The Moon – With Phil the Test Manager

Following some discussions with various esteemed posters, I was most shocked to find some still think that man has never landed on the moon.  Sadly I am not just talking about Behold a Pale Horse either.  During researching this article I note that opinion polls taken in various locations have shown that between 6% and 20% of Americans, 25% of Britons, and 28% of Russians surveyed believe that the manned landings were faked.
The problem is finding proof.  If you post a picture it is easy to say “Photoshop”, or a video the nay-sayers will argue it is “CGI”.  Indeed, it is very hard to prove many things.
I thought rather than just cover the hoax theories, which are all debunked; I would educate myself, and perhaps others, with a little bit about our moon, before discussing the hoax theories.
Firstly; we need to define what a “Moon” is, from Universe_Today A moon is defined to be a celestial body that makes an orbit around a planet, including the eight major planets, dwarf planets, and minor planets. A moon may also be referred to as a natural satellite, although to differentiate it from other astronomical bodies orbiting another body, e.g. a planet orbiting a star, the term moon is used exclusively to make a reference to a planet’s natural satellite.
Some will remember the questions on QI on “How many moons does the earth have.”  In series A they said 2 moons, in series B they said it was either 5 or 1, but definitely not 2, now they say around 18,000, but they are described by NASA as “Mini-moons”, so to me, not a moon.  The largest one seen is about the size of a car.  Therefore, the planet Earth has one moon, and we call it “The Moon”, or sometimes Luna.
For clarity and perspective, at the current count of moons in our solar system, we have 182.
Mercury – 0, Venus – 0, Earth – 1, Mars – 2, Jupiter – 67, Saturn 62, Uranus – 27, Neptune – 14, Pluto – 5, Dwarf Orcus – 1, Dwarf Haumea – 2, Dwarf Quaoar – 1, Dwarf Eris – 1, there are a couple of other dwarf and minor planets around but no moons found yet.
Back to Earth, and our Moon now.  Some facts:
The Moon (or Luna) is the Earth’s only natural satellite and was formed 4.6 billion years ago around some 30–50 million years after the formation of the solar system. The Moon is in synchronous rotation with Earth meaning the same side is always facing the Earth. The first unmanned mission to the Moon was in 1959 by the Soviet Lunar Program with the first manned landing being Apollo 11 in 1969. 
Profile: Diameter: 3,475 km.  Mass: 7.35 × 10^22 kg (0.01 Earths).  Orbit Distance: 384,400 km.  Orbit Period: 27.3 days (27 days, 13 hours, 18 minutes and 37.4 seconds to be exact). Surface Temperature: -233 to 123 °C.
Both sides of the Moon see the same amount of sunlight however only one face of the Moon is ever seen from Earth. This is because the Moon rotates around on its own axis in exactly the same time it takes to orbit the Earth, meaning the same side is always facing the Earth. The side facing away from Earth has only been seen by the human eye from spacecraft. 
The moon’s rate of rotation is uniform but its rate of revolution is not, so we’re able to see just around the edge of each limb from time to time (we can see around 59% of the Moon from earth).  Put another way, the two motions do not keep perfectly in step, even though they come out together at the end of the month. We call this effect libration of longitude.  So the moon “rocks” in the east and west direction, allowing us to see farther around in longitude at each edge than we otherwise could. The remaining 41 percent can never be seen from our vantage point; and if anyone were on that region of the moon, they would never see the Earth.
The rise and fall of the tides on Earth is caused by the Moon.  There are two bulges in the Earth due to the gravitational pull that the Moon exerts; one on the side facing the Moon, and the other on the opposite side that faces away from the Moon, The bulges move around the oceans as the Earth rotates, causing high and low tides around the globe.
The Moon is drifting away from the Earth. – We can measure this.  The Moon is moving approximately 3.8 cm away from our planet every year. It is estimated that it will continue to do so for around 50 billion years. By the time that happens, the Moon will be taking around 47 days to orbit the Earth instead of the current 27.3 days.
How do we measure it I hear you ask?  Astronauts on the Apollo 11, 14 and 15 missions positioned retro-reflectors (a bit like the cat’s eyes you see on roads) on the surface of the Moon. Physicists bounce a pulse of laser off one of these reflectors, timing how long it takes for the laser beam to make the return trip – about two and a half seconds. Since we know the speed of light, they can then work out how far away the Moon is to within a few millimeters.
A person would weigh much less on the Moon.  The Moon has much weaker gravity than Earth, due to its smaller mass, so you would weigh about one sixth (16.5%) of your weight on Earth. This is why the lunar astronauts could leap and bound so high in the air.
The Moon has only been walked on by 12 people; all American males.  The first man to set foot on the Moon was Neil Armstrong on the Apollo 11 mission, on the 20th July 1969 at 20:18 hrs. UTC.  Neil Armstrong set foot on the lunar surface six hours later on July 21 at 02:56:15 UTC; Aldrin joined him about 20 minutes later. I was 13 at the time; my dad woke me up to watch it on our old black and white TV.  This is probably why I still love space stuff and Science Fiction.
The last man to walk on the Moon was Gene Cernan in 1972 on the Apollo 17 mission. Since then the Moon has only be visited by unmanned vehicles.
The Moon has no atmosphere.  This means that the surface of the Moon is unprotected from cosmic rays, meteorites and solar winds, and has huge temperature variations. The lack of atmosphere means no sound can be heard on the Moon, and the sky always appears black.
The Moon has quakes.  These are caused by the gravitational pull of the Earth.  Lunar astronauts used seismographs on their visits to the Moon, and found that small moon-quakes occurred several kilometers beneath the surface, causing ruptures and cracks. Scientists think the Moon has a molten core, just like Earth, but this bit is yet to be proved.
The first spacecraft to reach the Moon was Luna 1 in 1959.  This was a Soviet craft, which was launched from the USSR. It passed within 5995 km of the surface of the Moon before going into orbit around the Sun.
All the above are facts; they were, they can, and they are being measured.
The Moon will be visited by man in the near future.  NASA plans to return astronauts to the moon to set up a permanent space station. Mankind may once again walk on the moon in 2019, if all goes according to plan.
Now, there are many websites you can visit which will tell you that all the lunar landings are a hoax.  There are also many which de-bunk them.
From Wiki: Wiki-Moon Landing Conspiracies  Conspiracists have managed to sustain public interest in their theories for more than 40 years, despite the rebuttals and third-party evidence.
Here is a few of the more common Conspiracists theories:
The studio lights theory:
The light in top photograph (top left) are not studio lights they are just lens flares.  Others query why it is so bright, must be studio light!  No!  Moon dust, properly called regolith, is pretty reflective, and the sunlight hitting the Moon isn’t passing through and being dulled by an atmosphere. When that unfiltered sunlight hits the regolith, it reflects almost as though off a mirror, shedding light on anything nearby, which in this case means Aldrin’s descending form.
The Flag:

