Never mind for a minute that Mr. Cosnette's film clip shows "blue earth" in camera angles that are 180° apart -- quite a feat, and something that could only occur if the blue were due to scattering.
Let's consider his statements. He says, "How could Astronaut Fred Haise state the crew aboard Apollo 13 could see Fra Mauro?"
Well, I've looked through the entire transcript of the Apollo 13 mission, both the downlink recordings and the CM cockpit voice recorder transcripts, and I can't find where Fred Haise says that. And there's actually a good reason why I'm pretty sure he didn't say that.
Of course Mr. Cosnette has no idea what a hybrid translunar trajectory his. He can't even properly describe a low earth orbit, so that topic is clearly beyond him. Basically a hybrid trajectory is one that has two inclinations, one for each segment of the outbound and inbound legs. A spacecraft on a hybrid trajectory leaves parking orbit at one inclination and then at a suitable point does a change-of-plane manuever which establishes a new inclination.
This is important for lunar exploration because the vagaries of lunar orbit rendezvous make it desirable for the CSM to orbit in a plane which includes the landing site. And the CSM's orbital plane is determined largely at lunar orbit insertion. Thus, LOI determines the potential landing site. And if a certain specific landing site is desired, the CSM lunar orbit must be engineered to support that. And so at MCC-2 a change-of-plane insures that the CSM will enter LOI at the appropriate angle.
But the first manuever after the accident was to re-establish the free-return trajectory -- in essence, to "undo" the plane change (and other aspects of the hybrid trajectory) they had performed at MCC-2. This meant their orbital plane around the moon would not have allowed them to pass over Fra Mauro, whether it was in light or darkness.
Bill Paxton, the actor playing Fred Haise in the Hollywood movie Apollo 13, indeed says this line. But that's not because Haise said it in real life. And although the screenwriters mention getting the astronauts back on a free-return trajectory, they don't explain what that is, nor do they show the astronauts doing this.
In short, Fred Haise's comment is Hollywood's claim, not NASA's claim. Is Mr. Cosnette really basing his criticism of a historical event upon a fictionalized version of the story?
Mr. Cosnette continues, "In fact it [Fra Mauro in the sunlight] did not reappear until 88 hours after the Apollo 13 had left. By this time the Apollo would have been 19,000 miles away on its way back to Earth, making it impossible for any of the crew to see Fra Mauro during the mission."
We recognize this as Mary Bennett's argument, which Mr. Cosnette has simply cribbed or plagiarized. Either that or Mr. Cosnette and Ms. Bennett learned Apollo operations off the back of the same cereal packet.
When Fra Mauro appeared in the sunlight, Apollo 13 was indeed several thousand miles into its return journey to earth. However, Mr. Cosnette neglects to realize that this had not been the plan. If the original flight plan is consulted for Apollo 13, we find that Lovell and Haise would have been stepping out of their lunar module a few hours after the sun had risen at Fra Mauro.
The spacecraft was 19,000 miles away because they threw out that flight plan and engineered a new mission on the spur of the moment. Whereas in the original plan they would have drifted easily into lunar orbit, adjusted that orbit precisely over a period of time, powered up the lunar module and checked it out, then performed the descent orbit insertion; in the improvised mission that was replaced by a simple transit of the dark side followed by a burn to accelerate their return.
Let's say I wish to attend a concert at the Teton Music Festival in Jackson, Wyoming. It takes about three hours to fly there in a small plane from where I live. The concert is in the evening, and I plan to arrive in the early afternoon and hike in the mountains before the concert. Let's say that just a few minutes from Jackson I receive word that my mother has been taken to the hospital. I decide that attending to my mother is more important than attending the evening's concert. But I don't have enough fuel to turn around then and there, so I continue to Jackson, land, refuel, and immediately depart. Now of course when the concert begins in Jackson I will be well on my way home.
If someone were to examine my actions, would it be valid for them to say my entire plan had been bogus from the start, since I was well on my way back when the concert began? Yet this is exactly what Mr. Cosnette proposes with respect to Apollo 13.
Well, Mr. Cosnette?
<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: JayUtah on 2002-06-09 12:25 ]</font>