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Thread: Bart Sibrel's article

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    This is Bart Sibrel's response to Michael Medved's article in USA Today

    Anybody care to debunk this?, because I'm too tired.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    I'll try on a couple of the issues.

    a mission only 1/100thas complicated, the Earth orbit of a telescope (Hubble), was nearly as many years behind schedule as the entire duration of the lunar landing goal, and then, after its sixth launch attempt, didn't even work when it arrived at its destination which was 1/1000th the distance to the moon. In addition, it took another two years to make the necessary repairs to get it operational. Even today, an unmanned probe (to Mars), the size of a large toaster, requires nearly ten years to develop.
    As someone on Usenet said, for Apollo NASA was given three specifications: Man. Moon. Decade. Full stop. Budget wasn't an issue; priorities weren't an issue. NASA had one primary objective. Hubble was built to a budget (that it blew, nonetheless) and was not NASA's top priority.

    And I don't even know where he gets his bit about Mars missions taking ten years to develop - we're sending them out every two, so I don't think they take that long.

    In this footage Neil Armstrong himself is clearly visible staging part of the mission photography.
    The people who have commented on this footage say it's unconvincing and appears to be the astronauts preparing for a television broadcast. And isn't it interesting that you have to pay Sibrel for the privilege of viewing this footage? You'd think the networks (or someone) would be clamoring for it!

    the Russians launched the first artificial satellite, the first human in space, the first human to orbit the Earth, the first space walk, the first woman in space, the first crew of three into space, and the first of two simultaneously orbiting spacecraft rendezvousing.
    First artificial satellite: the Russians beat us by all of four months, and only because of government policy issues.

    First human in space: If Al Shepard had had his way, this wouldn't have happened.

    First human in orbit: A legitimate item - the Russians beat us by about ten months.

    First space walk: The Russians raced to beat us, and succeeded.

    First woman in space: Technologically irrelevant.

    First crew of three into space: Almost technologically irrelevant - the spacecraft was quickly jury-rigged to support three astronauts instead of two, and those not very safely. The US space program would never have countenanced such a risk.

    First of two simultaneously orbiting spacecraft rendezvousing: False. The spacecraft did pass within a few miles of one another but with significantly differing velocities. I liken it to you driving down I-95 while I drive up it on the same stretch, which means that at some point we were within a couple of hundred yards of each other. But it doesn't count as a rendezvous.

    And this all discounts the significantly greater technological and financial capabilities of the US. The Soviets were inherently incapable of beating us at anything we were determined to compete in. By the same argument, one could say that we couldn't possibly have beaten the Japanese or the Germans in World War II. Does Sibrel think that was faked, too?
    Everything I need to know I learned through Googling.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Well, I thought I'd done enough, but I can't leave this one alone.

    Whatever sound and pictures were distributed to the public were strictly controlled and previewed by the Federal Government.
    As others have pointed out, this is another lie. Ham radio operators picked up the transmissions coming from the Moon, and telescopes picked up the spacecraft and in particular the Apollo 13 outgassing. So there was independent confirmation.

    There's plenty more to pick apart, but I'll leave some for the rest of you.

    "... to strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield." - Tennyson, Ulysses

    <font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: ToSeek on 2002-01-25 08:29 ]</font>

  4. #4
    You can certainly quibble with some of the points he makes in his response but to debunk the theory that the "lunar landings of the late 1960's and early 1970's" were "staged as a Cold War tactic to bluff the Soviet Union into a reserved nuclear posture" is not something you are going to achieve in one thread, and any time soon. Like everything that has been argued before, a great deal of it comes down to interpretation. The political side to this is vastly more complicated and again interpretation is a massive issue.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Wow. He's spent a decade, and half a million dollars on this.

    The mind boggles. The deeper in debt he goes, the more certain is his conviction, I'm sure.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    The deeper in debt he goes, the more certain is his conviction, I'm sure.

    And the more desperate he'll be to sell his videotape.

    An acquiantance of mine was sent a letter by an outside consultant who had been hired to evaluate Sibrel's video for accuracy. The consultant responded with hundreds of pages of criticism, thoroughly undermining the program's conclusions. But they went ahead and sold the video as it stood.

    I think that if Sibrel had paid attention to the consultant, he wouldn't be in such financial difficulty today.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    For what it's worth, I debunked Sibrel's "new footage" claims when I was interviewed for the Pax TV show. I don't know how it'll play though. I'm curious to see how this works out.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    to debunk the theory that the "lunar landings of the late 1960's and early 1970's" were "staged as a Cold War tactic to bluff the Soviet Union into a reserved nuclear posture" is not something you are going to achieve in one thread, and any time soon.

    I disagree. It will never be settled, and that's because there is no one solitary truth out there to be discovered. The question, "What was the true goal of the Apollo program?" has no one correct answer.

    Like everything that has been argued before, a great deal of it comes down to interpretation.

