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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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 25 January 2011 10:35 AM
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dvaidr

Posts: 519
Joined: 08 June 2003

The explanations don't answer questions relating to the Van Allen belt, the computing power, (or the lack of it), and many more issues which I see as being dubious. The book, Black Moon, looks into these 'aberrations' and brings to light camera work, purportedly from inside the craft, when in fact it was a set-up which included black cardboard.

The Americans being American, (whatever that is), were always going to get caught with their bravado and netherworld claims. Who was it who said something about the cocksure being stupid, while the intelligent remain reserved....or words to that effect...
 01 February 2011 01:16 PM
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amillar

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Can't find "Black Moon", do you mean "Dark Moon"? DARK MOON : Apollo and the Whistle-Blowers, Author David S Percy

Well woth reading the Amazon reviews for a bit of entertainment and insight into the human psyche...

-------------------------
Andy Millar CEng MIET CMgr MCMI

http://www.linkedin.com/in/millarandy

"The aim of argument, or of discussion, should not be victory, but progress." Joseph Joubert
 01 February 2011 06:16 PM
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dvaidr

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That's the one. There are some very valid points made. I remember joining my first company as a young lad in 1979 and seeing the 1K computer they used exclusively to calculate the wages. It was the size of a small room. And this in a company who kept abreast of technological development. And yet, somehow NASA managed to get through the Van Allen belt with a much smaller version computer capable of taking men to the moon.

I'm working in the field of reliability physics and even now we have catastrophic, stochastic failure due to radiation in space.........

And yet, the managed to get the the moon with little more than NORLOGS, Veroboard, Resistors and Capacitors.....with a few diodes and transistors if they used DTL.

Sorry, but it just doesn't compute.
 02 February 2011 01:56 PM
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mbirdi

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How do they manage to have satellites in space? What about computers used on the space shuttle or the ISS?
 02 February 2011 04:28 PM
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dvaidr

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(Low level) satellites and spaces shuttles are a bit different to a what amounted to a 1960's crate with a 1K computer on board travelling a couple of million miles into space, having to land safely on the moon and return safely using roughly the same path.

We do design with space radiation in mind these days. Did they, or rather could they then? We still find it onerous now!
 02 February 2011 04:36 PM
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StewartTaylor

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Remember that one of the benefits of these old 1960's crates was that with the technology available it took a whole lot more energy to corrupt antything than it does with today's limit-pushing circuits.

-------------------------
Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.
 02 February 2011 05:25 PM
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dvaidr

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Very true and a good point. But on the the other side of the coin, for the functionality needed it would have been the size of at least a large transit van, (the computer that is). In the early eighties we were designing and building our own high reliability, high resolution comparators. These were the size of a good family sized suitcase for mum, dad and three children for a week in Benidorm (or Blackpool for that matter).

Then we come to the comms - remarkable really that NASA developed a secure comms system capable of propagating millions of miles with only a couple of seconds delay! Even now we struggle to get comms working in Afghanistan and when we do the quality can be dubious and there is always at least a four second delay. ........

And then there is the propulsion system......and the servo system......and ......

No. I don't buy it. In the great American-dream way, they sold everyone a big wet kipper!

Edited: 03 February 2011 at 09:44 AM by dvaidr
 07 February 2011 08:19 AM
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jencam

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You have to remember that NASA used military grade hardware rather than commercially available hardware so making comparisons to whatever was commercially available at the time will not be accurate. Despite this, my son thinks that the moon landings were probably faked.
 07 February 2011 09:59 AM
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dvaidr

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You raise a valid point, but taking into account that the MIL-SPEC components were less reliable than today's commercial components and they would have added significantly extra weight to the payload to the landing module, this would only have compounded the belief that they didn't get there.

Using MIL-SPEC components then, would be equivalent to using commercial now. Today, we still experience radiaiton effects at remote altitudes.......and then there's the Van Allen belt which is not just 'ambient radiation'.

I don't think they invented apple pie either.....and they certainly didn't invent the transistor - they like to think they did but it was the British...
 07 February 2011 02:43 PM
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jakegreenland

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Well in terms of the guidance computing power the simple answer is that the bulk of it was actually on earth and uplinked to the apollo spacecraft via radio. Onboard the spacraft used a smaller guidance computer that received positional information from an inertial measurement unit, which being based on gyoscopes and accelerometers, wouldn't be that affected by radiation. In the event of losing signal with earth the onboard guidance computer could take information from the IMU and provide navigation until signal was restored.

