DOG, BUTTERFLY, GALILEO AND THE MOON

https://mediumhappy.com/?p=8211

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! 

NASA’s version of the Apollo 11 flight path

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.

5 thoughts on “DOG, BUTTERFLY, GALILEO AND THE MOON

  1. Michael, I did not mean to be snarky.

    Your first post was read on a hot Sunday in AZ. Up early, watched the TDF, the Open, read your post and later watched First Man. Lousy travel day Monday, worse travel day Tuesday. Waiting for a delayed flight in a Vino Volo when the collision of wine and thought landed on your theory. Without fact, also being a son or grandson of Italy, I took John’s bait and commented on the post as might be done at Sunday dinner.

    I come from a pretty long line of government skeptics. From an early age not believing police, government and big business was the default. I am not blinding following the government line and certainly not Trump like with a dismissal of science.

    Your second post talked about escape velocity and the difficult/impossible of traveling at that rate of speed and reentering Earth’s atmosphere. Thinking back to high school physics and calculus I recalled a class discussion. My high school junior and senior year had the same teacher leading a combined calc and physics class. He was teaching to change his draft status. (mentioned because no one believed the government). The discussion was about escape velocity and why it took 3 days to go to the moon.

    Using google I found this question and some answers.
    _________________________________________________________________________
    I must be missing something – escape velocity is about 25,000mph. The distance to the moon about 240,000 miles. That computes to about a 9 hour flight. Why did it take 3 days for Apollo missions to reach the moon?
    Answer 1:

    Escape velocity is the velocity at a given altitude (usually the surface) that is enough to leave the body’s sphere of influence with a positive net velocity. But if you leave a body at exactly escape velocity, your velocity bleeds off as you climb in exchange for gaining gravitational potential energy, and your velocity tends to the limit of zero at sufficiently large distances. (That is, your VinfVinf is 0.)
    Apollo did not leave at escape velocity. Rather, the trans-lunar injection gave considerable extra speed in order to make the trip much faster, so the lowest velocity was reached a few tens of thousands of miles short of the moon (where the gravity from the moon and the earth are equal), in the low thousands of miles per hour.
    Answer 2:

    Developing on Nathan’s answer, let’s do some math. For simplicity we suppose here that we are not really going to the Moon, that only Earth’s gravity is relevant.
    We leave at escape velocity, 25,000 miles per hour from an altitude of 4000 miles above the Earth’s center, and climb straight up. As we do so our velocity decreases against Earth’s gravity but remains matched to escape velocity at that altitude above Earth’s center. Thus at an altitude of 6250 miles (2250 miles above Earth’s surface) Earth’s gravity has slowed the rocket down to 20,000 miles per hour which is the escape velocity at that altitude.
    Escape velocity is proportional to the −1/2−1/2 power of altitude above the center, and for 25,000 mph at 4000 miles the proportionality constant is (to three significant figures) 1.58×1061.58×106 (miles)3/23/2/hr. So to get from an altitude of 4000 miles to 250,000 miles, at escape velocity, we need this much time:
    ∫2400004000dz1.58×106z−1/2=49.5 hr∫4000240000dz1.58×106z−1/2=49.5 hr
    This is roughly correct but misses the fact that at the Moon’s altitude we would still be going several thousand miles per hour upwards and the Moon’s gravity would not have been strong enough to catch us from such speed. Nathan correctly points out that we went off slower than escape velocity so that the Moon, which is still bound to Earth, could reel us in. Hence the extra day. Similarly, when taking off from the Moon we had to go slowly enough for Earth to pull us in rather than sending us off like a slingshot; technically blasting from the Moon was not up to its escape velocity either.
    So ultimately the reason Apollo missions had such long transit times between the Earth and Moon was not any limit on rocket power but by the limits of gravity within which a lunar mission has to work.
    Escape velocity from the Moon is significantly less than Earth’s. I respectfully question the math that is the basis of your theory.
    For me the more unlikely part of the moon launch is the success of lift offs and landings both on Earth and the Moon.
    For fun I reviewed all of NASA’s launches starting in 1960 and the rate of failure is somewhere around 30%. I didn’t do the math but it is startling the only failing was Apollo 13 that aborted the mission. One could argue NASA’s unblemished record for Apollo is the outlier and we all know to question outliers.
    John didn’t want the “somebody would slip up and talk defense” but it does factor. In 10 years…1962 to 1972 there were well over 1000 people who had to be in on the fix.
    I am comfortable they went there and came back.

  2. Michael, I did not mean to be snarky.

    Your first post was read on a hot Sunday in AZ. Up early, watched the TDF, the Open, read your post and later watched First Man. Lousy travel day Monday, worse travel day Tuesday. Waiting for a delayed flight in a Vino Volo when the collision of wine and thought landed on your theory. Without fact, also being a son or grandson of Italy, I took John’s bait and commented on the post as might be done at Sunday dinner.