    Well, yes and no. This question comes down to interpretation -- or more accurately, down to perception. But it's not like everything else that's been discussed.

    The radiation issue, for example, has a correct answer. To compute it analytically is tedious and very complicated, but it is tractable. The amount of radiation in the Van Allen belts or in a solar particle event is not a matter of opinion or interpretation, but a matter of precise and accurate observation.

    The thermodynamics question has an answer. The lighting question has an answer.

    But what's the "correct" answer to the political question?

    There's evidence Kennedy wasn't interested in the scientific aspects, only the political aspects. I believe it. Kennedy was a politician, not a scientist. But does that mean Jim Webb had to share those interests? Does that mean George Low or Tom Kelly or Max Faget had to share that view? Was Ed Thompson motivated by political concerns? (Ed Thompson was the North American Aviation engineer who wrote the computer program that predicted the re-entry blackout timeline for the command module.)

    What Apollo was depends on who you are. You can say Kennedy's opinion is the "correct" answer because he was the President. But there were a lot more Ed Thompsons than there were JFKs. Who's to say their collective opinion isn't just as valid an interpretation?

    The problem with Sibrel is that his political analysis is subordinate to his contention that the landings were falsified. Even if we agree that the primary motive was political and not scientific, a genuine landing satisfies the political goal. We object to Sibrel not because he draws an unpleasant political conclusion, but because the conclusion is unpleasant in the context in which he chooses to discuss it.

  9. #9

    Jay: There's evidence Kennedy wasn't interested in the scientific aspects, only the political aspects. I believe it.

    As do I. This is actually something else I am currently looking at. The idea that this was all the vision of a non-engineer come politician -- which is more or less how numerous space historians have been romantically spinning it for the last thrifty years -- is a complete nonsense, IMHO. Kennedy would have been advised by the highest levels of defense and intelligence on which road they think he should take. And he played along, for a while. However, it seems to me as though Kennedy was actually facing his own personal battle as to which road he should actually take in the search for a lasting peace. By 1963 I think he is quite clear. I also believe that this road conflicted with the road advised by the intelligence and defense agencies.

    "Finally, in a field where the United States and the Soviet Union have a special capacity--in the field of space--there is room for new cooperation, for further joint efforts in the regulation and exploration of space. I include among these possibilities a joint expedition to the Moon. Space offers no problems of sovereignty; by resolution of this Assembly, the members of the United Nations have foresworn any claim to territorial rights in outer space or on celestial bodies, and declared that international law and the United Nations Charter will apply. Why, therefore, should man's first flight to the moon be a matter of national competition? Why should the United States and the Soviet Union, in preparing for such expeditions, become involved in immense duplications of research, construction, and expenditure? Surely we should explore whether the scientists and astronauts of our two countries--indeed of all the world--cannot work together in the conquest of space, sending someday in this decade to the moon not the representatives of a single nation, but the representatives of all of our countries."

    The official position on the prospects of Soviet-American space cooperation was one of basic skepticism. James Webb was "committed by the Webb-McNamara memorandum to support a program of American technological pre-eminence in space. "Any program of cooperation would have to occur within a framework that would not jeopardise America's chances of establishing that position". The project that would deliver pre-eminence was Apollo, and in the mind of the surreptitious, Kennedy had clealry compromised it.

    Jay: What Apollo was depends on who you are. You can say Kennedy's opinion is the "correct" answer because he was the President. But there were a lot more Ed Thompsons than there were JFKs. Who's to say their collective opinion isn't just as valid an interpretation?

    In a perfect world. In a perfect world.

    We Kopites have a saying: "No one player is bigger than the club". I honestly beleive the CIA have a similar motto.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Oooh, he even put in something I can debunk!

    from the website:

    That is why I open my controversial documentary with a Renaissance painting of the Tower of Babel and a Biblical quote, "When pride comes, then comes disgrace." (Proverbs 11:2) Rivalry among nations began with which civilization could build the tallest building.
    Actually, the whole point of the Tower of Babel story in the Bible is that there weren't separate nations at that time:

    011:001 And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech.
    011:004 And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.
    The idea wasn't a rivalry between nations, but rather an attempt to build something as one world nation that would keep all of humanity together in a single civilisation.

    And here, you were probably thinking he was only wrong about the Moon landings! [img]/phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif[/img]

    The (Biblical-trivia-r-us) Curtmudgeon

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Okay, here goes.

    Michael Medved's recent USA Today article in which he suggests that anyone who holds an opinion that the United States' lunar landings of the late 1960's and early 1970's were falsified for strategic benefit must be completely insane or mentally deficient.

    I wish I had Medved's article. It's hard to review a review of something I haven't read.

    Sibrel's summary is a complex question. There are two propositions at work: whether the landings were falsified, and what purpose the landings served. We might agree the Apollo project was motivated by politics, but that's a separate question to whether it was successful or had to be falsified.

