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Apollo-gist / Virtual Apollo


Duane Daman
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There are occasions when the simplest stories are the hardest to tell.

July 20, 1969, the day that Neil Armstrong stepped down from the lunar lander and uttered the to-be-famous line, "one small step for (a) Man, one giant leap for Mankind, was one of those textbook Historic Moments. Even if you include the "a" in parentheses which NASA later said was there, but "lost in the noise"- a lot of things at NASA seem to get "lost in the noise". There was that day in November of 1963, when the President who initiated the Apollo program was assassinated, and those alive at the time (those still around) remember every detail. Thinking back to 7-20-69, I vividly remember rushing home to turn on the TV (just in time), I remember who I was with, I remember being frustrated and puzzled by the poor quality of the transmission. I remember exactly where I was. But where was Neil Armstrong?

I thought I should just weigh in immediately on the Primary Suspicion, the extremis notion that no astronauts went to the Moon at all. Everyone has heard these claims, so there is no point in rehashing them. One should always look at the evidence on both sides of an argument before deciding, however.

A good place to start is with the issue of "proof photos", pictures taken of the flag and lander at the Tranquility site years after the mission, by Hubble and by the VLT at the Paranal Observatory in the Chilean Andes. These are the very solid evidence for the moon landings that should put to rest all of the Wild Theories and accusations about the validity of the Apollo program.

First, click here to see the Hubble photo.

Oops. OK, there isn't one. Well, then let's look at the one taken by the Very Large Telescope. Four 8 meter reflectors (mirrors, to the non-astronomers) named Antu, Kueyen, Yepun, and Melipal (Sun, Moon, Venus, and Southern Cross). Linked together, they form the most powerful of current terrestrial telescopes, peering up through the clearest sky on Earth. One of the first public statements about the installation, by Project spokesman Estéban Illanes, was,

"You'll be able to see a man on the moon."

The implication was also made that pictures of the left-behind Apollo hardware might be taken, both to demonstrate the capabilities of the system and to settle that question once and for all.

Click here to see.

Oh, that's right- we are still waiting for that one, too. Hmmm.

OK, there is one more- two scientists, Kreslavsky (at Brown University) and Shkuratov (in the Ukraine) claimed in 2001 that they had found evidence of the Apollo 15 lander on a Clementine image.

Look below (really) to see.

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Well, that is certainly impressive, isn't it? They have not offered the original image ID number, so I can't check the source or try to improve the visibility for you. Doesn't do much for me as it stands, though. How about you? The researchers also claim they have been totally unable to locate any of the other Apollo landing sites on Clementine images, which is interesting.

There are websites, books, and DVDs galore that explore the premise that the Apollo missions never went to the Moon at all. They might even be right. The whole Program was a publicity stunt, for Politics much more than Science, so if they were going to fake one part, why not just fake the whole thing? Cheaper, safer, more adjustable. But since it is really not that difficult to stuff three guys in a can and use a big honking rocket booster to fling them at the Moon (if you have reliable hardware), then why not go?

I hear the protests over my statement of "not that difficult". Listen- we got our rocket technology rolling with Operation Paperclip Nazi scientists, and although we advanced it beyond what Germany had , it was a process of evolution, not one of discovery. If the Reich had really wanted to send a man to the Moon, and focused on that goal, they undoubtedly could have done so in even less project time than Apollo. Navigation would have been a little hairy with no computer assistance at all, but they probably could have done it.

However, they could not have brought him back. He would have put on his German-engineered Übernaut suit, climbed out and goose-stepped around a little, claimed things, etc. and then run out of air and died. The project seemed pointless, I am sure. Not that I personally mind the thought of a Nazi or two stranded on the Moon, but they presumably thought otherwise.

NASA has actually given credit to Jules Verne for using scientifically sound concepts in his 1865 (!) book, From the Earth to the Moon . They say his ideas even provided some inspiration for the Apollo planners. He had pretty accurately estimated the ballistic requirements. He located the big cannon he imagined for the booster mechanism on the Florida coast, a little over 100 miles from where Cape Canaveral would be. There are other correspondences. Ah, synchronicity. Or is it, "Life follows Art"? Read the Verne quote I used in the title art for this page carefully- I took it directly from the Jules Verne bio on that NASA website.

Realistically, the most likely result of a Verne cannon launch would have been explorer pâté, and even if they had somehow made it to the Moon they would have suffered the same fate as the Übernaut. Nevertheless, Verne had anticipated many of the problems that would need to be addressed by any lunar mission, and NASA was keenly interested in using every possible perspective in their planning for Apollo.

A number of those issues that were detailed in the planning have been individually cited as "insurmountable" by the legion of Apollo skeptics who have emerged over the years since the program ended. In my examination of the situation, many of those claims seem to be unsound...but not all. Let's consider a few of them as we proceed.

The first would be the radiation problem. Here on the Earth's surface, we are protected by a hundred miles of atmosphere and the deflection mechanism of the planet's magnetic field. The shorter wavelength things like gamma rays don't make it down here to cook us. You have to live under a power line, stand long in front of the microwave, go to the beach every day, and use your cell phone constantly to irradiate yourself to any great extent. Try not to do those.

Just beyond our atmosphere there is the Van Allen Belt, a shell of highly charged particles resulting from the solar wind slamming into the magnetosphere. You definitely don't want to hang out there without some serious shielding. This is where the anti-Apollo arguments start... it is possible to make an apparent case that such shielding would be impractical on a small craft. Sufficient lead sheathing, for instance, would make the capsule so heavy that it would be difficult to launch at all. The official response to this argument (NASA does answer back on technical matters) is that while the Belt is a serious hazard, the spacecraft passes through so quickly that exposure is held to an acceptable minimum. There are those who disagree, and they have charts and graphs and statistics to show as evidence.

