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Phil Plait’s Moon Hoax London Speech – Report

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I had the honour to attend tonight in London a speech by Phil Plait “The Bad Astronomer” on the “Moon Hoax Hoax” (i.e. the hoax perpetrated by those that believe the Apollo manned lunar landings were a fake).

The presentation was organized by the UK’s Skeptic Magazine as part of their Skeptics in the Pub‘s monhtly gathering, taking advantage of Plait’s schedule in-between his Colorado home and a visit to the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva.

In front of a large crowd downstairs at the Penderel’s Oak in Holborn, Plait chose to wear a hat after dazzling us with an impressive hairdo (or lack thereof).

So how to respond to people still clinging to the odd notion that NASA has been able to pull off a multi-decadal hoax involving tens of thousands of people, something much more difficult that actually landing on the Moon itself? The Bad Astronomer went through familiar questions and answers, here summarized:

(1) No stars in Moon photographs? Obviously not. Those are pictures of bright spacesuits and a bright terrain directly hit by the Sun’s rays.

(2) Shadows are not parallel, “demonstrating” multiple light sources? First of all, multiple light sources cause multiple shadows, and there is none of that in the Apollo pictures. Furthermore, shadows are not parallel on Earth either: it’s called perspective!!!

(3) Astronaut’s suits in the dark shadows on the Moon are not black? Of course not, they are illuminated by the surrounding, bright lunar surface.

(4) Waving flags on the Moon? Sure, with nothing much to dampen any vibration, that’s exactly what to expect.

(5) No crater from the LEM’s landing engine? Large thrust, over  a large surface, means low pressure, hence…

(6) No flames from departing LEM’s upper half in Apollo 17 video? Flames are only visible for certain types of rocket fuel. Even the Space Shuttle’s main engines produce a barely visible blue flame at take-off.

There are two main problems with “moon hoaxers”: one, as Plait pointed out, is that they choose to tell only that part of the truth that suits them. The second, if I may add, is that they invariably never ever reveal what evidence would convince them to change their mind.

=================

I have only one remark for the Bad Astronomer: sometimes he goes too hard for it. All Moon-hoaxers’ claims I have seen so far are already ridiculous enough. Is it really necessary to build jokes around stuff that is already laughable on its own?

Anyway…it’s been great to meet somebody that enrolled me some time ago as one of his minions. Here some pictures from the evening…

Written by omnologos

2008/Apr/21 at 21:45:35

6 Responses

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  1. i also heard some information about this thing. i also saw a video in youtube.. i think its true
    check this videos


    by the way i hope we will land to moon soon.
    thank you for the informations
    ———————-
    http://mobile-xpress.info

    slayer

    2008/Apr/22 at 16:10:17

  2. […] Phil Plait’s Moon Hoax London Speech – Report >> […]

  3. slayer: the first video, I cannot understand if it is for real or a parody. the second one is about Stanley Kubrick, mentioned yesterday by Plait as perhaps the one person nobody would want to stage fake Moon landings, as he was famous for shooting the same scene dozens and dozens of times

    omnologos

    2008/Apr/22 at 23:15:24

  4. Mike Torr

    2008/Apr/29 at 22:28:07

  5. […] one thing, Plait (whom I met personally in London a few months ago) has studied and debunked many, many kinds of hoaxes, so it is all very natural for him to consider […]

  6. […] have know the Bad Astronomer for many years (I have even met him once and he appreciated some “scientific” investigative job of mine) and he’s up there […]


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