    ... Conspiracy Theory: Did We Land on the Moon?, for which I served as senior consultant and key interviewee.

    A.k.a. the Fox program. Strangely enough the Fox program did not contain any of the material Sibrel considers unique to his research. It contained only the stuff he had cribbed from Kaysing, Rene, and Percy.

    I personally would hate to brag about involvement with something so universally rejected by experts. It doesn't take much to show the complete scientific absurdity of the Fox program.

    However, I, not Mr. Medved, have spent half a decade and $500,000 on research into just the possibility, ...

    A fortune spent on a worthless pursuit doesn't make the pursuit necessarily less worthless. The amount of expenditure is not always commensurate with the amount of value acquired. If one spends $500,000 and produces something that can be easily demolished with a $30,000 engineering or science degree, I'd say the former was overpriced.

    Sibrel's research seems to be no more sophisticated than having been handed some old film footage. His "rare, uncirculated photos" are simply those he obtained online from the Apollo Lunar Surface Journal. We find that Sibrel likes to embellish his qualifications and accomplishments.

    After all, two decades later, with much improved and superior technology to that of 1969, a mission only 1/100th as complicated, the Earth orbit of a telescope (Hubble), was nearly as many years behind schedule as the entire duration of the lunar landing goal...

    Apples and oranges. The Hubble Space Telescope was as challenging a technological problem in its own right as the Apollo program was. It too broke new ground as did Apollo. The notion that it was only 1/100 as complicated is absurd. And the principles acquired with Apollo didn't generally translate over to the Hubble. The Hubble is a completely different problem to solve.

    Further, Sibrel neglects to factor into his thinking that the Hubble was developed alongside several other major projects and ongoing operations (e.g., the shuttle), all funded by a budget considerably less than that spent just on Apollo. The development schedule for Hubble and other projects was open-ended, not government by a politically imposed deadline.

    Apollo was a race, Hubble was not. Neither was the initial exploration of Mars.

    In addition, it took another two years to make the necessary repairs to get it operational.

    Repairs or upgrades to existing technology are typically more difficult than developing new technology. Spacecraft are not infinitely mutable objects. Given that one is broken by design, you can't just duct-tape something onto the side.

    Plus, it takes time to work out how the repairs are going to be carried out, train the astronauts, and weasel one's way into the STS flight schedule. Again, in contrast to Apollo, this was not a race.

    ... which contains newly discovered, unprecedented evidence consisting of a previously unseen, mislabeled, 31-year old unedited reel of footage from the first mission to the moon, Apollo 11, dated three days into the flight.

    Sibrel didn't reveal this bombshell on the Fox program -- for which he seems to want to take sole credit -- because he depends on people buying it from him. He wants to make sure the only way you ever get to see this taxpayer-funded "secret" Apollo footage is to write him a check.

    I'll save you the money.

    As many of you know, the Apollo 11 crew performed a number of telecasts during their outbound and return journey. What most of you don't know is that these were very late additions to the flight plan. Mission planners didn't want the first landing crew to have the burden of messing with television equipment along with all the other unknowns. The bottom line is that Armstrong, Collins, and Aldrin really didn't have that much experience working the camera. Nor had they practiced where in the command module they would be, what they would photograph, or what camera settings would work best.

    And so prior to the start of the first telecast, Armstrong and his crew turned on their television camera and experimented with different settings, different camera angles, and discussed with Mission Control what they would do during the telecast. We at home didn't see this. We weren't intended to. But one of the ground stations filmed the television downlink for the archives. This is what Sibrel has.

    Since it wasn't necessarily intended for public consumption, as opposed to the telecast that would follow, it was labelled "Not for public distribution," which Sibrel chooses to interpret as, "Don't ever show this to the public."

    The sad thing about all this is that Sibrel is a former news cameraman. He knows, or should know, all about what happens on the uplink prior to going live. They frame up the shot, the reporter fixes his hair, maybe picks his nose, cracks a few jokes for the engineers back at the broadcast center. And then in a magic moment they go "live" and it's all business from that point on. The audience never sees the backstage shenanigans. Sibrel has to know what he's looking at. He just chooses to interpret it conspiratorily.

    For someone who claims he's got the smoking gun, Sibrel is sure reluctant to share. At no point in Sibrel's video do we get to see his precious footage in its entirety or without voiceovers. We see a few seconds here and a few seconds there, interspersed with the narrator carefully guiding us to the desired conclusion. When you see the unedited footage, it is completely different. It's obvious what's going on.

    Sibrel's interpretation of what he sees suffers from a great deal of technical ignorance. He claims the spacecraft was only in low earth orbit, not a significant distance from earth. He wonders why the camara aimed at the earth is not pressed up against the window, but instead shooting through the window from some distance away.

    He claims the round appearance of the earth image is not due to distance, but due to its having been shot from a distance through the round window of the command module hatch. (The command module hatch window is round on one side, but trapezoidal on the other side.) Or he claims a "cutout" -- a matte or gobo in technical terms -- was placed over the window to crop the image of the earth to a round shape.

