back to article 'That roar is terrific... look at that rocket go!' It's been 52 years since first Saturn V left the pad

"Our building's shaking here, our building's shaking! Oh it's terrific... the building's shaking! This big blast window is shaking! We're holding it with our hands! Look at that rocket go... enter the clouds at 3,000ft! Look at it going... you can see it, you can see it..." SATURN V AND APOLLO 4 1967. PIC: NASA First Launch …

  1. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Poor filing practice?

    But is it true that the plans for the Saturn V have been lost, or thrown away?

    1. rg287 Silver badge

      Re: Poor filing practice?

      Not exactly. The thing is that Saturn V was built by so many subcontractors and suppliers that no unified set of plans really existed. NASA would receive completed assemblies and didn't necessarily have all the designs for them because they only needed to bolt it onto the next assembly, or ensure the electrical interfaces played nicely with its neighbours. And if they did have detailed drawings, they did not have exact manufacturing/production schemes of how those assemblies were fabricated and assembled.

      Many parts were hand-crafted. When NASA set some junior engineers the task of reverse-engineering the F1 engine a few years ago they found all sorts of oddities on the unflown engines they pulled out of storage. In one case the injector plate at the bottom of the engine had a mark where the drill had come down in the wrong place. These days the whole plate would be rejected (nothing short of perfect). On this one they just moved the drill to the correct spot and carried on. Lots of undocumented modifications and procedures from the fabricators (hand-welding/machining). The (hand-built) F1 engine itself was being developed and iterated so fast that every one was basically a bit different. As the article notes, Apollo 4 flew with a test article Command Module which had been hacked about to qualify some mods for the production version. There was no locked down "Saturn V" specification.

      So some stuff was never documented, much of it was spread out around the contractors, and of the stuff NASA had, some has ended up with museums or archives like the Smithsonian and other bits in NASA archives. And even then one set of drawings may only apply to one particular mission.

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        Excellent response. I was going to link to a video on a YouTube channel (Curious Droid) that talks about just that problem and outlines everything you have said, but I do not have the access to do so where I currently am.

        You can look at the channel and find it though, so if you're interested . . .

        1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
      2. Rainer

        Re: Poor filing practice?

        It's a good thing the main architects and developers were Germans coming from WW2. They knew a thing or two about making-it-up-as-you-go.

        1. MrReal Bronze badge

          Re: Poor filing practice?

          You say the architects were from Germany, but the Rocketdyne F-1 motors use brazed tube combustion chamber construction - a particularly backward, inefficient and weak design compared to the double-wall type used in all modern motors.... ....and in the V2 rocket motor.

          1. imanidiot Silver badge

            Re: Poor filing practice?

            The overal rocket design was very much a german/von Braun design. The F-1 engine was much more "american" and based more on what they could reliably produced at that size and output power. I'm sure there were reasons to go for an old fashioned brazed tube design over a double walled one. For one thing because, due to lack of modern FEM analysis and limited manual calculating capacity, most of the thermal design on double walled combustion chambers was "try it out and see if it melts", which wouldn't really do on an engine the size of the F-1. A brazed tube design was easier to perform the calculations on.

            1. MrReal Bronze badge

              Re: Poor filing practice?

              Agreed, I'm sure Rocketdyne would have used a better design if they could, it was certainly scrapped ASAP, the last one was a spare used to the Skylab launch.

              In 1969 it's sobering to think that Korolev had just finished perfecting the NK-33 (still used today in the RD-180 etc), the USSR was then around 2019 - 1962 = 57 years ahead of the Americans in rocket motor technology.

              Today Russia still use some very old designs to get into orbit while NASA appears to have learned or gained exactly nothing from the Apollo incident - today they can't even get a man in orbit, let alone into the radiation zones or beyond into the cosmic ray soup of outer space. NASA's lack of progress can only be explained if they'd simply made the moon landings up as a bit of PR during Vietnam.

              1. LDS Silver badge

                "ahead of the Americans in rocket motor technology."

                Sure, just the Soviet lunar rocket had to use so many engines their "computers" couldn't handle them to try to lift off because they had nothing with the power, simplicity and reliability of the F-1.

                Not surprisingly, that rocket could , in its best attempt, barely clear the launchpad before toppling on one side and explode. And it would have carried anyway a smaller payload to the Moon.

                Also Soviet never had any oxygen/hydrogen engines - and never went beyond Mars or Venus because they never had the launching capabilities - nothing comparable to the Centaur which was 1960s technology too.

                The Shuttle Main Engines were quite modern and powerful too.... what NASA lost sight on was the smaller engines.

                1. MrReal Bronze badge

                  Re: "ahead of the Americans in rocket motor technology."

                  The N-1 was abandoned before it was used, but for all your attention to the N-1 you divert attention from the NK-33, a design which the USA buys today as the RD-180.

                  The shuttle's main engines were fine, as was the J-2, but there are lots of commercial alternatives for the midrange motors. The ace that NASA really has wasn't the F-1 motor that looked and sounded so good - and then was immediately dumped (after all that R&D and reliability!!) it was the Shuttle SRBs.

                  The problem with NASA is that they act as if Apollo never happened and was faked. This leads many to conclude that Apollo wasn't real and the landings were faked. The launches did all look good however, even if today we are denied the uncut launch - to - 1st stage separation film.

                  1. LDS Silver badge

                    "The N-1 was abandoned before it was used"

                    No, it was abandoned after it kept on blowing up when used....

                    The F-1 engines were not the most versatile engines, sure, but they did what they were designed for - take the big missile out of the ramp in one piece and push it through the denser part of the atmosphere...

                    Then NASA had really nothing requiring that kind of engine.

                    1. MrReal Bronze badge

                      Re: "The N-1 was abandoned before it was used"

                      Yes it did blow up - 4 times I think - but the technology is still used today - whereas nothing from Apollo is. Given that NASA can't get a man into orbit today I'm not sure you have much to celebrate - men get to and from the ISS on a Russia rocket.

                      Looking at NASA today it's as if Apollo never happened. An obvious reason is that perhaps it didn't..

                      There is no evidence the F-1 worked as advertised as NASA has withheld the launch tapes that would show that - and NASA's photos also contain rather a large number of earth weathered rocks - so are therefore not taken on the moon.

                      Additionally however much you liked the F-1 NASA didn't and get rid of it as soon as they could - no rocket motor has since been built to that brazed tubular design. Ever. Not even the German V2...

                      1. LDS Silver badge

                        "whereas nothing from Apollo is."

                        The Apollo was designed to go to the Moon and back. We never went back to the Moon, so most of the Apollo hardware was simply no longer needed. Just like today you don't need 16" guns and a heavy armour on a warship.

                        Then NASA put all its eggs in the Shuttle (without a plan B) - it was an incredible technology feat, a space workshop able to sustain a crew of seven for two weeks with full EVA capabilities - but also too expensive and complex to operate, and with no budget to redesign some components.

                        Russia made a copy and mothballed it after one unmanned launch, unable to cope. Energia followed the same fate - just two launches. Still using Sojuz cannonballs and smaller rockets.

                        But frankly what evidenced there are that Russia launched the Sputnik or that Gagarin was in orbit? Do you have photos of the Sputnik in orbit? At least NASA launches were and are public, and not secret like the Soviet ones.

                        1. MrReal Bronze badge

                          Re: "whereas nothing from Apollo is."

                          There is some doubt that Gagarin was a) the first or b) went into space at all, he is always pictured in a parachute suit rather than a space suit and dies in mysterious circumstances.

                          The USSR lying about Gagarin doesn't however prove Apollo landed on the moon rather than a convenient studio at MGM Borehamwood does it?

                          NASA had ORDERS to return to the moon from GWBush and at the time had no shortage of equipment - it had the SRB heavy lift and decades of advances. I shied away from the task like a slug from a grain of salt.

                          I agree the Shuttle was was a marvel, but after Apollo was it so clever? Buran was better as the Energia launch system was reusable, it was fully remote capable (it's only flight) and better for not having to lug its own engines around.

                          The problem however with both Buran and the Shuttle was that apart from James Bond films they weren't really much use for anything that wasn't done cheaper and better with a simple rocket.

                          1. LDS Silver badge

                            "much use for anything that wasn't done cheaper and better with a simple rocket"

                            How do you repair Hubble with a simple rocket?

                            "Buran was better"

                            It never demonstrated it, as it flew only once. Energia twice. Would have been less expensive and complex than the Shuttle? We'll never know it. Buran had its own engines, wasn't the difference with the Shuttle it could to a powered descent?

                            The only non-reusable part of the Shuttle was the external tank, anyway. I believe NASA attempt to create a real "ship" with space operating capabilities instead of a cannonball was right for the time it was envisioned - especially when there was no space station to go to and from.

                            The mistake was to sell it as a launcher for satellites (too expensive) or to go to and from a station. Yet it would have been far more difficult to build the station without the Shuttle capabilities.

                            What NASA lacked was a plan B for smaller launchers, and an upgrade path for the Shuttle to make it less complex.and expensive to operate.

                            "The USSR lying about Gagarin doesn't however prove"

                            Yet nobody ever proved otherwise, nor attempted. Even if there weren't photos of the Vostok flying around. Radar and transmissions analysis were enough.

                            Did you believe Soviet couldn't disprove the Apollo landing using some telemetry and basic triangulation of transmissions?

                            1. MrReal Bronze badge

                              Buran was better

                              The Buran was better because

                              A. The launch system was usable for other things too

                              B. The craft was lighter once in orbit - needing less fuel to move around

                              C. It was fully remote capable

                              I'm not sure how one demonstrates A or B, it's just a fact.

                              No Buran didn't really have it's own engines like the Shuttle, they were just for orbital stuff - not for launch.

                              Perhaps you should ask NASA how they will maintain Hubble? From driving on the moon to not having a method doesn't seem like progress does it?

