Saturday, August 30, 2008

Moon Landing Hoax Claims Tackled by TV series Mythbusters!

I am 48 years old as I write this article. I was nine years old when Apollo 11 landed on the moon. The moon landings came to an end with Apollo 17 – when I was in the 6th grade. And as a young boy, I felt betrayed by my country when the news came out that there would be no more moon landings. Skylab came and went – the Russians were back to racking up long endurance space records with their space station program. Then came the long stand down from Apollo program to the Space Shuttle program which re-launched American's Manned Space Program.

Then came the two space shuttle disasters. The last one – the Columbia's commander, Rick D. Husband, was a former Texas Tech University Air Force ROTC classmate of mine. My one and only claim to infamy I can make.

The turn of the century takes place and it seems to me that more and more people are claiming that the United States of America never did land on the moon. That it was filmed on a sound stage (ala “Capricorn One” – the movie), or that it was filmed out in the desert near what is now known as Area 51! Or that... well, insert possible claim here to try and explain how it could be done without actually traveling to the moon.

I don't know how else to explain it, but that I was born before the age of Watergate, etc. The baby boomer generation of which I was born at the tail end thereof, and Generation X which came after, have been 'programmed' from the mass media to disbelieve EVERYTHING that the US government does or says.

Being a avid listener to Coast to Coast Am radio with George Noory, every now and then he would invite Dr. Phil Plait who goes by the name of “The Bad Astronomer.” His website, Bad Astronomy, would every now and then take on the folks who claim that the moon landings were hoaxes. Well one day, Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage who both worked as special effects people for the movies and now are hosts to the Discovery Channel's popular TV series “MythBusters,” decided that now was the time to try and take on that project – to dispel the dispellers. I don't have access to cable or satellite TV anymore and thus unable to view the program when it aired. I only heard about it on Coast to Coast AM when Noory was interviewing Dr. Plait. But on posted there dated August 26, 2008 that went into some detail. The program itself aired on August 27, 2008 on the Discovery Channel.

They went about determining which myths that needed and could be tested here on earth. Hyneman and Savage settled on three major subject areas that the hoaxers claim support their argument. One – How light reflects off the lunar surface. Two – How the astronauts appeared to move in the low gravity of the moon. Finally, how items behaved in an vacuum.
The part of the article that I liked the most was about the American Flag and how it was “able” to wave in the airless vacuum. First off, I actually remember the TV coverage of the moon flights and the experts who came on for every mission. For Apollo 11, I remember one man who explained how there was a tiny cross wire that stuck into the top of the mast that allowed the flag to be stretched out to full as if it was flying in a full breeze back on earth. MythBusters went to the Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama. And at Marshall, they were able to obtained copies of the original plans for making the lunar flag and how to assemble it.

I had fun looking at the offical government website with the Apollo 11 images and chose one of the few images that show Neil Armstrong in it to go along with this article. It shows him working near the Lunar Module's desent stage and the American Flag out on the surface of the moon. Remember, almost all of the other Apollo 11 pictures that were shown to the public were the ones that Armstrong took of his companion Buzz Aldrin.

Other Reference websites:
( )All photographs on this website are courtesy of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, specifically the NASA History Office and the NASA JSC Media Services Center.
Photograph AS11-40-5886 (Neil Armstrong works at the LM )

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