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Moonhoax, another "documentary":

These days in France [2001], a TV "documentary" according to which the Apollo missions are hoaxes is again sent around on several discussion groups as an Internet links to a bootleg copy of that show. The "documentary" is not very new, it was first broadcast on February 15, 2001 on Fox TV in the United States and rerun many times since including in other countries. On one of these discussion groups, the participant who had started the discussion listed the arguments put forth in this documentary, not to claim that these arguments are convincing, but for asking whether they are valid or not. Here it is, with my answers.

I received this email:

I have just viewed this 40 minutes video:
[Link towards a bootleg copy of the documentary.]
Who could explain to the layman I am why, on the NASA documents, the stars-and-stripes flag floats in the sidereal vacuum whereas normally there is no air nor wind?

There is indeed no atmosphere on the moon, therefore no wind. But it is all that is true in this argument, the remainder is baloney.

The response to this pseudo-mystery was given on many occasions, before this documentary was shown, but the documentary simply hides the answer.

The first thing to do is to again look at these sequences of the documentary, but by really paying attention:

It is simply not the true the flag floats in the wind; there is not one piece of footage showing this. In the short pieces shown by the conspirationists, you simply see the astronauts shaking the flag to try to plant it!

It is sometimes claimed that once planted, the flag could not have been deployed due to absence of wind. It is deployed quite simply because the NASA guys who thought about that problem knew very well that indeed, it could not deploy in the wind since indeed there is no air on the Moon thus not of wind.

They thus quite simply provided the higher edge of the flag with a rigid rod, which you can clearly see on the pictures; which maintains the flag deployed.

The flag, which does not wave in the wind, but simply deploys thanks to a rod.

Besides, there is even a scientific paper both very detailed and quite amusing in connection with the issues of putting the US flag on the Moon [fl1].

Why, although the astronauts are in the shade, do they appear clearly as if there were several sources of lighting?

Not being informed, one can believe that there is only one source of lighting, the sun. But in reality, there are several sources of lighting: the sun, but also the Earth reflecting the sunrays to the moon, and the ground of the Moon itself, although rather dark, which also reflects part of the sunlight and light from Earth. The LEM itself also reflects light. And to all that, you need to remember that the astronauts spacesuits are white and are thus very reflecting. All that provides largely sufficient lighting, NASA had thought about that anyway [sp1]. Also, some of the photographs were taken using an electronic flash.

When a source of light is localized, it spreads and creates shadows. It is only if the astronauts had installed a great number of lamps on the Moon, or if all that had been shot in a studio, that the shades could have been be more diffuse, and still, as with lamps on the Earth, there would be shadows all the same.

On this picture, you can clearly see the amount of light of the sun that gets reflected onto the soil by the LM's reflective surfaces. It is precisely this LM reflected sunlight which lights the front of the astronaut and the lunar ground in the photography where Moonhoax proponents claim the astronaut's front should be dark because the sun comes from behind (actually not from behind directly but rather a bit sideways) []

Moonhoax proponents would never show you such photographs. Their goal is not to solve matters of optics, nor to help you to solve them, it is to make you believe in their theory by hiding all the simple explanations of the so-called mysteries that they promote. It's been a long-time that all this was debunked, they just would not let you know [ig1].

Of course there is plethora of photographs with the astronauts in the dark due to back-light, or badly lit, or over-exposed photographs, under-exposed photographs etc. But the conspirationists do not show you all the photographs, they only show you some of it, those that they want you to believe to be "revealing."

One last thing on this matter: what the conspirationists try to sell you, it the notion that all this was done on a movie set on Earth. The directors are supposed to be so dumb that they would have put projectors everywhere to provide a good lighting instead of trying to be realistic and imitate nature. Yeah, right...

So, they want you to believe that the scenes are lighted by projectors, several projectors. Let us suppose for example that there are TWO projectors to light this or that scene for this or that photograph. But then, they would need to explain something:

Why is there only ONE shadow?

Why do shadows cross?

No shadows are crossing in any of the documentary's pictures.

Why do the shadows follow different directions whereas with the sun as single lighting they should all follow the same direction?

