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View Full Version : Questions from site newbie re photos & new trips to moon



Dingle
2003-Sep-23, 06:38 PM
Hi...great site, very interesting. Although I believe the lunar landings to be real there are a couple of things I have always wondered & as a newbie I apologise if these have been answered before.

1) With the hubble satellite taking great pictures of distant galaxies & satellites able to read your car registration plate from space why do we never seem to get any new pictures of the moon? Particularly the lunar landing site, as surely this would end all these arguments immediately?

2) Why are there no new visits to the moon, from the US or indeed anyone? Ok i can understand cost issues but surely there are big businesses out there that would happily part fund any trip to the moon. The advertising aspect would literally be out of this world, I can just imagaine the first McMoonalds now!! But seriously a large untapped land mass so close to us , it seems strange no one is doing anything?

JayUtah
2003-Sep-23, 07:08 PM
1) With the hubble satellite taking great pictures of distant galaxies & satellites able to read your car registration plate from space why do we never seem to get any new pictures of the moon?

It doesn't work that way. You can see a penny at arm's length but you can't see a penny from a mile away. Your eyes didn't get any worse and the penny didn't get any smaller. It has to do with angular resolution. You can read a license plate from orbit (you really can't, but let's stay with that) because it's only 100 miles from earth orbit to the license plate. The moon is 2,500 times farther away, and so you can't read license plates on the moon. Those distant galaxies are millions of times farther away, but they're also very huge. You can see a truck from a mile away, but not the penny, because the truck is very large. But if you hold a penny at arm's length, it will completely block out the truck a mile away. That's how you have to think of it.

If you do the math, you could see a football stadium on the moon from earth orbit using the Hubble, but not anything smaller. That rules out being able to see the spacecraft remnants and other objects.

... but surely there are big businesses out there that would happily part fund any trip to the moon.

Such as? Most companies I know don't have $50 billion to spend on trying to land another man on the moon or develop it commercially. There aren't any minerals there that we don't have on earth, except for larger deposits of helium-3. The moon may seem close, but you have to take all your own air, food, and water. And what, exactly, is there? There's no return on that investment except for bragging rights, and I don't know of any company that is willing to spend tens of billions of dollars just to brag.

We don't go back to the moon simply because it's not cool anymore. We have the national resources to do it, should we choose to expend them toward that goal. But we've gone on to things we deem more important than lunar exploration.

Dingle
2003-Sep-23, 07:41 PM
Thanks for your prompt reply. I understand the points you make in reply to my questions but still cant understand why with all the technology available today no pictures of the lunar site are taken. When you consider the landing is perhaps mans greatest achievement of the 20th century then why has no spacecraft been set to take pictures even if only of an historical nature? Surely one of all the spacecraft sent out since that time, manned or otherwise could have achieved this?

Also, yes I appreciate the cost & lack of any potential return on journeying to the moon. But surely longer term setting up some form of moonbase will be required if man is to progress further into space, as a resource base or whatever, and a solid ground location with the possibility of expansion seems a better alternative than a space station. Also, if a suitable alternative to the shuttle is established Im sure there would always be people willing to pay to journey to & stay on the moon. At that point the commercial aspect may become more viable. Anyway its one way to get away from Becks & posh!! (apologies to any non brits to whom that is probably wasted)

JayUtah
2003-Sep-23, 08:18 PM
Probes to the moon are still very expensive, and no one has been willing to foot the bill solely to confirm the Apollo missions' success. Regardless of the claims, few people seriously doubt they were real. Even the Clementine orbiter didn't have the resolution necessary to see things like the lunar module descent stages or the lunar rovers.

You would have to put the equivalent of the Hubble or a spy satellite in orbit around the moon in order to get recognizable pictures of Apollo hardware. That's why we haven't done it yet. Those are huge spacecraft; it takes our biggest boosters just to put them in earth orbit. Now in the future we will have better imaging capabilities, and it might be a fun exercise to take pictures of the Apollo sites to calibrate and test the optics.

Would this convince or silence the hoax believers? Not in the least. They've already test-flown their rhetoric. Any private company that wants to send something to the moon has to have a license from the U.S. Department of State (to ensure compliance with the treaties to which the U.S. is a party), and one argument is that the government will require that private companies participate in keeping the Apollo "secret". And many missions to the moon are already government-sponsored, giving the conspiracists an excuse to discount anything these missions produce that might disprove the hoax. And finally, some have said we've sent unmanned rockets to deploy false Apollo remnants to be dutifully photographed by the upcoming missions.

Look at the huge mound of evidence that conspiracists already ignore or attempt to conjecturally explain away. It's really not hard for them to whip up another batch of conjecture to explain away a photograph of Tranquility Base.

