NASA’s recent reported admission that the original footage from the Apollo footage was degaussed along with 200,000 other tapes has resulted in a flurry of discussion on New Zealand’s Stuff website. This combined with the release of re-mastered digital upgrades of footage taken of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin’s moon landing has provided additional ‘evidence’ for moon hoax conspiracy theorists that the USA never sent people to the moon.
However, I would be keen to know if anyone has a link to the news conference where Richard Nafzger, a NASA engineer, is alleged to have made the admission of the degaussing. The news story reported on Stuff originated with Reuters and the identical story has been reported all over the world. The NASA website simply states that a final report is nearly completed in relation to the missing tapes that will be released in the near future – or is this further evidence of the conspiracy?
It goes to show how far reaching the 2001 documentary “Conspiracy Theory: Did We Land on the Moon?” has entered into the popular consciousness and contributed to the creation of a bizarre but persistent conspiracy theory that is alive and well in New Zealand. While many of the comments on the Stuff website were either indifferent or ridiculing the moon hoax conspiracy, a small but vocal minority were insistent that the USA never sent people to the moon.
One of the fervent moon hoax conspirators called ‘Paul T’ made a number of comments claiming that the classic image of Buzz Aldrin used on the Stuff website (and reposted above) is evidence of a fake as it shows evidence of having multiple lighting sources aside from the sun.
For a more comprehensive explanation, I will direct you to Phil Plait’s excellent Bad Astronomy website, but briefly Paul T is right – it does have multiple lighting sources, but not from stage lights. The obvious lighting source is the sun and the others are the reflective surfaces around Buzz in the photo namely the moon itself! The moon’s surface dust reflects a small percentage of the sunlight (which is why we see the moon from the Earth) and it serves to slightly illuminate images. The exposure length and aperture of the camera will also be important in determining the brightness of the reflected light.
‘Paul T’ also makes the ridiculous claim that there were astronauts who were going to speak out about the hoax who died in mysterious circumstances. This is presumably a reference to the tragic death of the three Apollo 1 astronauts in a launch pad fire. All I can say is – show me the evidence!
However, the Stuff’s decision to focus on what are minor points in the scheme of the Apollo moon landing are unfortunate given its wide readership in New Zealand. Lets hope they have something more of celebratory tone for Apollo 11’s 40th anniversary on Monday the 20th of July.