Because perspective makes all the parallel lines join at a point of the horizon, as every art student knows. And also, when the ground has bumps, the shades which follow the slopes of these bumps can strongly increase the purely illusory "anomalies." The whole is further increased by the conspirationists who trace false lines on the images and by the fact that a photograph in 2 dimension does not restore the real perspective exactly, especially on the moon where there optical refraction is not the same as on Earth since there is no air, which gives the illusion that part remote parts of the landscape are closer than they really are.

On this photograph, these people are lighted by only one source of light, the sun, and they stand on a perfectly flat ground of paving stones. Even in these circumstances where the shadows are ideally "parallel", the shadows give the impression not to be parallel, by simple effect of the perspective. The "shadows anomalies" argument of the conspirationists is sheer stupidity!

Why don't we see the stars in the lunar sky?

This is normal, you won't see it either if you film in the night on Earth. The quality of the images of TV cameras of that time practically excludes that stars can be seen. On the photographs, it is seems easier to capture stars, but it hardly is. If you look at night photographs taken on the Earth, you will note that the stars are almost never visible. It is not at all obvious to photograph stars, especially when the subject of your pictures is not the stars in the sky but the stuff on the moon.

I did explain this in in 2004, check it out. Others did it long before I did, but those "documentaries" won't explain this ever. Of course what the Moonhoax proponents won't show you ever are these occasional photographs from the Apollo missions where the stars are actually seen.

Example of a picture shot from the surface of the moon, from That spot in the sky could be a particularly brilliant star, or more probably Mars or Venus. When the conspirationists tell you that stars are not seen, not only that's actually normal on these photographs in a general way, but also, you can see them sometimes, but they would never show you those images!

Obviously, they might now tell you that this star or planet was painted by hand on the photograph, or was a light on the ceiling of a movie set. The only limit to their twisted minds and bad faith is... people's gullibility!

Right:One of the photographs taken by Apollo 16 from the surface of the moon, with a science photography device especially designed for the scientific photography of the sky (Far UV Camera/Spectrograph). In the center, that's the Earth, its parts lit by the sun returning lots of UV. On the dark side, you can see auroras. Around the Earth, stars and even galaxies are visible.

It is on the contrary if you would see beautiful stars everywhere on the photographs from the surface of the Moon that you should question their authenticity; that would be a revealing error, the kind of error you can see in science-fiction movies...

Why did the powerful LM jet engines not leave traces or a crater on the ground?

That's because the LM rocket engine was in no way powerful enough to dig a crater on the ground of the moon, just as a Harrier VTOL jet won't dig a crater on the Earth.

The ground under the LM was hard regolith with a few centimeters of dust above. The dust was puffed away on the sides well before the LM touched ground, when it was still 30 meters above the surface, and the LM landed nicely on the harder regolith surface largely deprived of its dust [lm1].

You also need to realize that the rocket did not function with full power at this step; the goal was to land, not to fly away! And finally, this is the Moon, not the Earth. On the Earth, the resistance of the surrounding air tends to confine the rocket's exhaust in the form of a downward airstream. On the Moon, there is no air, and what the rocket ejects is dispersed very differently in the Lunar vacuum than it would in the atmosphere on Earth. In fact, the majority of the so-called "Apollo anomalies" are due precisely to the fact that all that happens really on the Moon and thus you can't expect that it looks as it would on Earth according to your everyday life intuitions...

Testimonies of former astronauts and/or NASA members are disconcerting.

These people are no astronauts and they are not NASA representatives.

Actually, the conspirationists consider that all the astronauts who were on the Moon, and all people who took part in this fantastic endeavor, do not matter. They in fact equate them all to liars. They make a big fuss of so-called "testimonies" that do not exist, and ignore all the witnesses who exist. They assimilate obviously also all the scientists who measure the Moon-Earth distance thanks to the laser reflectors set up on the Moon by the Apollo astronauts to accomplices of a worldwide conspiracy, just as they assimilate the hundreds of scientists who analyzed the rocks brought back from the Moon to accomplices, liars, taking part in the conspiracy. As this would not sound too good, obviously, they do not tall it frankly, but you need to realize that in fact, the thesis that Apollo missions did not land on the Moon is indeed equivalent to claim that thousands of people are liars. That's how these conspirationists are; they never listen to the witnesses, they listen only to themselves.

