Apollo 15: Confirmed Times Three

November 7th, 2009

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There’s certainly no shortage of independent confirmation of the Apollo missions. From ham radio operators to the Jorell Bank Observatory, plenty of independent observers received the radio communications. Others tracked the missions optically. The missions relied on centers located in Madrid, Australia, California, Guam, Madagascar and elsewhere to track and maintain communications with the spacecraft. Since then, lunar samples, observations and data have been confirmed by independent scientists and other national space programs.

However, one mission stands out as having been confirmed more than any others. Apollo-15, the third to touch down on the lunar surface and the first to use the Lunar Rover, has been imaged by at least three different space agencies. Nasa took images of the area during the mission, and these images were confirmed as accurate by later probes including the DOD’s Clementine probe and probes sent by the European Space Agency, Indian Space Agency, Soviet Union and Japanese Space Agency.

At least three of the probes have had imaging capabilities of sufficient resolution to see traces of the mission activities. The best images come from NASA’s LRO, the only spacecraft able to return images of a high enough resolution to recognize the equipment left behind. However, Japan’s SELENE probe confirmed the profile of the area and imaged the “halo” caused by the engines of the LEM disturbing the lunar dust, which had been undisturbed for millions of years, causing the top most layer to have different reflectivity due to the time spent exposed to the solar winds and intense sun light. SELENE also saw the outlines and shadows of equipment, but without high enough resolution to definitively tell they were man-made.

More recently, the Indian Chandrayaan-1 probe provided slightly better images than SELENE, providing additional detail and confirming the observations already made by the two previous imaging missions. This was announced in early September, but the images were not immediately avaliable.

The reason that I held back on posting on this is that the images were not available and a number of websites erroneously posted images that were supposedly showing the tracks of the Lunar Rover as seen by Chandrayaan-1. The following image showed up on a number of websites and claimed to trace the path of the rover:

Unfortunately this image (which seems to have originated on Gizmodo – note the watermark.) Is not what it seems. It does show the general area where Apollo-15 landed, but it is actually a three-dimensional compost image of Chandrayaan-1 data and not a single image. It also is not nearly high enough resolution to see the tracks of the rover. The area highlighted in red is not even the path of the rover. Rather, it appears to be an illusion caused by a string of craters and shadows in what looks like a continuous track, if you look hard enough.

The image does confirm the accuracy of the images and observations made by Apollo 15, but it does not show the tracks of the rover. Based on NASA maps, if the tracks could be seen, they would look more like this:

For this reason, I elected to avoid this topic until the real images were available. Contributing to incorrect information, even if the information would seem to support a reasonable cause, does not help credibility and is really not acceptable. However, the images and analysis are now available from the Indian Space Agency and can be found in this PDF.

Now, onto the images…

Images Taken During the Mission:

Lunar Descent Stage, as seen by the Apollo Television Camera, which continued to operate via remote control after the Lunar Ascent Stage left the surface. The camera was mounted on the Lunar Rover:

Descent stage, astronauts footprints, experimental equipment (ALSEP) as photographed by astronauts from the LEM during the ascent from the lunar surface:

Apollo-Era area photograph overlayed with mission map:

Apollo 15 Lunar Module photographed from the Command Module during mission:

Images taken before and after the landing show that surface reflectivity of the the area has changed due to dust kicked up by the exhaust from the engine.The amount of dust kicked up was relatively small, but it is still noticable compared to the adjacent areas which have not been disturbed for millions of years.

Images from the NASA LRO (Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter) Mission:

The images of the Apollo 15 site taken by the LRO are not as impressive or high resolution as some of the other Apollo landing sites the probe has imaged. However, the LRO is still fully operational, so we may get back better images if it passes the area again at a lower orbital altitude or during more favorable lighting conditions.

Images from the JAXA (Japanese Space Agency) Selene/Kaguya Probe

In this image, the Lunar Descent Stage is visible as a darkened area, slightly to the upper left from the center of the circle. However, due to the resolution of the camera, it is not possible to recognize the features of the object or to distinguish it from any other surface feature of simply a dark area. What can be seen is the “halo” produced by the exhaust from the lunar module engines.

Blowup of area showing exhaust plume halo:

Images from he Indian Space Agency’s Chandrayaan-1 Spacecraft

Comparison of the various instrument cameras on the probe:

Comparison of image from Chandrayaan 1 to images from the Selene/Kaguya mission

Needless to say, this won’t change the minds of those who desperately cling to their belief that the whole program was a hoax. In the years to come, as Japan, China, India, Russia, the US, and the European Space Agency continue to send scientific probes to the moon, we can expect to see more and better quality images still, but for some, that will simply prove the enormity of the conspiracy.


This entry was posted on Saturday, November 7th, 2009 at 7:15 pm and is filed under Bad Science, Conspiracy Theories, Good Science, History, Space. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
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10 Responses to “Apollo 15: Confirmed Times Three”

  1. 1
    DV82XL Says:

    All of the first astronauts were Freemasons. And remember, that the international flag of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry is the United Nations Flag. And as we know, the United Nations Flag depicts the nations of the world encircled by the laurel of Apollo.

    Need I say more?


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  2. 2
    drbuzz0 Says:

            DV82XL said:

    All of the first astronauts were Freemasons. And remember, that the international flag of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry is the United Nations Flag. And as we know, the United Nations Flag depicts the nations of the world encircled by the laurel of Apollo.

    Need I say more?

