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Derek Willis

Fifty years of Apollo conspiracy theories

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Derek Willis

We are approaching the fiftieth anniversary of the Apollo 8 mission, during which human beings traveled to the Moon for the first time.

I am old enough to remember Project Apollo, and so far I have seen no definitive evidence demonstrating the missions were not real. I have, though, wondered about the contradiction in explaining the lack of Moon dust on the Lunar Module landing pads, or indeed on any other components. I fully agree with the explanation that because there is no air on the Moon, all but a very small amount of the dust blown up by the decent engine was blasted away from the landing site. However, when Apollo 12 landed on the Sea of Storms in November 1969, the astronauts discovered the Surveyor 3 probe - which had landed in April 1967, just 600 feet away - was covered in a layer of dust. In fact, it seems that when Apollo 12 landed the exhaust from the decent engine had "sand blasted" the dust off the parts of the probe facing the Lunar Module.

I wonder if anyone can explain how there is essentially no dust on the Lunar Module's pads and other parts, yet there is a significant amount of dust on Surveyor 3. I know that Surveyor 3 had a difficult landing in that it bounced twice before settling on the surface. But does that explain why it was covered in dust?

 

MOON--APOLLO%2011%20LANDING%20PADS--NO%2

 

1200px-Surveyor_3-Apollo_12.jpg

        

Edited by Derek Willis
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seanjo
2 hours ago, Derek Willis said:

We are approaching the fiftieth anniversary of the Apollo 8 mission, during which human beings traveled to the Moon for the first time.

I am old enough to remember Project Apollo, and so far I have seen no definitive evidence demonstrating the missions were not real. I have, though, wondered about the contradiction in explaining the lack of Moon dust on the Lunar Module landing pads, or indeed on any other components. I fully agree with the explanation that because there is no air on the Moon, all but a very small amount of the dust blown up by the decent engine was blasted away from the landing site. However, when Apollo 12 landed on the Sea of Storms in November 1969, the astronauts discovered the Surveyor 3 probe - which had landed in April 1967, just 600 feet away - was covered in a layer of dust. In fact, it seems that when Apollo 12 landed the exhaust from the decent engine had "sand blasted" the dust off the parts of the probe facing the Lunar Module.

I wonder if anyone can explain how there is essentially no dust on the Lunar Module's pads and other parts, yet there is a significant amount of dust on Surveyor 3. I know that Surveyor 3 had a difficult landing in that it bounced twice before settling on the surface. But does that explain why it was covered in dust?

 

MOON--APOLLO%2011%20LANDING%20PADS--NO%2

 

1200px-Surveyor_3-Apollo_12.jpg

        

How many years had Surveyor 3 been on the Moon's surface...that is your answer.

By the way, the Moon does have a very very very very thin atmosphere.

Edited by seanjo

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Derek Willis
25 minutes ago, seanjo said:

How many years had Surveyor 3 been on the Moon's surface...that is your answer.

By the way, the Moon does have a very very very very thin atmosphere.

I know the Moon has an extremely thin atmosphere. My point is that the essential lack of an atmosphere is why the particles thrown up by the Lunar Module's engine were scattered on ballistic trajectories unimpeded by a dense atmosphere, as they would have been here on Earth.

So you are saying the dust on Surveyor 3 accumulated over the two-and-a-half years it was on the Moon before Apollo 12 arrived? In which case the layer is now twenty times thicker than it was in 1969. So if you are right, then all the Apollo Lunar Modules are also now covered in a fairly thick layer of dust. 

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toast
5 minutes ago, Derek Willis said:

So you are saying the dust on Surveyor 3 accumulated over the two-and-a-half years it was on the Moon before Apollo 12 arrived? In which case the layer is now twenty times thicker than it was in 1969. So if you are right, then all the Apollo Lunar Modules are also now covered in a fairly thick layer of dust. 

The dust on the Surveyor 3 landing gear seems to be moved by the astronauts to that place, see the footprint close to the gear.