Here is a list of the astronauts of the NASA Apollo missions. According to conspirationists, they all are liars:

In my opinion, these men are heroes. According to conspirationists, they all are liars. Not! Conspirationists devising silly arguments from the comfort of their armchairs are those who lie to you.

Why are only the voices of the astronauts audible whereas the noise of the engines should cover them?

It's even better than in airplanes: the microphone is in front of their mouth, they are in spacesuits, and on the moon there is no sound because there is no air, it is thus hardly possible that engine noise would be more disturbing to radio communications than it is on airplanes.

Can the landscapes of the Nevada desert, where the forbidden Area 51 base is located, photographed by a Russian satellite, resemble those of the moon?

Obviously, especially the bombing test ranges with the bomb craters. These craters that you see on satellite pictures of Nevada, are absolutely not reconstitutions of moon craters, but of the bombs craters. They actually do not resemble that much the landscape of the Moon.

But essentially, this sort of nonsense is typical of the conspirationist mentality; which functions on faulty logic: according to their reasoning, if there are bomb craters on Earth, then the Apollo missions took place on Earth!

It's been said that at the time, the astronauts had 0,0017 % of chances to come back alive from the moon?

What a joke. They all returned, except the 3 unfortunate ones who died in the fire on the ground during the Apollo 1 capsule ground tests, and except that the crew of Apollo 13 almost did not come back. This 0.0017% does not have any base, and that should be obvious from these silly decimals.

For the record, this figure, actually "0.0014%", came out from one the original "inventors" of the Moonhoax myth. HE had written in one of his books that "in 1959", that is to say 10 years before Apollo, this figure was estimated. He wrote that "in 1959, I could not believe that the man can go on the Moon." 1959 was two years before President Kennedy made his famous speech about going to the moon. Man did not go on the Moon in 1959, it went there in 1969. The ten years difference is precisely the time which was devoted to make possible what appeared "crazy" ten years before, that's all.

As for the LM jet engines, they did not erase the footsteps in the dust?

No, because first the LM lands and then the astronauts make footsteps. So the LM cannot erase footsteps that can exist only after it landed.

The LM did not use jet engines but with a rocket engine.

The LM feet were large metallic discs, so that the craft would not insert too much in the ground if the ground is too friable. It was obviously not know exactly on which type of ground the machine was going to land. The regolith on which it landed is obviously not hard like granite, it is a relatively friable ground of many rocks fragments of all kinds of sizes, in which footsteps can print in all the same.

Why, on the photographs, are the LM's feet not covered with dust?

Because the rocket blew dust away whereas the LM was still 30 meters above the ground. Dust was puffed up, fell down, and then only, the LM landed, posing its feet on top. It should not be forgotten that there is no air on the Moon, and that dust thus does not "fly in the air," it is ejected without resistance of air and it falls down quickly. It does not make a "dust cloud" which would go up above the LM's landing gear, it falls down exclusively to the bottom, and the LM lands on top of it.

In fact, what these so called "dust" arguments prove is the opposite of what the conspirationists want you to believe: the behavior of dust is "abnormal" precisely because it behaves according to laws of ballistics in the vacuum, instead of behaving like dust does it "normally"... on Earth! The "oddities with the dust" that can be noted on the photographs and films of the Apollo missions are precisely even more decisive proof - there is all the proof you need - that the Apollo landings actually really occurred on the Moon and not on some movie set on Earth!

When the LM detached from its base and took off, why can't we see the smoke of his engines?

Because the "smoke" of its rocket is not visible: it uses dinitrogene peroxide and hydrazine, that burns without smoke or flame, especially as there is no air [lm1]. It is the peroxide that plays the role of air.

Some have accelerated the speed of the videos made on the moon and then the movements of the astronauts and their roving vehicle move as they would on the Earth?

On the contrary, when you try this you actually see that their moved have nothing to do with normal move on Earth. In the documentary, only seconds of these accelerated video are shown. If you try that yourself over good lengths of video, you will see that this claim does not hold at all.

Camera manufacturer Jan Lundberg claims that the astronauts could not see their cameras and is thus astonished by the high quality of the photographs.

It is not because you don't look in the camera's viewer that you cannot make a good shot. Whether you look in the viewer or not, it is the same camera with same qualities. The bad photographs, fuzzy photographs, ill framed, overexposed, etc., are quite simply not shown in the media because it is obviously the goo pictures that people want to see, as all camera manufacturer should know. It does not mean that all the photographs the astronauts shot are pretty!

