Full moon

Full moon

So close and yet so far.
Do I believe man landed on the moon and then took off and flew back? It’s theoretically possible, although 2001: A Space Odyssey came out in 1968, the year before the moon landings and looked believable too.

“There lives more faith in honest doubt, believe me, than in half the creeds”

–Alfred, Lord Tennyson



  1. brisc 8 years ago

    …during the Apollo missions, NASA has placed several retro-reflectors (mirrors) on the landing sites on the surface of the moon. When pointing a laser at these, one is able to observe the reflected beam (using an intensified CCD camera). This is how we measure the distance to the moon, and every advanced physics student would have done that himself at least once during his courses…

    “A man may live long, and die at last in ignorance of many truths, which his mind was capable of knowing, and that with certainty”
    – John Locke

  2. Author
    ptsp 8 years ago

    Sorry, but I am a skeptical empiricist and believe there is very little you can know with absolute certainty, and whilst possible, the moon landings are certainly not one of those things.
    Sure they managed to land a retro reflector on the moon, but this does not prove they landed people. The russians have 2 retroreflectors on the moon too, and they never stepped foot there.
    There are too many unanswered questions to know for sure. Where are the original tapes of the landing? Why havent we been back. Look how basic the technology was at the time. How much easier, safer, cheaper and more assured would it be to fake it than actually manage to do it?
    On the other side, yes there are plenty of reasons and ‘proof’ that they went, but none of it is conclusive either. I remain knowledgably ignorant.

    ..all knowledge, even the most basic beliefs about the natural world, cannot be conclusively established by reason. Rather, our beliefs are more a result of accumulated habits, developed in response to accumulated sense experiences.

    David Hume (1711-1776)

  3. brisc 8 years ago

    Where are the original tapes of the moon landing?
    All the original data was captured from these tapes. The tapes were then (as you do with the tapes of your camcorder) reused for further purposes. There is tons of original footage which is being remastered as we speak…

    Why haven’t we been back?
    When the US landed people on the moon, the “race” was won. The principal reason for this “adventure” was to push the limits of liquid rocket propulsion and the smartest way to justify all the expenses was to develop a space program. For scientific research, it is by far better to float in space than being anchored to the surface of a planet. This is the reason why we invented the Space Shutte and built the Space Station. Sure, both of these might be fake as well, just as planet earth might be a flat disk or just as I might be able cast spells to make things happen.

    “Look how basic the technology was at the time.”
    With the exception of a few technologies, such as the laser, “almost everything” had been invented by WW2. The aluminium the Germans used to build their warbirds in WW2 was just as good as the aluminium we use today to build fuselages of large aircraft or engine cases for dirt bikes. The only thing which has changed is that we found that by alloying a few other elements into the aluminium we could increase lifetime. The same is true for Wernher Braun’s rocket engines (which propelled Saturn 5). Today’s liquid rocket engines still use oxygen and hydrogen, and they are still made out of the same materials, they just got more reliable and less expensive. The specific impulse of the Saturn 5 engine is equal to the specific impulse of the Space Shuttle or any other oxygen/hydrogen rocket engine.

    All these conspiracy theories will live on forever, for the fact being that out of a thousand people there are only a hand full of scientists.

    Have a go at this mate:
    MythBusters Episode 104: NASA Moon Landing

  4. Author
    ptsp 8 years ago

    Yes, I read all of that, and many other theories, conspiracy or not. I still dont think it is conclusive to one side or the other. The early natural scientists believed the sun had no impact on the earth, and a thousand other silly theories, so saying scientists believe it, so it must be so, holds no weight at all. A good scientist would be aware that he really knows very little and would accept the possibility that he could be wrong. If this were not the case, science would never have evolved.

  5. Author
    ptsp 8 years ago

    Just as, before the birth of the founder of the School to which you belong, the theory it holds was not as yet apparent as a sound theory, although it was really in existence, so likewise it is possible that the opposite theory to that which you now propound is already really existent, though not yet apparent to us, so that we ought not as yet to yield assent to this theory which at the moment seems to be valid.

  6. brisc 8 years ago

    You are not referring to a modern science when you say “early scientists believed”. This is an oxymoronic expression, science is based on facts, not beliefs. Science is rational, there must be reason for conclusion. This strongly differs from religion where, since thousands of years self-elected prophets caused the deaths of millions due to lunatic hallucinations and made-out-of-thin-air stories which got sold through “faith” and “believe”.

    For this discussion, it doesn’t matter what I think, nor does it matter what you think. What we’re here for is to provide an overview of facts upon which anyone can construct his own opinion. It’s not a discussion if we have a conversation trying to convince each other, and the worst thing we could possibly do is to stick to belief without reason – why? Because when you “believe” in one side or the other, there is a 50% chance of having gotten the game wrong – and you will look damn stupid when the truth will be revealed at a later stage. I fully agree with you that nothing is conclusive, although to me it appears as if all the arguments against men having taken foot on the moon are weakly positioned.

    The hardest mission for the current generation is to accept the concept of reason and throw the gauntlet to the real advocates of the devil: faith and belief.

    “Faith means making a virtue out of not thinking – it’s nothing to brag about. And those who preach faith, and enable it, and elevate it, are our intellectual slaveholders – keeping mankind in a bondage to fantasy and nonsense that has spawned and justified so much lunacy and destruction.”
    – Bill Maher (not a scientist, a man of thought)

    greetings from down under!

  7. HH 8 years ago

    The moon landings are not some mythical fantasy to be compared with a movie. They went there, the technology was there but more importantly the motive for the mission inspired and drove thousands of scientists, engineers and other ordinary people to achieve something out of this world. To say they have never been back is not correct, they did go back and shortly after and numerous times. To get your head around the technology at the time, you can compare Apollo with Concord, the only supersonic commercial airliner in the world to have ever operated. It went to the drawing board in the late 50s, flew in the late 60s and went commercial in the 70s. It never made a penny but its raison d’etre was to achieve something that hadn’t been done before….to pioneer. It will probably not be repeated again but it has represented a milestone. The flight technology that got the man to the moon has not actually moved on that much since the 60s, of course computers are a billion times faster but computers don’t fly. The moon landing was achieved because of the race with Russia, the US had to win at all costs and they did it. This was a battle of superpowers at the time of a very cold war. But if you believe that they set it up in a studio at the risk of being caught and humiliated, then that is of course ok but it shows a lack of understanding of the importance of the space race and respect for those who achieved something so great.

  8. Author
    ptsp 8 years ago

    Thanks for your comment Brisc. I agree with almost everything you say in it this time. Science advances on theory as much as fact though. Rational or otherwsie. On empirical evidence, not absolute. The problem of induction has been around for thousands of years.
    As you say, it is not conclusive, and this is where belief comes in. In this case, your belief is they went to the moon based on what you have seen, read and heard (making a decision on what you HAVE seen rather than the much bigger part which you havent seen).
    Mine is suspension of belief, in that I do not know for sure.

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