Is the Manned Moon Landing a hoax?
It is July 21, 2014 today. Exactly forty-five years ago, on July 21, 1969, Apollo 11 is said to have landed on the surface of the Moon with two American astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. Armstrong was quoted to have said “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”
Now we are living the era of giving everything fantastic claims close scrutinization. Let us take a close look:
(1) There were total six successful manned moon mission in Apollo Program, which was started in 1969 and concluded in 1972, Since then, US has never sent any other man or woman back to moon.
(2) There are all kinds of conspiracy theories on the Internet claiming Manned Moon Landing never happened. They used various evidences, such as photograph analysis, radiation belt hypothesis, lunar module analysis, etc., to substantiate their theories. And accordingly, NASA has seemingly debunked most, if not all. of such claims.
(3) The moon landing hoaxers claimed that the TV footage broadcast were actually produced by Hollywood movie maker Stanley Kubrick, who famously made “2001: A Space Odyssey” in 1968 and “Eyes Wide Shut” in 1999.
I am not convinced by any of the claims, though I indeed find the forty-two years of absence of manned moon landing by US or by any other countries on this planet strange. I present the following factual data to see whether you can reach some tentative conclusions:
(1) It is natural to land some unmanned lunar probes to test the ground on the Moon before attempting any manned mission. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_lunar_probes)
The link shows that US had first successful soft moon landing in June 1966 by Surveyor 1. In 1967, three successful soft landing by Surveyor 3, 5, 6. In 1968, one successful soft landing by Surveyor 7. No soft landing was attempted in 1969. Two of the soft landing, Surveyor 2 and 4, failed. On average, these five probes weighted about 300 kg, or about 0.3 Ton each. Also, these probes were never relaunched off the moon to the moon orbit.
(2) Just three years after the first successful soft landing of 0.3 ton probe on the moon surface, on July 21, 1969, the Apollo 11 Lunar Module, which weighted about 10 tons presumably with lots of fuel, had successful soft landed on the moon carrying two human astronauts. It appeared to be the first attempt of manned soft landing by NASA.
I am not an expert in this regard. I guess that the complexity of manned soft landing would be more than one hundreds of times than that of unmanned soft landing, if one really care about preserving the lives of those astronauts. I wonder whether any responsible authority would commit to manned mission after only five successful robotic soft landings during the past three years despite the 70% success rate. China just conducted its first successful unmanned soft landing on the Moon a few month back. Can you imagine a manned lunar landing would be forthcoming within three or five years, even with today’s more advanced technologies?
Probability of Success at the First Attempt
It looks like that there was never a test landing with the entire lunar module but without the human astronauts, to make sure the concept is valid. I believe that such landing test is prudent no matter how many tests had been conducted on the surface of the Earth. Those unmanned probes only achieved soft landing with 70% success rate, and were never relaunched back to the Moon orbit, which was required of the lunar module. How can one be sure that the Lunar Module would safely launch off the Moon surface and take the two astronauts back to the Lunar orbit?
One of people who believed in that “manned moon landing was a hoax” tried to prove it by attempting to replicate how the astronauts moved around inside the command module and lunar module as described on the TV broadcast. He went to the space museums in Washington DC and Texas to measure the actual dimension of those modules. He concluded that it was impossible for those astronauts to have done what were shown in the TV based on the actual size of the entrance, hatches, interiors. You can watch his findings on youtube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQYvRF3K0FM).
I simply cannot imagine that, only three years after the first successful unmanned moon landing, without doing actual unmanned testing with the lunar module, without testing whether the technology of relaunching from the Moon surface into the Moon would succeed with reasonable probability, rational mind would just go ahead send real live astronauts there preparing to die.
Motive of Faking the manned moon landing?
This wikipedia page (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_lunar_probes) gives lots of information about the motive. For this analysis, let us assume that information given on this webpage are accurate. We can clearly see that
(1) From 1959 to 1965, both US and USSR failed on all the attempts to either orbit or soft-land on the Moon.
(2) In Feb 1966, Luna 9 by USSR made the first successful soft-landing on the moon. Then in April of the same year, Luna 10 became the first successful orbiter of the Moon, i.e.the first artificial satellite of the Moon. NASA first successful soft-landing was achieved by Surveyor 1 in June 1966 and first successful orbiting of the Moon was achieved by Luna Orbiter 1 in August 1966. Apparently USSR and NASA were in a “neck to neck” space race and with NASA lagging behind a few notches.
(3) In 1967, NASA had a few more successful soft-landing and orbiting in a row, while USSR did not make much progress.
(4) In 1968, NASA had Surveyor 7 soft-landing successfully in January, then stopped any further unmanned operation for the year. But USSR tried a few more, some successful and some not.
(5) In both 1969 and 1970, NASA seemed to be completely absent from the unmanned lunar operations, presumably because all the attentions and resources were devoted to the manned landing program. USSR instead had about 15 various unmanned lunar operations with many failures.
(6) From 1971 to 1983, about twelve years, USSR had nine more unmanned lunar operations. NASA had only two.
I think that the motive is quite obvious: USSR sent the first artificial satellite to the space; USSR sent the first man to the space; USSR sent the first artificial satellite to the Moon; USSR conducted the first unmanned soft-landing on the Moon. For apparent political reasons, NASA decided to win the manned moon landing race.
We all know that “failure is the mother of success”. We can see from the aforementioned statistics that success in the space exploration only comes after many many failures. NASA did not have sufficient amount of failure in its manned moon-landing program to convince me that they had real success. It is as simple as that.