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Topic Title: E&T Maagzine
Topic Summary: Did we get to the moon?
Created On: 25 January 2011 10:35 AM
Status: Read Only
Related E&T article: Building the Moon rocket
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 09 February 2011 09:19 AM
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ectophile

Posts: 541
Joined: 17 September 2001

Originally posted by: dvaidr
What's the difference between a theory and a conspiracy theory...?


The conspiracy. When Einstein published his theory of relativity, he didn't complain that Newton and his publishers had deliberately tried to conceal the more complex details of the laws of motion.

-------------------------
S P Barker BSc PhD MIET
 09 February 2011 05:48 PM
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dvaidr

Posts: 519
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So, let's get this straight. Opining about something which you think is dubious is a conspiracy theory!!?? Let's all pack up and go home then. There is no longer any point, in anything.

I haven't just joined the ranks of conspiracy theorists here. I do have a little knowledge of technology - now and then. But that definition you offer is absolutely inane! I'm not saying that the American's tried to conceal anything. I'm saying that they didn't get there. Whatever logic you use, I'm saying that they didn't get there.

As it happens, Einstein didn't like Quantum Mechanics and saw holes in the theory. He actually doubted a lot of the derivative work involved. He did begin to do some 'hard maths' before his death. Einstein is a conspiracy theorist then and not a mathematician? Or is he both or neither.....or just Schrodinger's Cat...?

I am posing the question "Did we get to the moon"? Hence the title of the discussion, "Did we get to the moon"?

Here's an interesting paper for you look up, "Preece vs Heaviside". IET also do a fairly good book called Oliver Heaviside; Maverick Mastermind of Electricity. Is he a conspiracy theorist....?

Edited: 10 February 2011 at 05:50 AM by dvaidr
 10 February 2011 08:43 AM
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rogerbryant

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To pick up on an earlier point regarding the reliability of electronics in high radiation environments:
Older 'larger' electronic devices have a much higher radiation tolerance than modern LSI and VLSI devices.
I am, amongst other things, responsible for radiation crosslinking of wire and cable insulation where the insulation is exposed to high energy electrons (500keV to 3.0MeV) to improve the properties. The radiation doses are of the order of 100-200 kGy and are generally delivered in less than a minute. The Bremstrahlung from the electrons produces an X-ray dose in the process cell of the order of 1000 Gy per hour. (For reference the lethal dose for humans is around 4Gy)
The process is monitored using CCTV. In the 1980s CCTV cameras were made with Vidicon type tubes and discrete transistors with perhaps a few TTL gates for the timebase. If installed in a suitable box with a leadglass window to stop the scattered electrons these cameras would last for more than a year. The next generation cameras used 4000 series CMOS for the timebase generator. These would last maybe a month or two before the CMOS chips had to be replaced. In one facility cameras with electret microphones were installed. We stood in the control room and could hear the operator performing the search and arm process for the safety system. We could then hear the various blowers starting and when the radiation started everything went quiet as the electret was discharged by the ionising radiation.
The move to CCD cameras has caused significant problems. If installed in the same way as the old Vidicon cameras the life span is measured in hours so we have had to move the cameras up the entrance labyrinth and install multiple mirrors to try to get the camera to a lower radiation zone.
Based on my experience, the electronics of the 70s had a much greater radiation tolerance than the human body. If the astronauts survived the Van Allen belts their control systems would have had no problems.

Best regards

Roger
 10 February 2011 12:41 PM
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ectophile

Posts: 541
Joined: 17 September 2001

To me, a "conspiracy theory" is a theory that a number of peope, typically working for one or more government agencies, have deliberately conspired to keep the truth from the general public.

NASA have always claimed that their astronauts reached the Moon, and produced video and audio footage to show it. If they didn't reach the Moon, then there was a conspiracy by the people working on the Apollo projects to hide the fact that they hadn't succeeded.

That's all I mean by a "conspiracy theory". It doesn't mean that all conspiracy theories are false.

Edit: just to clarify, I wouldn't classify secrecy as a conspiracy. There's a difference between lying to the public and just refusing to tell them anything.

-------------------------
S P Barker BSc PhD MIET
 10 February 2011 04:49 PM
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dvaidr

Posts: 519
Joined: 08 June 2003

Originally posted by: rogerbryant

To pick up on an earlier point regarding the reliability of electronics in high radiation environments:

Older 'larger' electronic devices have a much higher radiation tolerance than modern LSI and VLSI devices.