    You forgot to add that the UN flag, which shows the continents of the world from the North Pole, with the Southen hemesphere stretched out as if the earth were a disc, has been pointed to by the flat earth society as an example of the true geography of the earth being hidden in plain sight by the powers that be,


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  3. 3
    Bruce Says:

    What disturbed the moon surface millions of years ago? I always here this, that it wasn’t disturbed for so and so many years, but no one ever explains what happened before we got there that disturbed it or when exactly it happened.


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  4. 4
    Dan78 Says:

    The astronauts of the time were all educated, accomplished former military officers. At one time, a large portion of civic-minded, socially conservative men in the United States belonged to the Free Masons. It was once the largest general non-denominational civic organization in the US. It is not that surprising that many belonged to it and it does not imply anything sinister.

    Also, DV82XL, you’re wrong that all the first astronauts were Freemasons. Many were, but many were not. See here: http://www.freemasonry.bcy.ca/biography/spacemason/index.html

    “Neil Armstrong, Jr. is not a freemason; his father, Neil Armstrong, Sr. is an active freemason.”

    The fact that his father was a Freemason is meaningless. Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades! Some people might claim Neil Armstrong is a Freemason, but that’s BS. If he were, why would he hide it? The society may have secrets, but most masons do not make their participation in freemasonry a secret. Buzz Aldrin doesn’t hide it.

    All the astronauts were also boyscout. Maybe scouting was involved in the conspiracy.


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  5. 5
    DV82XL Says:

            Dan78 said:

    The astronauts of the time were all educated, accomplished former military officers. At one time, a large portion of civic-minded, socially conservative men in the United States belonged to the Free Masons. It was once the largest general non-denominational civic organization in the US.

    It is not that surprising that many belonged to it and it does not imply anything sinister.

    Dan I hope you realize that I was being sarcastic in my first post to this thread. I see nothing conspiratorial about Freemasonry, however we both know that many of the paranoid do, and this organization is right up there with the Illuminati in their list of evil dark empires controlling everything.

    Thus my post was a poor attempt at humor at their expense.


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  6. 6
    drbuzz0 Says:

            Bruce said:

    What disturbed the moon surface millions of years ago? I always here this, that it wasn’t disturbed for so and so many years, but no one ever explains what happened before we got there that disturbed it or when exactly it happened.

    At one time, the moon was far more geologically active, and had volcano and along with this things like regular landslides. That was billions of years ago. After that, the lunar surface has been pulverized to the fine dust by meteorite impacts. Some have been large and they pulverize the surface to dust that usually rains back down on the surface.

    However, given the size of the moon and the irregularity of impacts, any given spot on the moon’s surface is likely to have gone millions of years since the last time it was hit by anything.

    There are other forces that weather the lunar soil. The solar winds and electrostatic effects that are sometimes triggered, but mostly the soil is not disturbed much. The outer layer of the soil changes in reflectivity because as long as it sits undestrubed it bakes in the solar radiation and particles and that changes the chemistry a little.


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  7. 7
    Magic Donuts Says:

    The evidence proving the Apollo program actually sent men to the moon is overwhelming and has plenty of independent confirmation. Anyone who still clings to the ****amamie belief that it was faked is not going to be swayed by this. Not long ago someone commenting here was convinced it was filmed on the earth and outside because of smudges on scanned postcards and photos. The belief is so far in left field that really it is limited to people who are truly delusional.

    These images won’t sway people who are that far off their rocker. Nothing will. Some of the conspiracy theorists have even said that if they get pictures of Apollo equipment on the moon from non-US sources that will not change their minds because they believe that NASA had sent robotic missions to the moon to leave behind flags and rovers and footprints in the surface. Yeah, I am serious.

    Some are just beyond all help


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  8. 8
    Engineering Edgar Says:

    I saw the above trace and it never occurred to me it might not be the truth, but looking at the map, you are right. That is NOT the trail of the rover and that map is not large enough to see the Apollo-17 features. Good call on not buying into that.


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  9. 9
    Calli Arcale Says:

    You gotta see the latest LRO images, though. Bad Astronomer has been covering them.

    Apollo 11:
    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2009/11/09/one-giant-leap/

    Apollo 17:
    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2009/10/30/and-the-flag-was-still-there/

    Yes, that’s right — the flag was still there! Awesome pics. You can clearly see the lander footpads.


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  10. 10
    drbuzz0 Says:

            Calli Arcale said:

    You gotta see the latest LRO images, though. Bad Astronomer has been covering them.

    Apollo 11:
    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2009/11/09/one-giant-leap/

    Apollo 17:
    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2009/10/30/and-the-flag-was-still-there/

    Yes, that’s right — the flag was still there! Awesome pics. You can clearly see the lander footpads.

    Oh hell yeah. The images keep getting better. Apollo-15 still has not been imaged with the quality of some of the others yet. I saw some great ones from Apollo-14 and Apollo-12. Apollo-12 is interesting because they landed right near the Surveyor probe and you can see the footprints really well, of the astronauts walking over to it and then walking around, inspecting it and then back to the LM and then out to set up the ALSEP

    http://www.enjoyspace.com/uploads/news/septembre2009/apollo12_lro/apollo12-lro.jpg

    It’ll be cool to see Apollo 15-17 in detail, as they had the rovers and brought more equipment (designated the J-series missions, they had more capacity and brought up higher quality TV equipment, larger experiment packages and the rovers)

    Also, there are some great pics of the S-IVB impact sites from apollo.

    http://spacefellowship.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/392475main_ap14sivb_full.jpg

    You can see that despite the stage being all but obliterated, it’s obviously different from other impact craters, as the thing that hit was not as dense as the meteor impacts, so it left more debris on the surface.

    I’d really love to see some images of the Soviet equipment on the moon too.

    It’s really fascinating.

    I bet it burns conspiracy theorists, though.


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