landing site and you can see the the LM has no height profile compararive to it’s shadow – thankyou for the proof – hahahaha. Also the eagle landing module has a shadow the shape of a christmas tree. Why would that be?
Of course, one can see clearly in the higher resolution photos above of the Apollo 17 landing site that there is an obvious height profile compared to the shadow of the lander base. As for the Eagle lander having a “shadow the shape of a christmas tree”, one should note that what was left behind on the Moon was the base of the lander, not the entire lander structure with the descent module attached (because, duh, that part brought the astronauts back). It’s details like this the conspiracy theorists overlook in their zealous attempts to simultaneously deny reality and spin some kind of fantasy world where they are clued in to what’s really going on.
I’m content to allow these whackjobs to continue spinning their tall tales that fly in the face of mountains of evidence, including their utterly abyssmal understanding of physics (see the Bad Astronomy link for more on that). Meanwhile, the rest of us can sit back and enjoy the fact that we still have the right stuff 🙂
Posted in conspiracy theories, space | Tagged: Apollo, Apollo 11, Apollo 17, Bad Astronomy, Buzz Aldrin, conspiracy, conspiracy theory, exploration, LRO, Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, Moon, Moon hoax, Moon landings, NASA, Neil Armstrong, Skeptics Guide to the Universe, space, The Apollo Hoax | 4 Comments »
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.
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Posted in conspiracy theories, space | Tagged: Apollo, Apollo 11, Bad Astronomy, Buzz Aldrin, conspiracy, conspiracy theory, exploration, LRO, Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, Moon, Moon hoax, Moon landings, NASA, Neil Armstrong, Skeptics Guide to the Universe, space, The Apollo Hoax | 5 Comments »
Posted by mattusmaximus on July 17, 2009
I just saw this post over at the Bad Astronomy blog by Phil Plait, and seeing as how the media is crawling all over the touched up NASA footage of the Apollo 11 landing, I wanted to share it with you. That’s because, as I suspected, while the media is giving NASA some attention, they are – sadly – also giving the conspiracy nuts some attention as well.
Well folks, for those of us whose brains are not addled by conspiracy-mongering, here you go: photographic evidence of the landing sites on the Moon, taken by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO)…
That first one is of the Apollo 11 landing site, with the Eagle lunar module clearly visible. The LRO website has images of the Apollo 14,15,16, and 17 landing sites as well, including this incredible shot of the Apollo 14 site which shows the tracks left in the lunar dust by the astronauts!
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Posted in conspiracy theories, space | Tagged: 1969, Apollo 11, Apollo missions, Bad Astronomy, conspiracy, conspiracy theories, exploration, footage, hoax, LRO, lunar landing, lunar module, Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, Moon, Moon Base Clavius, Moon landings, NASA, Neil Armstrong, photographs, pseudoscience, space, The Apollo Hoax, video | 5 Comments »
Posted by mattusmaximus on July 16, 2009
As I outlined in my earlier post – Old Moon Landing Tapes Found – Conspiracy Nuts Still Lost – there were rumors going around about “lost” footage of the first Apollo Moon landing being found by NASA. Well, yes and no. As this news article points out, the footage is old but it was never lost…
NASA refurbishes video copies of moon landing
With the help of Hollywood, those historic, grainy images of the first men on the moon never looked better. NASA unveiled refurbished video Thursday of the July 20, 1969, moonwalk restored by the same company that sharpened up the movie “Casablanca.”
NASA lost its original moon landing videotapes and after a three-year search, officials have concluded they were probably erased. That original live video was ghostlike and grainy.
NASA and a Hollywood film restoration company took television video copies of what Apollo 11 beamed to Earth 40 years ago and made the pictures look sharper.
NASA emphasized the video isn’t “new” — just better quality.
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Posted in conspiracy theories, space | Tagged: 1969, Apollo 11, Apollo missions, Bad Astronomy, conspiracy, conspiracy theories, exploration, footage, hoax, lunar landing, Moon, Moon Base Clavius, Moon landings, NASA, Neil Armstrong, photographs, pseudoscience, space, The Apollo Hoax, video | 1 Comment »
Posted by mattusmaximus on June 28, 2009
**Update: There is some question as to the validity of the story that new tapes of the Apollo 11 landing have been discovered and that the news story itself might be a hoax. Read more about it at this entry on the Bad Astronomy blog. Note that my criticisms of the anti-moon landing conspiracy theorists still stand.
I just read this really cool story — World Exclusive: NASA Finds Missing Moon Landing Tapes. As the article states…
ECSTATIC space officials at Nasa could be about to unveil one of their most stunning discoveries for 40 years — new and amazingly clear footage of the first moon landing.
The release of the new images next month could be one of the most talked about events of the summer.
The television images the world has been used to seeing of the historic moment when Neil Armstrong descended down a ladder onto the moon’s surface in 1969 is grainy, blurry and dark.
The following scenes, in which the astronauts move around the lunar lander, are so murky it is difficult to make out exactly what is going on, causing conspiracy theorists to claim the entire Apollo 11 mission was an elaborate fraud.
Here is the current footage we have of the Apollo 11 landing to which the article is referring available on Youtube…
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in conspiracy theories, space | Tagged: 1969, Apollo 11, Apollo missions, Bad Astronomy, conspiracy, conspiracy theories, exploration, footage, hoax, lunar landing, Moon, Moon Base Clavius, Moon landings, NASA, Neil Armstrong, photographs, pseudoscience, space, The Apollo Hoax, video | 7 Comments »