    Neither the true shape of the command module window nor the unavoidable limitations of orbital mechanics -- both of which defeat Sibrel's thesis soundly -- has any effect on his thinking. As he says,

    It is a fact. Humankind has not stepped foot on the moon. End of story.

    My private conversations with Sibrel indicate this is his solitary answer to all the evidence which contradicts his conclusion.

    When the USA Today writer refers to the crewmembers he doesn't even know as "brave astronauts" he clearly discloses his environmentally conditioned prejudice toward viewing this topic without any objectivity.

    This is pretty rich coming from Sibrel. Sibrel lost his job with the NBC affiliate in Nashville because he was arrested after harassing Neil Armstrong and trespassing on his property. If anyone can be said to harbor a prejudice either for or against the Apollo astronauts, it is Sibrel.

    ... he would have discovered that the "uncredentialed" affiliation I had at the time of the commencement of my investigative journalist's research was none other than NBC News.

    Bart Sibrel was a part-time weekend cameraman for the local NBC affiliate in Nashville, Tennessee. Those are his professional credentials. He doesn't have a journalism degree or anything else that would qualify him as an investigator. And he doesn't have any engineering qualifications that would enable him to evaluate the Hubble versus Apollo.

    Brian Welsh did his own off-the-record investigation with the special access privileges entitled to him in his position. Coincidentally, while his efforts were underway, he had a fatal heart attack in November 2000 at age 42.

    It's a staple of conspiracy thinking that no one involved in any of this can die of natural causes.

    Sibrel ignores the fact that everything in the Fox program can be rebutted using material available publicly, or learned in any competent university. If Welch wished to become more technically proficient he really didn't need top-secret clearance at NASA.

    And why would NASA brass protect the "secret" by revealing it to Welch and then killing him? You don't protect secrets by revealing them. You protect secrets by not revealing them. A far more plausible scenario is to give Welch a few rare documents and lead him to believe that's all there is. NASA's secret is protected, and Welch goes away thinking he's had access to top-secret material and satisfied his curiosity.

    Besides, you'd think a person as prominent in NASA's power structure as the Director of Public Relations would already be privy to a lot of the dirty little secrets.

    When Fox pointed out that eleven Apollo astronauts all had non-space related fatal accidents within a twenty-two month period of one another, he failed to mention that the odds of this happening were 1 in 10,000.

    As computed by whom?

    There weren't 11 separate accidents. Three astronauts died in one accident on the launch pad. Two others died in a single airplane crash -- they were in the same plane. Two more died the same way. The airplane involved was the T-38 trainer, which the U.S. Navy had rejected as too unstable and quirky.

    Further, the astronauts were encouraged to continue their test-pilot style flying in the T-38s because it helped fight vertigo and improve their spatial perception. High-performance aircraft are more difficult to fly than Cessnas or Pipers. The accident rate is high, and if you put two astronauts in one plane you increase the odds that two astronauts will be killed instead of one.

    More than half of the fatalities Sibrel points two were caused by only three accidents. Three accidents over 22 months in a high-risk occupation?

    How about car accidents that killed astronauts? A simple phone call to the Defense Departmen confirms that pilots, especially test pilots, are more prone to dying in car accidents. It's a recklessness thing. Gene Kranz tells an amusing story of a white-knuckle ride he had with Gordo Cooper.

    Because I strongly believe that the chief motive for the cover-up was to fool the Soviet Union into thinking that the US had superior missile technology that did not really exist ...

    Unfortunately the missile technology associated with Apollo is the most easily verified part. Those missiles and their payloads exist today and can be examined.

    If Sibrel argues that Apollo was intended prove how kick-butt our missiles were, when they really weren't as kick-butt as we claimed, then he has to explain why it's easily verified today that our missiles back then were exactly as kick-butt as we claimed they were. College students today who want to be rocket scientists practice on Apollo-era rockets. As in any science, yesterday's breakthroughs become today's homework.

    the Russians launched the first artificial satellite

    Sad, but true. This was a major political fumble on our part. Because von Braun was not yet an American citizen and still considered by many to be just another Nazi, there was considerable objection to using his Jupiter rocket to launch the first U.S. satellite. And so the U.S. wasted a lot of time on the Vanguard, a piece of crap rocket cobbled together out of technology whose only redeeming quality was its absence of Nazi contamination.

    This isn't supposed to sound like sour grapes. The Russians won, and we lost. But Sibrel says this proves U.S. technology was inferior. It wasn't. Not that inferior, anyway. We didn't use the best we had.

    the first human in space, the first human to orbit the Earth

    True, but there's an interesting footnote. Gagarin ejected from his capsule prior to landing. Technically this invalidated his claim, since the FAI rules stipulated the pilot had to be in control from takeoff through landing. The Russians have only recently admitted this is what happened. Nobody's going to strip Gagarin of his honor, but it proves a point I'm going to touch on later, and that's that the USSR was more interested in records than in technology.

