Moon Hoax Debate
Events: Apollo Moon Landings
Created 12/13/2001 - Updated 8/3/2005

Intro | Unanswered Questions | Best Answers: 1 | 2 | 3 | News | Refs

Some Answers - page 1

Radiation would have fogged the photos

CLAIM: With no atmosphere on the moon, x-rays, solar and cosmic radiation would have caused the Kodak Ektachrome 64 and 160 ASA (ISO) 70 mm sprocketed film in the metal casing of the modified but unshielded Hasselblad 500 EL/70 camera to "fog" or lose all contrast. Radiation would have entered via the camera lens. Jan Lundberg of NASA stated that x-rays do not expose common emulsion. When told that X-rays at an airport do destroy Ektachrome film, he stated that the concentration of x-rays in space is hundreds of times lower.


"the Hasselblad magazines were modified to provide thicker material for the casing, and the film was kept in the magazines during the entire mission ... X-ray astronomers say the x-rays from celestial sources radiate at energy levels of less than 5 keV (thousand elecron-volts) ... 3 keV x-rays ... will not even penetrate air for more than a dozen centimeters. ". -


QUESTION: How far can 3 keV x-rays penetrate?

One NASA site says, " X-rays in the 0.5 - 5 keV range, where most celestial sources give off the bulk of their energy, can be stopped by a few sheets of paper; ninety percent of the photons in a beam of 3 keV X-rays are absorbed by traveling through just 10 cm of air!"

Of what material was the camera made? What was the extra shielding? What was the recorded density of x-ray and other radiation on the moon? Surely measurements were taken. Would other types of radiation present (gamma rays, etc.) also fog the film? Were there any solar flares during EVAs?


Extreme temperatures would have destroyed the film

CLAIM: As the astronauts moved from light to shadows on the moon, the temperature would have changed rapidly from up to 200F/93C down to minus 180F and these temperature extremes would have destroyed the Ektachrome EF Kodak thin Estar polyester based film in the unshielded Hasselblad cameras worn outside the astronaut's space suits. The cameras were painted silver by NASA with aluminum paint according to Jan Lundberg the Hasselblad worker responsible for building the Lunar camera. The astronauts were outside on the moon for hours at a time based on live TV transmissions. NASA's Brian Welch told SKY TV News that the film was produced specially by Kodak with special emulsions. HJP Douglas Arnold who worked for Kodak in the UK from 1966-1974, however, stated that "...the film that was flown on these missions was basically the standard Ektachrome 64 ASA that we used on Earth."


"Daytime temperatures reach about 250 degrees F. Nighttime temperatures sink to a chilly -270F. The landings occurred within a day or two of local sunrise so that the sun angles were low and the surface had not heated up to its full daytime levels. With no atmosphere, convection does not transport heat from object to object. Conduction of heat occurs only when a hot surface is contacted and thermal radiation is the only other source of heat. Film in a camera is protected from direct sunlight except during exposures and a light colored or silver camera does not absorb heat efficiently. The lunar EVA suits were designed to withstand temperatures of +250F." -


What were the coordinates of the landings?


Here are the coordinates and photos Apollo 11, Apollo 12, Apollo 14, Apollo 15 , Apollo 16, Apollo 17.

What WERE the recorded temperatures during the EVAs?



Heating and cooling on the moon

With no atmosphere on the moon, would heating and cooling would be immediate?


Anything on the moon would be heated directly by the sun and by radiation reflected from the lunar surface. In a vacuum such as on the lunar surface, heat transfer happens purely by thermal radiation (electromagnetic waves strike a surface and cause molecules to speed up). Also, in a vacuum, radiant heat barriers such as aluminum foil can reflect up to 95% of the incoming energy.

How is heating and cooling different when there is no atmosphere?


Since thermal radiation is the least efficient form of heat transfer, objects heat up more slowly in a vacuum than in an atmosphere. The film was protected by the reflective metal of the camera case and it was in constant shade, so it did not experience damaging heat. - in part from email by Jason Thompson

Daylight on moon

What does the phrase "within a day or two of local sunrise" mean?


The same side of the moon always faces the Earth. You can see the moon go from fully lit (full moon) to dark (new moon) about every two weeks. This also means that on the moon, a "day" lasts about two weeks, with the sun taking about 7 days to get from the horizon to directly overhead.

Sun angles and temperature

What were the sun angles there and how do they relate to surface temperature on the moon?

On earth, temperature varies greatly during the day with sun angles due to increased shielding from the atmosphere. Why would sun angle matter on the moon where there is no atmosphere?