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Derek Willis
4 minutes ago, toast said:

The dust on the Surveyor 3 landing gear seems to be moved by the astronauts to that place, see the footprint close to the gear.

I can see what you mean about the dust on the foot pad. That may have been kicked up by the astronaut. But dust can also be seen covering pretty much all of the Surveyor. The Surveyor was painted white, and so should look like the astronaut's spacesuit. Instead, it is the same color as the bottom of the astronaut's legs, which are covered in dust. There is a theory that at each lunar dawn the charge state of the top layer of the regolith changes in response to the changing UV flux from the Sun, and so particles are repelled upwards. It may be these particles that have accumulated on the Surveyor.

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L.A.T.1961

I think the conundrum is how do you differentiate between dust accumulated before Apollo 12 arrived and after.

Once it is apparent that Apollo 12 caused dust to be moved on Surveyor is it still possible to say where dust came from and when? 

The state of Surveyor is unknown before the Apollo crew inspected it. It's appearance could be entirely down to the nearby landing of Apollo 12?

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seanjo
1 hour ago, Derek Willis said:

I know the Moon has an extremely thin atmosphere. My point is that the essential lack of an atmosphere is why the particles thrown up by the Lunar Module's engine were scattered on ballistic trajectories unimpeded by a dense atmosphere, as they would have been here on Earth.

So you are saying the dust on Surveyor 3 accumulated over the two-and-a-half years it was on the Moon before Apollo 12 arrived? In which case the layer is now twenty times thicker than it was in 1969. So if you are right, then all the Apollo Lunar Modules are also now covered in a fairly thick layer of dust. 

Any dust lying on equipment will have been kicked up by meteorite hits, so the depth of dust will depend on that.

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Derek Willis
12 minutes ago, L.A.T.1961 said:

I think the conundrum is how do you differentiate between dust accumulated before Apollo 12 arrived and after.

Once it is apparent that Apollo 12 caused dust to be moved on Surveyor is it still possible to say where dust came from and when? 

The state of Surveyor is unknown before the Apollo crew inspected it. It's appearance could be entirely down to the nearby landing of Apollo 12?

The analysis indicates that dust already on Surveyor 3 was blown off when Apollo 12 landed.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S001910351000432X

The dust visible on the image I posted is of the side of the Surveyor 3 facing away from the Lunar Module, and hence the dust is still there.

Quite a bit of science has been done on "floating" Moon dust, and a photo-electric effect does seem to be at play. However, according to research the particles would rise by no more than 4 inches.

https://www.sciencealert.com/nasa-just-explained-why-moon-dust-is-levitating-above-the-lunar-surface

So this still leaves the mystery as to how the Surveyor 3 became covered so quickly. Either it happened whilst it landed, or dust is - relatively speaking - showering down.

 

 

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Derek Willis
1 minute ago, seanjo said:

Any dust lying on equipment will have been kicked up by meteorite hits, so the depth of dust will depend on that.

Can you quantify that?

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seanjo
4 minutes ago, Derek Willis said:

Can you quantify that?

No.

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Derek Willis
9 minutes ago, seanjo said:

No.

So how do you know enough dust would be produced in two-and-a-half years to coat the Surveyor?

It appears dust accumulates at the rate of about 1 mm every 1,000 years. I doubt two-and-a-half years worth would be visible, as it is on the Surveyor.

https://www.space.com/23694-moon-dust-mystery-apollo-data.html

Edit: So, I am no further forward in finding a solution to the contradiction. "Floating" dust doesn't rise high enough, and dust caused by meteorite hits is too slow. 

Edited by Derek Willis

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aztek

our knowledge of how dust acts, based on how it acts on earth.  as with dust itself. 

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seanjo
4 hours ago, Derek Willis said:

So how do you know enough dust would be produced in two-and-a-half years to coat the Surveyor?

