The theories or opinions offered relating to the absence of sufficient cratering or trenching in the Apollo 11 photographic record in Dust-to-Dust have been challenged. Challenged in a manner suggesting that such opinions are not socially acceptable unless they agree with the mindset of the detractors.
The article Dust to-Dust is an opinion or theory based upon simple physics, not a deception theory, although it does allude to photographic record manipulation.
Even if it were a ‘conspiracy theory’ it is only challenged as such because it disputes the proclamations of a government agency, and that challenge alone is distasteful or unacceptable to some. We all know that governments, institutions and individuals of lofty repute never, ever fabricate evidence to favor or disguise their deeds. Therefore I fondly refer to these challengers as ‘Toadies’ unless they present their arguments with civility.
Considering that thrust is defined by Newton's Second and Third Laws as a proportional but opposite force applied when a system expels or accelerates mass in one direction, the idea that a vacuum has a mitigating effect on that premise is unsound.
In fact the components of the force in question are the explosively expanding gasses from burning rocket fuel and the propulsion chamber of a rocket engine.
A mystery to many is that a rocket engine's plume is not what propels the rocket; it is the action of the explosively expanding gasses against the walls of the ignition chamber that ‘pushes’ the vehicle along. This is the same principle employed in internal combustion engines; projectiles fired from cannons or firearms and shaped explosive charges.
The shape of the rocket exhaust nozzle is designed to maximize that effect and has the result of forcing the residual gasses in a common direction. Thrust has nothing to do with the effects of rocket exhaust gasses emitted from a rocket engine until those gasses make contact with another mass and impart some amount of kinetic energy on that mass. In this case soft lunar dust.
One must always keep in mind: gas has mass! A single molecule of gas expelled from a directionally ‘hyperbolic’ shaped exhaust port of a rocket in the opposite direction of the initial ignition of it’s source (fuel) will deliver a sum of kinetic energy to whatever mass it encounters.
In a situation where there is atmosphere present the atmosphere will mitigate and absorb the energy delivered by the molecule (postulated in principle by Bernoulli). The Moon, however, has no atmosphere so Bernoulli’s principles do not apply in this case. Nor do references to Harrier jump jets, or helicopters for that matter, since the principles of ‘lift’ in those cases depend entirely upon an atmosphere.
Some believe that the gasses expelled forcefully from a rocket engine in a vacuum dissipate or disintegrate into nothingness instantly as they reach the edge of the rocket engine nozzle. If the negative effects of a vacuum were that powerful Earth’s atmosphere would have been sucked into the void millions of years ago. It seems however, that Earth’s gravitational field is sufficient to keep our atmosphere intact.
The exhaust gases do in fact expand into the vacuum but not as explosively as on might assume. The negative forces of the vacuum must first overcome the kinetic energy of the accelerated gas molecules. In the case of the Apollo 11 descent engine, as reported in the Apollo Lunar Surface Journal, the engine was still ignited and providing approximately 2,700 lbs of thrust (lifting force approximately equal to the weight of the craft) while at rest on the surface.
Photographic evidence infers that the opening of the rocket engine was less than four (4) feet from the surface, which was also purported to be extremely soft and loose.
Considering the above, and viewing the test firing of the rocket engine in the Dust-to-Dust video, one should use common sense, estimate four feet from the edge of the rocket engine and try to convince oneself that: a) the effect on a lunar surface as described by the record would show little signs of disruption, and b) small rocks and particles would remain in place.
The Dust-to-Dust video also demonstrates an engine on a test stand located in a desert environment. The engine is mounted in a horizontal position and loose material is disrupted and moved as the kinetic energy of the exhaust plume or ‘thrust plume’ as it is sometimes called contacts and first displaces atmosphere (Bernoulli to be certain) then displaces dirt and surface materials.
The force of the gas stream of the rocket engine exhaust is in fact incidental to the demonstration. The substance of the demonstration is the cohesiveness and power of the exhaust stream at the first four feet of expulsion, since many believe that the exhaust plume at that distance has no kinetic energy and that the local vacuum saps all energy from the propelled gas molecules. That concept is ridiculous!
Recall Aldrin’s comments during Apollo 11 landing: “40 feet, down 2 1/2. Picking up some dust”. The camera showed moving dust at an altitude of 40 or more feet. (Dust-to-Dust).
This ‘dust’ movement can only be attributed to a cohesive stream of gas molecules directed by the rocket engine toward the lunar surface.References to a “blast trench”? Well I suppose I should have defined ‘trench’. For the record: A narrow depression in the surface or a visible disturbance or displacement of a surface caused by some force traveling some distance along that surface disrupting the continuity of that surface.
While I’m at it, I think that it should be mentioned that there were collapsible surface contact probes attached to the bottoms of the Apollo 11 landing pads. Since the LM (as the record states) came in at an angle and those contact probes did not retract upon surface contact but rather dragged along the lunar surface, what happened to the drag marks left by the surface contact probes?
Furthermore, if the contact probes were dragged along the lunar surface on a straight course, why are they shown in photographs sticking out at odd angles? (see photo above) It's as though the LM had landed straight down and was rotated in opposite directions during landing, consistent with being lowered by a crane.
Just a thought – I’m sure that the vacuum had something to do with it.
Dietrich von Schmausen
Aulis Online, 2007
This article is licensed under
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About the Author
Dietrich von Schmausen was employed at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory Pasadena, CA, between March 1974 to April 1982 as a category "A" contractor. Although Mr von Schmausen has worked within NASA, he does not claim to have any direct knowledge of a conspiracy to deceive the pubic.
He does, however, choose to exercise his right to express his doubt as to the authenticity of the Apollo record.