A few years ago, I happened to discover that someone I knew at a local watering hole was in fact a nuclear engineer. Trust me, he worked on government projects, and his specialty was...shielding. He worked on the methods by which scientists in nuclear labs are kept from developing any unexpected glow-in-the-dark potentials. Since I was already puzzled by the Apollo radiation "problem" (but still assumed they had in fact gone to the Moon) I took advantage of this opportunity. I employed the ancient yet sophisticated interrogation technique of buying him beers. Engineers love to scribble on napkins when drunk. I asked for his view on the "radiation problem" facing manned space travel.

His answer was simple: there was no problem. I countered with the Van Allen Belt. He admitted the radiation levels there were dangerous, but said shielding easily handled that. I cited the weight issue, and that caused him to grab a napkin and his ballpoint pen. He explained that lightweight laminar shielding, a series of thin layers of suitable different materials separated by appropriate voids (spaces), could diffract the incoming ionizing radiation and cause it to decay into relatively harmless byproducts easily blocked by the last layer. Figure a way to circulate water in there, and you were really safe. He was pretty convincing, so much so that I was driven to ask why this diffraction shielding technique was not more widely known, and especially why it was not used for, say, power plants, where the thick shielding becomes contaminated over time and has to be replaced. His answer to that one was chilling:

"Why waste a secret? They don't need it."

At that point, I bought myself another beer. A secret? Why should such a basic idea be a secret? I think that might just illustrate how much useful knowledge is pointlessly sequestered away by the non-public sector of Science. And since the whole exchange was in the context of Man in Space, it might also indicate how carefully inaccurate the public presentation of those projects is. You know the old saying,

"If they lie about that, what else do they lie about?"

I should mention that this conversation transpired decades after Apollo, so it is possible that the method he outlined was not available back then, but I am not so sure about that. Public science is usually decades behind the cutting edge. My source was aware that we were talking about Apollo. In any event, that was one Apollo problem potentially solved. You are free to dismiss his statements as drunken prattle, but I doubt they were.

Next on the list would be the time question. Today, NASA finds it impossible to do anything quickly, but way back in the Sixties they were able to breeze through the design and implementation of every subsystem in just eight years. I think I can conditionally accept the feasibility of that one. The amount of parallel development that was involved was unprecedented, and unmatched since. In addition to all the big aerospace companies and labs, there were even independent contractors working on parts for the program in their garages,. That is not as outrageous as it might sound, because splitting up work into small individually inscrutable segments is a standard security protocol. Only upon final assembly will the item make "sense". My own uncle, in fact, did such work, making some mysterious tiny electronic circuits for Apollo in his home lab (garage), so I know this kind of thing happened. Something to do with cameras, that is all I know about what he was making. Hmmm. Maybe I should have tried getting him drunk. Oh, well, too late for that. Back in those days, I was a believer.

There is a difference between the fabrication of a circuit board and the design and construction of a heavy-lift booster, of course. All the major systems needed to be tested, modified, and tested again. There was a little-documented "boilerplate" project, for instance, that built mock-ups of the capsule which were then launched high enough to test out parachutes and recovery techniques. For those eight years, the Apollo Project had access to, and utilized, every conceivable resource to get the job done. If anything about Apollo ultimately deserves historical recognition as an example of what can be achieved by dedication and commitment, it is the way all the diverse pieces were pulled together. For once, it was the administrators who had the hardest job.

However, Houston had a problem. Most of the journey would be ballistic, unpowered, just like Jules Verne's big bullet. But not all. As Robert Heinlein once said,

"Once you achieve Earth orbit, you are half way to anywhere in the Solar System."

Half only counts when playing horseshoes. There was launching to orbit... OK, they could do that. Then you needed to travel almost 250,000 miles to lunar orbit... a little boost to break away from Earth, then you coast. A bit more thrust to establish lunar orbit and you're there. OK, they could do that. Then you needed to land on the lunar surface, AND take off again. Hmm. That would need to be a separate vehicle carried along, which would need fuel, too. The one-sixth G of the Moon is still a significant gravity well. Parachutes are useless with no air, so it would have to be a completely rocket-braked descent. No, two vehicles, one atop the other, with separate engines- one with maneuvering capabilities to get down safely, and a simpler one to blast back to lunar orbit. More fuel. Perhaps more, for what the LEM had to do, than was required for the module that brought it to (and returned from) lunar orbit. That CSM did not need to take off from anyplace. Perhaps too much. And too complicated for comfort- the physics just could not be cajoled into playing along. The system design was starting to look like a poor choice. Some entirely new system seemed to be required to handle this particular challenge, and there wasn't one at hand. It was do-able, but just barely, with the project equipment. The marvelous organization and integration had missed one little thing. Not a bad scorecard, but unfortunately this was an important little detail. Unlike today, when a hang-up can delay a project for as many YEARS as necessary, the Apollo Project had a drop-dead launch window. President Kennedy had made it an Official Goal to manage the feat before 1970, and the National Pride was at stake. Plus, the Soviets, who had beaten the USA at every step into space up until then, would certainly beat America to the Moon if the stated goal was not met. This does not sound like that big a deal today, but back then, with events like the Cuban Missile Crisis fresh in memory, the potential National Embarrassment was seen as a serious geopolitical issue. Then to make matters even worse, the Vietnam War came along in the middle of it all. What to do? The scientists were stumped, frustrated, angry. The Politicians had an answer for them:

Lie.