    The Mercury capsule could land with its pilot, while the Vostok could not. Again, the comparison of technology is invalid.

    the first space walk

    True. No argument there. Spacewalking is an important skill.

    the first woman in space

    Who cares? Does it require more technology to put a woman in space than to put a man there?

    the first crew of three into space

    Here's where the cracks start to form. The Vokhshod capsule with its purported three-man capacity was nothing more than a Vostok with everything except the bare essentials ripped out of it. An extra couch was crammed into it, and the astronauts' space suits were taken away.

    Why such a foolish stunt? Because the USSR was intent on being the first to put a three-man crew in space, whatever it took. They didn't care about developing the technology to put three men in space. They only cared about the listing in the FAI record book.

    The U.S., on the other hand, produced the Apollo command module, which safely and comfortably supported three men. Whose technology is therefore superior?

    the first of two simultaneously orbiting spacecraft rendezvousing.

    This is factually incorrect. Sibrel knows it, but prefers his version instead of the truth.

    The alleged rendezvous was not a rendezvous in the orbital mechanics or docking sense. The two spacecraft were simply placed into similar static orbits which happened to coincide briefly to allow the astronauts each to radio down to earth from the same general position in orbit. They didn't manuever, they didn't dock, and they didn't rendezvous.

    The first successful rendezvous was accomplished by Gemini.

    Five times the experience and expertise!

    Sibrel concentrates on the space race up to about 1965 and then abruptly stops talking about comparative accomplishments. Had his $500,000 research project read the next chapter, it would have learned that the important records preparatory to a lunar mission -- mission duration, rendezvous, EVA duration, navigation -- were being captured by Americans. Although they weren't the kind of records that make headlines, they are the kind of records than show progression of necessary skills.

    What happened to the Soviets? The problem, as I stated, was that their space program was wielded by Krushchev as a political tool. He deeply angered his scientists an engineers with his demands that they execute foolhardy and scientifically pointless missions just to grandstand. Some historians point to this as one reason for his eventual ouster.

    So while the Russians were using spit and bailing wire to break records however they could, the U.S. was more interested in producing an infrastructure and developing a set of skills that would serve in the long term. It's a classic tortoise and hare story.

    In 1994, our own government's watchdog agency, the General Accounting Office, reported, "The Star Wars Missile Defense System rigged tests to make it seem more advanced than it really was.

    Apples and oranges again. The issue here is Ronald Reagan. For public consumption the GAO will report that we were trying to bluff the Soviets. Those who worked in the Reagan Administration will testify that they were bluffing the Gipper.

    Reagan was adamant about building a space-based missile defense system and was not impressed by feasibility studies that said it wasn't possible. His attitude was, "Make it happen."

    Was it deceptive? I would say so. Does it prove NASA hoaxed the moon landings? Of course not. The scientific community recognized then, and recognizes today, that "Star Wars" wasn't possible. It recognized then, and continues to recognize that Apollo was indeed possible.

    Better, in my opinion, to hold on to such a juicy morsel and use it year after year to blackmail each succeeding US administration.

    That's not how the Soviets worked. In the 1960s they never passed up an opportunity to embarrass the United States publicly. When the U.S. failed to launch its itty-bitty satellite for the umpteenth time, the Soviet ambassador to the U.N. offered the U.S. help in launching its "little grapefruit." He suggested the Soviets' aid program to developing nations might step in.

    Further, the longer you sit on a secret, the less relevant it becomes. And the greater the chance someone else will discover it and trump you. How embarrassing for the Soviets if they knew all along the moon missions had been hoaxed, but were waiting for the appropriate time to play that card, and then along comes a part-time cameraman from Tennessee and steals their thunder!

    Another overlooked intriguing fact is that NASA launched the TETR-A satellite just months before the first lunar mission.

    I cover this in depth on my web site. TETR-A crashed, as it was intended to do. Far from being a "misinformational lie" as Sibrel wishfully claims, it is a stone-cold fact of orbital mechanics.

    its real purpose was to relay voice, fuel consumption, altitude, and telemetry data as if the transmissions were coming from an Apollo spacecraft as it neared the moon. Very few NASA employees knew the truth because they believed that the computer and television data they were receiving was the genuine article.

    Here Sibrel reveals quite colossal ignorance. The Manned Space Flight Network (MSFN) was designed in such a way that test and simulation telemetry streams could be very easily fed into it from the ground. From the controller's point of view, simulated data coming from the training computer was indistinguishable from actual data coming in from the network. You don't need to hijack a satellite to fool the flight controllers.

