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July 20, 1969 - the first human Moon landing.
November 16, 1969 - the last time Stephen
Hawking ever signed his name. How far
Hawking has come and our space program
has fallen.


( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 13th, 2003 12:26 am (UTC)
It is debatable whether there even was a lunar landing.
Sep. 13th, 2003 01:28 am (UTC)
In what sense? Do you just chalk it up to a large conspiracy to deceive humankind?

Sep. 13th, 2003 01:45 am (UTC)
There are theories.
Sep. 13th, 2003 02:01 am (UTC)
That wasn't the question. :P

Do you personally believe that it was/is a big conspiracy designed to deceive people? And if so, could you explain how you came to this conclusion?

Sep. 13th, 2003 02:03 am (UTC)
I personally don't posess enough evidence from either side to make an informed decision. Both are equally possible, in my mind.
Sep. 13th, 2003 02:07 am (UTC)
I can provide a small piece of evidince that (at least to me) proves that we did if you are interested.

Sep. 13th, 2003 02:48 am (UTC)
# the lack of a blast crater from the landing;

* Rebuttal: Exhaust from the propulsion system was throttled low during the final stages of low gravity descent and the lack of air-pressure on the moon causes those exhaust gases to rapidly expand well beyond the landing site. Thus there in fact was little pressure right below the landing site.

# that the launch rocket produced no visible flame;

* Rebuttal: Hydrazine and dinitrogen tetroxide (an oxidizer) were used as the propellants. These two chemicals ignite upon contact producing a transparent jet of particles. All that is needed is an equal and opposite motive force. See Newton's laws of motion

# the rocks brought back from the Moon are identical to rocks collected by scientific expeditions to Antarctica

* Rebuttal: This is false. Chemical analysis of the rocks confirms a different oxygen isotopic composition and a surprising lack of volatile elements.

# the presence of deep dust around the module;

* Rebuttal: This is called regolith and is created by ejecta from asteroid and meteoroid impacts. This dust was several inches thick at the Apollo 11 landing site.
Sep. 14th, 2003 03:00 am (UTC)
as a geology student who has actually looked at moon rocks, antarctic rocks, and all that wonderful lithic stuff in a few different ways i can say:

thanks for bringing up the rock parts. they are the most conclusive evidence that we have been to the moon and come back.

also, i'd like to say - one of the professers i had, jim papike, was involved with mission control in several of the apollo missions. the stories he tells are so ludicrous that it's kind of hard to disbelive them.

it's my personal point of view that most of the people who front conspiracy theories involving the moon landings have some basic luddite feature in thier psyche. perhaps i'm just projecting though.
Sep. 14th, 2003 03:08 am (UTC)
*chuckles* I, as someone who is very definitly not a geology student, would think that there's more than enough proof out there without going into the compounds and make up the rocks.

Sep. 13th, 2003 02:49 am (UTC)
in moon photographs

* the quality,
o Rebuttal: Early photos were poor and later ones better as better equipment was sent. There were also many hundreds of photos taken. NASA selected only the best for release to the public and the popular press selected only the best from these.
* the lack of stars,
o Rebuttal: There are also no stars seen in Space Shuttle, Mir, Space Station and earth observation photos. Cameras used for imaging these things are set for quick shutter speeds in order not to over-expose the film for white and light gray objects. The dim light of the stars simply doesn't have a chance to expose the film. (Science fiction movies and television shows confuse this issue by inaccurately depicting the stars as visible in space under all lighting conditions.)
* the color and angle of shadows and light,
o Rebuttal: Shadows on the moon are complicated because there are several light sources; the sun, the earth and the moon itself. Light from these sources is scattered by lunar dust in many different directions, including shadows.
* identical backgrounds in photos listed as taken miles apart,
o Rebuttal: Distance and scale are perceived very differently on the moon than on earth due to its much smaller size and lack of lensing and other effects that are caused by light passing through air, mist and atmospheric particulates. The topography on the mares is also very redundant.
* the flapping flag;
o The astronauts were moving the flag into position causing motion. Since there is no air on the moon to act as friction these movements caused a long-lasting undulating movement seen in the flag.
* Cross hairs that appear to be behind objects, rather than in front of them where they should be, as if the photos were altered.
o Rebuttal: In photograpy, the alight white color (as the object behind the crosshair) makes the black object (the crosshair) be invisible.
Sep. 13th, 2003 02:50 am (UTC)
# and the dangerous radiation of the van Allen radiation belt.