Two of the many bad photographs taken during the Apollo 9 mission. Source, credit NASA, scanning by Kipp Teague. The first is ill framed, showing just a completely shadowed par of the LM, who wants to see that? You won't see it on the magazine front page. The second is not very pretty either because sunlight hit the film.

Why are the crosshair sometimes in front and sometimes behind the objects?

That's because when the background is white the crosshair does not appear, the white saturates the image. This happens on all the photographs, not only those of the Apollo missions, but also with photographs on Earth.

Detail of photograph as17-146-22296:
it is the saturation by the white light of the white object in the background that makes the part of the crosshair in front of the white disappear.

Come to think how stupid this argument is! The conspirationists want to make you believe that artists have painted "faked" crosshair by hand on the photographs - whereas there is really no problem to make photographs with "authentic" crosshair, obviously! Thus, the conspirationists claim that the crosshair are faked. But then, why would they have stopped painting crosshair on the picture when the background is white? It is on the contrary if the crosshair would have been continued over the white backgrounds that you would have an anomaly!

Is it possible that the astronauts with their light suits survived the belt of radiations of Van Allen?

As the general public does practically know nothing about the question radiations in space, and does not know what was made to protect the astronauts, conspirationists convince the ignorant that you can't go to the moon without dying.

There is no " belt of radiation of Van Allen". There are Van Allen belts, of electromagnetic nature, which protects the Earth against radiations, by trapping them. Protons and free electrons with high energy, primarily come from the sun are trapped there. But the astronauts are not in "light suits", they are in the right suits and inside their machine, conceived so that these radiations do not endanger them, the danger being limited to a light increase in the risks to develop a cancer for example. That protection was a layer of fibrous polyethylene, do not believe the crackpots that claim you need two meters thick lead shielding or else the astronauts would have been killed.

Let's not even mention that fact hidden by the conspirationists: the flight trajectory had been calculated precisely to avoid the Van Allen belts.

The real danger is rather beyond the Van Allen belts where the particles coming from space with a high energy at the time of violent solar flares can reach the astronauts when they are walking on the moon out of the protection of their craft, with greater energy, with no dissipation at all, and sometimes, they were lucky not to be outside in the broad middle of a particularly important solar eruption. That, however would not have made them show the terrible symptoms of the victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki unashamedly shown in this "documentary" to dramatize an idiotic thesis. [vb1].

The risk is in fact expressed in term of risks to develop a cancer, a leukemia, in the remainder of the life of the astronaut. It is a question of estimating how much this risk is increased by a space travel. NASA gives an eloquent indication: an increased risk from 1% to 20%, probably in the neighborhoods of the 3.4%, for a mission... of 1000 days, almost three years, to go to explore Mars, without giving more protection than the Apollo crews had in their missions of a hundred times less duration, from 6 to 12 days!

And NASA specifies that the risk for any 40 years old average American to develop cancer in the remainder of his life without going neither on the Moon, nor to Mars, while remaining on Earth, is of 20%! [vb2].

When a chap agrees to become an astronaut, which essentially consists in finding totally reasonable to sit his ass at the top of a gigantic missile and to get sent up to space on top of that gigantic missile, I am not very sure that a few tiny percentages added to the unfortunately normal statistical risk to develop a cancerous disease is really something that would make him very much concerned...

The widow of an astronaut and his son: Betty and Scott Grissom name "sabotage" the fatal accident that caused the death of their relative, to kill an embarrassing witness.

Grissom wanted to go on the Moon. He was not at all a witness of any Moonhoax. He dies in an unfortunate fire, at the time of ground tests in the Apollo 1 capsule. Conspirationists later worked his relatives grief to make them look like witness of the Moonhoax and the documentary carefully edits their say to make believe that Grissom's death is proof of their thesis. Not!

In fact, Grissom had a bad luck several times, and that had started controversies because this bad luck was sometimes presented as human mistakes he supposedly made. His Gemini capsule had sunk at the time of its re-entry, and although it seems that he is not responsible for this, this incident had started controversies which had affected his family too. After the Apollo 1 fire which cost him his life, the principal person in charge for construction of the Apollo capsule, John McCarthy, of the manufacturer North American, made the assumption that Grissom had inopportunely given a kick in an electric cable, causing a spark and the fire of the capsule. Sue Grissom, Gus Grissom's widow, then sued North American, in 1971. After years in court, an arrangement was found and North American paid her 350.000$ - she had asked three times more.

