A while back, I recall that someone posted a story about a high school class in Tremont, Illinos, that was debating whether the moon landing's took place. In today's edition of The Pantagraph (a local newspaper in Bloomington, Illinois), a story appeared about the conclusion of the class project.
There is no web-link to the story, so I am posting it here for in it's entirety:
One Small Step or Just Another Tall Tale?
By Steve Arney
Could the Apollo landing on the moon have been a hoax? Several students at Tremont High School, living in an age in which movies realistically depict alien invaders and the world where hobbits live, posed that question.
The question is the stuff of conspiracy theorists. The Internet is loaded with moon-hoax allegations and counterpoints, and the topic occasionally makes television. “Capricorn One,” a 1978 movie, is built upon the idea that the first manned flight to Mars was a hoax.
This school year in Tremont, the question made it to a science lab in a debate directed by high school physics teacher Angie Patzner. The unit showed students a practical application in their study of projectiles. Among the student’s conclusions:
· Arguing that the moonwalk did occur is frustrating, as proponents get pelted with questions. Even when they answer them to their own satisfaction, if often won’t satisfy the opponents. Sometimes, the answers add more material for questions rather than resolving issues. Asking as skeptics was more fun than answering.
· Young people don’t take what the government says at face value. It isn’t just “X-Files” – style fiction TV that has molded their thinking. They say it is the nonfiction political scandals, lies and cover-ups that make them skeptics.
Although the class finished its project at the end of the first semester, the debate lingers. It was recounted for visitors the other day, with 12 students clinging to the belief that the moonwalk occurred and four suggesting it didn’t – or at least might not have.
The textbooks state as fact that in 1969 Neil Armstrong took a giant step for mankind. Subsequent Apollo missions also sent men to the moon. Could the U.S. government – humiliated by Soviet victories in the space race – have resorted to trickery to claim a victory in the space race?
A leading advocate of the official government position on the moon landing is Ashley Cotter, a senior whose career path could take her to NASA. She plans college studies and physical training to become an astronaut. Does she believe everything the government tells her?
“About the moon landing, yeah. There’s other things the government isn’t honest about,” she says. She takes what she feels is a balanced view of her government – wrong in respects, deceitful in instances but also exploring space – much of the time.
Central to the class’ proof for the moon landing is gravity. A computer program provided through a $400 grant from National City Bank assisted in analyzing moon video. Acceleration on the moon is one-sixth that of earth explains Cotter. She states:
· The gravity-produced acceleration rate of an object dropping on the moon surface is 5.4 feet per second squared. The acceleration on earth is –32.3 meters per second squared.
· The computer program calculated the speed of Neil Armstrong’s descent from a ladder as about –5. There is a variable that wasn’t calculated. Armstrong isn’t an unobstructed falling projectile. He is a man clinging to a ladder as he drops. The point, say moon-landing believers, is that he clearly wasn’t doing this on earth.
Antagonists counter that the math proof is nothing that trick photography can’t overcome. What about the radiation to which the astronauts would have been exposed to? What about the lack of stars in the photographs? What about shadows in moon photos that cast in directions that suggest two light sources? Cody McGinnis asks how a lunar craft with 10,000 pounds per square inch of thrust can leave no visible indentation on the moon surface?
These issues were explored during seven class days of work. “It could go either way,” concedes Tyler Halverson, who argued against the moon landing in class. Some good questions are in play, says moonwalk believer Michael Koch. But he also thinks that if the government was crafty enough to dupe the world into thinking it landed men on the moon, it also would have made a video that didn’t pose so many questions.
At one point, the proponents turn the burden to the antagonist’s camp: Where’s the evidence of the hoax and the cover-up? Why hasn’t proof of a cover-up surfaced?
Said Karen Moore, “I haven’t seen evidence that it (landing on the moon) didn’t happen.”