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moog
2009-Jun-13, 09:25 AM
Hey all,
There was a claim elsewhere from a conspiracy theorist that MIT had bounced a laser off the moon in 1962. With the assumption that the reflectors were not needed apparently.
I have been trying to track down a source or preferably the actual paper for this without any luck.

Has anyone heard of this and know any details?
~Moog

Extracelestial
2009-Jun-13, 11:14 AM
Hello Moog,

without knowing said paper or article I can tell you the following:

of course one can get a reflection from the moon without a dedicated reflector, but:

#1 the accuracy is greatly diminished, because you don't know whether the reflection comes from a mountain top or a depression. If you want to test a theory, such as that the moon due to tidal forces will slowly move out at a rate of a few centimetres per decade, inaccuracy is exactly what you do not want.
#2 you need a much stronger laser - the moon doesn't reflect that good. And the reflectors where not merely a simple mirror but triple-mirrors. The reflect light back exactly along the incoming path which in turn improves accuracy.
#3 speaking of reflection: even a laser with high accuracy beamed at the moon will have widened to a spot several kilometres in diameter. This makes picking the proper slope of the returning wave tricky if not impossible.

So, taking into account the constraining factors above leaving a eflector whilst on the moon seems to be a good idea ;-)

Extracelestial

LaurelHS
2009-Jun-13, 11:31 AM
The project was called "Luna See" (cute name :) ) and conducted by George Fiocco and Louis Smullin.

http://www.universetoday.com/2009/05/08/weekend-skywatchers-forecast-may-8-10-2009 (http://www.universetoday.com/2009/05/08/weekend-skywatchers-forecast-may-8-10-2009/)

From this PDF (http://g24ux.phys.uniroma1.it/pubblicazioni/ANNGEO_2003_BENEDETTI.pdf):

"Smullin chose young Fiocco to set up an active
optical instrument able to measure the distance
from the Moon: one of the first optical radar
or LIDAR (acronym for LIght Detection And
Ranging, an obvious readjustment of the acronym
RADAR, RAdio Detection And Ranging). When
one considers how difficult is was to observe a
few photons of laser light reflected from the lunar
surface without the benefit of the retro-reflector
placed much later on the Moon by astronauts,
everybody can appreciate the sense of humor
in the chosen code name used for the lunar
ranging program."

moog
2009-Jun-13, 12:18 PM
The project was called "Luna See" (cute name :) ) and conducted by George Fiocco and Louis Smullin.

Thanks for that,
it will give me a good place to start.

JayUtah
2009-Jun-13, 01:23 PM
The Mythbusters program showed the difference between the aided and unaided reflection. The same laser was aimed at different points on the surface, and the point occupied by the retroreflector gave a very significantly stronger return.

Gawdzilla
2009-Jun-13, 01:56 PM
The Mythbusters program showed the difference between the aided and unaided reflection. The same laser was aimed at different points on the surface, and the point occupied by the retroreflector gave a very significantly stronger return.

"They simply found a shinier rock on the moon."

"They sent up a robot that placed the reflectors."

"The lasers are bouncing off an alien spacecraft that crashed there."

"The lasers are bouncing off an ancient structure that was found and then the evidence hidden by NASA. They covered it up by drawing attention to it. Very clever of them."

"The lasers are bouncing off the 'bridge' of the spaceship that some people think is a natural satellite, but is in fact a 'mothership' from Zeta Ridiculous."

Graybeard6
2009-Jun-13, 09:22 PM
Right after WWII (late 1945 or 1946) the US Army bounced a radar beam off the Moon. I remember this because they broadcast it on the radio. Of course it could have been easily faked.

Gawdzilla
2009-Jun-13, 10:00 PM
Right after WWII (late 1945 or 1946) the US Army bounced a radar beam off the Moon. I remember this because they broadcast it on the radio. Of course it could have been easily faked.

It most certainly would have been faked. The Government would have known that we would mount a huge space program in less than 20 years to go to the Moon, and that it would fail, and that we would have to have a fall-back plan, and that all the people involved would keep quiet all these years since, and so they did a false-flag operation. Simple, isn't it? Just keep an open mind. :lol:

Kiwi
2009-Jun-14, 12:47 PM
Manawatu Daily Times, Tuesday 9 June 1959, page 3
Message bounced off the moon
Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, June 7
The Canadian Prime Minister, Mr John Diefenbaker, heard a voice message yesterday from President Eisenhower that had bounced off the moon, and sent a reply the same way. Greetings were exchanged at the opening at Prince Albert of the new Canadian Government radar laboratory for joint United States-Canadian research in defence against intercontinental ballistic missiles. The message from President Eisenhower was transmitted from 1700 miles away but it travelled about 250,000 miles to the moon and back another 250,000 miles in 2.7 seconds.