There's really no advantage to setting up a moon base as a jumping off point for further exploration. If you need something at that distance, better to put it in lunar orbit instead of on the lunar surface. And if you're talking about going to Mars or Venus or Jupiter, the moon isn't any closer to these destinations than low earth orbit.

A lunar surface base requires a supply of electricity, air, water, food, and spare parts. So would a lunar orbital base. A lunar surface base would simply be a spacecraft fastened to the ground. To get to a surface base requires fuel for landing; there's no atmosphere for wings or parachutes. Then you have to expend more fuel to get off the lunar surface and back on your journey. Where's the advantage?

The only reason to have a lunar base is to study the moon. And there are a large number of engineering problems for such a long-term base that don't yet have a solution. Radiation, for example, poses a problem for a lengthy sojourn on the moon. The Apollo missions used a largely statistical approach that limited the missions to two weeks or less. Apollo missions were able to carry all the consumables they needed for a 72-hour stay. That's not possible for lengthy expeditions; a regular system of resupply would have to be established.

There's no commercial appeal to develop the moon. It would require an enormous outlay of cash for a fairly mediocre return. Businesses are in business to make money. Every dollar they spend has some perceived gain attached to it: tax writeoff, expected profit, etc.

The U.S. public isn't as interested in space exploration as it used to be. We still explore space, but we have to do it on a very elongated schedule and a stringently apportioned budget. We aren't likely to get tens of billions of dollars for an accelerated technology program. It's just one of those public policy things. People are indeed thinking about lunar bases for studying the moon. But we don't have the resources to make it happen a decade or so.

Superluminal
2003-Sep-24, 01:41 AM
I had read once, in Astronomy Magazine I believe, that if Hubble took a picture of Tranquility Base at local sunrise, you would be able to see a long shadow cast by the LM descent stage. Of course that wouldn't prove anything to the HB's, they'd say its a fake or a big rock casting the shadow.

Astronot
2003-Sep-24, 04:26 AM
I had read once, in Astronomy Magazine I believe, that if Hubble took a picture of Tranquility Base at local sunrise, you would be able to see a long shadow cast by the LM descent stage. Of course that wouldn't prove anything to the HB's, they'd say its a fake or a big rock casting the shadow.

I agree. We have thousands of photos that show the moon close up because they were taken there. But more convincingly, we have hours of video that could not have been made on earth. If none of this will convince the Hbers, why would one more photo change their mind? I once talked about the films to a rather unknowledgeable HBer who just grumbled and changed the subject. But to others he still spouted the same nonsense. For them, feeling they know a secret truth is preferred to knowing the actual truth.

There has to be room for all types on this earth I guess. Under the right circumstance that type of attitude might be very useful. But my idea of hell would be to exist surrounded with that type of people and have no exit.

AGN Fuel
2003-Sep-24, 07:19 AM
I had read once, in Astronomy Magazine I believe, that if Hubble took a picture of Tranquility Base at local sunrise, you would be able to see a long shadow cast by the LM descent stage. Of course that wouldn't prove anything to the HB's, they'd say its a fake or a big rock casting the shadow.

I'm not sure that this could be correct. At optical wavelengths, given Hubble's 2.6m primary mirror and an average lunar distance of 384,000km, the very best resolution would be ~100m (or about the size of Jay's football field from above). The decent stage was only 10.58 feet tall - it couldn't possibly cast a 100m shadow. :-?

I also suspect (although I may be wrong), that even given the very short integration times necessary for such a bright object, the relative motion of the moon would tend to 'smear out' anything at that extreme level of resolution anyhow. :(

SeanF
2003-Sep-24, 01:53 PM
The decent stage was only 10.58 feet tall - it couldn't possibly cast a 100m shadow. :-?

I figure when the sun's just under 2 degrees above the horizon, a ten-foot tall object would cast a three hundred-foot shadow on flat ground, no?
:)

LunarOrbit
2003-Sep-24, 02:35 PM
The only way to convince the hoax believers that the moon landings really happened would be to send them to the Moon to personally inspect the landers, but even then I bet some of them would claim that NASA had only recently placed the landers on the Moon. Or maybe they would claim that they weren't really on the Moon but in some kind of Star Trek holodeck.

They always try to find ways to hold onto their dellusions.

Darkwing
2003-Sep-24, 05:33 PM
I believe that the Hubble actually has taken some pictures of the moon, (unfortunately, I don't have time right now to look for the links) but as JayUtah said, the resolution of Hubble just isn't enough to pick out the Apollo hardware on the moon's surface.

