50 Years of Moon Landing Conspiracy Theories

This month had lots of tributes to the 50th anniversary of the first landing on the Moon. It also saw the re-emergence of some of the Moon landing conspiracies that the whole thing was faked –  an elaborate hoax.

It would have been one helluva hoax. It would have involved thousands of people who have miraculous all stuck to their non-disclosure agreements and kept the secret. That alone is enough reason for me to believe it could never have been a hoax.

Of course, there were good reasons to believe that the pressure was on for NASA to get a man on the Moon.  President Kennedy on May 25,1961 had said to Congress

” I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the Earth. No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind, or more important for the long-range exploration of space; and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish.”

The decade was running out in 1969, so if NASA wanted to stay with that target it had to get a man on the Moon that year. Some people apparent;y thought we weren’t ready to do it for real, so we would have to fake it. There was also the perceived “space race” we were in with Russia to get there first.

One article that caught my attention this past week was titled “How Stanley Kubrick Staged the Moon Landing.” Despite that title, the article is more about debunking the conspiracy theorists who believed that the Moon landing was a hoax and other theories about that July 20, 1969 event at 3:17 P.M. E.S.T. that was so important in our history

Kubrick had directed 2001: A Space Odyssey the year before. That film was based on Arthur C. Clarke’s writing and the script, book, and film did predict manmade satellites, GPS, maybe even smartphones and tablets, along with a space station.

Apollo 11 training
Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong in NASA’s training mockup of the Moon and lander module. Were the films of the missions made using sets like these?

Actually, the stories of a space hoax predate the Moon landing. There were doubters going back to the first manned launches.

But the big hoax has always been the actual Moon landing. The Knight newspaper company in July 1970 found that 30 percent of Americans believed the Moon landing had been faked. Six years later, a Gallup poll found that 28 percent of Americans believed that the Moon landing had been staged by the U.S. government, and that was pretty consistent throughout the 1970s.

Wikipedia has an article on the Moon landing conspiracy theories, but many of them had their start with Bill Kaysing who wrote We Never Went to the Moon: America’s Thirty Billion Dollar Swindle . This book started a “the Moon landing  is a hoax” industry in 1970s.

Kaysing got attention because he was the head of the technical presentations unit at the Rocketdyne Propulsion Field Laboratory from 1956 to 1963. when the major planning for the engine and components of the Apollo project was being done. Though Kaysing later admitted that he knew nothing about rockets, he did hold security clearances with the U.S. Air Force and the Atomic Energy Commission for his work and that sounded pretty official to many people.  These clearances are fairly common for anyone who works on government and DoD or military contracts.

Kaysing was a technical writer for Rocketdyne, but he was convinced after he left the company that the U.S. was just not capable with our current technology to put a man on the Moon.

There have been 6 successful Apollo manned missions to the Moon, and a dozen men have walked the lunar surface between 1969 and 1972. But it is that first lunar mission that is the focus of the conspiracy theories.

Kaysing’s 1976 self-published book explained his theories. He did believe that he was a whistle-blower letting the public know that there had been a cover-up.

A few of the inconsistencies he stated were easily debunked. He claimed that the American flag the astronauts planted on the moon should have been hanging down since there is no air or wind on the Moon. NASA had thought of that early on and not wanting that floppy effect had put a cross beam on the pole to hold the flag in a windy attitude. When Buzz Aldrin was twisting the pole into the surface it caused the flag to briefly move as if it was flapping in wind.

Another part of the hoax “evidence” is the multiple directions of shadows in photos and on film. Since the only source of light would be the Sun, this was said to prove that multiple movie lights had been used on a set. Actually, there were multiple sources of light during the lunar landings from the Sun, reflected from the Earth and from the lander module and from the astronauts’ space suits and helmets.

Aha, the lunar photos show no stars in the pictures! Where did they go? The moonwalks were made during the lunar morning and just like here on Earth, you don’t see stars when the Sun is out. We don’t even see them at night if we are in a brightly lit area that washes out the sky, such as at a stadium.

Kaysing even questioned how Neil Armstrong’s first steps onto the Moon were filmed if he was the only one there.  Quite simply, a camera had been mounted to the side of the lunar module.

Kaysing didn’t doubt that a rocket blasted off in July of 1969, but claimed that the astronauts had been taken off before takeoff. They were then taken to Nevada which is where the studio set was to fake the landing photography.

The Hollywood film Capricorn One was based on the hoax theories and was about a faked mission to Mars. Some scenes from the faked Mars landing scenes have turned up in Moon landing hoax conspiracy documentaries, such as the TV show Conspiracy Theory: Did We Land On The Moon and the film A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Moon.