AndrewJ
2009-Jun-14, 03:33 PM
"They sent up a robot that placed the reflectors."

Conspiracy believers with a sense of home economics could argue that the robot reflector-guy went in the same rocket as the radio relay system that fooled all amateur and governmental radio buffs.

Gawdzilla
2009-Jun-14, 03:44 PM
Conspiracy believers with a sense of home economics could argue that the robot reflector-guy went in the same rocket as the radio relay system that fooled all amateur and governmental radio buffs.

And that we could have sent a manned mission for the same price as a robot, but that . . . Er sorry, I'm getting airsick.

djellison
2009-Jun-16, 02:53 PM
The laser reflectors being a case to counter any conspiracy has always been a poor argument. The unmanned Russian Lunakhod rovers had retro reflectors onboard - supplied by the French.

NorthernBoy
2009-Jun-16, 03:20 PM
The laser reflectors being a case to counter any conspiracy has always been a poor argument. The unmanned Russian Lunakhod rovers had retro reflectors onboard - supplied by the French.

Why does that make it a poor counterpoint? If someone is claiming that the mission in question did not place the reflector there then they need to bring in a huge new part of the conspiracy which is that some other secret mission to the right part of the moon did happen, and that this mission secretly placed the reflector there.

At the very least, it vastly increases the size of the necessary conspiracy.

NEOWatcher
2009-Jun-16, 03:24 PM
The laser reflectors being a case to counter any conspiracy has always been a poor argument. The unmanned Russian Lunakhod rovers had retro reflectors onboard - supplied by the French.
Argued by itself, I might agree with you. But, start adding in the mission to get them there and you either have:
A secret lunar launch which would be nearly impossible to hide.
or
A mission to put it there that might as well have been manned anyway for all the complexities involved.

Was the Lunakhod rover also not the mission that is being publicized? If it were what it were, then why not Apollo?

djellison
2009-Jun-17, 08:36 AM
I'm just making the very simple point - you can't say to a conspiracist ' well - we must have gone to the moon, they put the retro-reflectors there!'.

Demonstrably, it doesn't take people to do that. Nothing more complex than the Surveyor landers could have done it.

One could, if one so desired as a conspiracist, propose a plot line whereby the Saturn V's actually launched unmanned vehicles to act as radio relays and deposit the reflectors on the surface. One does not need extra launches to put the artifacts up there....Apollo had enough of those.

I'm just saying, as arguments against a conspiracy, the retroreflectors are not a good talking point. It's not honest to say that man must have gone to the moon because he left retroreflectors there. There are other ways that those could (and did) get to the lunar surface.

NorthernBoy
2009-Jun-17, 09:52 AM
You are arguing against a bit of a straw man there.

If someone was using the argument that you criticise, then your point may be valid, but they are not. What people say is "If you claim that the mission in question did not go to the moon, then what was the mission that you did think happened which placed the reflectors".

Which is a completely valid question, as, very often, the conspiracy nuts have a scenario that would not allow the reflectors to be placed. As others have said, the reflectors show that at least something went to the moon that was capable of placing the reflector on the surface safely, pointing roughly upwards, and that it happened at around the time of the apollo missions.

captain swoop
2009-Jun-17, 10:59 AM
and in the locations claimed for the Apollo missions.

NEOWatcher
2009-Jun-17, 01:43 PM
...One could, if one so desired as a conspiracist, propose a plot line whereby the Saturn V's actually launched unmanned vehicles to act as radio relays and deposit the reflectors on the surface. One does not need extra launches to put the artifacts up there....Apollo had enough of those...
Yes; one could, but one could say just about anything. That doesn't make it any simpler than actually putting a man up there.
By the time you put together a program with a SatV and all the technology needed to run that thing, and add the technology for the relays and fake technology to make it look man-ready, then why not just add a man?

djellison
2009-Jun-17, 02:32 PM
Again - I think that's a very poor argument. You could fake this with little more than Surveyor landers - a long long way from the requirements of Apollo. They can do the relay, they can do the reflectors.

I'm not saying there's a conspiracy - HELL NO. But I think some of the arguments made against the conspiracy are very very weak and, to a certain extent, not entirely honest (but not knowingly dishonest). The retro-reflectors are, imho, the worst.

Yes - you could write a story that gets around every single piece of actual evidence we went. But there are some cases where people say "We must have sent man to the moon because of X...." when actually, X doesn't require people. To counter conspiracy, we should do so honestly, with facts and evidence. The retro-reflectors do not, imho, do that. As realists, skeptics, non-conspiracists....we should know and do better.

