Every year at this time . . .
In a discussion of the Cold War, the Space Race, and the Race to the Moon, we get to a photo about Apollo 11’s landing on the Moon.
Like clockwork, a hand goes up: “Mr. Darrell, wasn’t that landing a hoax? They didn’t really go to the Moon then, did they?”
There are a lot of ways to know that Apollo 11 landed on the Moon. Among other things, students could talk to people alive at the time who have the slightest bit of technological savvy: With lots of other people, I tracked part of the trip with my 6-inch reflecting telescope. Ham radio operators listened in on the radio broadcasts. And so on.
But I really like this chunk of evidence: How about a photograph of the landing site?
Holy cow! You can see the tracksof Neil Armstrong’s footprints to the lip of Little West crater (see arrow below).
The astronaut path to the TV camera is visible, and you may even be able to see the camera stand (arrow). You can identify two parts of the Early Apollo Science Experiments Package (EASEP) – the Lunar Ranging Retro Reflector (LRRR) and the Passive Seismic Experiment (PSE). Neil Armstrong’s tracks to Little West crater (33 m diameter) are also discernable (unlabeled arrow). His quick jaunt provided scientists with their first view into a lunar crater.
Fox News? What’s your story now?
- Full resolution image from LROC
- More from LROC
- At Bad Astronomy, Phil Plait shows how Fox News is wrong in grotesque detail