Forty years ago we landed on the moon. It is consistently voted ‘mankind’s greatest acheivement’ in any poll that allows votes on such matters. For the next few years more people and more missions landed there and collected moon rocks, left reflectors, conducted various experiments and generally did cool scientific things.
This inspired my parents’ generation to look to the stars and dream of what the future may hold. It was to be filled with space travel, moon stations, settlements on Mars. They looked at their children with a certain amount of envy. We would live under the sea or in floating cities, have flying cars, jet packs and affable robots to do our work.
Then… a couple of decades of being let down. Sure, in the 80s we got advances in satellite TV, computers, mobile phones, and the space shuttle, but they weren’t really the spandex planet hopping dreams we once had. Everyone seems to have given up on looking to the future and focused instead on politics, buying stuff, and wearing fluorescent socks. The world turned dull.
The 90s were better. A bit. Space stations were a bit crappy back in the 70s and 80s, but were finally showing a bit more promise. Mobile phones were just about small enough to carry in a pocket. Computer games got more colour. None of the awesome stuff our parents dreamed of but it was a start.
This decade has at least brought us some cooler stuff. Slim laptops and wireless internet mean that you can play games, have video phonecalls, and look at a huge chunk of humankind naked pretty much anywhere. Our phones now take pictures, have games, surf the internet, have apple applications and can phone anyone on the planet (who has a phone, obviously). There are hundreds of satellites that can bring us thousands of channels of largely shite TV in High Definition or 3D. The space station is growing.
Also, there are new superpowers that seem to be kickstarting a new space race. At long bloody last. I firmly believe that countries like China will make America and Europe panic enough to start planning things space-wise again. The advantage the USSR had over the West was that they could chuck a few cosmonauts into space and hope for the best. If they died then, well, that’s a shame. Apparently there is a chilling recording of a pre-Gregarin cosmonaut shouting that his country has killed him and they are all a bunch of bastards as he drifted around in space with no hope of return. The problem with the West’s space missions is that we are wimpy enough to want our astronauts to get back safetly. China has no such scruples. They just go for it. They are planning moon-bases and everything. Hopefully with hot Oriental ladies in sexy space suits.
In case you are interested, a Chinese spaceman is a Taikonaut, which sounds pretty nifty.
So the race is back on.
We are now also trying to race them to Mars. An actual planet. Something that may finally pip the moon landings to the number one spot achievement-wise.
Plus, if we go to Mars there will be more and more proof to shut the ridiculous conspiracy theorists up. They still probably won’t believe it though.
On top of the superpowers, we have now allowed independant enterprises to enter the space fray. Including the former Soviet Union and Virgin. You can pay to become a space tourist. They have started to advertise trips around the moon. Yet another nail in the conspiracy morons’ coffins.
You may have guessed by now that I get pissed off by people that claim we haven’t been to the moon. What they have done is look at all the stuff NASA has put out and rather than construct any decent arguments, have simply picked holes in the ‘proof’. Gathered together it seems like a strong argument and this is where the gullible become convinced. But it is easy to take every single one of their flimsy arguments apart.
Let’s look at a few:
The flag seems to wave in the wind. This can’t happen in a vacuum.
First off – they claim the moon landings were filmed in a studio. I work in TV and have never seen a studio with open windows. They are always deep in the building behind big heavy doors. Soundproofed for obvious reasons. Where did the wind come from in this ludicrous scenario? The aircon? And no one noticed? The flag only ever moves when someone is holding the flimsy aluminium pole! The fact that it remains completely stationary for hours at a go when no one is touching it seems to be a fact that is overlooked. There’s no wind fluttering it then.
It’s impossible to get through the Van Allen belt – the radiation would kill them.
This is bollocks. The Van Allen belt would take about 30 minutes to cross and astronauts can be easily shielded from the solar radiation. One person who says this part of the conspiracy is crap and easily disproved is… wait for it… Professor Van Allen. Apparently conspiracy buffs believe him when he states its existence but not when he states it is easy to pass through.
There are multiple light sources.
Actually, there aren’t. This has been easily proved on the Earth numerous times. Differing objects provide differing shadow angles. I saw a hilarious documentary where a conspiracy guy says that if you look at shade cast by the sun it all points in the same direction. The camera then panned to the desert out his window and it didn’t. Sadly they didn’t point this out to him. Presumably he just read this somewhere but never bothered to check.
I could go on but won’t. A lot more of the arguments are along the lines of: on a rock you can sort of see something that looks like numbers like you get on props. I can’t even be bothered to talk about this. Just think how likely that is on a film of this importance.
Evidence that we have been there apart from the footage is numerous.
Moonrocks have been collected and brought back to earth and have been carbon dated and proved to be older than any rock found on Earth. These rocks have been studied after having been brought back by the Apollo missions, the Russian ‘Luna’ missions (remote probes) and ejecta that have fallen to Earth. They are all distinctly different from Earth rock but similar to each other – including the supposedly faked Apollo missions. For example, they have never been exposed to Oxygen. They are unique. Unless the American, Russian and geological collectors are lying, the carbon dating people are lying and chemists are lying.
They have left a reflector on the moon that scientists (and others) regularly fire a laser at, and have it return, so that we can accurately measure the distance from the Earth to the moon. Apparently it is pulling away from us. Which is interesting if you believe all these science types.
Other factors such as the amount of people who would have to lie to keep this a secret are pretty convincing. The theorists try and say that it was all ‘compartmentalised’ so no one really knew what the others were up to. 400,000 worked for a decade to make the moon landings possible. If this compartmentalisation was true there would still have to be a couple of thousand people in on the secret. Given that even the Royal Family are ratted out by their butlers and celebs secrets are always getting out, I find it hard to believe this many people would keep quiet.
For me though, the best bit of evidence flies against the principle idea that underlies the moon-landing-is-a-hoax theorists. Most believe that the whole thing was faked because of the cold war. The thing is, if there was any doubt at all that it was faked, any problem with the science or the pictures or the videos or anything – surely the USSR would have been the first to accuse the Americans of faking it. They never have. Not once. The only people who have made this accusation are ill-informed non-scientists trying to pick holes in the established facts.
So there. In fact, I need not have gone on for so long. It has all been pretty thoroughly debunked already. I think I just get annoyed because it feels like people are trying to lessen an amazing achievement. We need more of them. Plus, if humanity is to survive we need to get off this planet in case an asteroid hits or the apes take over.
I’ve heard people complain that we’ve screwed up this planet enough and maybe it would be a good thing that we died out. Nice thought. I just hope they don’t have kids as they obviously don’t care enough about them. Another argument is that we should spend more money on hospitals instead. You know, so we can all live longer and over-populate the planet even more, forever and ever building more hospitals. Good plan.
I say: let’s go to Mars. Let’s dream of the future. We could start a new colony that will be free those who claim the moon landing is a hoax. Damn conspiracy nutters. I just hope the aliens, men in black, and David Icke let us. They’re secretly in control after all.