America was ripe for conspiracies with the Watergate scandal and Vietnam War revelations in the news showing us that the government was doing a lot of things secretly and hiding the truth from the public.

Which brings me back to Stanley Kubrick. If you had to pick a director to shoot believable Moon landing footage, Kubrick would be a good choice. Kubrick’s astronauts in his 2001 film landing on the Moon look a lot better than the actual lunar landing footage. It would have been easy for him to stage scenes that didn’t have to look as good. From what I have read about Kubrick’s directing style, it would have been a lot harder to get him to shoot the landing without many takes and certainly impossible to get him to do a live shoot. Kubrick shot 2001 without computer graphics, so he would have to use models and actual sets and props such as the space station and a Moon surface with rocks and lunar dust. He had done the research.

I do believe that on July 20, 1969, the lunar module Eagle landed on the surface of the Moon, carrying Neil Armstrong and Edwin A. “Buzz” Aldrin.  I believe that Armstrong was the first human to set foot on the moon and Aldrin was the second human on the Moon while Michael Collins orbited above. They stayed on the Moon for 21 hours and 36 minutes.


Here is some footage that was not seen back in 1969.  I guess Kubrick had outtakes?

 

Lunar New Year 2019

pig

The Lunar New Year begins on (using our Western Gregorian calendar) Tuesday, February 5, 2019. For most Westerners, this is known as the Chinese New Year and this year is the Year of the Pig. The date changes from year to year because it’s based on a lunar calendar, but it usually falls somewhere between mid-January and mid-to-late February.

But the Lunar New Year is also celebrated by other countries in East Asia, such as the celebration of Tet (in Vietnam) and Seollal (in South Korea).

In China, this is a time when many people return to their hometown to visit family. But in the United States, there are also festivities that many people – Asian and not – are aware of and may participate in, such as special foods and fireworks. Families will often give “lucky money” to young people, making offerings to ancestors and decorating and dressing in red color of the holiday.

The Pig is the last, the twelfth, of all zodiac animals. One myth is that the Jade Emperor said the order would be decided by the order in which they arrived to his party, and Pig was late because he overslept. Another myth story says that a wolf destroyed his house and he had to rebuild his home before he could go to the party and so had to take twelfth place. So, the last Year of the Pig was 2007.

The Pig is associated with the Earthly Branch (地支—dì zhī) hài (亥), and the hours 9–11 pm. In terms of yin and yang (阴阳—yīn yáng), the Pig is yin. In Chinese culture, pigs are the symbol of wealth, and their chubby faces and big ears are signs of fortune as well.

People born in the Year of the Pig are said to have similar personalities and characteristics:

Pigs might not stand out in a crowd. But they are very realistic. Others may be all talk and no action. Pigs are the opposite.

Though not wasteful spenders, they will let themselves enjoy life. They love entertainment and will occasionally treat themselves. They are a bit materialistic, but this is motivation for them to work hard. Being able to hold solid objects in their hands gives them security.

They are energetic and are always enthusiastic, even for boring jobs. If given the chance, they will take positions of power and status. They believe that only those people have the right to speak, and that’s what they want.

There are cities in America that host large Lunar New Year celebrations. The only one that I have ever attended is in New York City. The city has one of the largest populations of ethnic Chinese people outside of Asia. If you visit the main “Chinatown” section of Manhattan tomorrow it will be a crowded party (despite cold weather) with parades and restaurants crowded with diners of all backgrounds ordering special holiday dishes. Actually, there are about ten “Chinatowns” in the New York City metro area. The Chinatown in Flushing, Queens has its own parade, and there are Lunar New Year celebrations in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.

MORE  ChineseNewYear.net

 

Friday the Thirteenth Solar Eclipse

Remember all the hoopla about the total solar eclipse we witnessed in August of last year? There is another partial one today. This Friday the 13th solar eclipse will quite small and be visible mainly over the Southern Ocean area between Australia and Antarctica, so no media coverage here in the U.S.

My thoughts go back to ancient times and what we would now see as strange responses to solar eclipses. How terrifying must this have been to them?

In American Eclipse, there is the story of a Roman emperor who witnessed a total solar eclipse in A.D. 840 and was so upset by this “omen” that he stopped eating and eventually starved to death. Rome went into a civil war.

The Inca feared that a lunar eclipse was caused by a jaguar attacking the moon. They’d try to drive it away by making noise, including beating their dogs to make them howl and bark.