To the political and military interests involved in the program, it was all a pseudo event anyway, a publicity stunt to "show up" the USSR. The science was incidental, and the Noble Achievement for All Mankind was- oh, puh-lease, these were Politicians. Remember, in Washington,

"Sincerity is the most important thing- once you can fake that, the rest is easy."

Now, the astronauts had been selected from the pool of test pilots. They were the caliber of men who would take on almost any challenge that had a double-digit chance of success. But the Political considerations demanded that these very public missions should appear to be nearly flawless. High risk situations were unacceptable.

A compromise of sorts was reached. The first "landing event" would happen on schedule, no matter what. To redesign the LEM could mean scrapping almost everything else and starting over, and there was no way that could be done. Apart from the added costs of building new equipment, the stated time limit for getting there would be exceeded, which would be in itself a political failure. The Soviets might very well push ahead with their own program and win another one. The USSR had at this point basically backed away from a manned Moon mission after encountering the same stumbling block, but they might be re-invigorated if we decided to start over. It was indeed a "Race to the Moon" , and they thought we had a significant head start, so they were concentrating on sending unmanned tractors and waiting for the next round. This in itself was seen by the Politicians as a Victory. As far as that faction was concerned, the Race had been won already, and merely needed to be sanctified by a public presentation. As most politicians are lawyers, they tend to view things in courtroom terms, and in Court, most cases are won or lost before the trial starts. Ask any attorney.

I have stressed the political ramifications intentionally. The vast majority of people working on Apollo were not lawyers and / or politicians, nor were they intending to fabricate a dog-and-pony show. If deception was to be introduced as an "option", all the dedicated engineers and scientists needed to be reassured, mollified somehow. They (the project leaders, anyway) were told that "as soon as" the problems were solved, the "next" launch would be totally legitimate, and any bogus data would be replaced.

National Pride, Patriotism, National Security, Grant Money...all the important points were covered. Grudgingly (we may assume), the deal was struck. Even further behind the scenes, that initiated a number of shifts in procedure.

There is a problem with Integrity- if you compromise it, it does not easily return. Once you agree to help someone deceive, "just this once", you are trapped. His lie is your lie, and your own credibility, culpability, and safety relies upon protecting his, even if he increases the stakes by engaging in further deceptions unrelated to you. Otherwise known as the Slippery Slope.

Apollo started sliding, and with no solution to the landing problem visible on the horizon.

I mentioned in an earlier chapter that there was concern about psychological shock to the astronauts, not from a balky rocket engine, but from confronting the truly awesome ruins of the Old Culture. They would face the reality of an ancient civilization that was almost unimaginably more advanced than ours, yet so different in paradigm that linear comparison seemed impossible. A civilization built by our own ancestors- or our creators ? The connection was obvious, inescapable, between us and the Old Ones, the Builders, the Martians. They were not physically different from us, but their mindset, science, and priorities were as alien as alien could be. These things NASA already knew, and they absolutely did not want to reveal them to the general population.

The test pilots would not crumble in confused terror, certainly not, but they very well might inadvertently say something, either during a live feed or after returning home. Who would not want to talk of such sights? The religious and cultural ramifications following out of that kind of revelation would not necessarily carry the same importance to them as in the Official View. The erudite opinionating of the Brookings Report was unlikely to be enough to restrain them. And, these men were going to be very much in the public eye for some time- Apollo was quite openly admitted to be a publicity, um, operation in addition to the Science aspects. Everyone, even the public, realized there was more involved than the collecting of data. It was not just a job, it was

A Beat the Russkies Adventure ! (cue the orchestra)

The astronauts, advised of the dangers therein (and reminded of their security clearances), agreed to a little "assistance" from the psychologists. If you roam through the stories in the popular press from the Apollo years, you will find numerous references to the "conditioning" (unspecified) they underwent as part of their training. Nice little human-interest points, but why did test pilots ("No problem- we lost the main engine, but I had beans for lunch, so I'll grab my lighter and bring the plane in...") need time with shrinks? The later missions had crews with backgrounds in technical science, not just hot dog pilots, and they received the same training. No one at NASA was worried about exhilarated fly-boys doing any unauthorized barnstorming- it was purely a security issue.

As part of their physical training, the astronauts traveled to various locales with terrain and conditions analogous to the lunar landscape. To volcanoes in Hawaii and Iceland (there are no known lunar volcanoes) to practice climbing and taking rock samples, and to Antarctica, to practice working in their suits in a harsh environment- and something more. There, they got to see the real reason for the program, the hidden purpose beyond the political considerations. The Soviets knew about it, but they weren't going to say anything- it was a secret they wanted, too.

Ultimately, if it succeeded, Apollo would indeed (if secretly) be more than a publicity stunt. There was a race for knowledge involved- but nothing that the public was ever supposed to know. The public would get the flag-waving, and the Space Pen, and various other things, and the interests directing NASA would get... what?

In Antarctica, the astronauts were shown the ruins of the Old Culture. It was presumed that the similar remains on the Moon would be in better condition, and that artifacts, records, devices , who-knew-what might be there for the taking.

Now we're talking, that's more like it- "alien" technology, yeah!

That's worth going to the Moon for, far more than rocks. Pretty exciting stuff, and there they were, shooting pictures of Atlantis, fer crissakes, in their spacesuits, and having a great time practicing with all their tools and instruments. They even took a few pictures of each other, though they realized no one would ever get to see them. Or so they thought. It would all be Properly Revealed, in time, and they would be able to tell their children (or maybe grandchildren) about their Grand Adventure. Or so they thought.