    The only people who could be fooled by bogus data coming in from a satellite were the MSFN field station operators -- the guys who actually aimed the antennas and collected the data streams. But a low-flying satellite behaves completely differently in the sky than an outbound or inbound Apollo capsule. Again, orbital mechanics is a harsh mistress. TETR-A was in a 90-minute orbit, meaning it was in view of any one station for only a few minutes. The Apollo spacecraft would retain roughly the same position relative to the stars and moon, so would be visible to one station for hours on end.

    It was later proven in a court of law that the man knew the answers in advance. Time Magazine was wrong! They were fooled just like the rest of us.

    Neither Time magazine's reporters nor millions of Americans can be considered expert witnesses in either that case or the case for or against Apollo. Belief is never proof.

    In the case of Apollo we have lots of expert witnesses -- engineers, scientists, astronomers, geologists -- who have examined the Apollo evidence and consider it entirely consistent with NASA's claims. The only people who seem vocal about not believing it are people like Sibrel, who have no expertise in the relevant fields.

    What a coincidence that the very next mission to the moon involved "life and death" jeopardy. Peoples' interest in return trips to the moon was rekindled!

    And then relost. The nadir of public interest occurred at Apollo 15, not Apollo 12. If Apollo 13 was intended as a ratings booster, why didn't a catastrophic failure occur on Apollo 16?

    What about the moon rocks? The Soviet Union never sent a manned mission to the moon, yet they have moon rocks.

    No, they have a small amount of dust and gravel which wouldn't fill a quart jar. We've given away that much material to be sealed up in Lucite and gawked at by slack-jawed yokels. Pounds of the stuff have been give out by NASA for independent study.

    The Soviets, with a five-to-one advantage in the early part of the space race, never once sent a human through the radiation belts to even orbit the moon.

    But they certainly planned to. The Zond program was not very far behind the Apollo program.

    Further, they -- like us -- sent live samples into the Van Allen belts and recovered them to see how the radiation affected them. They knew just as well as we did what was up there. Yet they acknowledged Apollo. They knew what our spaceships looked like, and they knew what would be appropriate shielding. Yet they said nothing.

    Inside of their shielding, superior to that which the Apollo astronauts possessed...

    False. The space shuttle is not especially shielded against radiation because it's not designed to operate in radiation-intensive environments. The Apollo capsule was, and was provided with appropriate shielding.

    For a dental x-ray on Earth which lasts 1/100th of a second we wear a 1/4 inch lead vest.

    X-rays are not the same as cosmic radiation.

    Further, the legal limits for non-occupational radiation exposure in the U.S. are draconian, 1/700 the lethal limit. That's why you have to wear a lead vest. You won't die without it. You won't even get sick. You could sit there and get a hundred such x-rays with no visible harm. The vest is there so that the dentist doesn't get in trouble for violating federal regulations. Astronauts are considered occupationally exposed to radiation, so the legal acceptable limit is much higher for them.

    In any case the biological tolerance without adverse affect is many times the legal limit. Perhaps as it should be.

    (Quoting CNN) "The radiation belts surrounding Earth may be more dangerous for astronauts than previously believed (like when they supposedly went through them thirty years ago to reach the moon.) The phenomenon known as the 'Van Allen Belts' can spawn (newly discovered) 'Killer Electrons' that can dramatically affect the astronauts' health."

    "More dangerous than previously believed" is not the same as lethal. The story in question concerned the astronauts in the space station, who would be exposed to such "killer electrons" for months on end, far longer than the four hours the Apollo astronauts spent in the Van Allen belts.

    Sibrel seems strangely ignorant that length of exposure, not intensity of exposure, is a more salient factor in determining biological damage.

    It is the dead man's own son, who is a seasoned pilot himself, and who has in his possession forensic evidence personally retrieved from the charred spacecraft (that the government has tried to destroy on two or more occasions), who is making this accusation.

    Well, the dead man has two sons and only one of them is making this accusation. The other one refuses to get involved.

    Scott Grissom is becoming a poster boy for the hoax theories despite the fact that he has publicly stated he does not believe NASA hoaxed the moon missions. He contends only that NASA may have covered up material evidence involving the Apollo 1 fire.

    Mr. Medved, have you personally retrieved evidence from the space capsule to support your theory that this credible first hand assertion is unfounded?

    I'm sure he hasn't, and I'm sure Mr. Sibrel hasn't personally retrieved evidence from spacecraft to support any of his theories either. Someone who doesn't even know what shape the hatch windows are can certainly not be considered any kind of expert on the spacecraft.

    Anyone with the slightest open mind and truly objective thinking can conclude that when the assassin of President Kennedy was assassinated himself three days later, that something was awry. The moon landings cover-up is even grander, yet, obviously, not the first, and it is certainly not the first time, or the last, that the press at large was completely wrong.

    I guess we're supposed to infer that if one believes Kennedy was assassinated by conspiracy, the moon landings were also faked, and vice versa. This line of reasoning usually occurs somewhere in a conspiracy theory. The argument goes something like this, "They lied about X, so they must also have lied about the moon landings."

