Editor’s Note: Last weekend my friend Michael DePaoli wrote a piece published here placing skepticism on the veracity of the Apollo 11 mission. The article, “Moonfraud,” asked questions about the July 1969 mission to the moon based solely on the physics of the journey.
The response to his piece has inspired him to write this follow-up. I can’t speak to the astrophysics of his argument, but the logic is entirely sound (even if he does coyly reference a lame Heart song). Please read it. –JW
by Michael DePaoli
After reading the comments from Don and Fresh Air following my “Moonfraud” piece, I thought I should take a step back and introduce myself before I discuss its merits. I am just a poor, downtrodden, debt-ridden lawyer who has an intense curiosity about things. When I was a kid, I drank Tang, I ate Space Food Sticks, and I had posters of astronauts on my wall. I believed in the Apollo Space Program and I watched the landings on television. I also watched the Nixon resignation on television. Later, I went to law school where I learned how to read way too much.
Now, apparently I stand accused of writing “an insult to mankind” because I dared to ask questions about the lunar landing. On top of that, the comments have even invoked Santa Claus against me. Sadly, I have heard similar things before. In the past when I have asked my Moon questions I have elicited responses that included references to the JFK assassination, Elvis being alive, the Easter Bunny, anti-vaxxers, etc. This saddens me because the essence of scientific advancement springs from the asking of questions. But, for some reason, when it comes to the Moon we throw the scientific method out the window and we attack anyone who might ask any questions.
Personally, I do not really care about the Moon missions, themselves. Indeed, I consider the Moon missions to be a joke. If we faked the missions, then that would be the funniest thing in human history. And, if we actually went to the Moon to collect rock samples and play golf, then that would still be a huge joke because we could have used all that NASA money to do something worthwhile, such as cure cancer or build the wall (I’m joking! Calm down).
What I do care about is the culture and attitude of our country where you are not free to ask questions about the greatest technological achievement of all time. For me, it is about justice and speech, it is not about the landings. We live in a society where someone will verbally attack you and throw Santa Claus in your face when you dare to question the official NASA story about the Moon. Is that what we want? Is that right?
You see, the puppy chases the butterfly. But, as the puppy matures into a dog its curiosity wanes, its enthusiasm diminishes. First the dog loses the will to chase the butterfly. Eventually, the dog will become too old and cannot give chase, anymore.
I do not want my country to become an old dog. I want the children of our country to be free, and to be curious, and to ask questions, for as long as they can. I do not want the children to be confined to conformity. I do not want people to accept an official story just because it comes from the government. And, I do not want the people of my country to become unthinking followers of doctrine.
I entitled my eBook “On Being Wrong: Moonfraud” because it would be nice if I were wrong. But, even though I might be wrong, I also want to retain the right to ask the questions so that I could see the proof of what might be right.
It is interesting because one of the negative comments against me invoked Galileo, who was one of the greatest scientists of all time. This is ironic because in his later years Galileo was convicted of heresy and he was confined to house arrest until he died. What did Galileo do wrong? He correctly stated that the Earth revolves around the Sun. Blasphemy!
I suspect that if Galileo were alive today, he would completely ignore all those lunar landing photographs, and he would take a look at all the facts and figures and numbers and velocities of the lunar landings. He would do his own calculations and try to figure out whether the NASA story might be plausible (that Galileo and I are both of Italian heritage is purely coincidental).
And, that is what I tried to do. I actually read the NASA story, and the parts that made the least sense to me (and sounded the most fishy) were the Trans-Earth Injection (when the rocket engine blasted Apollo 11 out of lunar orbit) and the Re-Entry Corridor (when Apollo 11 re-entered Earth’s atmosphere).
Here is just one aspect of the Apollo 11 mission for you to ponder: After the Trans-Earth Injection blasted the command/service module out of lunar orbit, Apollo 11 was traveling escape velocity relative to both the Earth and the Moon.
Why is this important? Well, escape velocity has that word “escape” right there in it! The Earth travels extremely fast around the Sun. Seriously, this is true. The Earth does travel around the Sun. Thank you, Galileo! The velocity of the Earth is roughly 67,000 miles per hour. So, when you are not in orbit around the Earth you have a problem because the Earth will move away from you at the rate of 67,000 mph, which is about eighteen miles per second. There is zero chance that Apollo 11 could have caught the Earth, which is why Apollo 11 needed to stay in orbit!
Instead of catching the Earth, Apollo 11 would have entered a hyperbolic trajectory where the Moon’s gravity would be strong enough to change Apollo 11’s flight path resulting in a curved direction of travel (hyperbola), but Apollo 11 would be traveling too fast for the Moon’s gravity to force another lunar orbit. At the same time that Apollo 11 entered escape velocity with respect to the Moon the command/service module also would have been traveling escape velocity relative to Earth. One moment Apollo 11 would be inside two orbits (orbiting the Moon which in turn is orbiting Earth), and then the next moment Apollo 11 would have been flung out of both orbits.
NASA’s official story is that the gravitational pull of the Moon slowed down Apollo 11 and then the astronauts coasted back to Earth. But, once you are on a hyperbolic trajectory such fanciful things are not going to happen. Instead, the Moon itself would be moving along as it revolved around the Earth. The Earth would pull you one way, the Moon would pull you another way, but you would still be hyperbolic. So, the gravity of the Earth and Moon would have resulted in a changed trajectory of Apollo 11, but it would not have created a new orbit around Earth for the Astronauts.
NASA does not account for the velocity of the Moon in the return voyage. The problem here is that the Moon is not standing still. The Moon moves, and its gravitational pull on Apollo 11 would have changed the hyperbolic trajectory of the command/service module and it would have increased the velocity.
As soon as you scratch the surface, there are so many numbers that need to be checked for accuracy and plausibility. Like, NASA claimed that once inside the re-entry corridor the Apollo 11 command module could slow down in only 1,285 nautical miles (1,479 land miles) of atmosphere, which does not appear to be nearly enough atmospheric friction when the command module was traveling 36,194 feet per second (6.85 miles per second, or 24,677 miles per hour). Apollo 11 would not slow down at all until the force of the wind resistance exceeded the force of gravity.
But, an object as heavy as the command module traveling at extreme hypersonic speeds does not obey the normal rules of wind resistance. Instead, the command module would have exploded the thin air, cutting through the upper atmosphere like a hot knife through butter. In less than four minutes the command module would have exceeded 1,285 nautical miles without slowing down.
And, the number 36,194 itself was nothing more than a predicted theoretical velocity that was published in the official press kit prior to Apollo 11’s launch. Then, after the mission NASA used that same theoretical calculation as if the number had actually been measured up in the atmosphere. The question is how many other numbers did NASA just invent on paper!
NASA also claimed that the design of the command module provided “lifting characteristics” that would add lift after re-entry into the atmosphere. NASA did not quantify the amount of lift. NASA also did not explain how a hypersonic fireball could ever have those alleged lifting characteristics.
So, am I wrong? Of course I am wrong. I would truly hope so. But, telling me that I am “an insult to mankind” is not going to prove the issue one way or the other. It would also be more proper to say humankind, or humanity. The point here is that I have questions, and it would be a better Earth if I were allowed to ask my questions without fear of being ridiculed.