“Unbelievably,” explains Radcliffe, “the first time these engines would ever have been fired, ever – no check-out at the factory – the first time would be when they were fired on their mission.” As Dunne noted, “I don’t think that anyone could, at that time, tell you 100% that it was gonna work.”
Seeing as how the engines were completely untested – both in terms of being able to operate within the environment of the Moon and in terms of the individual engines being factory tested to see if they worked at all – Dunne’s evaluation would seem to be a bit of an understatement. Luckily though, none of the landers actually made it to the Moon, so whether the engines worked or not is a bit of a moot point.
Another problem the Grumman team faced was how to adequately insulate the vehicle from the intense heat of the unshielded sun (there was, curiously enough, no mention throughout the hour about the necessity of shielding the craft from space radiation). As Stoff noted, “You have to insulate the spacecraft as well as possible because there’s huge fuel tanks in there and the fuel’s gonna boil [if not adequately protected].” Also, we are informed, the huge temperature variations on the Moon “could also cause the craft to buckle.” Unmentioned was that it could be a wee bit uncomfortable for the astronauts as well.
Since weight was an issue, heavy heat shields could not be used. Luckily though, “Dupont had developed this new material – it was aluminized Mylar. It was a gold color, and they found if you built it up to perhaps twenty-five layers, it’s an excellent insulator.” Dupont’s space-age material, as we all know, can be obtained pretty inexpensively these days. And it’s still a very lightweight material. I wonder why it is then that you rarely see spaceships wrapped in it anymore?
Meanwhile, down in Texas, astronauts had been training on a simulator that was supposed to teach them to land the lunar module. Unfortunately, the simulator was “unstable and dangerous” and never worked properly. No one ever actually landed the contraption – but on the plus side, there is lots of film stock of fiery simulator crashes. Stoff notes that, “At some point in the program, [NASA] eventually stopped using it because it was just, it was a lot safer to land on the Moon than it was to fly this machine down in Texas.”
Of course it was. Why waste time with a simulator when the real thing was going to be so much easier? And NASA, no doubt, knew that that would be the case before we even faked going to the Moon. I’m pretty sure that Armstrong was pulled aside and told: “Don’t worry about almost being killed in that simulator. The real thing is going to be so much easier. You’ll see when you get up there. Just trust us on this one. And we’re fairly certain that there is at least a slim possibility that the ascent engine will work when it’s time for you and Buzz to come home. Unless, you know, you guys happen to get a dud. There’s really no way for anyone to know for sure until you get there and try to fire it up. Have a safe trip.”
In the summer of 1967, the first space-ready LEM was delivered to Cape Kennedy to be loaded aboard the Apollo 4 launch vehicle. Incredibly, it had taken less than five years to get “the most complicated and sophisticated spacecraft ever conceived” from the chalkboard to the launch pad! And in the mid-1960s no less! (By the way, I happened to stumble across this image of Apollo 4 sitting on the launch pad. It is, I have to say, a mighty impressive shot. Kudos to the non-astronaut photographer who snapped it.)
February 05, 2015
Interstellar, a horrible piece of drek from Christopher Nolan, makes an allusion to the Apollo moon missions being faked. But it is done in a very backhanded way. View the following video and listen to the audio of the scene:
First of all, I couldn’t disagree more that this was a good movie. It was HORRIBLE! The following review captures my feelings well:
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
It is beyond me how people can claim the movie to be ‘brainy’, ‘intelligent’, ‘well written’… With all the things I read about the movie prior to seeing it makes it the biggest disappointment I’ve experienced from cinema in years. I give 1 star to bring balance to the current rating, in reality this movie is of course not that bad.
The whole idea behind the plot is that McConaughey ended up in this blackhole where 5 dimensions were compressed into 3 dimensions and stuff, and where he was able to manipulate gravity by sending his daughter the message which was imperative for saving humanity. So what in fact happened is through this ridiculously improbable chain of events McConaughey ended up inside this blackhole. All this was apparently the result of a bigger plan all along. Was there really no easier way for (future humans/aliens) to transmit this data, and if they built this time-space warping machine inside the blackhole – means they had access to the data all along? And also means they chose McConaughey daughter on purpose? So I don’t understand, what was this purpose? Could they not have connected their portal to professor’s office a long time ago, or go for one of the ten billion more rational alternatives?
On a side note: is it not funny how McConaughey ignored the message NOT TO GO from the same ‘ghost’ yet followed the rest of the directions? While in the end of the movie he idiotically repeats his feeble attempt. Had he added ‘it’s you dad’ or any other sensible hint he would have saved his daughter years of suffering (and maybe a lifetime for himself when he realises this). And I don’t even want to get into how ridiculous it is that he transmitted data by moving the hands on the watch, which was unaffected after being picked up, meaning it was hardly gravitational manipulation was it? What was the point of trying to be scientific and trying to explain it in this way then. If he could do that, he ought to have found a better solution that did not require his daughter 25 years to figure out.
And anyway, they saved humanity by building this massive station named after his daughter (by that time they knew what he went through and they still named it after her?). Why couldn’t they have done the same thing on Earth? Just build the same g*ddamn station on Earth without needing to harvest their gravitational energy bullsh*t, bam, humanity saved in the same way.
Grand ideas don’t make great movies if you can’t deliver them properly… It is atrocity to compare this to Kubrick’s masterpiece…
Back to the scene. If you listen carefully, they didn’t say that the moon landings were faked, but that they had to say that they were faked for the purpose of bankrupting the Soviet Union. In other words, we really went there, but we can’t admit it anymore because it gives people a false hope. Do you see how devious and evil these people are?
NO, WE NEVER WENT THERE!