    Let's say I have a friend. Let's say I catch him in a lie. Based on that, I might not implicitly trust him. But can I reliable assume that everything he tells me is a lie? Suppose on another occasion he tells me the truth. In this situation I can have no implicit or default belief. He lies sometimes, and tells the truth other times. That means I can't draw any generalizations. Whether he is lying or telling the truth must be determined in each instance, not assumed according to a general rule.

    I sent a copy of this lost footage to every United States Senator and Congress Member (five hundred thirty-five), plus the president and the current director of the General Accounting Office. I have heard back from only four.

    And what was the nature of the response? We aren't told, therefore it must be something Sibrel doesn't want to share. I'm sure Sibrel interprets this as an indication that the conspiracy goes all the way to the top. He probably wouldn't interpret it as summary rejection of obviously flimsy evidence.

    I challenge them to summon Neil Armstrong himself to testify, under oath, whether or not he actually set foot on the moon in 1969.

    Why should any U.S. citizen be subjected to public interrogation on the basis of completely unscientific and misrepresentational evidence? Mr. Sibrel is making the accusation; let the burden of proof rest upon him.

    Neil Armstrong has not granted, not even once, an on camera or independent print interview. [...] It is my conviction that he refuses to be interviewed because he does not want to lie.

    More likely the conviction arises from the bone Sibrel wants to pick with Armstrong for getting him fired. There was a very public post-flight briefing televised, in which Armstrong participated. It's true he shuns public appearances. He's a shy person. Those who know him say that about him. He was a shy person before he became an astronaut, and he's a shy person now. Big surprise.

    Why the obsession with Armstrong? Michael Collins, who went 99% of the way with them, has written two engaging best-selling books on his experience. And just try to get Buzz Aldrin to shut up. Aldrin loves the camera.

    Sibrel's obsession with Armstrong is likely due to the personal animosity Sibrel feels toward him. Those who have spoken with Sibrel in person say he becomes quite agitated when you mention Armstrong, although he doesn't seem to be bothered by talking about the other astronauts' names.

    So because a shy astronaut refuses to grant interviews, Sibrel cries fraud. Nevermind that the other two crewmen, who were there too, speak and write prolificly. Their testimony apparently doesn't interest Sibrel or prove anything for him.

    Quite startled and angry, he [Aldrin] was most interested in how I attained this lost footage. He also threatened to sue me if I showed it publicly.

    Gee, Sibrel walks up to Aldrin and says, effectively, "I'm going to publicly accuse you of lying about the most significant event in your life, and possibly in the history of the 20th century. What do you have to say about that?"

    Aldrin is a former military pilot. Sibrel is lucky Aldrin's reply wasn't laced with colorful metaphors.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    JayUtah: I wish I had Medved's article. It's hard to review a review of something I haven't read.

    I'm sorry Jay. I only found Sibrel's article.
    I'll try to look for Medved's article.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Jay, I found Mr. Medved's article!

    Here is the link:

    <font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: AstroMike on 2002-01-25 18:54 ]</font>

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Check out the latest Amazon review of "A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Moon":

    WHY THE WAR OF WORDS?, January 23, 2002
    Reviewer: A viewer from USA

    Other reviewers claim that Sibrel wrote two of the customer reviews.

    I think it's pretty obvious that he wrote this one too.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Wow, good research. Thanks. (Actually I didn't look that hard for Medved's piece, so thanks for covering for my laziness.) Turns out I'd already read it. I just didn't pay attention to who'd written it. I have a collection of reviews of the Fox program in my research file.

    Medved is close enough to the target. The Fox program is poorly researched, sensationalist, and scientifically inept. Not much more can be said. Sibrel's rant now sounds like more of a complaint that he wasn't taken seriously enough.

    Honestly, since only a little bit of research is required to debunk Sibrel, Medved couldn't have been Sibrel's intended audience. As near as I can tell, Sibrel is aiming for people who will simply nod their heads and do no original research or thinking on their own.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    As others have pointed out, this is another lie. Ham radio operators picked up the transmissions coming from the Moon, and telescopes picked up the spacecraft and in particular the Apollo 13 outgassing. So there was independent confirmation.
    Wow! I had no idea that telescopes had picked up the outgassing. Are there any extant pictures of this?

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    I think it's pretty obvious that he wrote this one too.

    No question whatsoever. That's his writing style to a tee.

  18. #18
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    Oct 2001
    Wow! I had no idea that telescopes had picked up the outgassing. Are there any extant pictures of this?
    In last month's issue of Skeptic there was an article about the Moon hoax (actually, it was done for kids). The picture is in there. I don't have it in front of me so I can't give any more info, except for the website:

    Incidentally, the Fox show was just broadcast in Denmark a couple of days ago, and I am getting a lot of hits from it (about 20,000 a day, twice my usual rate). Ironically, I am giving a Moon Hoax talk tomorrow in Seattle. [img]/phpBB/images/smiles/icon_wink.gif[/img] I'll rail and froth while I'm there.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    I'm told that when the program was broadcast in Germany, a German astronaut gave some rebuttal commentary during the commercial breaks. Too bad American audiences didn't have that advantage.