                              Why would the Soviets disprove Apollo? Easier to let the lie sit and take the grain shipments, it's coming back to bite NASA anyway.

                              1. Simon Harris Silver badge

                                Re: Buran was better

                                "Perhaps you should ask NASA how they will maintain Hubble?"

                                Hubble had an expected life of 15 years (from its launch in 1990 until 2005) - it's now been going nearly twice that long - indeed, the last service mission in 2009 was expected to only keep it going another 5 years.

                                Why are there no plans for space based maintenance of Hubble? The James Webb Space Telescope (a little overdue now) is its successor, with an intended orbit of 374,000km to 1,500,000km - outside the range of human EVA maintainability. Presumably when Hubble does go down NASA's focus will be on the JWST anyway.

                                When Hubble was all we had, it made sense to have a way to fix it, but with it being superseded, would you rather spend money on the more modern device, or spend it patching up a 30 year old satellite?

                                1. MrReal Bronze badge

                                  Re: Buran was better

                                  Why indeed? It wasn't really my question but thanks for posting the info.

                                  I wonder if the new telescope will be able to photograph these alleged landing sites? I suspect NASA is already working on a set of reasons as to why this will not be possible.

                                  I note that was are in 2020 now, NASA was ordered to return to the moon no later than 2020, in November 2019 how close are they?

              2. imanidiot Silver badge

                Re: Poor filing practice?

                Bureaucracy, lack of political will and constant backstabbing are a much more feasible explanation for that than not going to the moon at all. It was the Apollo program that gave NASA it's focus, but the progress they made before they got the Germans to help them through operation Paperclip, the Apollo 1 accident, the Columbia and Challenger disasters and several smaller fuckups along the way show how inefficient of an organisation NASA actually is without this outside pressure to complete one single goal. In line with every other government organisation in existence.

                1. Wayland Bronze badge

                  Re: Poor filing practice?

                  "Bureaucracy, lack of political will and constant backstabbing are a much more feasible explanation for that than not going to the moon at all."

                  That's the incompetence theory. Never attribute to malice what can be attributed to incompetence.

                  Ooops sorry, did I just trip you up? My mistake I am just so clumsy with my big feet.

                  1. MrReal Bronze badge

                    lack of political will

                    GWBush, January 2004, nearly 16 years ago ordered them back.

                    With 50 years of progress - what's keeping them?

                    1. Simon Harris Silver badge

                      Re: lack of political will

                      "GWBush, January 2004, nearly 16 years ago ordered them back." ... by 2020.

                      Artemis may be a little later than that (planned 2024 for a manned landing), but maybe Bush got his way after all.

                    2. defiler Silver badge

                      Re: lack of political will

                      I'm going to throw this one on the pile here, because whilst I believe you're wrong on many aspects this is at least one you can verify for yourself.

                      The President can't "order" NASA to light so much as a firework without getting funding approved by The Senate, let alone "order" them back to the moon.

                      When it comes to that he's got about as much power as a Junior Disprin.

                      1. MrReal Bronze badge

                        Re: lack of political will

                        GWBush and his dad had quite a bit of power, something you'd know if you were a little older or more knowledgable.

                        They were also Presidents, a political posts that requires lots of votes. When Bush ordered NS to go back that was his own will.

                        Perhaps you are using the same method of defining 'political will' as you use for 'landing on the moon' ?

      3. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Poor filing practice?

        Thanks rg287. Brilliant and informative explanation.

        1. MrReal Bronze badge

          Re: Poor filing practice?

          But inaccurate.

          NASA didn't throw away or lose anything that was required to get to the moon.

          They did scrap their celebrated F-1, but the SRBs they made were far far better in every way.

          1. bombastic bob Silver badge
            Devil

            Re: Poor filing practice?

            well, SRBs were cheaper and more efficient, not necessarily better.

            As I understand it, and I'm sure I'll be corrected if I'm wrong, SpaceX uses kerosene-powered engines that are *kinda* like the F1s.

            The point of the Saturn V was to build a practical muscle-car rocket, not necessarily the BEST tech, but functioning tech that worked reliably enough NOT to get people killed...

            In modern terms, Saturn V is probably as primitive as any other 50 year old design, though "modern" designs would obviously borrow things that work from any past design, no problem there.

            And if we wanted to build replica systems, there are a couple of Saturn V's in pieces set up as museums, so no problem unbolting something, doing a 3D scan, x-ray material analysis, etc..

            COULD be done. probably should NOT. Let's do a 21st century design that combines efficiency, low cost, reliability, and so on, borrowing from the 1960's when needed but using the last 50 years' worth of experience to make it better!

            1. MrReal Bronze badge

              Re: Poor filing practice?

              Three SRBs are 20% better than the 1st stage of SaturnV.

              7.5m lbf vs 9m lbf: 20% more thrust for the same period. Better.

              The F-1 design was very risky - thinwall tubes are not as safe as a double walled chamber. They only get safer with less pressure, less pressure = less thrust and less efficiency = a slow rocket than never gets to orbit. That's the real story of Apollo 11.

              Since Apollo NASA has done wonderful work to avoid man going into the Van Allen belts, it's almost as if they fear the radiation of the VAB and beyond. Which of course they do: for good reason.

              NASA never went anywhere with Apollo, that's why the story is full of holes and inconsistencies, that's why their 'moon' photos are full of weathered landscapes and why no one has ever even tried to go back.

              1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

                Re: Poor filing practice?

                MrReal,

                Ah, so you've now changed your story again from saying that Saturn V could get to orbit, just not to the Moon. Now it couldn't even get to orbit! Not getting to the Moon would have been a lot easier to hide than the extremely obvious not getting to orbit. Particularly as there were press with the recovery fleet who saw the capsule land several days later with astronauts in it. Though maybe they were stuntmen and the "real" ones were hiding on the carrier. I mean there's never any gossip on Navy ships with crews of over a thousand, so that kind of thing would never get out...

                Anyway solid rocket boosters have many problems of their own. They may be simpler, but they can't be throttled down - which means they're a lot less flexible, and if you want to change your velocity you're going to need to have more of them that you don't start until later - or other types of engines as well. Hence the shuttle main engines were throttled up as they got into the less dense air of the upper atmosphere, for example.

                Admittedly nowadays we've got throttleable solid rockets - such as Virgin use. Though I'm not sure if they're as powerful. But solids can't be the best for everything, otherwise more modern rocket designs would use them, and yet quite a lot don't. They make good missiles though.

                1. MrReal Bronze badge

                  solid rocket boosters

                  I haven't changed my story at all, plus it's not a story - unlike Apollo.

                  Apollo11 never made it into orbit, later, emptier Saturn launches may well have, it's difficult to know until (if) the US Government declassifies the associated documents for the program.

                  All we can be reasonably certain of was that AS11 was travelling too slowly to make it.

                  The lack of Pogo with a solid booster means you don't have to throttle it - you can always throttle a later stage if you get your orbital calculations wrong, or discard them in an emergency. For 9m lbf thrust as a 20% better first stage for a moon-ship three of them are a perfect fit.

                  The press boats never saw the astronauts emerge from the capsule - faces were always covered for 'contamination' reasons.

                  The landing accuracy (search for Apollo_18-40_Entry_Splashdown_and_Recovery) is too good for 1969 tech. You want to believe that Apollo 13 with manual firing and notepad calculations landed 1.0nm from the spot - go ahead - but don't expect me to :D. That's a task with a helicopter and GPS!

                  Do an internet search for the Apollo CM capsules recovered for Apollo 11,12,13,14,15,16,17 and you will see how NASA has a hard time telling which one is which. This is due to them not needing any more than one or two at the time.

                  1. OssianScotland Silver badge
                    Coat

                    Re: solid rocket boosters

                    C'mon, everyone knows the moon landings were staged by Stanley Kubrick. Of course, being the perfectionist that he was, he insisted on doing everything on location.

                    1. MrReal Bronze badge

                      The moon landings were staged by Stanley Kubrick

                      He only filmed Apollo 11's video, Apollo 12 had a convenient 'technical fault', Apollo 13 was the ridiculous 'disaster but they are all Ok' non landing and then Apollo 14 landed on an entirely different moon which was much more evenly lit, had wide expanses of 'regolith' and didn't have any horizon 30 feet from the LEM such as in AS11-40-5928.

                      I also think if they'd really gone they'd have taken photos of the earth, stars and some moon, instead of thousands of pictures of weathered rocks on earth... :D

                    2. Dagg

                      Re: solid rocket boosters

                      everything on location Remember OssianScotland there is a certain ethnic group here who have no idea about irony and sarcasm...

                      1. OssianScotland Silver badge
                        Pint

                        Re: solid rocket boosters

                        I never would have guessed!

                        Have a vBeer, Dagg

      4. Blackjack

        Re: Poor filing practice?

        And then people insists NASA is part of the USA military. If it had been, they would have keep files of even the type of chewing gun that was best for "ear noise".

        1. MrReal Bronze badge

          NASA is part of the USA military

          Perhaps you can explain why documents about the moon's exploration - even dating back to 1959 are still classified Top Secret?

          E.g: "Lunar Research Flights" report by L. Reiffel dated June 19, 1959

          There are many others.

          Can you think of any secrets NASA would want to keep from you?

          1. Blackjack

            Re: NASA is part of the USA military

            They probably should already be declassified, maybe they aren't because no one important has cared to make to make it so. Even if they had plans, that were never used, for a "nuclear moon rocket", that design would be so outdated it would be ridiculous.

    2. MrReal Bronze badge

      Re: Poor filing practice?

      The SaturnV is irrelevant for going to the moon - note how fast NASA dumped it after their Apollo stories. The first stage F-1 motors were a very poor design rated at 1m lbf each, later uprated to 1.5m lbf by NASA, but are actually a more obsolete design than the German V2 motor which at least had a proper double wall combustion chamber like the modern RD-180.

