Week 8 / Moon Landing Hoax by Marie De Austria

Professor Vesna focused on how people explore space. I want to talk about an interesting idea that swept people back in the 1960’s when Neil Armstrong first landed on the moon. The world almost stopped to watch the space shuttle launch and people’s eyes were glued onto the television and radio to see and hear the historical moment when humans can finally step beyond the horizon and into the unknown space. Skeptics, however, despite seeing all the evidence on television, believed that the government faked the lunar landings not only to save face but to try to outrun the Russians in the growing space competition.

The Mythbusters, a team of people headed by Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage, tackled what they called the “Moon Landing Hoax” to finally put a finger on the debate and see if Armstrong and his crew really landed on the moon or if the government was truly able to deceive the world. Skeptics created a list arguments why they do not believe the moon landing and some of these arguments can be found in this article:

http://science.howstuffworks.com/moon-landing-hoax1.htm

The Mythbusters decided to focus on three of these arguments: how light interacted with the lunar surface, how the astronauts appeared to move in the low gravity of the Moon, and how items behaved in the airless void of space. They devised different experiments and special effects to try and see whether the government could have potentially created the moon landing here on Earth and just video taped it with special effects to make it look as if the astronauts were really on the moon.

second light source myth

second light source myth

The first argument was that there was more than one light source in the following image. The astronaut is clearly inside the shadow of the craft but he is still somehow lighter than the shadow. Skeptics argue that if it is really in the moon, then the sun would be the only light source there is and the astronaut should look darker than in the picture. They believe that there is another studio light source that is lighting the astronaut. The Mythbusters, however, upon examining the surface of the moon, found out that there are luminous rocks and sand on the moon that reflects the sun’s light onto the white space suit of the astronaut. When they recreated the surface of the moon in a studio with the luminous rocks and sand that were examined, they were able to recreate the picture that NASA took on the moon.

moon walking myth

moon walking myth

moon walk myth

moon walk myth

The second argument was that the government simply slowed down a video of a man walking in a studio to recreate a “low-gravity moon walk.” But when Jamie tried this trick by tethering himself to a rope that is tied on the roof of a studio and jumping up and down the way the astronauts did on the moon, he could not get the exact “moon gait.” Only when they went to a Zero Gravity chamber were they able to recreate the moon walk video.

waving flag in a vacuum

waving flag in a vacuum

The third argument was why the American flag was still moving as if there is air in the environment when everyone knows that the space is a vacuum and there is no air that could cause the flag to wave. It turns out that the waving of the flag is due to the residual energy that the astronaut transferred onto the flag pole when he pressed the pole into the ground.

And so the overall verdict was that the “Hoax” is busted and that the Lunar Landing really did occur on the moon. I guess back then, the idea of breaching the horizon really shook many people’s beliefs about the world and the universe that they could not quite grasp the reality of the moon landing.

http://www.collectspace.com/news/news-082608a.html

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