Radiation from the sun is measured by a pyrheliometer as irradiance ( or flux density ) with the units Watts per square meter (W/m2). NASA satellite data from 1978 to 1997 gives a range of 1,363.1 to 1,374.8 W/m2 ( Joules per second per square meter ) for solar irradiance.

With no atmosphere, anything on the moon that presented a flat surface to the sun should get the full "noon time" dose of solar radiation (about 1,360 Joules per second per square meter) from the very start until the finish of each two week long lunar day.


According to Jason Thompson, the angle at which the sun's light hits ( ANGLE OF INCIDENCE ) greatly influences the moon's surface temperature. The more acute the angle, the cooler the surface.

If the sun moves from 0 to 90 degrees at the lunar equator over the course of one earth week, the sun as seen on the moon after 2 earth days should be 1/7th to 2/7ths of 90 degrees or 12.86 to 25.71 degrees. The sun angle will also be also lower depending on the latitude (closeness to the lunar equator) of the landing site.

"The moon landings were scheduled to land in locations that had only been in daylight for a day or two. It's the equivalent of working at about 5 am on Earth in summer."

Photos came out well against the odds

CLAIM: With no viewfinders, no automatic exposure or automatic focus and no light meters while wearing barely flexible pressurized gloves with no feeling, astronauts were able to set correct exposures and frame shots beautifully.


"Early missions used a wide-angle lens. It was sufficient to point the camera in the general direction of the subject and you would be likely to frame it well enough. ... Lens manufacturers mark the expected distance to the subject on the focus ring, and it's simply a matter of measuring or estimating the distance from the lens to the subject and setting the ring for that value. ... The exposures were worked out ahead of time based on experimentation. The ASA/ISO rating of the film was known, and NASA photographers pre computed the necessary exposures. Shutter speeds were typically 1/125 or 1/250 second. F-stop settings varied from f/5.6 for up-sun photos to f/8 and f/11 for cross-sun and down-sun photos. The predetermined exposures probably erred on the side of overexposure. It's easier for a film lab to correct for overexposure than for underexposure. ". -

  1. EXPERIMENT: Put people in the same suits with the same cameras, train them, then see how they do.

Shadow angles in photos show stage lights

CLAIM: Diverging shadows in photos show several light sources, but no extra lighting was taken to the moon.


If there is a hill, shadows from a single light source will bend in different directions. You can demonstrate this yourself with clay models. "Given sufficient distance even a shadow which falls nearly directly away from the viewer will appear horizontal." -



Camera angle on photo shows fakery

CLAIM: There were supposedly only two people on the moon, but the photo of Aldrin taken by Armstrong showing Armstrong's reflection in Aldrin's visor is impossible. The photo was taken at eye level but in the reflection Armstrong's camera is worn at waist level. NASA's Brian Welch called this "pseudoscientific nitpicky claptrap".


Spellman James Civ 60 MDG/PA writes that the solution to the above claim is pretty much the same as for the conspiracy claim about shadow lengths: "... physicists point to a minor case of the Galileo effect -- for just behind Armstrong the Moon's surface rises, shortening the dark patch made as he blocks the sun." - steve jones

The Galileo Effect is not a visual phenomena. It is a reminder that Galileo was forced to deny the fact that earth circled the sun, to avoid execution. The Galileo Effect says beware of clinging to widespread wrong beliefs. A "minor case of the Galileo effect" is therefore a statement that the minority (conspiracists) are wrong. This is an interesting, odd and complicated way to say the majority is correct in this case. This would actually be a "reverse Galileo effect" wouldn't it?

Anyway, as to a surface rise causing the effect in AS11-40-5903, that sounds possible, but I'm having trouble visualizing it. I'd need to create and play with some models including a curved visor to understand either the claim or the answer. Perhaps someday.


Photos show wrong sun angle

CLAIM: The sun's angle should have been about 14 degrees in photos showing a level horizon. Instead, they are approximately 26 degrees in multiple photos.


"You can't extrapolate the sun's angle above the horizon in a three-dimensional environment from a two-dimensional photo because there are many factors like non-level surfaces that (e)ffect the (a)ngle at which the shadow falls or appears to fall in the photo. The only way to tell the angle of the sun above the horizon would be to have a photo of the sun and the horizon, which of course would not come out." - Jason Thompson

Letter 'C' on a rock shows it was a stage with props

CLAIM: There is a letter "C", as if marking a Hollywood studio prop, on one of the rocks supposedly on the moon.






The letter C on film props is well known in Hollywood and is used to show where the center of the scene should be. Another "C" appears next to the rock on the ground. If one C is a hair on the lens, what is the other?