      So NASA claimed 7.5m lbf thrust for around 170 seconds for the SaturnV first stage (the other stages are irrelevant - all off-the-shelf), but their 1980s Shuttle SRBs provide 3m lbf each for the same duration, so NASA would only need 3 of their proven Shuttle SRBs to give 9m lbf for the same duration.

      So nothing has been thrown away or lost of any value, although NASA do hold back the uncut launch footage of the Apollo launches, especially of Apollo11 which has never been released, but is cut into the newsreels. The uncut Apollo 11 launch footage allows the speed to be calculated in flight, estimates put it at around 1/2 the speed required on the Flight Plan - but it can not be proven one way or the other while NASA refuse to release the film.

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: Poor filing practice?

        hmm... I wasn't aware the F1 wasn't double-wall. Perhaps NASA believed that double-wall wasn't strong/reliable enough. They needed double-wall for the Liquid H engines, but apparently "got away with" not doing that for kerosene engines. They operate at lower temps.

        As I recall the double-wall design was intended to preheat fuel and cool the inner wall simultaneously. H2+O2 burns hotter than engine melting point, and that would be why. You could also spray fuel along the inside of the engine to form a laminar boundary layer. Maybe they did that in the F1 ???

        In any case it was good enough to get the job done. But yeah "more modern" designs are probably better, more efficient, and so on. We can do that now. In 1960's, maybe not so much... not and meet the deadline of "in this decade".

        1. MrReal Bronze badge

          In any case it was good enough to get the job done.

          That the F-1 'got the job done' is debatable because speed analysis shows that the Apollo 11 rocket was going far too slowly.

          NASA has a earth based film of AS11 piercing a cloud layer, but we don't know how hight the cloud is or _when_ they pierce it. The speed at that moment can be calculated by timing how long the 100 metre AS11 takes to go through it. NASA will not release the uncut film.

          If you look closely at the Apollo photos you'll see that many stones sit of top of the undisturbed regolith, while others sit embedded but have clean tops, weathered smooth. AS16's 'Shadow Rock' and AS17's Tracy's rock are good examples. The presence of stones and rocks with earth weather erosion and cleaning indicates the Apollo photos are all faked, which is more evidence that NASA didn't go anywhere.

          1. Alistair Silver badge
            Windows

            Re: In any case it was good enough to get the job done.

            @MrFakedMoonLandings.

            I have a 4" telescope in my sons bedroom that proves beyond a lick of a doubt that the moon landings happened. I can see with my own eyes through that telescope the remains of the landings. Give it the FUCK up.

            1. MrReal Bronze badge

              Re: In any case it was good enough to get the job done.

              So your son has a nice telescope but NASA didn't think to give any of the 7 missions one. I think that says something.

              NASA also didn't give the astronauts the simple, basic, obvious equipment needed to take some decent pictures of the earth either. The astronauts said how lovely the earth looked - strange then none could be bothered (or were instructed) to take any photos of it from the lunar surface,

              Your son appears to have considerably more interest in space than either NASA or the 12 astronauts who walked around on the moon, furiously taking many thousands of photos of pointless grey dust and earth weathered rocks, smoothed by the windy Nevada regolith.

              NASA can't get a man into orbit today yet you believe they drove around on the moon some 50 years ago LOL, how many decades are you going to wait while NASA manufacture excuses for not going above LEO?

              1. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
                Boffin

                Re: In any case it was good enough to get the job done.

                Everyone knows Kubrick filmed it on location...

                And every Apollo did have a telescope...in the sextant.

                Also, *someone* put those retroreflector arrays on the moon. I'm going with the Apollo astronauts.

                Although I suppose it could have happened like this:

                https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=P6MOnehCOUw

                1. MrReal Bronze badge

                  Re: In any case it was good enough to get the job done.

                  LOL, AS11-40-5928 shows us Apollo 11 was shot in a small studio.

                  Look at the shadow - touching the horizon. Where's the ground gone?? It's the edge of the soundstage and the black backdrop curtain, unless the moon really is only 100 yards across that's a studio!

                2. Wayland Bronze badge

                  Re: In any case it was good enough to get the job done.

                  " *someone* put those retroreflector arrays on the moon."

                  That's rather the point of a retro-reflector. No one has to align it. It's not like using a mirror to signal to someone. It's like a reflector from a bicycle, shine a torch on it from any angle and it reflects straight back at you or who ever is holding the torch.

                  The reflector could just be thrown on the ground and it would work. No setting up needed.

                  1. MrReal Bronze badge

                    Retro-reflector vs Primary school Mathematics

                    Ah yes, the case of the phantom reflectors. Is a retro reflector that accurate over 250,000 miles? Even if it is and it's not covered in dust (unlike the rocks LOL) there's three problems:

                    A. Prior to Apollo laser ranging was used. If you wanted to claim a reflector was placed on the moon you'd simply choose a brighter spot (The moon is not a uniform grey!) and claim it was there.

                    B. There is no 'before' measurement to see if the reflection improved when it was 'added'.

                    C. Basic Maths. It's a long way away so the laser 'dot' is actually 6.5km across when it gets there.

                    6.5km dot, area = Pi.r^2 = 3.14 x 3250 x 3250 = 10562500 m2

                    0.45m x 0.45m reflector = 0.2025m2

                    Albedo = 12% or 0.12, assume mirror is 100% or 1.0, giving an elevation of 0.88 over the surface reflection.

                    Area = 0.2025 / 10562500 = 0.0000000191716. Multiply by the 0.88 = 0.00000001687101

                    So in percentage terms the phantom reflector would make 0.00000169 % difference to the reflected laser.

                    QED: The reflector is a lovely story, but can never be proven.

            2. DiViDeD Silver badge

              Re: In any case it was good enough to get the job done.

              No, he's absolutely right, you know. This (admittedly rather elderly) link below shows the whole truth(tm)

              What a Clanger!

          2. Wayland Bronze badge

            Re: In any case it was good enough to get the job done.

            "many stones sit of top of the undisturbed regolith" - meaning that either the stones should have been covered in the same regolith or there should have been a crater in the dirt when it fell.

            At the very least this is a scientific puzzle. Maybe the stones have a charge that repels dust?

            If the dust was wind blown then there would be dune effects around the stone. If the stone repelled dust then there should be no dust under it. If the dust fell then it would have fallen on the stone like snow.

            Yes think of the dust as snow.

            1. MrReal Bronze badge

              A scientific puzzle - that Schmitt never noticed..

              The charge idea is good, although a weak/missing magnetic field means most charge would be neutral but yes - it's interesting none of the astronauts ever saw sparking or noticed any static, I think you have just spotted Yet Another Detail that NASA forgot about, even while claiming to measure it!

              Very interesting. The electric environment on the moon would certainly be lively, like the inside of a vacuum tube. Perhaps a glow around the LEM would have also been visible if they'd been on the moon rather than a studio. Perhaps a crackle of static as they touched the LEM, charging up like a Van De Graaf for hours.

              However we have rocks that show sand on some parts but not others - the one Schmitt examined in fact - Tracy's rock: AS17-140-21496

              I often do think of dust as snow, a very dusty old room or those youtube videos of timelapse snowfall. The funny thing with a timelapse snow build-up is that the lunar surface as photographed by NASA doesn't look like that at all, but like bits of windswept Nevada.

              Your dune effect is also insightful - I think they must have worked hard to smooth that out, some sand shows it less than others and cinder lake doesn't seem to show it either.

              AS11-40-5912 is interesting as it contains many small pock-marks that look exactly like a beach after it's been raining.

              Another interesting thing is to look at the training photos like ap17-KSC-72PC-440 - which show clean rocks and sand - the sand making the exact same quality of footprints that NASA claim form in the vacuum dried dust on the moon.

          3. jelabarre59 Silver badge

            Re: In any case it was good enough to get the job done.

            I know I've already posted it before to this insistent person (being polite here) that it was *easier* to actually go to the moon than to fake it. Too many independent observers, including plenty that would have had every incentive to expose a hoax. We simply didn't have the technical capability or capacity to fake it, not if observers around the world were picking up the exact same broadcasts, observing the same objects, etc. To fake the video and audio transmissions, especially with their lag times, would have required data storage beyond what even existed at the time. Just because we could stitch Tom Hanks into historical videos 20+ years later does not translate to doing the same in 1969. And even in the 1990's the ability to render real-time was still a long ways off.

            And the idea of a wide-scale hoax doesn't work either, because the more people are involved in a hoax/coverup, the more likely someone will let the wrong information out. The Soviets observed the same things we did, and they were the last people who would have cooperated in a coverup. And with all the documentation that came to light after the fall of the USSR, we would have seen documents exposing any cooperation in a hoax. Something as large-scale as a moon-landing hoax would have had too many people participating in it for it to have remained secret.

            You would have to even say my own father was part of the hoax/coverup, as he was a technical rep for a company that made instrumentation for the Apollo project, was part of the Apollo1 investigation, and I personally held gauges he was bringing from Cape Canaveral to his office for forensic study.

            1. MrReal Bronze badge

              a wide-scale hoax

              What technology would they need to fake it?

              1. Lots of 'training' missions on realistic situations - check

              2. Control over the Apollo feed with a tape delay box - check

              3. No photos of stars of the earth - check

              4. Avoid anyone seeing the uncut Apollo 11 launch - check

              5. Some meteors gathered in antarctica - check

              6. Some dodgy studio photos with no horizon and spot lighting - check

              7. A decent escape chute from Saturn V - check

              8. Masking the people jumping out of the capsule at splashdown - check

              What exactly are they missing?

              Why would your father know anything?

              No one in the Manhattan project knew anything.

              The soviets were shut out of the Apollo 11 launch by a naval blockade.

              You seem to be under the misapprehension that they faked it well. They didn't, it's a terrible fake that has endless mistakes in - your belief system is merely rationalising over the holes. The power of belief is HUGE, way bigger than you think or can imagine. That's the point.