Since IMUs lose accuracy over time they were regularly recalibrated via fixes from known stars which sailors have been doing for 100s of years without even computers to help them.

The simple fact, of course, is that you can actually work out the orbit and trajectory of a spacecraft using pen and paper, it just takes time and the apollo computers were in fact very simple and didn't need huge amounts of power at all by modern standards. By the standards then, of course, it was pretty advanced consuming something like 2/3rds of the available world supply of ICs. The Apollo computers also used core memory which is quite resiliant to EMP and radiation.

On the subject of the Van allen belts the straightforward answer is that the astronaughts simply didn;t spend enough time in them to receive a significant dose. See http://www.wwheaton.com/waw/mad/mad19.html for a calculation of the dosage received.

The whole thing about the communications medium is just daft - it's called radio waves and they've been used to deliver TV signals which contain a lot of information since before apollo was even conceived. The thing about radio waves is they work much better in line of sight operations than they do in mountainous terrain hugging environs so when you're sending a signal more or less straight up from a series of relay stations around the world it's not that hard. Also there was a delay on the capcom lines - quite a large one in fact, most footage we see on the TV has usually had this edited out to avoid the audience getting bored.

Well worth reading Phil Plaits page that talks about the various claims of why the moon landings were faked and why they invariably are based on bad science given the real science behind them.

http://www.badastronomy.com/bad/tv/foxapollo.html

If that's not enought it's possible to bounce lasers off the retroreflectors left by the apollo missions on the lunar surface - someone had to put them there because they don't grow on the non-existant lunar trees.

J

-------------------------
Jake Greenland, CEng MIET.
CCIE #22595
 07 February 2011 03:27 PM
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amillar

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Originally posted by: jakegreenland
http://www.badastronomy.com/ba.../foxapollo.html



Excellent link, many thanks for posting it!

-------------------------
Andy Millar CEng MIET CMgr MCMI

http://www.linkedin.com/in/millarandy

"The aim of argument, or of discussion, should not be victory, but progress." Joseph Joubert
 07 February 2011 04:28 PM
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dvaidr

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It doesn't necessarily follow that because there are, reportedly, reflectors on the moon, man has also been to the moon.

I'll take some convincing, where our American cousins are concerned. Call me cynical, xenophobic or whatever you like, but I don't believe man made it to the moon.

And by the way, the link provides just as much subjectivity as my opinions.
 07 February 2011 06:28 PM
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dvaidr

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BBC News tonight about the two orbiting satellites. Space weather, (sometimes with catastrophic results), originating at the sun......
 07 February 2011 10:48 PM
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jakegreenland

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The link does indeed provide subjectivity [well the second one at least, the first provides hard maths which you can reproduce yourself along with referenced publications] but the subjectivity it provides should point you to the correct branches of science you can investigate to prove or disprove it for yourself. Any good scientist or engineer should be prepared to do their own research after all. It does, sadly, appear to be a feature of most people that claim the whole apollo program was faked that they are unprepared to actually study the science and crunch the numbers themselves and prefer instead to rely on incorrect assumptions and misrepresentations of the available information.

It is easy to prove that there are retroreflectors on the moon - point a laser at the moon, fire a pulse and wait for a bounce signal to be received - if you've hit a retroreflector you'll get a much more powerful pulse back than you would from the surface of the moon normally - that's basic physics in action and people outside of the establishment perform this experiment frequently. Of course you are correct to say that it does not follow that because the lunar retroreflectors are there at the pre-planned mission sites of the apollo 11,14 and 15 missions that men actually walked there, the soviets laid their two reflecting arrays with automated rovers for example.

However the presence of the reflectors does prove that NASA in the 60's was capable of building a heavy lift platform [actually designed by a German of course] to get an electronic payload all the way to to moon, land it safely and place it in a known location. So to come right back to one of your original quibbles they must have had the communications capability to uplink telemetry to the spacecraft making the journey and also the guidance computer capability to make the journey in a manner unaffected by the radiation of the Van Allen belts and other solar flare/cosmic activity and at the same time collect and return lunar regolith to earth. The only remaining variable in the arguments above is whether Humans went - you're suggesting that they didn't and that there was some kind of enourmous cover up to prevent it and yet offer not a single shred of proof - just assertations with no fact or hard science to back them up.

Interestingly the first of the soviet retroreflectors was lost in 1971 as they weren't quite sure where the rover had placed it. It was rediscovered in 2010 through viewing images from the Lunar Reconnaisance Orbiter, and confirmed with a laser pulse. This is the same orbiter that shot pictures of the Apollo landing sites including astronaut footprints but I would imagine your assertation would be that they faked those pictures as well.