Behind the scenes, contingency plans were implemented, just in case actual disclosure might inadvertently happen as a result of Apollo. What might be termed cultural encouragement was subtly given, and the seeds of understanding were planted in the popular media. Authors love to have a good story idea come out of a casual conversation.

The psychological conditioning the astronauts received was intense enough to be called "programming" by contemporary standards, but unbeknownst to them, it began to change. More than simple discretion was being implanted in their thoughts and memories. They were being prepped for a different role than they had signed on for. Like the HAL 9000 computer in the movie 2001:A Space Odyssey, there was another layer in the programming.

I should return to one technical question that I am sure has occurred to many reading this: the functional capabilities of the LEM. I will not cite a bunch of interpretive numbers about thrust and escape velocities here, nor quibble about burn times. Assuming that enough fuel could have been taken along, the stated thrust of the engine on the descent stage (44,500 newtons, or 10,000 lbs., throttle-controlled for maneuvering as necessary to 1/10th of that) should have been able to land the craft safely. An engine of about 1/3rd that thrust on the ascent stage might have been enough to fling the capsule back up to lunar orbit to rejoin the Command Module. Just for the sake of the argument, let's stipulate that both pieces of hardware were adequate. But there was virtually no leeway, and no redundancy at all, in those engines. They worked completely, or you died.

a little unexplained extra weight on the later missions? lunrov.jpg

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The launch from Earth, the reconfiguration in orbit and departure to the Moon and establishment of lunar orbit, the return to Earth, these things were all well-tested and proven out as the project progressed. Only the landing phase involved details that could not be properly vetted ahead of time- and that was the only phase that had value to the (I might as well use the word) propaganda aspect of Apollo. The Politicians were unhappy about this situation. The Event had to unfold smoothly. Drama would be good, a little seat-riveting tension here and there, but mission disaster would be, well, Disastrous on a grand geopolitical scale.

Pressed for assurances that everything was A-OK, the scientists admitted that the best odds they could predict for total equipment reliability, given that several factors had to be speculations, were less-than-even. The odds of mission success were much higher, if one took the reasonable stance that most things would not go wrong, so overall it looked good to go. The politicians wanted worst-case figures of even money or better, and they weren't getting them. The PR value lay in portraying the trip as a harrowing adventure, a battle for the Future won by brilliance and dedication...and by the USA, of course. But no one wanted there to be any chance of losing any astronauts. This particular mission (the first landing), arguably the most flat-out dangerous thing in Space attempted to that date, had to be made safer than any previous manned mission had been. That was not certifiable.

Let's next consider the various scenarios that have been proposed , which in toto comprise a great example of how History is written- it is always interpretive. But first, I need to point out one little thing from my personal research into this, which I will illustrate a bit later. It is something that certainly matters, but it is less easy to say what it means. You have heard the claim before from others, and in this case, I must agree :

Fact. Every single Apollo mission photo is a fake.

Like I said, I will illustrate this. At the moment, just keep in mind that I have claimed the photos cannot be used as evidence for the landings. You cannot find anyone familiar with photography who can offer any credible explanation for the weird anomalies and inferior quality of the photos and videos. Other than darkroom fiddling and paste-ups, that is. Some researchers, including Richard C. Hoagland, have concluded that there is a separate archive of the "real" images, and NASA, in order to hide the lunar realities from the public, always released altered copies.

During the Apollo era you could inexpensively order your very own custom Apollo photo from lavishly printed catalogs displaying thumbnail versions, too. Comparison of some of those privately ordered prints, said by NASA to have been made from early-generation working negatives ( the originals were positive transparencies, like slides) showed that occasionally people who ordered the same catalog number received a slightly different picture . That would seem to indicate that there were additional pictures taken that were not logged in the public records, or that all the public images were cropped from larger originals, or both.

My own conclusion is that the Apollo images were from the beginning intended as "throwaways". Or maybe I should use the cop-show term "throwdown", as in a weapon added as an afterthought to a crime scene to justify a dead body. I don't think there are other versions of the Apollo photos (although I will grant that many were cropped from larger originals to better frame the contents). It was more than enough work to fabricate the ones they released. More on all that later.

Scenario One:

Everything presented to the public about the Apollo missions was accurate and fundamentally complete. There may have been some additional concerns and experiments that were held secret for a variety of reasons, including national security (it was the Cold War era, after all) and public relations, but basically what you saw was what really happened.

If one starts with that position, it becomes extremely difficult to then explain why there would be so many problems with the photo evidence. Why did it take years for any significant number of pictures to be released? It would seem more effective to have released enormous amounts of them, to maximize the PR value of the program. The Soviet Union was exploring the Moon with robot probes at the same time, including "scoop and return" missions that shot samples back for analysis, so we weren't hiding anything from them.

Scenario Two:

There were no manned missions to the Moon. It was technically and / or environmentally impossible to do it, so the astronauts sat in Earth orbit and waited in one module while the other traveled to the Moon under remote control. This allowed staged events like the mid-course "urine dump" (viewed by ground telescopes) and the relay of radio and TV signals from the vicinity of the Moon for verisimilitude. Additional unheralded (and unmanned) launches sent the flags, mirrors and microwave reflectors that were supposedly left on the Moon by the astronauts. Footage of the lunar surface excursions was shot in advance at the Langley test facility and other studios, to be relayed at appropriate times. Rock samples were contrived from irradiated terrestrial minerals and a collection of meteorites.