NEOWatcher
2009-Jun-17, 03:11 PM
I'm not saying there's a conspiracy - HELL NO. But I think some of the arguments made against the conspiracy are very very weak and, to a certain extent, not entirely honest (but not knowingly dishonest). The retro-reflectors are, imho, the worst.
How strong do they have to be?
And; how much evidence do they have to have to support?
Can we hold the conspiracy to the same level of argument?
Sure; the arguments against the conspiracy can be very weak, but when the conspiracy itself is even weaker, then it really amounts to a fact in a sea of information.

djellison
2009-Jun-17, 03:31 PM
How strong do they have to be?
And; how much evidence do they have to have to support?

These are simply personal judgement calls imho. And, in my opinion, the retroreflectors are not good enough. If asked "How do you KNOW we went to the moon?" - the Retroreflectors are not something I'm going to respond with. Other people may think they are good enough and use them as an argument against the conspiracy. I just don't think it's a good one.

captain swoop
2009-Jun-17, 03:34 PM
Doing it with relays, landers robots etc would only work if NASA were stupid enough to think no one else will ever go to the moon.

Fazor
2009-Jun-17, 04:37 PM
Again - I think that's a very poor argument. You could fake this with little more than Surveyor landers - a long long way from the requirements of Apollo. They can do the relay, they can do the reflectors.

Yes, but they'd have to hide that equipment inside equipment that is sufficient to "fool the masses" into thinking it carried men to the moon, without letting on that they had these hidden robotics installed in a way they could land and deploy, but not be obvious to the thousands of people who worked on the hardware.

Or, NASA would have to have the thousands who worked on the hardware in on the conspiracy, with no one every coming forward with any actual evidence since. Not even the lowly tech who has since lost his job, is out of money, and would love some way to get money and fame.

NEOWatcher
2009-Jun-17, 04:59 PM
These are simply personal judgement calls imho.
Well; that's kind of a moot point, since asking someone for thier own reasoning implies asking for a personal judgement call.


And, in my opinion, the retroreflectors are not good enough. If asked "How do you KNOW we went to the moon?"
And; I have never heard anyone use that statement as a stand-alone answer. Maybe as a "final nail in the coffin" type of statement, but not by itself.


- the Retroreflectors are not something I'm going to respond with. Other people may think they are good enough and use them as an argument against the conspiracy. I just don't think it's a good one.
That's fine, but next time you find someon who uses only that argument, how about you ask them why they think it's good enough.
It doesn't matter what one piece of evidence convinces you. Nobody should rely on one piece of evidence.

I don't care what piece of evidence you pick, there can probably be any number of explainations other than a moon landing. The problem is, when you add all of the pieces together, it will not add up to a conspiracy.

Gawdzilla
2009-Jun-17, 05:07 PM
Doing it with relays, landers robots etc would only work if NASA were stupid enough to think no one else will ever go to the moon.

The conversations with the Apollo crews are enough for me. Delays in response show the distance they were from Earth.

Before somebody starts on that:

1. The signals were determined to be coming from the Moon via triangulation.
2. The delay was reasonable for the distance.
3. If it had been relayed back to Earth for someone to fake a response, it would have been double that delay.
4. Independent sources heard the conversations.

AndrewJ
2009-Jun-17, 05:36 PM
Doing it with relays, landers robots etc would only work if NASA were stupid enough to think no one else will ever go to the moon.

Great point!

1) Independent radio corroboration means either a manned mission or a craft implementing an elaborate hoax actually went to the Moon.

2) Cannot have been the latter as evidence of the fraud would be up there for perpetuity.

Therefore humans have been to the Moon. Case closed. :hand:

slang
2009-Jun-17, 06:55 PM
These are simply personal judgement calls imho. And, in my opinion, the retroreflectors are not good enough. If asked "How do you KNOW we went to the moon?" - the Retroreflectors are not something I'm going to respond with.

Right, not the smoking gun evidence. However, I think it is a good argument against claims like HB: "there's too thick layer of dust, lander would sink". A: "no, Surveyor proved that wrong". HB: "Robots could not land either" A: "Sure they could, how else could the reflectors possibly get there, manned or robotic". Or any other form of claim that not even robotic exploration was possible.


Doing it with relays, landers robots etc would only work if NASA were stupid enough to think no one else will ever go to the moon.

Heh.. they'll just argue that if it was impossible for NASA, it's impossible for any country. :)

Gillianren
2009-Jun-17, 07:12 PM
Heh.. they'll just argue that if it was impossible for NASA, it's impossible for any country. :)

Completely ignoring, of course, that the nations would be able to work that out and therefore determine that Apollo must have been a hoax.

slang
2009-Jun-17, 07:17 PM
Completely ignoring, of course, that the nations would be able to work that out and therefore determine that Apollo must have been a hoax.

Of course. Logic never was an HB strong point. One of my favorite threads on ApolloHoax board: HB Contradictions (http://apollohoax.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=theories&action=display&thread=734).