              1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

                Re: a wide-scale hoax

                Seems this person is either to lazy to bother looking up the extensive explanations of just why it was impossible to fake, or they simply enjoy being an asshole. Not that I'm generally opposed to the second in most cases, but this one steps well beyond general assholery and firmly into the territory of ignorance and stupidity.

                1. MrReal Bronze badge

                  this person

                  Which person?

                  A. It was possible to fake: the evidence is that they did fake it. Badly.

                  B. Is your resort to name calling and insults from lack of education or a distrust of science?

                  C. You have failed to highlight a single instance of 'ignorance and stupidity' except perhaps in your post.

                  You appear to be confused by someone who holds different views from yourself and disagrees with your blind faith in this matter. If you care about Apollo being real so much why can't you show any evidence for it that survives a cursory analysis?

                  The weathered earth rocks in the NASA photos are solid, direct evidence for the photos being faked. Perhaps you need to start rationalising why NASA would fake them all if they really went, and why no one has even been above Low Earth Orbit since the Apollo myths?

      2. Wayland Bronze badge

        Re: Poor filing practice?

        The first Saturn V stage gets it into Earth Orbit so this is really where the journey to the moon begins. As long as you can get enough fuel into orbit maybe over several trips you could take the Space Shuttle to the moon.

        They never did that.

        1. MrReal Bronze badge

          Re: Poor filing practice?

          Von Braun's original idea (as he shows in the 1957 Disney documentary on it) was to use shuttles as a bus service to construct a moon rocket in orbit.

          Braun left NASA after Apollo, perhaps disappointed by the show that went nowhere and featured the F-1 motors that were of considerably poorer design than that of the V2 motor he worked with 20 years earlier.

  2. The Man Who Fell To Earth
    FAIL

    Shameful

    That our idea of "cutting edge technology" has been reduced to tweets and streaming. If Aliens wanted to keep a species grounded after they took the first steps towards becoming space faring, it's hard to think of a more effective poison than introducing such drivel.

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Re: Shameful

      Actually, "cutting edge technology" today is mostly slurping someone else's data to death, then trying to extract profiles to sell them something useless.

    2. phuzz Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Shameful

      In my head "cutting edge technology" encompasses something like SpaceX's tail-landing Falcon rockets, but then I'm not determined to be a grumpy sod.

      1. MrReal Bronze badge

        Re: Shameful

        What makes SpaceX's tail-landing Falcon cutting edge?

        In 1969 NASA claimed 6 such landings on the moon, Falcon's idea is exactly 50 years old. Yet SpaceX is still struggling to make it work reliably, yet NASA (or Grumman's) rush built and late LEM did it perfectly not just in the car park on earth but 250,000 miles away without a hitch.

        Grissom hung a lemon on the LEM yet 2 years later all was perfect - SpaceX - what's keeping them?

        In Apollo everything always 'just worked' enough to keep the men alive and the feats going, SpaceX appears to be bogged down in some realities of engineering that never once affected NASA's Apollo.

        1. 2Nick3

          Re: Shameful

          "What makes SpaceX's tail-landing Falcon cutting edge?"

          Doing it in an atmosphere with higher gravity probably increases the challenge factor a bit. And doing it without a human pilot, as I understand the Apollo landings were done by feel as much as anything else.

          1. MrReal Bronze badge

            Re: Shameful

            No the Apollo LEM had a stability computer.

            The LEM basically balanced right on top of a single point and only had on/off thrusters to keep it the right way up - it had to be 'fly-by-wire' due to the inherent unstable nature.

            You can watch videos of Neil crashing the simulator all day long, it's not a thing you could fly by feel. although NASA claims each successful landing in their Apollo story had a different pilot.

            Then of course they bolted a 210kg LRV to one side but it still worked fine: Better than SpaceX's.

            1. phuzz Silver badge

              Re: Shameful

              The AGC was a cool bit of kit, and probably could have landed the LEM by itself, on a good day and with flat terrain. As it was, every single lunar landing was hand piloted.

              What the AGC couldn't do, was land accurately enough to hit (for example) a 50x100m barge in the middle of an ocean.

              The other advantage the LEM had was that the descent engine could be throttled a lot (most rocket engines can only throttle between 80-100% of max thrust), all the way down to 10% thrust. The Space X Merlin, while it can throttle down to 70% , that's still a thrust to weight ration of more than 1, ie, it's incapable of hovering. This means that to land, not only does it have to deal with all the problems of being pretty much the wrong shape to land (like balancing a pole vertically), an inconsistent atmosphere with wind to push it around, much smaller landing areas, it also has to time it's 'suicide burn' so that the rate of de-acceleration is perfectly calculated to have it moving at 0m/s exactly at altitude = 0m.

              If it is still going too fast it crashes (obviously), but if it's going too slow then it will start going back upwards (and would presumably have to then cut engines and try again somehow).

              Finally it has to do all of this whilst being cost-effective enough that they can make money by re-flying that stage again and again.

              So yes, the LEM and the AGC were massive triumphs, but modern rocketry has come on leaps and bounds, and while automated landings might look the same from the outside, the level of difficulty is an order of magnitude higher.

              1. MrReal Bronze badge

                modern rocketry has come on leaps and bounds

                Agreed, which makes man's shyness of going above LEO all the more puzzling...

                .... unless Apollo was faked, in which case it makes perfect sense. Radiation.

          2. Wayland Bronze badge

            Re: Shameful

            There is no shortage of rocket power so the extra weight on Earth should not be a problem. Wind could be a factor so some method of correcting for that would be needed.

            The real problem with tail landing is it's stupid and wasteful.

            To hover for 10 seconds uses the same amount of power as to rocket to 100mph on the flat and half the power it would take to reach 100mph in 10 seconds straight up.

            To descend on rocket power for several minutes would probably take more fuel than it can carry. The slower the decent the more fuel is used.

        2. imanidiot Silver badge

          Re: Shameful

          Yeah, sure flying something the weight and size of a small van on top of a rocket is exactly the same as bringing a 44 meter tall rocket moving at several times the speed of sound back to a gentle landing on it's rear. Totally the same thing!

          If you can't tell, that is sarcasm.

          The CoG of the F9 first stage is further off the ground at aprox. 14 meters than the total LM was tall (23'3"/7.1 meters) and at 25 tons dry mass the first stage of F9 weighs about 4 times the landed mass of the LM (Aprox. 6 tons, Fueled ascend stage, empty decent stage, effectively only 1 ton on the moon actually). It's the same sort of thing only in general mechanics, but you're saying that because you can drive a go-cart you're qualified to drive a lorry/truck/tractor-trailer/HGV. They're just not the same thing. It also took NASA several years and a lot of trials with the LLRV and LLTV to get it right and some of the best pilots of the time to fly it.

          1. MrReal Bronze badge

            Re: Shameful

            The LEM was 16 tons of mass to keep stable, not 6, on an alien world with mascons and a primitive landing radar. The LEM landing motor was silent though, which must have helped concentration.

            The LEM also had a 1969 rush built attitude computer to keep it upright and also had to work in a sea of cosmic radiation full of high energy heavy ions and significant temperature challenges. The landing itself in 1/6th g was also untested, but no one every complained of a single moment of instability - the benefit of landing on the end of a crane IIRC.

            The SpaceX machine on the other hand has 50 years of the world's best gyros and computers keeping it stable.

            Either the F9 designers are incompetent or the Apollo moon missions were a work of fiction. Judging by NASA's zero progress of anything above Low Earth Orbit since I'd say the latter.

            1. imanidiot Silver badge

              Re: Shameful

              If you read carefully what I wrote there you'd see I qualified how I got to aprox. 6 tons. By the time the LM got close to the surface the decent stage was nearly empty. Fueled mass of the decent stage was a tad over 10 tons, fueled mass of the ascent stage was 4 and a bit tons. (The difference is stuff like surface science equipment stowed on the decent stage). IE, burn most of the fuel in the decent stage and you're left with aprox. 6 to 7 tons of vehicle to maneuver close to the surface.

        3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Shameful

          "Yet SpaceX is still struggling to make it work reliably"

          Err...what? Landing the first stage is becoming boringly regular.

          1. bombastic bob Silver badge
            Devil

            Re: Shameful

            Landing the first stage is becoming boringly regular.

            agreed. If it fails, we'll hear about it, like plane crashes. They're infrequent too, so every time you get one, it's front page stuff.

            (this says a lot of GOOD THINGS about SpaceX's tail landing ability, which is still pretty sci-fi cool)

          2. Titus Aduxass

            Re: Shameful

            Landing the first stage might be becoming regular. But it is NEVER boring!

    3. Captain Scarlet Silver badge
      Alien

      Re: Shameful

      Shamefully Social Media has had more of an impact than the Mysterons did.

    4. MrReal Bronze badge

      Re: Shameful

      Those F-1 motors were obsolete in 1962, a very poor design.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Those F-1 motors were obsolete in 1962, a very poor design.

        As is evidenced, no doubt, by all the other moon landings made with much better rocket technology.

        And *perhaps* the engineering trade-offs could have been better optimized - I wouldn't know myself - but the result worked nevertheless, which is what counts.

        1. MrReal Bronze badge

          Re: Those F-1 motors were obsolete in 1962, a very poor design.

          If you assume NASA really went then yes. But then if they really had gone - others would have followed.

          But my comment was related to the idea that NASA 'lost' technology to go to the moon: it didn't, the Shuttle SRBs were far far better than the F-1's could ever be, strap on just 3 and you get 9m lbf thrust, 20% more than the SaturnV claims.

          This when GWBush ordered NASA back to the moon they already had everything they needed.

      2. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

        Re: Shameful

        I know nothing about rocket engines, might be worth giving a citation in regards why they were a poor design.