Re: no new visits to the moon, I think I can speak for most people who frequent this site that we'd love to see more manned missions. But, the problem is funding. I suppose that multiple large companies could each put a part into sponsoring the mission, but the most each company would get is advertisements like the "Coca Cola Booster" launching the "McDonald's Lunar Lander" into space. That kind of advertising probably isn't worth the return.

We're still at the point where space just isn't profitable enough. Once the space technology is well established and we're doing lots of things in space--mining asteroids, perhaps--then everyone will jump on the bandwagon and pour money into it--as soon as they know that a short term investment will give a quick return. But that's a long way off. Until that happens, the steps into space will be painfully slow and expensive, funded by those few who believe in longer term investments.

JayUtah
2003-Sep-24, 06:04 PM
http://hubblesite.org/newscenter/archive/1999/14/image/a

Here's one.

AGN Fuel
2003-Sep-24, 11:51 PM
The decent stage was only 10.58 feet tall - it couldn't possibly cast a 100m shadow. :-?

I figure when the sun's just under 2 degrees above the horizon, a ten-foot tall object would cast a three hundred-foot shadow on flat ground, no?
:)

Actually, it would be an interesting exercise to calculate the maximum length isolated shadow that the LM descent stage could throw. Just off the top of my head, I suppose such a calculation would depend on the angle of the local horizon at sunrise (given nearby mountains etc), the tilt of the descent stage to that angle, the terrain onto which the shadow is thrown, the loss of shadow integrity due to reflected light, etc. What else would be needed? This could be worked into a marvellous project for a school group in practical trigonometry.

Does anyone know of a resource where local contour maps of the A11 landing site can be downloaded?

Chip
2003-Sep-27, 06:00 PM
... People are indeed thinking about lunar bases for studying the moon. But we don't have the resources to make it happen (for) a decade or so.

It seems possible to me that the first "lunar bases" will be totally automated. Robotic landers, maybe able to send smaller robotic rovers out on long trips. I'm sure this has been proposed.

Perhaps the first base to have human explorers, though much larger than the Apollo landers, will be nothing like the current large bases in Antarctica in terms of size. More akin to Shackelton's cabin or Byrd's "Little America" in size. Likely not for many years.

Getting back to robots. One thing that would be very very cool, would be a robust, long lasting rover-lander that could be controlled from Earth. Imagine a rover built to last several years, and capable of exploring a 1000 kilometer radius. (Very expensive too, but since its on a one-way trip, maybe eventually feasible.)
:wink:

irony
2003-Sep-29, 08:30 PM
The only way to convince the hoax believers that the moon landings really happened would be to send them to the Moon to personally inspect the landers, but even then I bet some of them would claim that NASA had only recently placed the landers on the Moon. Or maybe they would claim that they weren't really on the Moon but in some kind of Star Trek holodeck.

My question would be: if we send Bart Sibrel and Bill Kaysing to the Moon... do we have to bring them back?

JayUtah
2003-Sep-29, 08:49 PM
There's a lot of serious thought being given to automated prepaprations for human arrival -- habitations that can land autonomously and establish a self-sustaining life support environment. Whether that includes robots in the canonical sense is still up for grabs. But for the moon at least it makes sense to send habile remote-control rovers as part of a general solution establish a lunar base. For Mars it's a little more problematic because of the delay. But we've already demonstrated the potential for useful telepresence on Mars so objections are somewhat academic.

As for whether the conspiracists should be brought home, we'll just let them decide whether or not they're really on the moon. If they want to be brought home, let them first come to terms with where they really are.

Sigma_Orionis
2003-Sep-29, 08:51 PM
My question would be: if we send Bart Sibrel and Bill Kaysing to the Moon... do we have to bring them back?

Hmmmmm maybe they could set up their HB shops there...... heck if someone could actually believe the earth was flat in the 90s....

parejkoj
2003-Sep-29, 09:13 PM
There's a lot of serious thought being given to automated prepaprations for human arrival -- habitations that can land autonomously and establish a self-sustaining life support environment.

You mean like they are planning? At least, that was in the plan the last time I read up on it (several years ago)...
http://www.asi.org/

JayUtah
2003-Sep-29, 10:56 PM
No, thought is cheap. I don't think there's any program to do any of this.