It appears dust accumulates at the rate of about 1 mm every 1,000 years. I doubt two-and-a-half years worth would be visible, as it is on the Surveyor.

https://www.space.com/23694-moon-dust-mystery-apollo-data.html

Edit: So, I am no further forward in finding a solution to the contradiction. "Floating" dust doesn't rise high enough, and dust caused by meteorite hits is too slow. 

Common sense, if it wasn't landers, it must have been the only other source of energy (I know of) that shifts dust, which is meteorites.

 

I know what you are doing! you are pretending to be on board with the...we landed on the Moon (which we did), while actually trying to sow doubts with your dubious interpretations because of your lack of knowledge.

Edited by seanjo

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seanjo

Just a thought, maybe it was the static electricity or some other attractive force inherent in an electrically driven device...have a look at your computer/Laptop vents.

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Derek Willis
1 hour ago, seanjo said:

I know what you are doing! you are pretending to be on board with the...we landed on the Moon (which we did), while actually trying to sow doubts with your dubious interpretations because of your lack of knowledge.

I know Neil Armstrong and the others landed on the Moon. If you read my OP you will see that I remember it happening!

You are overthinking this. All I want to know is where the dust on the Surveyor 3 came from. As for a lack of knowledge, you already said you can't quantify how much dust is produced by meteorite strikes. Yet you give that as the source of the dust. The current thought is that it is about 1 mm per 1,000 years. If you can find a better figure, then please provide it.

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GlitterRose

In fifty years, I would have hoped we'd have gotten smarter. 

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Derek Willis
12 hours ago, aztek said:

our knowledge of how dust acts, based on how it acts on earth.  as with dust itself. 

This is my whole point. Dust behaves differently on the Moon than it does on Earth.

One of the pieces of "evidence" put forward by supporters of the Moon Landing Conspiracy Theory is that there ought to be dust on the landing pads of the Lunar Modules. They are mistaken because they don't understand the dynamics of it. If a craft like a Lunar Module landed on a dusty area here on Earth - say a desert - there would be dust on the pads, and elsewhere on the craft. The dust thrown up by the descent engine would billow upwards into a cloud. This is because the motion of the particles would be impeded by the molecules of the atmosphere. Hence, most of the material would remain relatively close to the craft. Then it would settle back down onto the surface - and onto the craft, including the landing pads.

However, there is essentially no atmosphere on the Moon. So, the particles of dust fly off on ballistic trajectories. On the footage of Apollo 11 dust can be seen streaking past Eagle, and not billowing into a cloud. There would be some "self-impeding" due to collisions of particles, but most of the material would travel a significant distance away from the Lunar Module. In fact, it can be demonstrated that for any given range of particle sizes there would be essentially a linear distribution of layering on the surface. By this I mean some particles would fly up in almost vertical trajectories, and so come back down not far from the craft. Others would fly off at all other angles, including close to zero degrees. The point is, very little dust would land on the Lunar Module.

When the Viking probes landed on Mars, a small amount of dust and particles was seen on the pads and other components. This was because the atmosphere is thick enough to cause a small amount of billowing during the landing. So that fits in with the physics.

My overall point is that any probes that landed on the Moon ought not to have been covered in dust, as was Surveyor 3. The astronauts certainly weren't expecting to see the dust because Alan Bean said to Mission Control, "I thought you said the probe would be white. It's brown." So my question remains: "Why is there a significant amount of dust on Surveyor 3?" I have investigated the two possible sources of the material - "floating" dust due to a photo-electric effect, and dust formed by meteorite strikes. Neither is capable of producing enough dust to cover the probe so quickly. So what is the cause? My thoughts are that it must be due to the difficult landing - i.e. the bouncing. But I can't see why that would actually coat the probe in so much dust.

I had hoped members would be able to come up with a plausible answer. Over the coming months as we approach the fiftieth anniversary of Apollo 11, the Moon hoax theories will again be trotted out. The mystery of the Surveyor 3 dust will be a new one on the list of "evidence". They will say NASA can't have it both ways. They will say NASA can't "explain away" the lack of dust on the Lunar Modules, whilst not explaining why there is dust on Surveyor 3.