        I have googled it and Wikipedia doesn't really make any mentioned of anything bad,

        1. MrReal Bronze badge

          Re: Shameful

          As I mention above they are of a brazed tubular design, which means huge pumping losses, complicated error prone design and an limit of pressures due to the thinwall tubes.

          I.e. The F-1 can achieve 70bar pressure before it blows up, double wall designs (like ironically - the original V2 German design) can do 200bar easily. The higher the pressure = the faster the gas escapes = the less fuel needed for the same thrust.

          1. bombastic bob Silver badge
            Meh

            Re: Shameful

            there must have been a compelling reason they went with this design....

            1. MrReal Bronze badge

              Re: Shameful

              I'm sure there was, but that doesn't mean they worked well enough.

              By the 1980s NASA had thrown the F-1 away and designed the SRBs which would have been good enough however - just three SRBs give 9m lbf thrust, enough for a far better rocket than the SaturnV.

              So why didn't they go back then, when GWBush asked them to? Well in 1969 they didn't just have inadequate equipment, but they also had the Radiation Problem.

              50 years later the rockets etc are simple - but notice than no one from any country has even attempted to get a man past Low Earth Orbit: the radiation barrier (of both the VAB and beyond) are still unsolved.

    5. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Alien

      Re: Shameful

      I'm convinced that if we're secretly in contact with space aliens, they're TRYING TO HOLD US BACK, and NOT _advance_ our technology. Just sayin'. And I also believe that "certain politics" is the number 1 reason we have not already colonized Mars. In the 1960's, they expected we'd have space stations like in the movie 2001 in, well, 2001. Other "predictions" like graphical displays on computers were actually pretty close and looked good on camera. A HAL computer that has natural language interface, a little early for 2001-ish but these are getting pretty good, too [Watson, Siri, Alexa, etc.).

      But our space exploration is PATHETICALLY BEHIND where we COULD be.

      Meanwhile, TRILLIONS wasted in government-run social programs... imagine if that was used to purchase cutting edge tech, instead? Jobs, wealth, productivity, national attitude and so on...

      1. MrReal Bronze badge

        Re: Shameful

        The problem is solar/VAB and cosmic radiation, very boring, very simple, very deadly: no aliens required.

        The social programs cost virtually nothing next to the real cost: WAR. The USA spends $trillions every year on war, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria etc.

        While they have their wars and the radiation keeps us below Low Earth Orbit nothing will happen.

  3. tip pc Bronze badge
    Pint

    Love watching space rockets, especially Saturn V lift off's

    Appollo 11 Launch in slow mo 30 seconds over 8 mins of liftoff

    amazing to see what happens on the pad.

    https://youtu.be/DKtVpvzUF1Y

    if you have time check out an overview of the sr71 engine

    https://youtu.be/VpZfBFlTC_c

    both simply fascinating.

    1. Alister Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Love watching space rockets, especially Saturn V lift off's

      Thanks for those links. Amazing.

    2. MrReal Bronze badge

      Re: Love watching space rockets, especially Saturn V lift off's

      Less fascinating than the full 169 second flight to staging which has been censored by NASA.

      1. MrReal Bronze badge

        Re: Love watching space rockets, especially Saturn V lift off's

        Perhaps one of the down thumbers can post a link to this footage?

        For what other reason would they give a true fact a mark down for not being on narrative?

        Parts of the uncut footage are in the news reels - the lift off, some flight and the staging - all from the same land-based film camera. So we know the film exists: so WHERE IS IT?

        When you fail to find it you may ask yourself by simple film of the world's most important achievement has been withheld by NASA?

        1. Alister Silver badge

          Re: Love watching space rockets, especially Saturn V lift off's

          you may ask yourself why simple film of the world's most important achievement has been withheld by NASA?

          Go on then, what's the answer?

          1. imanidiot Silver badge

            Re: Love watching space rockets, especially Saturn V lift off's

            His answer is that "they" never went to the moon.

            The other explanation of course is that like any large enough bureaucracy, storing and archiving footage like that is some other departments responsibility so naturally everything just gets lost and/or destroyed. The process is described quite succinctly in the relevant wikipedia article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apollo_11_missing_tapes.

            The relevant lines being: "Since the real-time broadcast conversion worked, and was widely recorded on both videotape and film, the backup video was not deemed important at the time. In the early 1980s, NASA's Landsat program was facing a severe data tape shortage and it is likely that during this period the tapes were erased and reused."

            1. MrReal Bronze badge

              Re: Love watching space rockets, especially Saturn V lift off's

              There is no copy on any medium of Apollo 11's uncut flight as viewed from the launch area.

              Just snippets out of time in the newsreels.

              Many people have analysed the Apollo11 flight and found it was travelling far too slowly to reach orbit, NASA could prove them all wrong by simply releasing that footage. If they went.

              1. MrReal Bronze badge

                Re: Love watching space rockets, especially Saturn V lift off's

                Loving the thumbs down - that's the count of frustrated searchers for an uncut launch film of Apollo 11 from lift off to staging some 169 seconds later. I feel your pain.

                169 seconds of launch film from NASA of Apollo 11 isn't too much to ask is it?

                We can see the snips of it in the newsreels, but we are denied the ability to time the cloud piercing event to calculate the speed.

                A Russian has calculated the speed at staging however from the angle of the supersonic cone and found that instead of going 2.4km/s as per the Flight Plan it is going at 1km/s - thus proving that Apollo 11 was a great show but never made orbit.

                Neil, Buzz and Micheal therefore took the escape chute that The BBC's Burke shows us on youtube just before takeoff - which would explain their sulking at the Apollo 11 press conference, and Neil telling Patrick Moore that he didn't see any stars from the Lunar surface - despite standing right next to the giant black shadow of the LEM while also forgetting to take a picture of the Earth to show the kids.

              2. Wayland Bronze badge

                Re: Love watching space rockets, especially Saturn V lift off's

                You've disappointed at least 15 Thunderbirds fans on here.

                ***SPOILER*ALERT***

                You're cruel and heartless, telling nerds that Apollo is fake is like telling a 6 year old that Father Christmas is just your parents.

                1. MrReal Bronze badge

                  Father Christmas

                  It's interesting that one of the first lessons we teach our children is to accept a giant lie, and then live with the knowledge that it was a lie 'but doesn't really matter'.

                  I think at a deep level that softens up many to some of the Big Whoppers from government :D

          2. MrReal Bronze badge

            Go on then, what's the answer?

            There is no answer that fits the theory that they really landed on the moon.

            NASA would simply put up an Apollo11 page and links to all the films of the launches. Simple.

            Instead they lose all the hi-res video feed and 'forget' how to go above Low Earth Orbit.

            The only conclusion that fits NASA's actions is that they failed to get above orbit, and Apollo11 failed even that. Look at the landing coordinates and accuracies for the splashdowns. From 250,000 miles away they get within 1.0 nautical miles of the designated target with 1969 technology. Even with Apollo 13!!

            It's just nonsense.

            1. LDS Silver badge

              "'forget' how to go above Low Earth Orbit."

              Tell it to Pioneer 10, 11, Voyager 1 and 2, New Horizon, Galileo, Cassini, Messenger, and the rovers wandering around Mars... where are the Russian deep-space probes?

              1. MrReal Bronze badge

                Re: "'forget' how to go above Low Earth Orbit."

                Pioneer 10, 11, Voyager 1 and 2, New Horizon, Galileo, Cassini, Messenger, and the rovers wandering around Mars..

                .. are UNMANNED.

                Since the Apollo stories ZERO men, women or confused have been above Low Earth Orbit.

                None.

                0

                Nada.

                1. LDS Silver badge

                  Re: "'forget' how to go above Low Earth Orbit."

                  And which Russian ever went beyond Low Earth Orbit, with all those marvelous engines? None.

                  Which Russian probe ever went beyond Mars or Venus, using all those marvelous engines? None.

                  The Sojuz design is alike the F-1. Old, simple but working for the required needs. But not exactly an advanced, modern design capable of sustaining a crew of seven for two weeks, with full EVA capabilities.

                  NASA has the capabilities to reach Pluto and beyond. Sure, unmanned probes, but you still need the launching capabilities and the technology - i.e engines that can be re-started in space to achieve the required speeds and trajectories.

                  1. MrReal Bronze badge

                    which Russian ever went beyond Low Earth Orbit, with all those marvelous

                    None.

                    Yes, that's THE point: No one, even with the capable hardware, has EVER been above Low Earth Orbit, the un-repeated anomaly is the Apollo story of 8 trips and rounds of golf and buggy racing.

              2. Wayland Bronze badge

                Re: "'forget' how to go above Low Earth Orbit."

                "the rovers wandering around Mars" - gotta love the gullibility of nerds.

          3. Wayland Bronze badge

            Re: Love watching space rockets, especially Saturn V lift off's

            I have calculated that the moon is very cold, about 30K.

            Probably not a good place to stand for too long.

            When the moon is in the sky temperatures drop by 0.7C.

            You can easily do this experiment with two temperature sensors. One exposed to moonlight and one in shadow. Obviously swap them to prove it's not the sensors.

            Seeing as the sun keeps us at about 300K and moonlight lowers ambient by 0.7C then working backwards the moon is 30K.

            Not very likely they went. More likely that after the rocket crashed into the sea Stanley Kubrik worked his movie magic.

    3. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Love watching space rockets, especially Saturn V lift off's

      "amazing to see what happens on the pad."

      As I recall, Saturn V cut the fuel lines at '0' on the count, but ran engines for another 2 seconds before actual lift-off. This is because it was LITERALLY too heavy until it had burned fuel for a couple of seconds, and at that point it SLOWLY started to lift up as fuel was consumed...

      So the sequence was kind of like this:

      T-5, 4, ignition, 3, 2, 1, 0.. lift off, we have lift off!

      I watched many Saturn V launches on TV. They all went like that.