One more positive reaction occurred in the sixth century B.C., during a battle in Asia Minor between the Medes and the Lydians. The eclipse stopped the battle and it was believed that the eclipse was a sign for them to stop the fighting,

Certainly, ancient people looked at the eclipse and had their eyes damaged or were blinded. That certainly added to the fear. Don’t look into the face of God or the gods.

If you were a believer in 13 as an unlucky number and Friday being an unlucky day (more about that aspect here), then adding a solar eclipse made a trifecta of bad luck.

Also take note that solar and lunar eclipses always come in pairs, with one following the other in a period of one fortnight (approximately two weeks).

This is a New Moon supermoon today and is the first Friday the 13th solar eclipse since December 13, 1974. I won’t be blogging about the next one on Friday September 13, 2080..

Alignments and the New Moon

​Long ago, a girlfriend who was deeply into astrology while I was into astronomy, told me that the planets move through the sky and the 12 astrological signs, at varying speeds.

I pay a lot of attention to the Moon and learned that it changes signs once or twice a day. On the other extreme, Saturn spends about 3 years in each sign. Helen told me that the planets take on traits of the sign they are in at that time. Any astronomer will tell you that the signs (constellations) have no effect on the planets, but my girlfriend would have said that it causes a planet to act differently from its normal impact.

Helen did my natal chart (the placement of each planet at time of my birth) because she didn’t believe at all in the general horoscopes for signs that we frequently see online, in newspapers and magazines. You need to look at your very specific chart.

Ganesha

There is a New Moon tonight, January 16. An astrologer might remind me that can be transformative.  Vedic astrology puts this New Moon in the Uttara Ashadha which is symbolized by an elephant’s tusk, and connected to the Hindu elephant god, Ganesha. Ganesha is the “Remover of Obstacles.”

This New Moon is conjoined with Venus which we associate with romantic relationships and friendships and even non-romantic alliances. Combine this with a transit of Mars into Scorpio and we get the ability to transform in positive ways.

What does this mean for my life for the next few days, weeks, and months?  I don’t know.

I read that in India, the new moon is celebrated as Mauni Amavasya. It is a good time to take a vow of silence and do some silent reflection. I’ll stop here.

Full Moon When the Water Freezes

Tonight’s Full Moon is often called the Hunter’s Moon or Blood Moon or Sanguine Moon. There are lots of other names out there for the November Full Moon, including  the Travel Moon, Dying Grass Moon, Moon of Falling Leaves, Beaver Moon, Moon of the Changing Seasons, Leaf Fall Moon, Trading Moon,  Basket Moon, Big Wind Moon, Blood Moon, Shedding Moon, Winterfelleth (Winter Coming), Windermanoth (Vintage Month), Ten Colds Moon,  and the Moon of the Changing Season.

Hunter’s moon is a very common name, but it only applies to November in some years. This is the name for the first full moon after the harvest moon, which is the full moon nearest the autumnal equinox. This year the Harvest Moon was in October, so this month is a Hunter’s Moon.  The Hunter’s Moon was once a feast day in parts of western Europe, and some Native American tribes also celebrated the hunt at this Full Moon.

Many American Indian tribes named this moon for the time the rivers started to freeze and the first snows and frosts came. As a child, my father told me that a frost in the fall or spring is more likely to occur on clear nights. That has some science behind it because thick cloud cover will retain some of the Earth’s heat. He also said that the night of a Full Moon is a likely frost night, but that would only be true if you clearly saw the Moon because it was a clear, cloudless night. Data on first and last frosts compared to the phases of the moon don’t show any correlation. Science ruins a lot of folklore.

Around Paradelle, November is the month when we will likely see a killing frost and some puddles will freeze overnight.  But not on this early November night – even with a Full Moon and no clouds.

 

 

 

A Dark Moon on the Eve of Halloween

halloween grinchI have once again successfully avoided Halloween by being away from home.

It is my least favorite calendar event. I didn’t like it as a kid and I don’t like it as an old Grinchy man.

I know plenty of Americans do love it. And people celebrate versions of Halloween or Hallowtide or Samhain.

I can get behind the Samhain Gaelic festival that marks the end of the harvest season. Its dark side is that it signals the beginning of winter or the “darker half” of the year. Harvests are good. Bounty is nice. I love autumn and I love the changing seasons.

Tonight is called “Mischief Night” and the “Devil’s Night” which are less about the occult and more about practical jokes and all out vandalism.

I’m on a nice warm island beach tonight and though the moon will be dark – in its New Moon phase – the tiki torches will be bright enough for me.

No Wicca rituals or spells for me. I won’t need to listen to when those Martians landed in New Jersey) back in the day, or reread or watch Something Wicked This Way Comes to get in the mood. Maybe they have pumpkin beer at the bar.