* Rebuttal: The moon is well beyond the van Allen radiation belts and the astronauts were protected by very sophisticated spacesuits. The spacecraft did quickly move through the belts but the astronauts were protected from the ionizing radiation by the metal hulls of the spacecraft.
o Theorists argue here that James van Allen wrote a paper arguing against the possibility of travelling through the belts and also note that the Russians were never able to figure out how to do it. They then ask for more detailed information than, "sophisticated spacesuits".

# astronauts' reports of not seeing any stars from the capsule windows. In a vacuum, facing away from the sun, the stars should be gloriously brilliant.

* Rebuttal: This is false. Stars were easily seen by every Apollo mission crew except for the ill-fated Apollo 13 (they couldn't see the stars due to the fact that oxygen and water vapor created a haze around the spacecraft). Stars were used for navigation purposes.
Sep. 13th, 2003 03:41 am (UTC)
i think it's a good thing; hawking has found more for us than our space prog currently could. what possibly could exploring space do for us? aside from make us believe even more that we can one day find another home so trashing this planet is acceptable...we have better things to spend billions of dollars on. grant it, i enjoy what we find, but we need to resolve probs here--on earth--before we go pokin our heads up thru the clouds
Sep. 14th, 2003 03:14 am (UTC)
i disagree with this attitude.

yes, we've done serious damage to our own planet, however, it is not the technology itself that is doing the damage, it is the process of going from high to low technology.

lets take agriculture, for instance. modern methods of crop rotation and soil maintenece are a lot better about keeping a field as a viable growing space, rather than destroying it.

two thousand years ago, the sahara desert was half its current size. yes, humans did THAT, with the help of goats.

admitedly, high technology does do damage, but only when the humans behind the technology are the ones who are at fault for the destruction. i personally don't feel that the exploration of space comes even close to the attitude you described, of making people feel as though it is ok to trash this planet because we could just find a new home. that is a hollywood propogated attitude that has no place in a real scientific discussion about the merits of space travel and the continuation of the space program. high technology can actually help restore our hurting planet, our world, but in order to find that technology, we need all of the experiance we can get, be it theoretical (as in the case of hawking), or experimental (as the space program really is).

hawking did not find "more" than the space program could. the two entities in question study VERY different things about the universe. the space progam is not just the astronauts and engineers, but astronomers, SETI, and thousands of people who, on a daily basis, uncover thousands of new facts about our universe. hawking is a theoretical physicist who deals more with the mathematical (yet experimentally unproven) aspects of the universe.

there are things that a billion dollars would be better spent on, yes, but howbout taking that billion out of the several-trillion dollar defense budget, instead of the reletivly small budget that NASA and the NSF have?

now, a bit more of an abstract on my point of view:

humankind will never actually be able to live comfortably on a planet without changing that planet. a part of the basic nature of humanity is to change our environment to suit us. therefor, if one wished to breed a more environmentally, socially, and generally more concious form of human, an extremly fragile environment, like space, is needed.

i for one feel that humanity's destiny is to explore the universe, but i do not feel that we should live on the planets that we find. unfortunatly, i'm an optimist, so humans will live on those planets.

but, the whole point of this question is more of a spiritual one than a scientific one. as everything, it all comes back to "why are we here."

as a semi-religious person (not christian, more pagan/agnostic), i despise the manifest destiny attitude which says that it is our birthright to explore and name and control everything in the universe. rather i think it is our duty to find out as much as we can about the universe. in action, they are similar, but the intent behind them is very different.
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