Gmann
2003-Oct-01, 12:58 PM
I see a problem with the 'taking a picture at sunrise' thing. As I recall, the moon is spin locked. There is no sunrise or sunset. Any of the remaining hardware would not cast any lesser, or greater shadow than they do now. The question of why we don't send a probe to take pictures of the landing sites is simple, why spend a few billion dollars to prove that the moon hoaxers are wrong? If NASA did return to set aside the woo woo once and for all, I'm sure that the hoaxers would cry foul and claim they faked that as well.

kucharek
2003-Oct-01, 01:07 PM
I see a problem with the 'taking a picture at sunrise' thing. As I recall, the moon is spin locked. There is no sunrise or sunset. Any of the remaining hardware would not cast any lesser, or greater shadow than they do now.
Uh oh. The moon is spin locked with respect to the Earth, not the Sun. So, every month you've one sunrise etc on a given place on the Moon. Just watch the night/day line (terminator) moving over the face of the Moon during a few days.

AstroSmurf
2003-Oct-01, 02:07 PM
To put it differently, the moon being spin-locked means that there is no Earthrise. Sunrise occurs once per rotation (i.e, about once per month...)

Gmann
2003-Oct-01, 06:24 PM
Uh oh, we need the BA 8) I was taught that the moon rotates on it's axis 1 time per revolution around the Earth. This explains why we only see one side, the other remains in perpetual darkness. This tells me that since the sun shines on the same side all of the time, there is no sunrise or sunset, hence, no lenghtening or shortening shadows to be looked at by the HST to see if NASA is lying or not [-X . I could be wrong, but, that doesn't happen too often. Which reminds me of an old saying 'The NCO is never wrong, he may be fickle, bullheaded, or even abnormally stupid, but never wrong." :D

ToSeek
2003-Oct-01, 08:07 PM
Uh oh, we need the BA 8) I was taught that the moon rotates on it's axis 1 time per revolution around the Earth. This explains why we only see one side, the other remains in perpetual darkness. This tells me that since the sun shines on the same side all of the time, there is no sunrise or sunset, hence, no lenghtening or shortening shadows to be looked at by the HST to see if NASA is lying or not [-X . I could be wrong, but, that doesn't happen too often. Which reminds me of an old saying 'The NCO is never wrong, he may be fickle, bullheaded, or even abnormally stupid, but never wrong." :D

You're wrong. ;)

The Sun does not shine on the same side all the time. If it did, there would be no phases of the Moon (which should be demonstration enough that no part of the Moon is in either perpetual darkness or perpetual light).

Diagram (http://www.astro.psu.edu/users/stark/ASTRO11/images/moonphase.jpg)

AGN Fuel
2003-Oct-02, 12:20 AM
Uh oh, we need the BA 8) I was taught that the moon rotates on it's axis 1 time per revolution around the Earth. This explains why we only see one side...

Up to here you are right... :D


... the other remains in perpetual darkness. This tells me that since the sun shines on the same side all of the time, there is no sunrise or sunset, hence, no lenghtening or shortening shadows

...but off the track a little here. The moon keeps the same side toward Earth due to the tidal locking, but we are talking about the sun. During it's orbit of the Earth, the moon rotates fully from the perspective of the sun - and hence all sides are illuminated at some stage. A lunar day lasts roughly 28 terrestrial days.

This is what gives us phases of the moon. The Apollo landings all took place in the local early 'morning' for two main reasons - firstly, the longer shadows of morning allowed greater capacity to observe the terrain during landing. Secondly, the surface temperature was much lower and the angle of incidence of the sunlight more acute, allowing better thermal control.

Watch the moon over a few evenings and you will see the terminator (the line from night to day) shift across the face. To something on the moon, as we see the terminator reach it, the sun is rising for it over the local horizon.

Gmann
2003-Oct-02, 03:26 AM
After checking several sites, I found what I was looking for, and therefore stand corrected :oops: I was going on information I had learned many years ago that said the 'light side' is always illuminated, and the 'dark side is always dark. Toseek's diagram did not quite answer the question for me, but I found a planetarium site that placed an 'x' on the same diagram, and showed that the 'x' was always facing the Earth. So my earlier belief that the dark side never sees the sun was incorrect. #-o Thanx for shining some 'light' on to the 'dark' :D


You're wrong.

Not quite, I was abnormally stupid on that one :lol:

The NCO is never wrong. 8-[

AGN Fuel
2003-Oct-02, 03:56 AM
I was going on information I had learned many years ago that said the 'light side' is always illuminated, and the 'dark side is always dark.

It's a very common misconception that the far side of the moon is shrouded in perpetual darkness, and people often inappropriately use the description 'dark-side' for the 'far-side' . In fact, it is so common that I believe a certain astronomer of renown may have mentioned in in a best selling book....... :lol: :lol:

Gmann
2003-Oct-02, 04:51 PM
I may have to break down and get a copy of that book. I wonder where I can find it :-k I almost forgot, this message board has a website attached to it, maybe there is a link... =D>