That scenario does offer an explanation for the fake images. It also covers the controversies about radiation, etc.- by taking them for granted. It is less successful in supporting theory-internal questions, like where exactly the astronauts were lurking for the duration of the faked missions. The same ground observations that viewed the infamous urine dump might have noticed that the CSM was in fact only the much smaller LEM section, if the astronauts were remaining in the Command module in Earth orbit. Perhaps a separate craft was parked in orbit ahead of time for them to use, but it would have had to have been an exact duplicate of the mission one, unless one is willing to complicate the logistics to the point of sending the whole unmanned CSM to the Moon and back, ditching the LEM along the way, so the astronauts could reenter the Command module for the splashdown. It is easier in many ways to propose that the crew somehow slipped out of the craft just before the launch, never leaving Earth at all. Then they could have been dropped from a plane, perhaps, in their capsule, to be "recovered" at the end of the "mission". Of course, if through some horrible accident the Saturn V had exploded during the televised launch, they would then have needed to be killed. Since any chicanery would have required the cooperation of the astronauts to some degree, it is unlikely they could have been coerced into accepting that level of potentially terminal jeopardy. The rebuttal to that problem with Scenario Two would have to involve mind control... It would need to be proposed that the astronauts were implanted with fabricated "screen memories" of their trip to the Moon, like the victims of the team on the old Mission Impossible TV show. In such a delusional state, they would never have been aware of the true situation anyway.

Scenario Three:

As there has always been a certain amount of skepticism present in the public sector about Apollo, this one encompasses the most widely held set of suspicions. The basic premise is that Apollo did indeed send men to the Moon, but much or even all of what they did up there was Secret. False images were produced to cover for their actual activities. These included exploring the ancient ruins (OK, I'd like that part) and collecting data for use solely by the Black Budget groups. Some add the idea of contact with aliens, either for secret negotiations or confrontations ending in our being Warned Off, told to Stay Home and Not Come Back. That wrinkle is cited as reason for the abrupt termination of the program.

There are as many variations of this scenario as of the previous one:

We were looking for the base the Nazis had built (remember the Übernaut).

Or... we already had a secret base there, built back in the 1950s when, according to Col. Philip Corso in his book The Day After Roswell , the military had first set their eyes on establishing one (though he did not say the original military plans were actually implemented), and were simply putting on a dog-and-pony show with the outdated public sector technology in response to the commitment JFK (who was unaware of the secret space program) had created with his 1961 declaration.

Or...Kennedy knew about the Secret Programs, or the Old Culture, or aliens, and wanted to force public disclosure. This determination helped precipitate his assassination, but there was no way to kill the program he started before producing some results.

Or... under pressure from the Religious Authorities and other power groups (the Illuminati, Masons, New World Order, and so on) who feared the exposure of the Old Culture would erode their control as people realized they had been fed willful lies about the True History of Man, NASA made sure no real data would emerge.

Or... the technology in the public sector was not up to the job, so the trips were made with the covert assistance of Nazis, or aliens, or Area 51 equipment copied or stolen from aliens.

I have not by any means read even a majority of the material written about the permutations of this scenario, so I hope I have not inadvertently omitted your personal favorites in this category. The interpretations and theories proposed by Richard C. Hoagland, Steve Troy, Keith Laney, and several more of the better-known dedicated anomaly researchers all seem roughly within the range of possibilities of this one.

Scenario Four:

The Moon is artificial, placed there long ago by the Builders as a structural necessity involved in a larger project to rebalance the entire Solar System, and to stabilize the Earth's orbit and climate. There is no geology there to investigate. It only masquerades as a planetary body, crafted by the aesthetic sensibilities of the Old Culture into the form we see. The Man in the Moon and all the other personifications and anthropomorphic suggestions are indication of this. It is currently inhabited by some completely non-local alien race who have meddled with humans and Earth affairs for some time in pursuit of their own agenda. The main thrust of that agenda is to acquire the knowledge and capabilities of the Old Culture, which was far more advanced than theirs. Unfortunately for them, humans, who are the linear (if created) descendants of the Builder race (the Martians), have the ability to access that old technology, and they do not. We just don't know it. So like the theoretical Criminals of the Future who will be plucking out eyeballs and severing the hands of victims to utilize the biometric implants therein at ATM machines, these aliens have been, and are, using humans. There are still the direct descendants of the Martians out there, too, and they oppose the efforts of these aliens, while working on their agenda (which is not hostile to Mankind). The Government is in contact with both groups, but is mostly in bed with the aliens, who are more in tune with the Totalitarian mindset of the Earth power blocks. The Apollo program was an attempt to gain some leverage in this situation for human interests, but none of that could be admitted to the public, so a false front story had to be crafted.

Scenario Five:

With or without including any of the elements in the previous scenarios, the Apollo program actually began with the intent to go to the Moon. There were unresolved problems with the landing equipment, so the decision was made, for geopolitical considerations, to fake the first landing. The mission would orbit the Moon, as had already been done, and some dummy images of the surface explorations of the astronauts would be manufactured from pictures they had taken during the training phases at lunar-like Earth locations. Once the technical problems were solved, subsequent missions would have real landings and exploration. Unfortunately, after the success of the initial fraud, it was decided to continue with more of the same. It was just too easy to fool people, and the whole operation could be tailored and controlled to perfection. This eliminated the problems attendant to integrating genuine data with the first batch, too. The Apollo planners morphed into screenwriters, and new elements were introduced to spice up the presentation, like the lunar rover. There are some indications that the astronauts were given hypnotic suggestions of lunar activities, false or screen memories to make them seem more convincing in interviews, but that the conditioning did not "hold" because of the type of complex and specific questions they were later asked. There was too high an emotional index. They tended to become confused and angry, so most public interaction was terminated.