I am, amongst other things, responsible for radiation crosslinking of wire and cable insulation where the insulation is exposed to high energy electrons (500keV to 3.0MeV) to improve the properties. The radiation doses are of the order of 100-200 kGy and are generally delivered in less than a minute. The Bremstrahlung from the electrons produces an X-ray dose in the process cell of the order of 1000 Gy per hour. (For reference the lethal dose for humans is around 4Gy)

The process is monitored using CCTV. In the 1980s CCTV cameras were made with Vidicon type tubes and discrete transistors with perhaps a few TTL gates for the timebase. If installed in a suitable box with a leadglass window to stop the scattered electrons these cameras would last for more than a year. The next generation cameras used 4000 series CMOS for the timebase generator. These would last maybe a month or two before the CMOS chips had to be replaced. In one facility cameras with electret microphones were installed. We stood in the control room and could hear the operator performing the search and arm process for the safety system. We could then hear the various blowers starting and when the radiation started everything went quiet as the electret was discharged by the ionising radiation.

The move to CCD cameras has caused significant problems. If installed in the same way as the old Vidicon cameras the life span is measured in hours so we have had to move the cameras up the entrance labyrinth and install multiple mirrors to try to get the camera to a lower radiation zone.

Based on my experience, the electronics of the 70s had a much greater radiation tolerance than the human body. If the astronauts survived the Van Allen belts their control systems would have had no problems.



Best regards



Roger


If the humans had survived.....

Did we really have the capability in the sixties to know just what levels of radiation the Van Allen belts were delivering and moreover, did we have the technology to sufficiently protect the astronauts?

I really don't think so.
 10 February 2011 05:03 PM
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StewartTaylor

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I seem to remember that in the 60's there was quite a bit more willingness to take a risk with the crews on things like this. And, assuming you believe that anything at all happened around the moon, the manned flights weren't the first to pass that way, so it wasn't entirely terra incognita.

-------------------------
Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.
 10 February 2011 05:27 PM
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dvaidr

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OK, so the American's got there.........

Taking into account the relative sophistication of the equipment used in the projects, which has included anything from propulsion systems, on-board computers, servo systems to those fantastic cameras loaded with film, why didn't we learn much. Since the first
moon-landing until, say, five years later we didn't really progress much back on earth. Automobiles, for example remained very primitive, automation also didn't really take off, health physics didn't really make any breakthroughs-we were still killing people with x-rays and sealed sources! How? Didn't anyone follow it up?
 14 February 2011 11:52 AM
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mbirdi

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Well we got the digital watch.
 14 February 2011 12:08 PM
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rogerbryant

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dvaidr,

"we were still killing people with x-rays and sealed sources"

What are you refering to in this, medical uses, industrial radiography, orphan sources?
As far as I am aware the deaths from radiation sources are very few and far between.

Best regards

Roger
 14 February 2011 12:33 PM
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dvaidr

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There was still much which was misunderstood in the sixites relating to radiation. There was some horrific deaths in Russian and I believe the US.....I can't really remember the details since it was 1984 when I did my RPS course at the NRPB.

Japan's worst nuclear radiation accident took place at a uranium reprocessing facility in Tokaimura, northeast of Tokyo, on September 30, 1999. The direct cause of the criticality accident was workers putting uranyl nitrate solution containing about 16.6 kg of uranium, exceeding the critical mass, into a precipitation tank. The tank was not designed to dissolve this type of solution and was not configured to prevent eventual criticality. Now you might think this isn't applicable, but think long the lines of knowledge management and how it's put to use.

The watch! I forgot about that. The LED one which lit up when you pressed the button?

And the Fischer Space Pen, of course. That changes things. Perhaps I have to start to eat my words......

Edited: 14 February 2011 at 12:41 PM by dvaidr
 14 February 2011 01:08 PM
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mbirdi

Posts: 1907
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Originally posted by: dvaidr
The watch! I forgot about that. The LED one which lit up when you pressed the button?

That's the one. Wish I hadn't got rid of my one, it might have been worth something today.
 14 February 2011 02:15 PM
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rogerbryant

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davidr,

There was an adequate understanding of the hazards of radiation in the 1940s. What was, and still is, missing is the application of the knowledge. The hazards of working at height are well known and there are appropriate regulations in place, but it is still one of the largest causes of injury and death in industry. The hazards of the petrochemical industry are well known, but Flixborough and Buncefield still took place.

The root cause of the Toki-mura accident was that the operators (propably with the knowledge of the management) deviated from the licence authorised procedures for the facilty to speed and the process and make the job easier. As the facility was a test facility and was infrequently used it was probably under less scrutiny from the authorities than the production facilites on the same site.