    Here's Jim McDade's page regarding Bart Sibrel.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Here's Jim McDade's review of Bart's video.

    Faulty Logic, February 27, 2001
    Reviewer: (see more about me) from Birmingham
    This "documentary" is pure trash. The lack of intellectual sophistication that is required to buy into this particular conspiracy theory is comparable to that of an adult who insists that the "Tooth Fairy" and "Santa Claus" indeed come to visit their homes. Some people might question the sanity of anyone who beleives any of the outrageous and illogical claims in "A Funny Thing Happened On the way to the Moon". I don't question their sanity, but I do question the quality of their educational background and thought processes. Some degree of intellectual impairment is definitely a prerequisite for trusting this moon hoax "argument".

    This moon landing "hoax phenomena" is seemingly just another manifestation our mysterious and paranoid human ways! I think that this distrusting behavior is possibly attributable to some inherited instinctive survival engram that overpowers some individuals more than others. Some folks apparently cannot accept radical paradigm altering events, sudden change, or any concept that they have not directly experienced.

    To quote a friend who is similarly ouraged at this faulty production: If you feel shaky on the facts about the Apollo program, the following sites offer a wealth of knowledge, crosslinks and just plain common sense in debunking the claims made by this and other shoddy productions: ...END

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Here is that Apollo 13 photograph taken from Table Mountain Observatory:

    <center>* * * * * * * * * * * * *

    Apollo 13 article about the above image.

    * * * * * * * * * * * * *</center>

    <font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Ian R on 2002-01-27 13:29 ]</font>

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    On 2002-01-25 16:39, JayUtah wrote:
    the Russians launched the first artificial satellite

    Sad, but true. This was a major political fumble on our part. Because von Braun was not yet an American citizen and still considered by many to be just another Nazi, there was considerable objection to using his Jupiter rocket to launch the first U.S. satellite. And so the U.S. wasted a lot of time on the Vanguard, a piece of crap rocket cobbled together out of technology whose only redeeming quality was its absence of Nazi contamination.
    My impression was that the objection to the Jupiter was that it was a military program (Von Braun was working with the Army at the time), and that Eisenhower wanted the satellite to be a civilian endeavor.

    Word is also that one of von Braun's Jupiters could easily have launched a satellite into orbit in 1956, except that he was under express orders to keep the rocket from doing so. Therefore, the top stage was filled with sand rather than containing a small kick motor that was all that was needed to get the payload into orbit.

    Everything I need to know I learned through Googling.

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    On 2002-01-27 13:27, Ian R wrote:

    Apollo 13 article about the above image.
    Hmmm... according to the article at that link, this picture was taken before the explosion. What we see is the CSLM (bright spot in the center) surrounded by the four LM cover panels, which were tumbling and therefore averaged out to lower brightness than the CSLM.

    So this isn't outgassing, just a nice shot of Apollo 13 in happier times -- before the mission went into the weeds.

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    My impression was that the objection to the Jupiter was that it was a military program (Von Braun was working with the Army at the time), and that Eisenhower wanted the satellite to be a civilian endeavor.
    That's strange. I definitely remember Vanguard being a Navy rocket and there being a race between the two branches of the armed forces.

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    On 2002-01-28 18:54, Kaptain K wrote:
    That's strange. I definitely remember Vanguard being a Navy rocket and there being a race between the two branches of the armed forces.
    The authoritative, in its entry on Vanguard, is somewhat confusing. It refers to Vanguard as a "civilian program" but also says the "launch vehicle was developed by the Navy."

    The whole entry is well worth reading.
    Everything I need to know I learned through Googling.

  26. #26
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Eisenhower's "civilian" versus "military" distinction is mostly revisionism. Even can't decide whether the Viking was a civilian or a military rocket. There was indeed a rocket rivalry between the branches of the armed services (Army: Jupiter, USAF: Atlas), but Eisenhower wanted the satellite launched on a booster of American design, lest the victory be tempered by an accusation that it was really a German rocket. It was well known that the Jupiter was almost exclusively a German design while the Viking was American. I don't think the Atlas was ever seriously considered.

    The Vanguard first stage was adapted from the Navy Viking. The second and third stages were similarly cobbled together from various vehicles not yet associated with any particular armed force. The whole thing was duct-taped together and unsuccessfully tested numerous times.

    The Viking by itself was a successful design. The upper stages evolved into successful Air Force rocket stages. The parts were okay, but they just weren't destined to work together.

  27. #27
    Join Date
    Oct 2001


    Apollo 13 - An Emergency In Space


    <font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Ian R on 2002-01-29 15:23 ]</font>

  28. #28
    Er, is someone having a laugh?

  29. #29
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Why do you say that?

  30. #30

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