      1. LDS Silver badge

        Re: Love watching space rockets, especially Saturn V lift off's

        The rocket was kept on the pad until all the engines reached the required thrust, engines don't go from 0 to full thrust immediately, especially engines as large as the F-1. When engines were OK, the holding arms on the Mobile Launcher base quickly released the rocket for liftoff.

        As you see from the count-down, engines ignition happened *before* lift-off.

  4. Alister Silver badge

    That roar is terrific

    Walter of course, being a lover of language, was using "terrific" in its proper sense - something to terrify - and not in its watered down modern meaning on a par with super, smashing, great.

    1. phuzz Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: That roar is terrific

      ("modern meaning" in this case meaning "since the 1870s, and probably before")

    2. MrReal Bronze badge

      Re: That roar is terrific

      It's interesting how loud the F-1 motor is (The crackling sound is the turbo-pump, the only modern well designed part of the engine and it's huge job of forcing all that fuel through those thinwall tubes) ...

      .... but the LEM motor that Neil and Buzz and standing next to is silent while it slows 16 tons from thousands of mph to park on the moon.

      1. brucespoint

        Re: That roar is terrific

        If you scream in space, can anyone hear you?

        1. Wayland Bronze badge

          Re: That roar is terrific

          If you scream inside the air filled ship then another person wit you can hear you.

          If the engine bolted to the ship rumbles then you hear that inside the ship.

          However you won't hear it like in Battlestar Galactica.

      2. LDS Silver badge

        Re: That roar is terrific

        Do you know it was an hypergolic engine, and it was mounted on the lower section of the LM, away from astronauts? And it used pressured helium and not turbo-pumps for fuel feeding? And it operated in vacuum? So the only noise could have been only any vibration coming through the mating surfaces? BTW the engine was fully throttable - it wasn't on/off only.

        1. phuzz Silver badge

          Re: That roar is terrific

          It was thottleable down to 10%, which isn't quite 'fully', but it's still better than practically every other engine so it('s designers) still deserves praise.

        2. MrReal Bronze badge

          Do you know it was an hypergolic engine

          Yes I did, the lack of visible plume has often been discussed as many think it should have a thick (red IIRC) smoke.

          It wasn't 'away' from the astronauts: the parts were bolted metal - rubber engines mounts from the nearest V8 Chevy weren't used. Metal is a solid and transmits sound extremely well - which you'll find out if you hammer a nail into anything.

          The vacuum is irrelevant as the sound will be transmitted straight into the air filled cabin and into their mics.

          I'm sure it was 'throttable' but it still had 16 tones to bring to a halt from thousands of mph. Apollo 11 was an untested landing too, the LM had never been flown close to the surface in 1/6g, the pilot Neil had a record of crashing the simulator and there was no audible sign of the stability computer working - which should have been clicking the thrusters on and off in the background faster than Neil, and no sign of instability.

          Additionally Apollo 14 shows how much damage the pressure of the tiny ascent engine causes to the LEM insulation yet the descent always looked exactly like it had been lowered by a crane.

  5. Daedalus Silver badge

    Irony of ironies

    James Webb, he who cut the Apollo programme (legend has it that the "goodbye and good luck" notes were being handed out even as Apollo 11 was in progress) gets a space telescope named after him, which happens to be infamous in its own right for cost overruns and delays.

    1. MrReal Bronze badge

      Re: Irony of ironies

      It's a shame James Web forgot to give the crew a long lens for a picture of the earth, or a low speed shutter option so they could photograph the stars.

      Maybe he didn't notice Apollo11 or 12, given that the moon is the perfect place for that type of photo. Still, at least we got thousands of photos of dust eh?

      1. LDS Silver badge

        "or a low speed shutter option so they could photograph the stars"

        Plus a telescope, a tripod and the motorized mount to get a decent image - and assembling everything in place? A remote control to be used with large gloves to avoid vibrations? How to focus?

        Plus probably the difficulties to use it with the Sun in the sky and the need to avoid much of its light and heat reaching the telescope.

        Which kind of science a maybe 5" telescope could have made?

        1. MrReal Bronze badge

          Re: "or a low speed shutter option so they could photograph the stars"

          They could have built one into the LEM quite well, or at least a clip to attach one to.

          Hubble manages with the sun in the 'sky'. Shadows are perfect in a vacuum, the LEM has a very big shadow.

          What kind of science to several thousand photos of dust make? Only that most of them contain scenes with smooth weathered rocks, blown clean by wind, scoured and surrounded by stones that somehow go there without disturbing that 'dust' (sand).

          1. LDS Silver badge

            "They could have built one into the LEM quite well"

            Did you see the space available inside the LM? A moveable dome would have added complexity. They could have attached one outside - Have you ever tried to operate a telescope with gloves and glasses? The cameras were set so the astronauts didn't need to focusing. You can't do that with a telescope.

            Shadows are perfect in vacuum but also extremely cold and dangerous - quite difficult to operate something you can't see much. And again - what a 5" telescope could do but to show there's no turbulence in space - something very well known already?

            Lunar dust was extraterrestrial dust - the mission was 1) get on the Moon first 2) study the Moon.

            If you look at the plans to install a telescope on the Moon, none thinks to put in where the Sun shines for 14 days.

            1. MrReal Bronze badge

              Re: "They could have built one into the LEM quite well"

              Did _you_ see the space in the LEM?

              Yet they fitted all the ASLEP equipment and even shoved in a complete jeep later on.

              What makes you think a telephoto lens and a camera body that can do long exposures takes more space and weight than a jeep?

              Plenty of space.

              1. LDS Silver badge

                Re: "They could have built one into the LEM quite well"

                Space yes, but again, how do you operate it with gloves and helmets? Have you ever used a telescope for long exposures? First, you have to set the proper equatorial mount angle and align it so its axis of rotation is parallel to the celestial body it stands on.

                Now you can have computer-driven, GPS controlled altazimuth mounts, not available then (and GPS doesn't work on the Moon). Then you have to carefully point it at something, and focus it - looking into some ocular - try it with a helmet and gloves. Then for log exposure, back in the days, you had to keep on looking into an ocular with an illuminated cross and keep the guide star centered, while operating the telescope controls - again, with helmet and gloves... and to show what? That there are stars in the sky?

                Even a today telephoto lens - even a large and bulky 600-800mm - won't give you much interesting images of the Moon - what makes you believe you would have got interesting images of the Earth from the Moon? And that's on a 35mm camera. 6x6 cameras like an Hasselblad would have required even longer lenses. Look at a photo catalogue from the '60s, and tell me how many you'll find...

                1. MrReal Bronze badge

                  how do you operate it with gloves and helmets?

                  That's a great question.

                  How do you fix an LRV mudguard with gloves and helmets?

                  How you you bend over in a pressure suit to take a photo of your own foot?

                  How do you corner sharply in a buggy with only 1/6 downforce - like driving on ice with slicks?

                  Your axis of rotation for the moon is irrelevant as the day is over 700 hours long LOL.

                  What makes me believe they would have got interesting images of the Earth from the Moon is AS11-40-5923 and AS11-40-5924 - are you saying they are not real?

                  If NASA could send a man 250,000 miles to the moon for a drive in an electric buggy on live TV I'm pretty sure they could arrange to take a photo of the earth. Don't you? They even took a video of Apollo 14 ascent from the moon - all the insulation flying everywhere which particularly contrasted to the descent of a heavier object, closer to the ground with a far bigger motor that didn't disturb any insulation.

                  The beauty of Apollo is that there is a fake or 'hole' wherever you look, it's such a rich story for mistakes.

                  1. Wayland Bronze badge

                    Re: how do you operate it with gloves and helmets?

                    "BUT BUT if Santa is not real then who lives at the North Pole?"

                    You are making Thunderbirds fans angry and start to cry. They want to believe in Science Fantasy and will come up with technical sounding rebuttals which make no sense. Plenty of room for a dune buggy but none for a camera and tripod. After the first 'fantastic' photos of Earth from the moon the Astronotts would have been bugging the camera guys for better cameras and they likewise would have been putting something together for the next mission.

                    The real mystery here is human nature. Apollo is so obviously fake and so obviously a ridiculous notion full of so many glaring holes, contradictions and impossibilities that it should fool no one. Yet almost all of the smartest people in the UK, Reg readers, will go out of their way to defend it.

                    My theory is that nerds need to feel heroic. If Apollo is real then us nerds put men on the moon and brought them home again. I feel heroic simply knowing technical details of how it works. Feel even more heroic explaining to some Flat Earth simpleton why they are wrong.

                    Except that it's equally heroic if not more so to explain with logic and technical details why Apollo is fake. Which is so blatantly is.

            2. MrReal Bronze badge

              Re: "They could have built one into the LEM quite well"

              They didn't need a dome, there's no weather on the moon. They could just stick the camera, facing up, on a mount attached to the shadow side of the LEM. The sun doesn't shine in shadow.

              Shadows are cold and dangerous (ever hear an astronaut comment about the heat of the sun and the cold of a shadow? Me neither) - but they did go into it, see AS11-40-5886.

              Star photos taken from the moon have scientific value even if you - as a non-scientist - can't see them.

              The mission objectives were many and varied, the dust should have been coating everything but looks exactly like the sand in the Nevada regolith in the US, even down to the sand free rocks outcrops and smooth weathered edges of those rocks and stones. Photos show many rounded rocks sitting in and on the sand. How did they get there? How did they get rounded? Why is there no dust on top of them? Why do some sit on top of undisturbed dust?

              BTW Hubble is in the sun constantly, silly huh? You should tell NASA how foolish they are.

              1. LDS Silver badge

                Re: "They could have built one into the LEM quite well"

                They needed a dome if the telescope was mounted on the LM to be operated from inside, which would have been the only feasible solution.

                Read what astronauts felt about the Moon shadows.

                Sure, we know a lot more about Moon dust and rocks now. We didn't know anything before. That was what the mission was for - besides getting there before Russia.