There were very limited numbers of suitable training photos available for reworking, so the initial public image output was sparse. As complaints mounted about this lack of "product", additional photos were generated from increasingly spurious sources like the sets built at the test facilities. Most of the astronauts were unenthusiastic about participating in this deception, though a few helped and were rewarded with a higher public profile. The rest were not considered trustworthy "players", so they were simply reminded to keep quiet and maintain a low profile, which thereby neutralized one of the supposed driving reasons for doing the whole thing in the first place.

By Apollo 17, President Nixon, who cannot be connected with any part of this particular fraud, decided enough nonsense had been perpetrated, and pulled the plug on the program lest it should all come falling apart on his watch. There were already uncomfortable questions being asked in some circles about the rover that was "added" on the previous mission. Nixon's decision aborted four more missions that had been scheduled and funded , and many have wondered ever since why he did so. That's why.

You may, if you choose, mix and match elements from the above scenarios to construct your own interpretation. They are not necessarily mutually exclusive. There is one more viewpoint that I will cover separately in the next chapter which I call "Scenario X", but for the present moment we are sticking to politics and hardware.

The overall inside justification (or rationalization) for the deceit involved a "Futurist" perspective. It was assumed and asserted that if the whole thing could be hidden away for at least fifty years, all those culpable would have died, a time-honored procedure for cover-ups. More importantly, real manned space travel would have evolved to such a level by then that the discovery of a little political finesse way back at the beginning would seem like nothing more than just another one of those quaint historical head-shakers that Historians love and no one else cares about very much. President Johnson had sealed most of the records until 2026. After Nixon terminated the program, excess hardware like the remaining Saturn V boosters was decommissioned with prejudice, chopped up and scattered. The original film archives were left to rot in cardboard boxes in a storage room at the Manned Space Center in Houston, and the hope was that by the time anyone tried to research any suspicions about the validity of the missions, the data would have degraded and the trail would be cold.

One thing that had NOT been anticipated by those who had elected to go forward with the Virtual Apollo idea was how effective the subsequent cooling-down effort would be. Manned space flight beyond Earth orbit simply died. The far-flung space journeying envisioned for a half century in the future moved farther away from likelihood with every new year. The unintended consequence of the lies was the disruption of the process that had been expected to provide eventual redemption (or at least forgiveness) for the liars. Instead, the new reality was one in which Apollo had become the One and Only, the Pinnacle of Achievement. Rather than being supplanted by even more glorious explorations, it stood alone with an iconic stature it was never intended to have.

Disclosure, even fifty years hence, now seemed like a potentially disastrous national trauma. Fortunately, as usual the politicians underestimated the cynicism of the public. The majority of lingering interest in the Apollo program is about the controversy, not the Science. Since there really wasn't any off-planet Science, this ends up being a good thing. No matter how hard the guardians of the POOT try to keep the public dumb, people ultimately are not that stupid. If it looked like a publicity stunt, smelled like a publicity stunt, sounded like a publicity stunt...it probably was a publicity stunt. Oh, well. The tipping point was the lack of follow-up. Skylab didn't count, emotionally, nor Apollo-Soyuz...they were just more orbital missions, nothing new or exciting. Absolutely no explanation for that cessation of real exploration convinced anybody. Everyone assumed that the "success" of the Apollo missions meant the immanence of an age of space hotels, lunar outposts, trips to Mars, the whole "Boldly Go Where No One Had Gone Before" business, and none of that happened. Scientists might get all sweaty and excited about docking experiments, but the rest of the population wanted space travel.

Part two coming soon .

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Rather than make a long post, I'll deal with points raised in the Duane's reference one by one.

Firstly, the ability to see Apollo artifacts or indeed a 'man on the moon' by Earth-based telescopes.

To begin, I have sent an e-mail to Mr Illanes at the VLT in Chile, asking him to confirm that he made the quoted statement. I'd find it very unusual if he did, because it is widely known by astronomers that it is impossible using currently available Earth-based telescopes. The resolution just isn't high enough.

According to this website, Can we see Apollo hardware on the Moon, the VLT resolution is 0.07 arc-seconds. The required resolution to see any Apollo artifacts (the LM descent stage being the biggest) is 0.003 arc seconds.

That link also shows the shadow cast by the LM during the Apollo 15 mission, and images of it taken from the CSM during lunar orbit.

This website gives a good rundown of the Clementine mission, the cameras and equipment it had aboard, and what it could see.

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His answer was simple: there was no problem. I countered with the Van Allen Belt. He admitted the radiation levels there were dangerous, but said shielding easily handled that. I cited the weight issue, and that caused him to grab a napkin and his ballpoint pen. He explained that lightweight laminar shielding, a series of thin layers of suitable different materials separated by appropriate voids (spaces), could diffract the incoming ionizing radiation and cause it to decay into relatively harmless byproducts easily blocked by the last layer. Figure a way to circulate water in there, and you were really safe. He was pretty convincing, so much so that I was driven to ask why this diffraction shielding technique was not more widely known, and especially why it was not used for, say, power plants, where the thick shielding becomes contaminated over time and has to be replaced. His answer to that one was chilling:

"Why waste a secret? They don't need it."

I refer you to this thread where the radiation problem is discussed, and a number of documents are quoted... including (gasp!) sheilding for radiation protection.