The fact of the matter is … “the video you see where the flag’s moving is because the astronaut just placed it there, and the inertia from when they let go kept it moving,” H/T spaceflight historian Roger Launius, of the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C.  The astronauts also accidentally bent the horizontal rods holding the flag in place several times, creating the appearance of a rippling flag in photographs (Apollo 11 moon-landing pictures).
Wiki also provides us with independent evidences which are only those observations that are completely independent of NASA—no NASA facilities were used, and there was no NASA funding.  Wiki-3rd party only evidence
There are many in the link above, most of them involving photographs from other spaceships, looking at the surface of the Moon and the debris from previous missions, but the “loonies” out there will just scream “fake”.
This one stands out for me about the moon rock brought back:  A total of 382 kilograms (842 lb.) of Moon rocks and dust were collected during the Apollos 11, 12, 14, 15, 16 and 17 missions.  Some 10 kg (22 lb.) of the Moon rocks have been used in hundreds of experiments performed by both NASA researchers and planetary scientists at research institutions unaffiliated with NASA.  These experiments have confirmed the age and origin of the rocks as lunar, and were used to identify lunar meteorites collected later from Antarctica.  The rocks returned by Apollo are very close in composition to the samples returned by the independent Soviet Luna programme.  A rock brought back by Apollo 17 was accurately dated to be 4.417 billion years old, with a margin of error of plus or minus 6 million years. The test was done by a group of researchers headed by Alexander Nemchin at Curtin University of Technology in Bentley, Australia
Some of us will be old enough to remember those heady days of the great “Space Race” between the USSR and the USA.  The USSR (now Russia) has never claimed the moon landing was faked.
As final evidence, ladies and gentlemen, I give you Moon Dust: a 2 minute video.

Phil the test manager ©

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