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17 July 2009

The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter images

By Dietrich von Schmausen

FACT: NASA has released Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) orbital photographs of five of the six Apollo mission landing sites, including the site for Apollo 11. The photographs purportedly show 12-feet diameter lunar module descent stages, their respective shadows and “Astronaut Footpaths” at the Apollo 14 site. Currently in its polar elliptical commissioning orbit, a the time of these images, the LRO’s closest approach – over the Apollo 16 location – was 100km (54nautical/62statute miles) above the lunar surface.

Apollo 11 image 262 meters (no footpaths)
Apollo 14 image 538 meters (footpaths visible)
Apollo 15 image 384 meters (no footpaths or tracks)
Apollo 16 image 256 meters (no footpaths or tracks)
Apollo 17 image 359 meters (no footpaths or tracks)

OPINION: Convincing as they may be, these photographs were not provided by independent sources – other countries for example. Furthermore, one would ‘assume’ that tracks from the  "Lunar Rovers"  (wheeled vehicles) would leave more prominent traces than so-called “astronaut footpaths”. A Lunar Rover frame is 10-feet long with a wheelbase of 7.5-feet with 9-inch wide tires. Granted NASA claims that “higher resolution” photographs are yet to come, when the LRO is into its polar, near circular primary orbit 50km (26nautical/31statute miles) above the lunar surface.
 
QUESTIONS remain: Were these LRO satellite images enhanced by technicians in order to convince ‘doubters’ such as the tax paying public and a new administration (strapped for cash) that future lunar exploration is a worthwhile public expense?

Undoubtedly these programs are worthwhile, but “Conspiracy Theorists” are not the only ones who demand absolute proof of success before proffering their tax monies to seemingly unnecessary programs, and this is especially so during high levels of unemployment and strife.
 
These photographs are offered to the public by NASA as evidence that the lunar landings actually took place, so does that make them, by definition, beyond all contestation? Out of fear of ridicule (from those sycophants among us who believe anything told to them by their masters) should we accept this evidence ‘without question’? Should we then cower in the face of adversity and forsake all opinions to the contrary?

FINALLY:  This is far more an issue of ‘Freedom of Speech and Expression’ than whether or not NASA edits its PR material. I make absolutely no assertions that the photographs were doctored or enhanced.  In fact, I do not dispute whether or not NASA sent these six spacecraft to the Moon. I do, however, reserve the right to consider whether or not this and other photographic evidence of these missions was enhanced in order to convince a skeptical public of the success of 'publicly funded ventures'.
 
Dietrich von Schmausen

view the images at www.nasa.gov


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