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(This was originally a duplicate post & deleted, but why waste a post... new data added)

There was launching to orbit... OK, they could do that. Then you needed to travel almost 250,000 miles to lunar orbit... a little boost to break away from Earth, then you coast. A bit more thrust to establish lunar orbit and you're there. OK, they could do that. Then you needed to land on the lunar surface, AND take off again. Hmm. That would need to be a separate vehicle carried along, which would need fuel, too. The one-sixth G of the Moon is still a significant gravity well. Parachutes are useless with no air, so it would have to be a completely rocket-braked descent. No, two vehicles, one atop the other, with separate engines- one with maneuvering capabilities to get down safely, and a simpler one to blast back to lunar orbit. More fuel. Perhaps more, for what the LEM had to do, than was required for the module that brought it to (and returned from) lunar orbit. That CSM did not need to take off from anyplace. Perhaps too much. And too complicated for comfort- the physics just could not be cajoled into playing along. The system design was starting to look like a poor choice. Some entirely new system seemed to be required to handle this particular challenge, and there wasn't one at hand. It was do-able, but just barely, with the project equipment. The marvelous organization and integration had missed one little thing. Not a bad scorecard, but unfortunately this was an important little detail. Unlike today, when a hang-up can delay a project for as many YEARS as necessary, the Apollo Project had a drop-dead launch window. President Kennedy had made it an Official Goal to manage the feat before 1970, and the National Pride was at stake. Plus, the Soviets, who had beaten the USA at every step into space up until then, would certainly beat America to the Moon if the stated goal was not met. This does not sound like that big a deal today, but back then, with events like the Cuban Missile Crisis fresh in memory, the potential National Embarrassment was seen as a serious geopolitical issue. Then to make matters even worse, the Vietnam War came along in the middle of it all. What to do? The scientists were stumped, frustrated, angry.

Perhaps the website author has never heard of John C. Houbolt? Let me explain:

When Apollo was originally conceived, there were two methods of reaching the Moon that were considered to be viable: Direct Ascent and Earth-Orbit Rendezvous (EOR).

Direct Ascent was for a rocket to launch direct to the Moon, land, and the whole thing (minus stages dropped off at launch) would come back. This would require an enormous rocket, and one was envisaged - the NOVA. But to try and land a large rocket on the Moon! Still, engineers thought that the challenges could be met. One problem would be weight, and therefore fuel. A large amount of fuel would be spent powering a whole stack to the Moon, landing it, taking off from the Moon, and bringing it back.

Another idea was EOR. Instead of one large rocket, several smaller rockets would be used. One for the spacecraft, one for the fuel required. They'd rendezvous in Earth orbit, refuel the spacecraft, and then launch for the Moon. It still required a large spacecraft landing on the Moon, though.

Others thought differently. Weight was a major hurdle, so why take things (and thus expending fuel) that you didn't need? Why not have a rocket launching you into lunar orbit, discarding the spent stages? Then why not have a lander to take you to the surface & return to rendezvous with the mother ship, then discard it? Have the mother ship launch back towards Earth, and then have only the crew compartment re-enter the atmosphere? This idea was called Lunar Orbit Rendezvous - LOR

The idea of LOR amongst NASA engineers was championed by Dr John C. Houbolt. At first, LOR was dismissed. Rendezvous had not even been proven possible in Earth orbit, never mind hundreds of thousands of miles away in lunar orbit where communications would be difficult. Some even proclaimed it the most ridiculous and hazardous idea they had ever heard of.

Houbolt continued to press the LOR idea. Slowly, it started to gain acceptance. The more they looked at it, the more it made sense if they were to achieve the goal of reaching the Moon by the end of the decade. Eventually, LOR gained widespread support and was chosen as the mode to achieve a lunar landing.

So an almost impossibly complex idea was brought down to a merely complex challenge, and Apollo went to the Moon.

Some links for Dr Houbolt:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Houbolt

http://www.nasa.gov/vision/space/features/apollo_lor.html

http://www.thespacereview.com/article/392/1

Edited by Evan Burton
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Duane -

I sure it was just an oversight.

This is the web page from this site that Duane copied the information from.

He put a link on the last part of the series, though didn't make it clear that it was a cut & paste job.

Just an oversight, I agree.

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Duane -

I sure it was just an oversight.

This is the web page from this site that Duane copied the information from.

He put a link on the last part of the series, though didn't make it clear that it was a cut & paste job.

Just an oversight, I agree.

Wish I'd looked at part 5 and your response first - would have saved some effort - but foolish me - I started at the beginning!

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Steve .... Foolish you is right .... Why is it you always feel the need to accuse those you disagree with , as attempting to be deceptive in some way ?

If I were attempting to plaigerize someone elses work (something as a song writer I find particularly repulsive by the way ) I would have changed the title of the article , the wording , and not included the web site link at the completion of the article .

I often use other people's work to make points about how NASA faked the manned moon missions .. but I can assure you that I would never claim anyone else's work as my own .

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Steve .... Foolish you is right .... Why is it you always feel the need to accuse those you disagree with , as attempting to be deceptive in some way ?

Duane-

Where did I accuse you of anything? Didn't you even read my post? My first sentence was to give the benefit of doubt. Evan did the same.

I only posted the links for the use of other members for reference as a favor to you.

Why so paranoid?

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A compromise of sorts was reached. The first "landing event" would happen on schedule, no matter what. To redesign the LEM could mean scrapping almost everything else and starting over, and there was no way that could be done. Apart from the added costs of building new equipment, the stated time limit for getting there would be exceeded, which would be in itself a political failure.

Where is the evidence that says the first landing would be faked?

Redesigning the LM? Yes, that happened - it was a process of evolution and it happens not only in spacecraft but aircraft as well (not to mention a multitude of other hardware in various fields, from prototype to production). The sentance, however, gives the impression that there were LMs built & they would have to be scrapped; this is not so.

The LM started as a design concept to meet the NASA requirements. As those requirements altered, the design changed. Experience with mockups led to further design changes, albeit relatively minor. Even as the landings were taking place, experience gained from those landings was being incorporated into the design: redundant systems removed, defects rectified, improvements made, etc.