The 'C' is not present on the original photo, but appears as a reproduction flaw.

This site says it is "a hair or fiber! It is even a different color from the lunar color seen on the developed prints."

It is also worth pointing out that there is no version of the next photo on the film roll, which shows exactly the same scene from a few inches to one side, that shows any evidence of the C. NASA's own web site includes the 'C' rock photo, and the next one without the C, so did they airbrush one out but not the other, or could it just be a reproduction flaW points out that such a stage prop marking system would only allow you to have 26 rocks but this ignores the claim about "C" standing for "Center" stage. The picture they use shows the C rock and says that the C does appear in the NASA photos. Unfortunately, the picture from the clavius site is cropped so you don't see the 2nd "C".

Movie Grips maintain props and work closely with the Gaffer who is the head of the electrical department responsible for the design and execution of the lighting plan for a production. A Set Dresser physically decorates a set and "ensures that items are redressed in their proper places if set dressing items have to be struck for any reason." - We emailed several Set Dressers about the letter C thing on 1-27-03, but got replies.

No stars in the photos

CLAIM: There are no stars visible in the photos on the moon. With no light pollution and no atmosphere, one would see both the sun and the stars simultaneously. Nearly thirty years after the Apollo missions, the average computer user's desktop computer has more power than all the computational power available to NASA throughout the entire United States in the 1960's. Any number of free computer programs could now show star pictures supposedly from the moon were incorrect, so stars were left out.


The lunar surface is brilliant in daylight. The photos taken by the Apollo astronauts used exposure times of a tiny fraction of one second. The stars in the sky are so dim, that in order to capture them on film, it requires an exposure time hundreds of times longer than those made by the Apollo astronauts. -

FLAW: Starless night photos from earth show the inability of film to capture stars - ( neglects the fact that Earth has an atmosphere and light pollution while the moon does not. The Hubble telescope is in orbit because it's easier to see stars in space than on earth.)

QUESTION: What were the exposure times used and what would one expect to see with those exposure times with no atmosphere and no light pollution?

Earth but no stars in photos

CLAIM: If there were no stars in the moon photos because the photos were exposed for the lunar surface and the astronauts (making the stars too dim), why does reflected light from the 238,900 mile distant earth show up? The films used, according to NASA spokesperson Jan Lundberg, had a latitude of 2 to 3 stops.


Assuming the earth shines at about 1 lux (?) as seen from the moon, a camera with a 2 to 3 f stop exposure latitude would not be able to pick up starlight at 0.00005 lux.


BACKGROUND: Light intensity (quantity) is measured in foot-candles (candela) or lux. One foot-candle is about 10.74 lux. (*) Light intensity is proportional to the inverse of the square of the distance from the light source. As a result, sunlight on an average day on earth ranges from 32,000 to 100,000 lux, moonlight (reflected sunlight) about 1 lux and starlight measures 0.00005 lux. - 1, 2 "The Sun has an apparent magnitude of -26.7, the full Moon of -12.7, Sirius, the brightest star, of -1.5 (Sirius -1.4 1E-5 lux to 6th-mag star +6 1.0E-8 lux), and the approximate faint limit of the largest telescopes or the HUBBLE SPACE TELESCOPE (94.5 inch mirror) is about +28." 3 1E-5 lux to 1.0E-8 = .00001 lux to .00000001 lux 4 The range of brightness, including shadow detail, that a film can record in a single image before the highlights wash out or the shadows become muddy is that film’s exposure latitude. It is defined in f-stops. The exposure latitude of a film determines how much it can be under or over-exposed and still produce usable images. "The Hubble Space Telescope orbits at about 370 miles and the pressure is near 10e-9 torr ... in the range of millions of molecules/cc." 5 "1 clear unit airmass transmits 82% in the visual, i.e. it dims 0.2 magnitudes" 6

Camera Tracking Trick

CLAIM: With more than a two second signal transmission round trip, how did a camera on the moon pan upward to track the departure of the Apollo 16 LEM?


"The LM didn't just blast off on the whim of the pilot, it was a controlled and timed procedure. Also, the transmission / reception delay was a known quantity, as was the acceleration of the LM once it blasted off. With those factors known, it was a simple matter to send the signal for the camera to pan upwards in time for it to be doing just that when the LM blasts off.

Say the LM blasts off at time x, with acceleration y, and the delay between transmission and reception is z.

You need to send the camera instructions to pan upwards at rate y at Earth time x-z. Therefore, at time x when the LM blasts off, the camera will receive the direction and pan up to follow it." - email from Jason Thompson






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