Best regards

Roger
 14 February 2011 04:21 PM
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dvaidr

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Originally posted by: rogerbryant

davidr,



There was an adequate understanding of the hazards of radiation in the 1940s. What was, and still is, missing is the application of the knowledge. The hazards of working at height are well known and there are appropriate regulations in place, but it is still one of the largest causes of injury and death in industry. The hazards of the petrochemical industry are well known, but Flixborough and Buncefield still took place.



The root cause of the Toki-mura accident was that the operators (propably with the knowledge of the management) deviated from the licence authorised procedures for the facilty to speed and the process and make the job easier. As the facility was a test facility and was infrequently used it was probably under less scrutiny from the authorities than the production facilites on the same site.



Best regards



Roger


Granted. BUT taking into account that the Apollo missions were so utterly successful, which implies that exquisite knowledge management was at the forefront of critical success factors, I would have anticipated that this would have been 'rolled out' over the years by the Americans. They usually do a very good marketing job in terms of being the best in class.
 15 February 2011 07:48 AM
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rogerbryant

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Many organisiations are capable of a very high level of knowledge management, risk identification and risk control on high profile projects.
The problems come later down the line when cost and profit play a bigger role. It appears that many people "knew" that corners were being cut in the oil industry but nothing had gone wrong so they kept doing it until BP got caught out in the Gulf of Mexico.
The Russians managed to explode a reactor at Chernobyl by not following procedures and this reactor was not built using the available knowledge that secondary containment was a good idea, probably to save costs.
The Russians also managed to blow up a hydroelectric plant (with more fatalities than Chernobyl and sigificant environmental damage) due to lack of proper maintenance again with money as the root cause.

The knowledge is there, generating a culture where it is used is the difficult thing.

Best regards

Roger
 15 February 2011 07:09 PM
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dvaidr

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Point taken Roger.

Imagine the exquisite culture there must have been in place to get to the moon and back. I can't think of anything else which has been so huge.

It's a pity we didn't continue to imbibe such enthusiasm, expertise, commitment and wholesale team-working. We could surely learn from the effort which it demanded........................couldn't we?
 16 February 2011 08:32 AM
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StewartTaylor

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Whether the Americans landed a man on the moon or not, there has been a colossal achievement associated with this event/story. Either a massive technical and logistical one (not to mention what some of us might describe as downright dumb heroism), or else a stupendous achievement in deception, suppression, secrecy, media manipulation and realpolitik.

So who do we think might have pulled it off? The politicians and the military/secret services, or the engineers and scientists?

Your choice.

-------------------------
Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.
 16 February 2011 09:24 AM
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rogerbryant

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I think it always requires both the political/govenment will or desire and the scientific/engineering expertise and application.

The goverment generally has to supply the resources for these 'grand' projects and the scientific/engineering comunity has to make it happen.

There was (and still is) a political will to explore space (the final frontier) so this happened with huge govenment funding. There is now some commercial activity for communications satelites and flights to space but still the majority is govenment funded.

Nuclear energy was initially a govenment project, although it now appears to be commercially feasible and large numbers of enginners and scientists still work in this field.

Wind and solar power are currently driven by the govenments with various funding schemes as they are not comercially viable. Without the polital support there would be no incentive for all the scientific/engineering development work that may make these into realistic large scale energy sources.

I don't think there is a choice, both are required.

Best regards

Roger
 16 February 2011 11:12 AM
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StewartTaylor

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I think you missed my point Roger.

The political/military/secret service achievement would have been the cover-up of the conspiracy if there had been no landing.

-------------------------
Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.
 16 February 2011 12:26 PM
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rogerbryant

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I think that the same view applies to a cover up. There would have to be a political will for a cover up, but there would also have to be a lot of clever science and engineering to convince other technologically capable observers (especially the Russians) that these signals and images were comming from the moon.
Imagine the Russians joy in the cold war era if they could prove that the Americans had not put a man on the moon and Mrs Gorski would have given her husband hell!

Best regards

Roger
 17 February 2011 05:30 PM
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dvaidr

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It is possible that both parties could have worked together. Ask an American on the street, which country 'invented' the transistor. They would I think say the US. Similarly, that charlatan, Edison is credited with the invention of all things electric. Ask a member of the public who was big in Electricity and they would very probably say, Edison. We all know Edison was a charlatan and a plagiarist. Ask members of the public who Joseph Swan was or Nikola Tesla was and the chances are they wouldn't even know the name. It's easier than it first looks to dupe the 'man in the street'.

Oliver Heaviside is another example.
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