                Hubble is designed with Sun shields to operate.

                https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/hubble/servicing/series/Hubble_space_armor.html

                1. MrReal Bronze badge

                  Hubble is designed with Sun shields

                  What is a 'Sun Shield'?

                  It's something that was refer to as an opaque material that casts a shadow: The LEM is also a 'Sun Shield'.

                  A simple camera mount on the shadow side and a slow shutter is all they needed for some top star images. They could have also done that as a support for a telephoto lens for a picture of the Earth.

                  We learned nothing more from Apollo about the moon that looking at meteors that came from pieces knocked off the moon - which we've had before and after Apollo. Von Braun knew that too as he visited Antarctica to collect some.

                  1. Antron Argaiv Silver badge

                    Re: Hubble is designed with Sun shields

                    Yeah...no. A simple fixed mount will not give you what you want.

                    Have you ever taken star photos with a film camera? If you have a tracking mount, it's easy. If you have ASA400 film and no tracking mount, it's damn near impossible, since the starlight isn't strong enough to leave a good image on the low-sensitivity film before the Earth's (or moon's) motion moves the star image. So, you get very, very faint traces, if anything. It's the lack of sensitivity of the film that gets you.

                    Now, setting up a tracking mount on Earth is easy. On the moon, without an axis of rotation reference, and orbiting the Earth, I don't know how you'd do it.

                    1. MrReal Bronze badge

                      The lunar day is around 30 earth days

                      You don't need a tracking mount on the moon as the day is 30 x longer than the earth. If they did, NASA would have given them one. Fast film is not needed with a long shutter speed - it's a 'number of photons' problem, not taking photos at a football game.

                      You are merely demonstrating that NASA sent 7 missions to the moon with inadequate equipment for taking the obvious photos everyone wanted to see. Even if you were right that makes no sense.

                      1. Antron Argaiv Silver badge

                        Re: The lunar day is around 30 earth days

                        So the moon's surface is stationary against the star field?

                        Because that's the only way you'd get the stars to expose on ASA400 film without a tracking mount.

                        Fast film is not necessary with a long exposure AS LONG AS the subject is stationary. Which wasn't the case on the moon.

                        1. MrReal Bronze badge

                          Re: The lunar day is around 30 earth days

                          You can still take star photos with non stationary or tracking telescopes, you simply get lines instead of dots - not the end of the world.

                          But you don't seem to understand what a 709 hour day is like. A 1sec exposure on the earth moves as far as a 30sec exposure on the moon.

                          So Neil or Buzz could have clipped their camera to the LEM in shadow, pointed it up and exposed it for 5 solid minutes and that's the same star movement as 300/30 = 10 seconds on earth. With a 60mm lens that's not going to make some spectacular images of the Milky Way.

                          The NASA engineers who prepared the cameras and lens were clever people who knew this, the long 709 hour lunar days has been common knowledge for thousands of years.

                          They would have also wanted the first clear, sharp images of the earth from 250,000 miles too.

                          The idea NASA did all that work to get 12 (14 planned) people onto the moon and back without photos of stars and the earth is one of fantasy: not reality,

        2. Wayland Bronze badge

          Re: "or a low speed shutter option so they could photograph the stars"

          That's a silly argument since they took a golf buggy and a set of clubs.

      2. imanidiot Silver badge

        Re: Irony of ironies

        Why would they take photo's of the stars from the moon? They could do that perfectly fine from Earth orbit (they did, and do, regularly)? They didn't go to the moon for stargazing, and had much more pressing science to do.

        1. MrReal Bronze badge

          Why would they take photo's of the stars from the moon?

          If you have to ask that, you won't understand the answer.

          Let me guess, you don't see the point of photographing the earth from the moon either?

          ...but are happy with the thousands of photos of wind-blown sand and weathered clean rocks.

          1. LDS Silver badge

            Re: Why would they take photo's of the stars from the moon?

            You mean all those photos they took of the Earth raising above the Moon? Do you know what fiocal length you'll need to take valuable images of the Earth from the Moon? You get better photos from the Earth orbit. Something that NASA did and does.

            Yet you can take close ups of Moon features only while you are there.

            1. MrReal Bronze badge

              Re: Why would they take photo's of the stars from the moon?

              In Apollo 11 they only took 2 photos from the surface (i.e. not through a window) that included the earth.

              AS11-40-5923

              AS11-40-5924

              Neither Neil or Buzz recall who took them, the earth is fuzzy and rather darker than it should be, the exposure shows that it was added later in the lab. Lots of pictures of dust, but NONE of earth.

              Any focal length will get a photo of the earth - they got it in AS11-40-5923 + AS11-40-5924 - all they needed to do was take a photo of just the earth and get it in focus. Too much to ask?

              They could perhaps have taken a longer lens too - perhaps they didn't know they were going to the moon? Oh wait - I think they did - so maybe they just 'forgot' seven times in a row to take the right lens?

              You are also wrong about 'better' photos from orbit, the more accurate perspective is with a long lens and a photo set from the moon should show small amounts of 'gravitational lensing' and is therefore of great scientific interest.

              Take a look at the Apollo 11 photos. The moon is a very boring place, all the interest is in the stars and earth, plus the planets. So what did they do? Ignored it completely and then cried in the press conference about man's greatest and most successful achievement. Unreal.

              1. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
                WTF?

                Re: Why would they take photo's of the stars from the moon?

                I'm sure you could have done a far better job.

                I watched the moon landing. It happened. Multiple times. And anyone who claims it didn't is either a troll or unfamiliar with William of Occam. If we never landed on the moon, how come no one has ever provided proof we faked it? No notes, no stories of planning meetings, no nothing.

                But for some reason, we built millions of dollars worth of hardware, including a navigational computer that was never, according to you, used, and managed to fake the entire Apollo 13 near disaster. Again, with not a single witness to the process of faking it all.

                Yeah. Believe what you want, I'm going with facts, artifacts and the personal statements of the people that put men on the Moon.

                1. MrReal Bronze badge

                  I'm sure you could have done a far better job.

                  You weren't on the moon, what you watched was a carefully controlled feed that NASA has since destroyed the best resolution copy of, on a grainy black and white picture filmed straight off a phosphor monitor at NASA - not even a properly converted feed.

                  You saw someone climb down a suspiciously thick ladder and say a pithy script, part of a team of three people who forgot to (try to) take any photos of the earth, stars and sulked their way through a press conference before leaving NASA for good.

                  Then after Vietnam was lost and the Apollo story ended NASA proceeded to forget and destroy everything they ever knew about manned space travel and built any entirely different craft from scratch, and never once claimed to have ventured past the Van Allen Belts ever again - despite their jolly trip in Apollo 8 with 3 live american guinea pigs that went so swimmingly well that it was only a matter of time before we had a restaurant on the moon.

                  The building of the rockets wasn't fake or pointless, the cold war was in full switch and ICBM missile technology was one of the goals, as were spy satellites and controlling space. The only thing 'fake' they did was pretend their ridiculous moon equipment worked and that they went there.

                  The evidence for the fake is rock solid: literally.

                  AS16-106-17393

                  AS17-140-21496

                  are NASA's proud photos of rocks that can only exist on earth and so prove the photographic record is fake. The lack of dust everywhere as a uniform coating and the weathering and smoothed out sand around the rocks clearly shows a scene that's impossible on the moon.

                  1. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
                    Alien

                    Re: I'm sure you could have done a far better job.

                    I repeat: such an intricate fake has way too many people involved that the fact it was a fake has not leaked. From the operators of the video links to the people who picked up the remains of the Saturn V in the Atlantic...WAY, way too many people would have had to be involved for one or two of them not to want to cash in with a "tell-all" interview or book. But...crickets. Just a bunch of loons (present company excepted, of course) who claim it never happened and it was all faked.

                    You speak of NASA as a monolithic secretive organization, who for reasons best known to themselves, faked ALL of the moon landings. And, yet, NASA is actually thousands of people, just like me and you. Nobody spilled the beans? Nobody has a story to tell? Really? Improbable to say the least!

                    Now, on the other hand, we have moon rocks, examined all over the world by geologists who say they're not from Earth. We have artifacts with moon dust on them. We have computers, we have telemetry, we have ham radio operators who were able to pick up the space to ground comms. Many, many people, with nothing to gain, who were there and are telling coherent stories.

                    Remember the old saying? "Two people can keep a secret if one of them is dead" And in all this time, not ONE person has spilled the beans.

                    And apparently, Arizona State is in on the coverup:

                    http://lroc.sese.asu.edu/posts/22

                    1. MrReal Bronze badge

                      A poor fake

                      The fake wasn't intricate at all.That's why people keep spotting the holes !!

                      Very few people needed to be in on it, training simulations provided most of the photos, and how exactly did you want to 'spill the beans'? An astronaut?

                      Susan Crockford could tell you about the problems of telling the truth, since she discovered that polar bears are doing well she's been dropped like a hot potatoe!

                      Bill Kaysing 'spilled the beans' - did that help?

                      The 'moon' rocks have been examined by exactly nobody. NASA has sent some rocks to some people, the chain of custody is completely broken - one has to believe NASA to believe in the rocks analysis so your argument is circular. Lunar sourced meteors were found on earth long before Apollo.

                      A better argument is that NASA photographed earth rocks with weathering - that's direct evidence that any geologist of your choosing will verify if you talk to them off the record.

                      AS16-106-17393 and AS17-140-21496 are a good start.

                      1. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
                        Facepalm

                        Re: A poor fake

                        Well, let's see.

                        All those folks in Mission Control, faking a trip to the moon. None of them talked?

                        All the people who handled the recovered capsule, and those who faked the recovery?

                        All the people involved in handling the signals from "the moon", none of them noticed that the signal wasn't coming from the moon? Worldwide dishes used, not all Americans involved. None of them decided to talk?

