What the Evidence Actually Says About the Moon Landings

An Internet denizen asked whether there is any “real evidence” that the moon landings were faked. There isn’t, of course, but the blathering of those who think otherwise provides ample evidence for an alarming level of popular ignorance. To wit, some other “answers” to this question, properly addressed:

  1. …the LEM oxidizer tank was placed closer to the ascent engine, officially because the oxidizer had a greater density than the fuel; but as the ascent engine burned propellant, the center of mass should have shifted toward the fuel tank…No. The engine burned both propellants in the same proportions (by mass and volume). The ratio of the mass/weight of one tank to the other never changes. So the balance between the two never changes.
  2. …vertical commands (roll and pitch) activating two vertical thrusters directly opposed to each other! How could it work if both thrusters were pushing in opposite directions? Rotation of the spacecraft requires oppositional thrust to create a torque. Translation was accomplished with symmetric thrust. Thrusters on opposite sides fire in opposite directions to turn the spacecraft, in the same direction to move it.
  3. It would have been possible to make things more simply, by using two oxidizer tanks and two fuel tanks placed symmetrically… Quite so, and that is how it was done on the descent module, and that is how it was originally planned for the ascent module. But the extra tanks meant extra weight, and the clever folks at Grumman achieved the same balancing act for less weight by the asymmetric mounting. It also meant they didn’t have backup tanks in the event of a leak or meteor strike, but that didn’t matter because they needed all the propellant to achieve orbit anyway.
  4. …I have seen an incredible number of errors in the electronic interfaces of the lunar module, which obviously were intentional. No you haven’t. Just because you don’t understand how something works or why it was done that way, doesn’t mean it was all done wrong as a secret communication to you through the decades. To think so is both profoundly arrogant and paranoid.
  5. …it is not true that the astronauts could take a trajectory which would avoid the most dangerous part of the Van Allen belts… Yes, actually it is. And yes, it did take a little more fuel, but not that much. It only required timing the TLI burn to occur over the nighttime side of Earth where the radiation was lowest, and adjusting orbital inclination a little bit—most of which was done by the first stage. Even had the astronauts passed through the worst of the Van Allen belts, it wouldn’t have killed them or even made them sick. It just would have increased their risk of later cancer. Radiation is not magic death cooties.
  6. …no more protection against radiation (caused by solar eruptions) after having passed these belts… That’s true, but had such an eruption occurred during a mission, it would (in most cases) have taken 3.4 days to reach Earth even if it happened to be headed our way, and NASA closely monitored space weather during the missions. Worst case, they would have aborted and could have pointed the service module toward the sun to provide substantially greater shielding. It really wasn’t a big concern for a two week lunar mission, though it’s a much bigger concern for trips to Mars.
  7. …not true that the space suit of the astronauts would have allowed them to survive in the very hard conditions of the moon for the whole duration of their EVA… Why? Because you say so? Those suits were essentially the same as those used to this day by all space faring nations. They used multi-layer insulation and a water ice sublimator to control temperature, and essentially the same rebreathing apparatus used around the world by advanced ocean divers. They just needed an extra outer layer for protection against abrasion and micrometeorites. They would work, they did work, and there is nothing mysterious or suspicious about them.
  8. …not true that it is easy to land on the moon; it is more difficult to land on a planet without an atmosphere… Quite true. This is why we trained high performance test pilots with nerves of steel for months prior to each mission. But in fact, it really isn’t that hard—robotic landers had done it before and many have done it since.
  9. …making impossible exaggerated rotations on the powered descent or the powered ascent… You are watching footage shot through an engineering camera at a couple of frames per second. The motion was smooth, it just wasn’t all captured on film. You also can’t see many of the thruster firings for the same reason, and because by this time, the LEM fuel was gone and with it most of the inertia or resistance to changes in motion, so most thruster firings only lasted a few milliseconds.

There is not, and never has been any evidence for faked moon landings. Indeed, for many reasons, they could not have been faked, and all this moon hoax conspiracy nonsense just makes clear how poor is the public’s education in science, technology, and reason.