    I come from a pretty long line of government skeptics. From an early age not believing police, government and big business was the default. I am not blinding following the government line and certainly not Trump like with a dismissal of science.

    Your second post talked about escape velocity and the difficult/impossible of traveling at that rate of speed and reentering Earth’s atmosphere. Thinking back to high school physics and calculus I recalled a class discussion. My high school junior and senior year had the same teacher leading a combined calc and physics class. He was teaching to change his draft status. (mentioned because no one believed the government). The discussion was about escape velocity and why it took 3 days to go to the moon.

    Using google I found this question and some answers.
    ___________________________________________________________
    I must be missing something – escape velocity is about 25,000mph. The distance to the moon about 240,000 miles. That computes to about a 9 hour flight. Why did it take 3 days for Apollo missions to reach the moon?

    Escape velocity is the velocity at a given altitude (usually the surface) that is enough to leave the body’s sphere of influence with a positive net velocity. But if you leave a body at exactly escape velocity, your velocity bleeds off as you climb in exchange for gaining gravitational potential energy, and your velocity tends to the limit of zero at sufficiently large distances. (That is, your VinfVinf is 0.)
    Apollo did not leave at escape velocity. Rather, the trans-lunar injection gave considerable extra speed in order to make the trip much faster, so the lowest velocity was reached a few tens of thousands of miles short of the moon (where the gravity from the moon and the earth are equal), in the low thousands of miles per hour.

    Developing on Nathan’s answer, let’s do some math. For simplicity we suppose here that we are not really going to the Moon, that only Earth’s gravity is relevant.
    We leave at escape velocity, 25,000 miles per hour from an altitude of 4000 miles above the Earth’s center, and climb straight up. As we do so our velocity decreases against Earth’s gravity but remains matched to escape velocity at that altitude above Earth’s center. Thus at an altitude of 6250 miles (2250 miles above Earth’s surface) Earth’s gravity has slowed the rocket down to 20,000 miles per hour which is the escape velocity at that altitude.
    Escape velocity is proportional to the −1/2−1/2 power of altitude above the center, and for 25,000 mph at 4000 miles the proportionality constant is (to three significant figures) 1.58×1061.58×106 (miles)3/23/2/hr. So to get from an altitude of 4000 miles to 250,000 miles, at escape velocity, we need this much time:
    ∫2400004000dz1.58×106z−1/2=49.5 hr∫4000240000dz1.58×106z−1/2=49.5 hr
    This is roughly correct but misses the fact that at the Moon’s altitude we would still be going several thousand miles per hour upwards and the Moon’s gravity would not have been strong enough to catch us from such speed. Nathan correctly points out that we went off slower than escape velocity so that the Moon, which is still bound to Earth, could reel us in. Hence the extra day. Similarly, when taking off from the Moon we had to go slowly enough for Earth to pull us in rather than sending us off like a slingshot; technically blasting from the Moon was not up to its escape velocity either.
    So ultimately the reason Apollo missions had such long transit times between the Earth and Moon was not any limit on rocket power but by the limits of gravity within which a lunar mission has to work.
    ___________________________________________________________
    Escape velocity from the Moon is significantly less than Earth’s. I respectfully question the math that is the basis of your theory.
    For me the more unlikely part of the moon launch is the success of lift offs and landings both on Earth and the Moon.
    For fun I reviewed all of NASA’s launches starting in 1960 and the rate of failure is somewhere around 30%. I didn’t do the math but it is startling the only failing was Apollo 13 that aborted the mission. One could argue NASA’s unblemished record for Apollo is the outlier and we all know to question outliers.
    John didn’t want the “somebody would slip up and talk defense” but it does factor. In 10 years…1962 to 1972 there were well over 1000 people who had to be in on the fix.
    I am comfortable they went there and came back.

  3. Thanks, Don! I appreciate your comment. And, you have highlighted one of my questions. At all times in between the Trans-Lunar Injection and the Trans-Earth Injection Apollo 11 was in orbit around the Earth (either in direct orbit around Earth, or orbiting the Moon which was orbiting the Earth). But, after the Trans-Earth Injection the command/service module was traveling escape velocity. Or, in other words, not orbit. The re-entry corridor was nothing more than an elliptical orbit with the perigee inside the Earth’s atmosphere. So, how did Apollo 11 recapture that orbit that was necessary to utilize the re-entry corridor?

  4. Michael, I had no intent to ridicule or cause you angst by leaving a comment on your post. It was not aimed at you personally. I apologize for my insensitivity.

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