This is the normal evolution for aerospace craft. I can provide a variety of examples - apart from NASA designs - if anyone is interested.

Have a read about the whole history of the LM design:

Chariots for Apollo: A History of Manned Lunar Spacecraft

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The USSR had at this point basically backed away from a manned Moon mission after encountering the same stumbling block, but they might be re-invigorated if we decided to start over.

Wrong again. There was an active Soviet lunar landing programme in 1964 all the way until 1974 - after the Apollo programme had finished. The main hurdle to the Soviet programme was the N-1 rocket, which would lift the required hardware into orbit. Unlike the US, the USSR did not have powerful engines like the Saturn V's F-1s. To get the required thrust to lift the payload to orbit, the N-1 had 30 engines in its first stage alone (compare that to the five engines in the Saturn V). This was a complex system, and the first test flights all failed. With time the problems would have been ironed out, but the Soviets gave up on it by 1974.

Details on the Soviet lunar landing programme can be found here.

Edited by Evan Burton
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I have stressed the political ramifications intentionally. The vast majority of people working on Apollo were not lawyers and / or politicians, nor were they intending to fabricate a dog-and-pony show. If deception was to be introduced as an "option", all the dedicated engineers and scientists needed to be reassured, mollified somehow. They (the project leaders, anyway) were told that "as soon as" the problems were solved, the "next" launch would be totally legitimate, and any bogus data would be replaced.

Once again, evidence of this?

This would also seem to contradict Duane's stance; he has said that only a small number of people would need to be "in on it" for a successful deception.

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The astronauts, advised of the dangers therein (and reminded of their security clearances), agreed to a little "assistance" from the psychologists. If you roam through the stories in the popular press from the Apollo years, you will find numerous references to the "conditioning" (unspecified) they underwent as part of their training. Nice little human-interest points, but why did test pilots ("No problem- we lost the main engine, but I had beans for lunch, so I'll grab my lighter and bring the plane in...") need time with shrinks? The later missions had crews with backgrounds in technical science, not just hot dog pilots, and they received the same training. No one at NASA was worried about exhilarated fly-boys doing any unauthorized barnstorming- it was purely a security issue.

Psychology was an important part of spaceflight. For Mercury, people were unsure of the pyschological effects of spaceflight. Some thought there would be the 'breakoff' phenomena, where the subject is overwhelmed by the experience.

So psychological screening was introduced as part of the astronaut selection process.

Another part of the psychology was to 'desensitise' the astronauts to the experience; this is the "conditioning" refered to. Astronauts would be put through simulated launches, complete with the noise and shaking of a real launch. They would undergo runs in centrifuges to accustom them to high G-forces. They would undergo long periods of reduced sensory input. Far from being "unspecified", it is all detailed here, both factors in selection and during training.

Finally, psychological health checks were regularly conducted on the astronauts. Although these were outstanding individuals who were used to dealing with stressful situations, they faced work pressures constantly, and so they were monitored to ensure that the astronauts were coping with them.

I seem to remember that one of the Forum members has experience in psychology; perhaps they would like to have some input to this?

Edited by Evan Burton
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I mentioned in an earlier chapter that there was concern about psychological shock to the astronauts, not from a balky rocket engine, but from confronting the truly awesome ruins of the Old Culture. They would face the reality of an ancient civilization that was almost unimaginably more advanced than ours, yet so different in paradigm that linear comparison seemed impossible. A civilization built by our own ancestors- or our creators ? The connection was obvious, inescapable, between us and the Old Ones, the Builders, the Martians. They were not physically different from us, but their mindset, science, and priorities were as alien as alien could be. These things NASA already knew, and they absolutely did not want to reveal them to the general population.

So now we have ancient civilizations on the Moon?

Errrrr... yeah, right. Sure. Whatever you say.

(Slowly backs away...)

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Guest Stephen Turner
The astronauts, advised of the dangers therein (and reminded of their security clearances), agreed to a little "assistance" from the psychologists. If you roam through the stories in the popular press from the Apollo years, you will find numerous references to the "conditioning" (unspecified) they underwent as part of their training. Nice little human-interest points, but why did test pilots ("No problem- we lost the main engine, but I had beans for lunch, so I'll grab my lighter and bring the plane in...") need time with shrinks? The later missions had crews with backgrounds in technical science, not just hot dog pilots, and they received the same training. No one at NASA was worried about exhilarated fly-boys doing any unauthorized barnstorming- it was purely a security issue.

Psychology was an important part of spaceflight. For Mercury, people were unsure of the pyschological effects of spaceflight. Somethought there would be the 'breakoff' phenomena, where the subject is overwhelmed by the experience.

So psychological screening was introduced as part of the astronaut selection process.

Another part of the psychology was to 'desensitise' the astronauts to the experience; this is the "conditioning" refered to. Astronauts would be put through simulated launches, complete with the noise and shaking of a real launch. They would undergo runs in centrifuges to accustom them to high G-forces. They would undergo long periods of reduced sensory input. Far from being "unspecified", it is all detailed here, both factors in selection and during training.

Finally, psychological health checks were regularly conducted on the astronauts. Although these were outstanding individuals who were used to dealing with stressful situations, they faced work pressures constantly, and so they were moniotored to ensure that the astronauts were coping with them.

I seem to remember that one of the Forum members has experience in psychology; perhaps they would like to have some input to this?

Guess that would be me Evan. I dont see why Duane has a problem with Astronauts recieving psycological backup..I have little to add to what you have said. Its just plain common sence to me.

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