So if anyone has any quantifiable solutions backed-up by physics and a bit of maths, I would love to hear them.     

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Derek Willis
12 hours ago, seanjo said:

Just a thought, maybe it was the static electricity or some other attractive force inherent in an electrically driven device...have a look at your computer/Laptop vents.

Dust suspended in the air is attracted to electrical equipment. But there is no air on the Moon. Can you provide a bit of maths to demonstrate how the electrical equipment on-board Surveyor 3 lifted dust off the surface and caused it to be deposited as high up as the solar panels? 

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Peter B
13 hours ago, Derek Willis said:

I know Neil Armstrong and the others landed on the Moon. If you read my OP you will see that I remember it happening!

You are overthinking this. All I want to know is where the dust on the Surveyor 3 came from. As for a lack of knowledge, you already said you can't quantify how much dust is produced by meteorite strikes. Yet you give that as the source of the dust. The current thought is that it is about 1 mm per 1,000 years. If you can find a better figure, then please provide it.

You've asked a good question.

I don't know for sure, but I wonder if the dust might have been deposited on Surveyor as the LM came in to land, blown onto it by the LM's Descent Engine.

Have a look at the map here: https://www.hq.nasa.gov/alsj/a12/landpath.jpg

It shows the path the LM followed as it descended to the surface. You'll see the LM approached Surveyor from the east, passed a little over 100 metres to the north of Surveyor, and finally landed north-west of Surveyor. Therefore, the dust-coated side of Surveyor shown in the photo would be the eastern side - the side the LM initially approached from.

Now sure, the LM was a couple of hundred metres away and more than 70 metres up as it approached. Would that be close enough to the surface to kick up enough dust to coat Surveyor like the photos show? I don't know. But I don't see any particular reason why not; after all, there was no atmosphere to constrain the rocket exhaust, so the exhaust would have spread out in a conical fashion, but the lack of atmosphere would mean there was nothing to slow the exhaust down. The question would be whether the gas had spread out so much that the pressure it exerted on the dust on the surface would be strong enough to blow it away.

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flyingswan

The way Surveyor 3 landed with its rockets still firing and slid down the side of the crater obviously raised a lot of dust as its camera performance was degraded from the start.

However, I think the main difference from the LM comes from the different engine layout.  When the single jet from the LM hit the ground it spread out in a thin sheet moving dust outwards in every direction.  Surveyor had three jets, so under the centre of the vehicle the sheets from each of the three jets would have come together and, having nowhere else to go, would have pushed dust upwards to bounce around the rather open grid of the vehicle structure.

An analogous effect is seen with the Harrier aircraft which generates an upward jet on to its underside during vertical landings.

Edited by flyingswan
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aztek

 

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seanjo
15 minutes ago, aztek said:

 

The Apollo 17 vid was controlled by a fella that had to anticipate the blast off, because of the time lag of the signal for the camera pan getting from earth to the Moon, he did an epic job.

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moonman

Off topic, but how long did that camera they left behind keep sending images?

Edit: neverming, I looked it up - 27 hours. That's pretty impressive for the time.

Edited by moonman

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seanjo
4 hours ago, Derek Willis said:

Dust suspended in the air is attracted to electrical equipment. But there is no air on the Moon. Can you provide a bit of maths to demonstrate how the electrical equipment on-board Surveyor 3 lifted dust off the surface and caused it to be deposited as high up as the solar panels? 

There is a slight atmosphere on the Moon and as I stated before, it could be dust kicked up from Meteorite hits and/or the lander, if you want maths doing I suggest you find an expert on such things and not an Aircraft Mechanic with a bit of common sense.

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aztek

for all we know dust on the moon may behave like ferrous dust in magnetic field, it is not like we really researched the subject, or same way as powder coating acts when sprayed on electrically charged parts

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