10 other participants of the Apollo program died in the same circumstances!?

It is entirely invented. There were tens of thousands of people implied closely or by far in the effort to go to the Moon; it is obvious that in such a crowd, some died. The conspirationists then try to pick up people who for instance die in a car accident, and try to make you believe that they were assassinations to "hide the truth." In reality, these conspirationists have absolutely no witness of their claims, and all that they can look for are so-called witnesses that are already dead. This is a usual conspirationists' trick: they explain that they have no witnesses because the witnesses were murdered. Anyone can "prove" just anything using such circular logic.

NASA denies everything while estimating that it would be a waste of time to answer these arguments.

That's not exactly what they say, that's what the documentary wants you to believe. In the documentary, the NASA representative is systematically edited out so that he appears to say nothing more than "it's not true" as if he would have nothing else to say. Watch the documentary again, it is almost funny, the way in which he can barely begin a sentence before being cut. That's the real conspiracy: editing out the contradictors, extract sentences from their context, make people look silly by clever editing.

However, all the alleged arguments in the documentary had already been debunked after having appeared in conspirationist books in the Seventies. The authors of the documentary simply don't say a word of these refutations and don't let any contradictor say anything.

It is however quite true that within NASA, the question of the relevance of answering or ignoring the technically, scientifically and historically silly arguments of the conspirationists had arisen: people of the public relations at NASA knew that if they did not answer, conspirationists would jump for joy and claim that they "win", and that if they answered, they would all the same say NASA took them seriously enough to answer so there's proof that their thesis is serious. NASA people understand the trick, whether you answer or ignore the claims, things would not change, people unable of objectivity and eager to believe in this alleged conspiracy would believe no matter what. NASA finally planned to answer: many schoolteachers in the United States were questioned by their pupils who had seen this documentary, and not being experts in these matters, these teachers naturally asked NASA how to answer their pupils on questions like that of the "flag which floats without air" [tl1]. Hardly had NASA decided to answer, that criticisms rose for saying that it would be wasted taxpayers' money, and they gave it up.

It should be said that NASA public relations are sometimes a bit awkward. When they announced that they would publish a book to debunk the "Moonhoax", the way they planned to do it was not very clever: they said that they were going to pay $15.000 for author Jim Oberg to write the book. That was already a bad start. And Jim Oberg, although qualified and correct his work could have been, is a former NASA guy and not what people would accept as "a neutral party." And finally, Oberg is a "debunker", he had been writing lots of articles for example "against UFOs" and thus has a somehow "committed" profile which, obviously, does not resemble at all that of a "neutral" person examining a "NASA conspiracy". As the Moonhoax fans immediately advertised this, NASA abandoned the debunking book project, and Jim Oberg announced that he might write the book on his own on a purely personal basis without being paid by NASA. NASA, for the moment, was satisfied with a webpage on their website on the subject [md1], providing links to independent debunking efforts like that of Phil Plait [md2].

The ultimate proof that the Apollo missions are shot on a movie set on Earth is that somebody is filming the LM take-off! Who would believe that NASA left a cameraman behind on the moon to film that?

The astronauts simply had a radio-controlled camera designed to film the take-off. There was thus no need to abandon a cameraman on the Moon. The take-off filming was done only on the two last missions Apollo 15 and 16: the camera was that of the lunar roving vehicle. Before the departure, the astronauts pointed the vehicle in the good direction to film the takeoff.

Its orientation for the follow-up of the takeoff was quite simply ensured by an electric motor radio-controlled by video engineer Edward Fendell from Mission Control on the Earth. The radio-controlled motorized TV cameras were largely used to follow the whereabouts of the astronauts on the Moon and to show it on TV.

So, you can find Apollo footage with a camera panning to follow the two astronauts as if they were filmed by a third astronaut... Another "proof"? Nope! It's all done with remote-controlled cameras.

Left on the picture, Ed Fendell, nicknamed "Captain Video", the man who remote-controlled the moon camera from the Earth.


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