Either way, you're welcome to your belief although for other people to even consider it you need to provide data and evidence, not assertations and insinuations. I shall stop now however as I'm in danger of violated the prime rule of internet discussions.

Have Fun

-------------------------
Jake Greenland, CEng MIET.
CCIE #22595
 08 February 2011 05:33 AM
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dvaidr

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.................Any good scientist or engineer should be prepared to do their own research after all. It does, sadly, appear to be a feature of most people that claim the whole apollo program was faked that they are unprepared to actually study the science and crunch the numbers themselves and prefer instead to rely on incorrect assumptions and misrepresentations of the available information..............

Don't get me started about good Engineers. I am presently researching Bayesian Stats with Dempster-Shafer theory as a lynch pin for resolution of results. I think it's fair to say that I can do the maths bit.

................However the presence of the reflectors does prove that NASA in the 60's was capable of building a heavy lift platform [actually designed by a German of course] to get an electronic payload all the way to to moon, land it safely and place it in a known location,,,,,,,,,,,

Supposition, I feel. It could easily have landed anywhere!

"..........hard maths........."

Maths can do what you want it to do! End of! Relativity. Brilliant idea, but.........Euler's Equality. Brilliant, but.......Quantum Mechanics. Brilliant, but............Schrodinger's Cat.........................

No need to get angry or upset Jake. This is what it's all about. It's called 'Critique' in Professional Engineering circles. When you've been in the field as long as I have and have gained enough experience to consider 'alternative ideas', you'll find that it becomes even more fun than you ever wished me.

And don't assume that you ever know what other people think. It can lead to all sorts of problems.
 08 February 2011 07:53 AM
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jencam

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Originally posted by: jakegreenland
Well worth reading Phil Plaits page that talks about the various claims of why the moon landings were faked and why they invariably are based on bad science given the real science behind them.

http://www.badastronomy.com/ba.../foxapollo.html


I have not watched this documentary and neither has my son. Somehow I get the impression that Phil Plaits is criticising the documentary more than confirming that the moon landings were real.
 08 February 2011 12:31 PM
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jakegreenland

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not getting angry at all, just not really having fun arguing points with someone who is basing their opinion on the dislike of a particular nation of people rather than any real facts. Hence rule #1 on the internet "have fun" is being broken. Your opinion is yours alone to hold, as is mine of you.

-------------------------
Jake Greenland, CEng MIET.
CCIE #22595
 08 February 2011 01:23 PM
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ectophile

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One thing I have realised about conspiracy theories is that nobody ever manages to debunk a conspiracy theory to the satisfaction of those who firmly believe in it.

Any physical or written evidence will have been faked as part of the conspiracy. Any eye-witnesses will have been nobbled. Any scientific arguments will be countered by an assertion that there is something else that the person doing the debunking doesn't know about.

And if all else fails, the conspiracy believers will quietly re-write the conspiracy to work around any incontrovertable evidence you present.

-------------------------
S P Barker BSc PhD MIET
 08 February 2011 06:12 PM
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jencam

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Originally posted by: ectophile

One thing I have realised about conspiracy theories is that nobody ever manages to debunk a conspiracy theory to the satisfaction of those who firmly believe in it.


There was a conspiracy theory that the Titanic was the Olympic and the Olympic was the Titanic. This change in identity was part of a plan to deliberately sink the Olympic, that was previously damaged in an accident, to make an insurance claim. This conspiracy theory was finally debunked when the wreck of the Titanic was explored in the 1980s and 401 was stamped on difficult to replace structural parts of the hull which confirmed that the Titanic is the Titanic.

Edited: 08 February 2011 at 06:18 PM by jencam
 08 February 2011 06:29 PM
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dvaidr

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OK, so we have something which is subjective here. Jake Greenland CCIE MIET opines that there is hard maths at work here. Show me. What hard maths were used to get to the moon, given that NASA not only had uncertainties to deal with but 'uncertainty of uncertainties'.

They had, by comparison, an abacus as an operating system and little information about the effects of the magnetosphere on electronic system let alone the human body. The Van Allen belt is the magentosphere which, by nature, is chaotic and stochastic. We didn't know that much then though.

So Jake, if you wouldn't mind enlightening me to the hard maths involved, I'm listening. And I don't just want vector theory - that was played with by the Egyptians.

What's the difference between a theory and a conspiracy theory...?

Edited: 08 February 2011 at 07:33 PM by dvaidr
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