                        Even if you claim "very few people were in on it", what about all the actors? And if the actors believed they were really running a mission to the moon, what about all the technicians who faked the telemetry to convince the actors? It just goes on and on. Too many people need to be part of the plan.

                        Believe your little fantasy if you like. There's plenty of evidence to convince me we went to the moon.

                        NASA isn't a monolithic organization. There have been thousands of people involved in the space program, and if I am to believe you, they have all kept the secret. Not buying it, sorry.

                        Oh, and the polar bears?

                        (they were in on it)

                        1. MrReal Bronze badge

                          Re: A very poor fake

                          All those folks in Mission Control - why would they need to know? Could they tell the difference between a simulation used to train and verify the systems or the real mission? Unlikely when they've just seen a giant rocket blast off.

                          Why would the capsule handlers need to be told? NASA is DOD: Need To Know. Only the pilots dropping the CMs out the back of their transport planes needed to know.

                          No one received signals from the moon, they received them from a very small number of big dishes.

                          Probably less people than Project Manhattan needed to know the truth, the program details are still classified and NASA has many films (such as the Apollo 11 launch to staging) that they will never release.

                          Believe the Apollo fantasy if you like, but know that there's no evidence for it that sticks and plenty of problems with the story - not least NASA's reluctance even under GWBush's orders to put a man above Low Earth Orbit. 16 years later and NASA shows no sign of building anything for the moon at all.

                          At the end of the day Apollo has done exactly nothing for NASA, they have never repeated any part of the trip and today can't get a man into orbit. The radiation is still the big barrier which is why no nation even attempts to send a man though, even China.

                          Total men sent above Low Earth Orbit by any nation since the 1969 stories = ZERO.

                          1. KA1AXY
                            FAIL

                            Re: A very poor fake

                            "NASA is DOD"

                            You're full of it.

                            I know what Buzz Aldrin would say to you. And how he would say it.

                            1. MrReal Bronze badge

                              Re: A very poor fake

                              And I know what Buzz said to the little girl who asked him why they had never returned to the moon:

                              He admitted they'd never gone in the first place, caught off guard by the innocence.

                              I'd get on just fine with Buzz, I'm aware of the immense pressure he is under and has been under for 50 years, he is a victim as much as anyone else. Look at them in the Apollo11 press conference, they've had to live with that sadness all these years.

                              Perhaps one day TRUTH's PROTECTIVE LAYERS will be pulled back for those who still cannot see.

                2. Wayland Bronze badge

                  Re: Why would they take photo's of the stars from the moon?

                  I watched the moon landing live on Anglia TV. I had to get my dad to turn the TV upside down as the picture came in upside down. I now suspect someone at Anglia TV were trying to tell us something, like an upside down flag meaning distress or an upside down cross indicating the opposite of Christianity.

                  The opposite of man's greatest achievement, man's greatest lie.

                  PS, I remember the next programme showed football and was hilarious watching it upside down.

                  1. Antron Argaiv Silver badge

                    Re: Why would they take photo's of the stars from the moon?

                    Must have been the feed from Honeysuckle Creek in Australia.

  6. Wayland Bronze badge

    Most fuel gone after 400 miles

    The majority of the rocket is used up by the time it reaches Low Earth Orbit. That's 400 miles up. After docking the command module to the lunar module it has to climb another 237,000 miles into an elliptical orbit that co-insides with the moon.

    1. Daedalus Silver badge

      Re: Most fuel gone after 400 miles

      If memory serves, the Saturn V final stage put the whole shebang into trans-lunar orbit. The Command Module then separated, turned around to dock with the Lunar Module, pulled the LM away from the Saturn V stage and then coasted to the Moon, where it looped around. The Command Module motor fired over the far side of the Moon to slow them down into lunar orbit. The remnant of Saturn V was kicked into a different orbit and is still going around the Sun.

      1. imanidiot Silver badge

        Re: Most fuel gone after 400 miles

        The 3rd stage of the Saturn V was only ejected into a solar orbit on Apollo 8, 10 and 11 IIRC. After that they put the upper stages into a collision course with the moon, so they could measure the impact with the geophones left behind in the ALSEPs left behind by the previous missions.

  7. Semianonymous Megacoward
    Alien

    The good news is...

    ...If either SpaceX or NASA succeeds in landing on the Moon in the next few years, these arguments will be over. Or maybe not, given the depth of conviction displayed.

    The practical reason people haven't gone to the Moon in the last fifty years is because there hasn't been the political will to spend the money. That's a much less interesting reason than a conspiracy.

    The Moon's surface area is roughly comparable to Africa's -- there's still plenty to explore there. Ice and other frozen volatiles, lava tubes, the lunar farside, odd features like Ina, just to name a few.

    Incidentally, Apollo 16 did (allegedly) place a telescope on the Moon's surface in the shadow of the LM, as described here:

    https://www.lpi.usra.edu/lunar/missions/apollo/apollo_16/experiments/f_ultra/

    The SpaceX schedule includes cargo flights to the Moon in just three years, and if that happens surely a McDonald's can't be far behind (Lunar Lander game reference). With luck, in five to ten years we'll have either proof the Apollo missions landed as advertised, or a large selection of new CGI to argue over.

    1. MrReal Bronze badge

      in the next few years,

      It's been 'in the next few years' ... for HALF A CENTURY now, despite GWBush ordering NASA back in 2004 - some 16 years ago, since when NASA has started work on... absolutely nothing required to do it.

      I do admire your patience though :).

      The Apollo 16 UV camera is great, it proves that NASA says the use of a telescope is fine on the moon (I note no one complains of glare, big gloves, space taken etc :D ), but still manages to avoid taking any visible light images of the earth or stars (from the surface - sans windows), instead giving us some images pulled from some UV telescope LOL.

      NASA have been so inventive in avoiding the Van Allen belts, obvious photos (earth and stars) and showing uncut film of the Apollo 11 (etc.) launches that I do wonder if instead they'd concentrated on the remaining barrier: Van Allen belt radiation and the most difficult: the cosmic ray soup beyond, they'd have come up with a few solutions by now.

      If only they hadn't taken so many sky averse photos of earth weathered landscapes, clean smooth rocks and rounded boulders they have had more time to actually build something that might be useful one day.

      1. Semianonymous Megacoward

        Re: in the next few years,

        Actually, I think NASA's Artemis effort will be the *third* government program to return to the Moon; in addition to GWBush's Constellation program there was GHWBush's Space Exploration Initiative in 1989.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_Exploration_Initiative

        U.S. presidents set space policy, and the first thing many do is reverse the previous president's policy. SEI died under Clinton and Constellation -- apart from Orion -- died under Obama. If Artemis gets pushed out to 2028, as it appears it may, then it could easily go away as well.

        What's different this time is SpaceX and, possibly, Blue Origin. SpaceX has picked up several experienced NASA engineers and may actually have a shot at getting people to the Moon. It's about time.

        1. MrReal Bronze badge

          Re: in the next few years,

          Yes it's always 'in the next few years'.

          That's NASA's motto for anything involving a living person above LEO (Low Earth Orbit) and the one thing you can rely on every country religiously following. For half a century that 'in a few years' has worked wonders, in that time America has invaded many countries and spent $trillions while people wait for NASA - or anyone else, to actually build something, anything, for the job.

          Remember NASA itself had those 'several experienced NASA engineers' and stayed in LEO, it's a constant cause by an embarrassing, difficult fact: RADIATION.

          That's why no one ever tries. Simple, boring, deadly.

          The VAB (Van Allen Belt) is a rapid death but the type of radiation there is not super high energy - same as the solar wind, and any future craft if properly constructed - perhaps with superconducting magnets etc may be able to cope with that.

          Cosmic radiation outside of the VAB is the real insoluble problem, the heavy ions rip through everything, NASA estimates over a year (365 days) 33% of a man's cell nuclei will be struck by a heavy ion. This means a 6 day moon mission strikes 33% x (6/365) = 0.5% will be hit, giving any astronaut certain cancer. That's according to NASA's own figures: not mine.

          Travelling through and outside the VAB may one day be possible, but not with any technology known about today, and as the US marches around the world destabilising and destroying one country after another the chances of finding such a technology is rapidly dying.

          1. imanidiot Silver badge

            Re: in the next few years,

            0.5% will be hit, giving any astronaut certain cancer.

            That's not how radiation or cancer works.

            "0.5% will be hit, giving a tiny increase in the cumulative lifetime risk of developing a cancer" is a much more accurate statement.

            Not every cell hit by ionising radiation gets mutated. Not every cell that mutates turns into a cancer cell. Not every cell that turns into a cancer turns into a cancer that ever gets detected. Not every cancer that gets detected is a problem. The chances of the dose/exposure received during a relatively short moon mission giving a deadly amount of radiation is slim. Especially now that the sun is very quiet with little sun spot activity, there isn't all that much radiation in the Van Allen Belts. Additionally, they are BELTS, the Apollo flights all took a trajectory that took them through the belts "above" (north of the equatorial plane) the most high energy regions.

            By your reckoning we also can't have geostationary satellites, because they must all past through the VABs too. And if it's enough radiation to kill a human, it would affect and kill electronics too!

      2. imanidiot Silver badge

        Re: in the next few years,

        Yeah, Bush made a very effective order -> Return to the Moon, with no extra budget.

        And development for those missions was quite far along when the next politician came a long and axed the whole deal. Then the next guy shows up and tells them to get going again, but with different mission parameters that now make all the work they did useless.

  8. Waspy
    WTF?

    Half an idea...

    MrReal has spent an entire evening proving the Dunning-Kruger effect. Keeps him occupied I guess

    1. MrReal Bronze badge

      Re: Half an idea...

      Haha, you are a prime example.

      No evidence, no argument, just an attempted put-down LOL, your faith is bigger than you.

      Perhaps IT fosters a type of intellectual vacuum.

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