Into the Lion's Den – Part One
Presentation by Marcus Allen to the British Interplanetary Society (BIS) London
on 4 April 2012. Part Two of Into the Lion's Den is available here >
Marcus Allen – intimately acquainted with the Hasselblad camera as used on the lunar surface and a veteran of talks on the thorny subject of Apollo duly arrived at the headquarters of the British Interplanetary Society (BIS) to talk about the anomalies in the Apollo record.
Prior to the presentation Marcus was given a tour of their elegant building by Alistair Scott, the President-Elect of the BIS and was generally made to feel welcome. One member observed that he had some courage to enter 'the Lion’s Den'. This description being entirely accurate as the BIS has a natural affinity with NASA and some of its members had reservations about any critics of Apollo in general and Marcus Allen in particular.
They had understood that Marcus Allen subscribed to the view that no humans had ever been to the Moon. In fact Marcus Allen’s personal view is that we did send men to the Moon but that the photographic record of Apollo is full of unexplained ‘problems’. A different matter entirely.
The discussion as to whether astronauts did or didn’t go to the Moon appears to be a smokescreen, enabling defenders of Apollo to gloss over the anomalies in the record that need full scientific explanation. Over the years the responses from NASA, its close associates, or wider supporters have been neither convincing nor in many cases forthcoming.
Forty-three years on from this event it was now the turn of the BIS to defend the record, and they apparently ‘knew what they were doing and were well aware of the tactics they would be facing’. Indeed Marcus hoped that in speaking to an audience of this calibre he would obtain some valid answers to the inconsistencies that he was about to reveal. For if he was the ‘ignorant conspiracy hoax theorist’ he was generally accused of being, then it would be easy for those present to show him the error of his ways.
Level Playing Field
On announcing this event earlier in the year, BIS had received considerable criticism for even hosting this talk at all. In its final format it had been decided that Marcus would present his images for a period of forty-five minutes. Then the BIS, represented by Jerry Stone would offer a rebuttal. In the interests of a level playing field, Jerry would also receive advance notice of a part of Marcus Allen's image selection. Marcus had complied with this request, recognising that he could not be accused of ‘wiping the floor’ with Jerry if Jerry knew what was coming. Finally there would be questions put by the members of the audience.
From the many hundreds of images that have already been analysed, Marcus had chosen some from various Apollo missions. His presentation was received in a gentlemanly silence, as was to be expected. Jerry Stone then took over.
Interestingly, instead of immediately addressing the points raised, Jerry chose to boldly go where he had already decreed that no man should go before him. In setting up this talk, Stone had asked Allen to stick to a commentary on the photographic record and keep any opinions to himself regarding the whys and wherefores of the technical abilities or political ambitions of NASA.
Apollo 11 Aldrin illuminated in dark shadow
Dr Groves' analysis of hotspot on boot
Single print at right angles to all other footprints
Retouched Apollo 12 black 'sky'. Note area
to the right of the astronaut's right leg – the un-retouched 'noisy' green zone
Reflection of flag already planted
Mutually exclusive images in an Apollo 17 panorama
Trackless rover examples
Problem with port or starboard rover location
However, Jerry Stone started his rebuttal by launching into a series of rhetorical questions dealing precisely with these no-go arenas: the technical, political and emotional aspects of the missions. Albeit obliquely.
Showing an image of two wooden sailing ships, one of which was HMS Victory, Stone asked if such advanced technologies of their age, now redundant, meant that the achievements brought about during their time on the oceans were thereby irrelevant (or hoaxed, as Marcus Allen understood him to mean). Secondly, showing the mushroom cloud of a nuclear explosion, Stone asked if the technologies that brought about that particular achievement were not kept secret? He finished this rhetorical quiz by showing a picture of a NAZI concentration camp while referring to Holocaust denial.
All of which apparently left everyone slightly bemused, and Marcus Allen particularly shocked and offended by the last image and comment of this rhetorical grand slam.
Jerry Stone's Comments
Moving back onto the playing field, Jerry then dealt with some of the images presented by Marcus. Apparently the problems of lighting relative to Apollo 11 where Aldrin is in the very dark shadow of the LM, while at the same time being totally illuminated, were due to the ‘bounce back’ of light from Armstrong’s suit. (top photo)
Not the right answer because to be effective, a simple matt white reflector (that generally has a very low reflectivity factor) requires a light source to strike its surface in order to ‘bounce back’ any light. In any event, the photographer himself was standing mostly in the shadow of the LM – his spacesuit unable to act as a hypothetical reflector.
Jerry said the hotspot on Aldrin’s heel protector occurred because these boots were brand new out of their wrapping and were therefore especially shiny on their heels.
But as readers of Dr David Groves’ study will know, these responses are totally in error, and ignore the directional lighting located adjacent to the camera that was reflecting off the heel protector of that ‘new shiny boot’.
The photograph of the extra footprint apparently made by a one-legged man travelling at right angles to the other astronaut footprints, elicited no comment.
The problems of the black 'sky' backgrounds that turn out not to be entirely black, but crudely filled-in, were ignored.
The Apollo 11 photograph which, on analysis, reveals the image of a flag in the LM window apparently already planted (out of sequence) on the lunar surface, was nothing of the sort!
According to Jerry, this item is an object inside the LM. But of course, if that were the case, then it would be possible to see through the LM window into its interior in every other photo in this sequence as well, but this is not the case. The ‘flag’ is either a reflection of the lunar surface, or the window was doctored by a whistle-blower.
