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Monday, Sept 16, 2002

Aldrin biffs bozo

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin was in the lobby of the Luxe Hotel, in Beverly Hills, CA, on Sept 11. He just finished an interview with a Japanese TV crew (or may have been lured there under false pretenses). The bozo in question, one Mr Bart Sibrel, accosted him and asked him to swear on a Bible that he really did walk on the Moon. Sibrel also told Aldrin that he was a thief because he was taking money for an interview about something he didn't do.

Sibrel is 37, and hails from Tennessee. Down there they have some sort of old saying about catching flies more easily with honey than insults, but Mr Sibrel apparently hasn't heard of it. According to the news report, Sibrel is 6' 2", 250 pounds. Probably not all muscle, though. Aldrin is 5' 10", 150.

After considering Mr Sibrel's request, Aldrin gave Sibrel a good right hook.

Sibrel evidently makes a hobby of this sort of thing. He's made that same gambit to as many other astronauts as he can get close to. He's even pulled that one on Aldrin before.

Aldrin is 72 (born January 20, 1930). His mother's maiden name was Marian Moon. His father was a student of Robert Goddard. In 1951, Aldrin graduated 3rd in his class at West Point. He flew Sabre jets in the Korean War.

After that he attended MIT, earning a PhD in astronautics with his thesis, "Guidance for Manned Orbital Rendezvous." This work became the basis for the techniques NASA now uses for spacecraft to hook up while in orbit.

On July 20, 1969, he and Neil Armstrong landed on, and walked on, the Moon, in the Apollo XI flight.

After retiring from NASA, he took command of the Test Pilot School at Edwards AFB in California, from 1971 until 1972, when he retired from the Air Force.

Evidently Mr Sibrel makes his living trying to convince people that the Moon program never happened, that it was all an elaborate hoax by NASA to cover up the fact that they just couldn't do it.

Mr Sibrel is considering suing Aldrin. I hope it goes to court. Can you imagine a jury deciding against Buzz Aldrin?

The evidence against Sibrel

Some people give Sibrel the benefit of the doubt, saying that he really believes this nonsense, and is just a man with a cause.

I think I've found something that negates that argument.

According to his own site, Sibrel has

...awards from the American Motion Picture Society includ[ing] Best Cinematography, Best Editing, and two Top Ten awards.

Now look at one of his claims: The photos taken on the Moon didn't show stars in the dark sky.

That's the clincher. Here's a guy who is an expert videographer, and therefore understands how light and video - and film - work. He knows full well that stars will not show up in a fast shutter speed photograph.

The photo of Aldrin or Armstrong in a space suit on the Moon is a photo of an object in direct sunlight. Any first year photo student will tell you that the standard exposure for such an object is f/16 at a shutter speed of 1/(ASA of the film).

They were using a special Kodak Ektachrome film, most likely with an ASA of 25, to get the finest detail possible. 1/25 second is a little long for a steady hand-held exposure (the cameras were actually fixed to the space suits), so we convert that to 3 stops faster, 1/125 (the closest to 1/100 on the camera), and adjust the aperture accordingly, to f/8.

At 1/125 second, you don't get stars, even in a dark night sky. And Sibrel knows that. Therefore, it must be Sibrel, not Aldrin, who is (to paraphrase Sibrel)

...a thief for taking money to [to sell] something [he knows is a lie]"

Is Sibrel a plagiarist?

Sibrel's video is titled A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Moon.

This site tells of a report from 1997, titled A Funny Thing Happened On Our Way to the Moon, by Ralph Rene, described as "a brilliant lay physicist".

This site tells of Bill Kaysing, "head of a technical presentations unit at Rocketdyne's propulsion fuel laboratory in Los Angeles from 1956 to 1963". Kaysing wrote a book titled We Never Went To the Moon, America's $30 Billion Swindle

Both these people put forth the same types of argument that Sibrel does. The difference is that their conclusions are more or less freely available; Sibrel wants $19.95 for his video.

There seems to be a small, but thriving, cottage industry in the Moon-hoax sector.

More background

The camera was a Hasselblad, the Rolls-Royce of cameras. One of those cameras is still up there (they left it behind to save weight for the take-off). Quite a souvenir, if anybody finds it.

That camera site is the Apollo Lunar Surface Journal. It's a treasure-chest of history and images from the Apollo programs (Apollo 11 through 17).

Transterrestrial Musings has a hard-hitting expose debunking the Aldrin-Simbel punchout - it's a hoax!! It's definitely worth reading.

There's at least one site that does a thorough fact-checking of the hoaxer's claims. If you're interested in the hoaxer's background, in the sorts of things they claim, and how every one of their misconceptions is turned to dust - Moon-dust - take a long look at the excellent Moon Base Clavius site.

There are quite a few people besides Sibrel who think it was all a fake. The Hare Krishnas are another group. According to their site,

It is now common knowledge throughout the world that the Apollo Moon landings were faked by NASA back in the 60's, although many gullible people still accept NASA's claim of landing men on the Moon, without bothering to carry out any research, or investigation, to see if NASA are indeed telling the truth.

They outdo Simbrel. They don't even bother to resort to science:

By it's own admission Nasa agreed the temperature on the moon to be 200 degrees below zero- *no human body could withstand that temperature even with 1969 technology.

The moon's surface according to Vedic conclusion, common sense, and scientific reasoning is made of a reflective substance; why then are there shadows in the video?

...we have information from a very reliable source, the Sanskrit Vedic scriptures, that the astronauts never actually went to the moon.
The Vedic account of our planetary system is already researched, concluded, and perfect. The Vedas state that the moon is 800,000 miles farther from the earth than the sun.
...according to the Vedas, each planet has its particular standard of living and atmosphere, and no one can transfer from one planet to another without becoming properly qualified. This means that if someone wants to go to Mars, for instance, he has to give up his present gross material body and acquire another one suitable for life on that particular planet.
...they cannot go to the moon planet, which the Vedas describe not as a lifeless desert but as a heavenly planet of extraordinary material pleasures. Where the astronauts actually went, or how this fabrication of lunar visitation will one day be exposed to people in general, are not part of our present discussion. But the Vedic teachings warn us that the manned moon landing is certainly an empty bluff.

The effects of strongly-held, unquestioned beliefs are strange indeed.

A thousand years from now, when the Moon is a thriving colony and jumping-off point for Mars and beyond, the Vedas will still say that the Moon is further from the Earth than the Sun. That's the difference between revealed religion and science. Science is revised whenever new facts contradict old theories. Religion almost never changes its holy texts.

posted by Mike 15:38