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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2002 > Nov > Nov 18

Oberg's Mis-Statement Regarding Moon Hoax

From: Lan Fleming <lfleming5.nul>
Date: Sun, 17 Nov 2002 23:51:37 -0600
Archived: Mon, 18 Nov 2002 06:12:23 -0500
Subject: Oberg's Mis-Statement Regarding Moon Hoax

The Houston Chronicle ran an article on the "Moon Hoax"
controversy in the Sunday edition ("Between a rock and hard
place. NASA dogged by skeptics claiming Apollo 11 hoax"
11/17/02) interviewing people who claim that NASA never landed
people on the Moon and included rebuttals from James Oberg and
Phil Plait.  All of the rebuttals given were perfectly sound, in
my opinion, except for the last one.

Aron Ranen, one of the moon landing skeptics, suggests,
according to the Chronicle, that "the U.S. government overseen
by independent scientists, could spin around a spy satellite to
get a shot of the Apollo 11 landing area on the moon to see
whether the base of the lander is still there."

The Chronicle article concludes with Oberg's rejoinder as
follows: "Not likely, Oberg said. Satellites are too far away to
get pictures of things that small, and even probes designed to
orbit the moon can't see that detail. 'You could see something
the size of an oil tanker,' he said, 'but not something the size
of the lander.'"

Now Oberg is certainly correct that a spy satellite orbiting the
Earth couldn't detect the lunar lander, which is what Ranen
apparently had in mind. But the assertion that "probes designed
to orbit the moon can't see that detail" is absolutely false.

The Lunar Orbiters of the 1960's, equipped with analog camera
systems, were capable of resolutions down to 1 meter from an
altitude of about 50 kilometers. The width of the Apollo lunar
lander was 4.27 meters, excluding the landing gear -- more than
four times the Lunar Orbiter's resolution. That's not quite
large enough to discern the shape or internal details of the
lander, but with the lander's reflective foil covering, it would
stand out quite clearly against the lunar background as an
anomalously bright spot in an image taken at the resolution of
the Lunar Orbiters.

And the technology of the Lunar Orbiter cameras has been
obsolete for decades. If employed on a satellite orbiting the
Moon at the same altitude as the Lunar Orbiters, an imaging
system similar to the one on the Mars Global Surveyor would be
capable of almost 10 times the Lunar Orbiter's resolution.
Objects a little larger than 6 inches in diameter could be
resolved. The windows, landing gear, main body of the craft, and
just about everything except the stars and stripes on the US
flag would be easily visible -- if that technology had actually
been used on a Moon probe in modern times.

The fact that it has _not_ been used and there don't even seem
to be any plans to ever use it may be close to the crux of the
whole "moon hoax" affair.  People who weren't even born at the
time of the last manned landing on the Moon are now over thirty
years old with the prospect of middle age looming nearby.  To a
whole generation,  manned missions to the Moon are ancient
history -- something that happened before their lifetime. It's
not particularly surprising that to some of them, the
distinction between history and myth is becoming increasingly
blurred with the passage of time. A manned mission to the Moon
may be out of the question for the foreseeable future due to the
costs, but a robotic probe with a camera capable of resolving
the Apollo landers and ending the moon conspiracy talk forever
would be relatively inexpensive. And not only would it improve
NASA's shaky public relations, but it would certainly be of
considerable scientific value to be able to image the moon at
high resolution.

As for the absurd misstatement that the Chronicle attributed to
Oberg, perhaps they misquoted him.  If so, he should demand that
the Chronicle print a correction. Or was it really something he
actually said? Perhaps it was a comment he tossed out in a
feeble attempt to explain the seemingly inexplicable: NASA's
abject retreat from lunar exploration.

NASA has sent exactly one robotic probe to the Moon since the
end of the Apollo program: the Lunar Prospector, which had no
cameras at all.  The Defense Department sent the Clementine. It
had two cameras, one with a resolution of about 100 meters and
the other with a resolution of 10 meters. The higher resolution
camera went unusused for most of the Clementine lunar mission
because it was designed for imaging asteroids under dim
lighting, not the bright glare of the lunar landscape.

If you suspect I'm leading up to something relevant to the list
here, I am. I think there may well be an explanation for NASA's
lack of interest in lunar exploration: their repeatedly
demonstrated aversion to looking too closely at things that show
possible indications of artificiality, things like the so-called
"Blair Cuspids" situated on the edge of a remarkably rectangular
depression in the lunar Sea of Tranquility (not far from the
Apollo 11 landing site that was the point of contention in the
Chronicle article). A Lunar Orbiter took two photographs that
showed these objects. Several years ago I put them up on a
 series of web pages. They can be seen at:


These images were taken 36 years ago, and unless some commercial
enterprise or foreign government independent from NASA sends a
probe to the Moon, I think it will probably be at least another
30 years before we see any more images of them or other unusual
features imaged by the Lunar Orbiters a very long time ago in
those legendary days when humans walked on the Moon -- or so the
old folks tell their grandchildren.

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