Moving through the other photos did not take long at all.
Within the category of the changed foregrounds relative to backgrounds, Jerry said that 'a shift in position of the photographer thus gave a different perspective'.
The selected examples of the lack of tyre tracks around lunar rovers, which pose the serious question as to how exactly they arrived at their locations, was not addressed at all by Jerry.
The images demonstrating that the lunar rover apparently left Earth packed onto the port side of the LM only to be unpacked from the starboard side of the LM when it was on the 'lunar surface’ (not due to an image inversion) evinced no comment whatsoever.
Marcus Allen really wanted an answer concerning the whereabouts of the terminator relative to the Apollo 17 landing site. As Jerry Stone is the Chairman of Letchworth & District Astronomical Society he thought he would get a response. Jerry didn’t even take the opportunity to put Marcus in his place as totally misunderstanding the landing site and the relevant astronomy. So his query went unanswered.
When it came to question time there were no additional comments from the audience on any of these matters, indeed, what could they say? Instead, author David Baker asked Marcus for his personal opinion on Apollo, and received the reply stated earlier.
Marcus was also asked if he had seen the recent BBC TV documentary Orbit on the making and launching of satellites. It seemed at the time to be irrelevant to the subject in hand but then again, perhaps the questioner (a specialist in satellite technology) knew that it was not.
Further, this program on satellites included considerable discussion about the effects of radiation on machines – and although outside the remit of the talk as stipulated by Jerry, a mini discussion on radiation dangerous to human beings then ensued.
Marcus Allen thought it remarkable that on this subject of Apollo there was no scientific coherence within the audience – there were diverse opinions on the matter. Some apparently thought that on the short trip to the Moon there was no radiation in space that humans needed to worry about. Some thought that on many occasions the Moon was protected from dangerous radiation by the Earth’s bow shock.
Given the level of understanding and experience enjoyed by the BIS in such matters, this apparent muddle on the radiation question is surprising, especially regarding the Moon itself where in fact there is no protection from radiation whatsoever. Even at its very closest approach to Earth, the Moon’s orbital path still lies tens of thousands of miles beyond the outer Van Allen belt.
Perhaps this muddle is explainable in the light of the sheer variation in the published data. Some will no doubt be aware of the sad case of Dr Van Allen, the contradiction of officially published figures relating to the radiation belts, and the diverse data on the effects of radiation on the human body.
However, as emphasised by Jerry Stone to Marcus Allen, this talk was not meant to be about such technical challenges, so the radiation discussion did not develop much further. But this didn't stop one member of the audience raising the spectre of ‘cultural vandalism’ – querying any aspect of the sacred cow of Apollo would seem to be a sin against western civilisation at the very least.
From this evening’s rebuttal it could be said that if cultural vandalism is extant, it has certainly not been generated by the accused: namely those who have analysed the Apollo record. The fact that so many of Marcus’ problem images received no rebuttal at all, neither from the prepared expert nor from the forty-strong audience, even if hard to digest, must also surely be food for thought, for those members of the BIS who were generous enough with their time to attend this meeting.
Record of the Meeting
For those who didn't get to the venue, Delta Vee Media for the BIS usually video record these evenings which are available on YouTube. So it was the normal procedure after this talk for the technician to ask for copies of the images used to intercut into the production. Marcus Allen agreed and his images were transferred to their computer.
When the technician asked Jerry Stone for his images, he refused, stating that he did not lend his slides and that he would send them ‘something that would do’. This interesting response to a perfectly normal technical request (which Jerry Stone as a freelance presenter on astronomy and space exploration must be used to) means that we shall all have to wait for the BIS to release the recording of this event to see what that ‘something that’ll do’ looks like – and for their own report on the event.
But then again, given that when Marcus Allen asked for a video copy of the presentation (a normal courtesy to a guest speaker), the answer was not ‘Yes, of course,’ but ‘We’ll try’ does not augur well.
It looks as if Marcus Allen’s excursion into the Lion’s Den was not so much dangerous as it was a game changer. If an organisation of the standing of the BIS wittingly invited a critic of the Apollo record into their den then found themselves unable or unwilling to comment on the examples presented, it infers that the issue of addressing anomalies in the Apollo record was problematical for those present.
The low level of rebuttal offered by the BIS together with silence from the audience also demon-strates that the defence of the Apollo record can no longer rely on personal attacks on the critics or indeed personal opinion, when scientists such as Dr David Groves, Professor Colin Rourke, Dr Oleg Oleynik, Ph.D.c and Stanislav Pokrovsky, Ph.D have employed mathematics and the appropriate technologies of their disciplines to analyse the Apollo record, and found strong evidence of fakery.
Prepared by Mary Bennett from a verbatim report provided by Marcus Allen on 5 April 2012.
Into the Lion's Den – Part Two NEXT PAGE
Marcus Allen is UK Publisher of Nexus magazine
Apart from those functions already mentioned Jerry Stone FBIS FRAS runs Spaceflight UK and is author of One Small Step, Templar Publishing, 2009
Oleg Oleynik, Ph.D.c. Department of Physics and Technology, Kharkov State University, Ukraine
Professor Colin Rourke, Mathematics Institute, University of Warwick, UK
Stanislav Pokrovsky, Ph.D Candidate of Technical Sciences, Russia
General Director of scientific-manufacturing enterprise Project-D-MSK