The moon landing was faked? Many conspiracy theorists hold that the Apollo Moon landings were a hoax, despite tons of evidence it really happened. When I get into a debate with any moon landing conspiracy theorists (I usually try not to get into, life is too short to debate with morons), I send them this link “China’s first successful lunar laser ranging accomplished” and “the moon landing was faked” debate is always over.

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On January 22, 2018, the applied astronomy group from the Yunnan Observatories in China measured the distance between the Moon and Earth based on the signals of laser pulses reflected by the lunar retro-reflector planted by the U.S. crewed lunar mission Apollo 15, according to the Chinese news site Xinghua.net.

Scientists measured the distance between the Apollo 15 retro-reflector and the Yunnan Observatories ground station to be 385,823.433 kilometers (239,739.567 miles) to 387,119.600 kilometers (240,544.96739 miles), from 9:25 p.m. to 10:31 p.m. Beijing Time, on Jan. 22, 2018.

Li Yuqiang, an associate researcher with Yunnan Observatories said “Although LLR (Lunar Laser Ranging) in China has not achieved the same level as pioneering countries like the U.S., our initial success still means the progress, which started from scratch. In the near future, China will plant its own retro-reflector on the moon, which will further boost the development of LLR in China.”

Apollo 15 mission

Apollo 15: a 16mm Film (1971). Courtesy NASA

Apollo 15 was the ninth crewed mission in the United States’ Apollo program, and the fourth to land on the Moon (after Apollo 11, Apollo 12, and Apollo 14).

It was launched on July 26, 1971, at 9:34 AM EDT from the Kennedy Space Center at Merritt Island, Florida. The crew was:

Commander: David R. Scott (Third and last spaceflight)
Command module pilot (CMP): Alfred M. Worden (Only spaceflight)
Lunar module pilot (LMP): James B. Irwin (Only spaceflight)

Apollo 15 was the first of the Apollo “J” missions capable of a longer stay time on the moon and greater surface mobility. There were four primary objectives falling in the general categories of lunar surface science, lunar orbital science, and engineering-operational. The mission objectives were to explore the Hadley-Apennine region, set up and activate lunar surface scientific experiments, make engineering evaluations of new Apollo equipment, and conduct lunar orbital experiments and photographic tasks.

Astronauts collected a total of 77 kg (170 lb) of lunar surface material during 18½ hours of EVAs (Extravehicular activity) outside the Lunar Module Falcon.

The crew also left a small aluminum statuette called “Fallen Astronaut” on the surface of the Moon.

Apollo 15 – In The Mountains Of The Moon (1971)
Astronauts: David R. Scott, Alfred M. Worden, and James B. Irwin
Featured are the standup EVA, the three traverses of the lunar surface, film taken from the Lunar Rover, hammer and feather test of Galileo’s theory on falling objects in gravity fields, Worden’s EVA, subsatellite launching, X-ray pulsar observations, splash down with one parachute collapsed.
AWARDS: Golden Eagle, Council on International Nontheatrical Events (CINE), 1972 – Chris Award, 20th Annual Columbus Film Festival, 1972

Apollo 15 set several new records for crewed spaceflight:

  • the heaviest payload in a lunar orbit of approximately 107,000 pounds (48,534 kg)
  • maximum radial distance traveled on the lunar surface away from the spacecraft of about 17.5 miles (28.16 km) (previous high was 2.1 miles/3.38 km on Apollo 14)
  • most lunar surface EVAs (three) and the longest total of duration for lunar surface EVAs (18 hours, 37 minutes – almost the total time spent in lunar orbit by Apollo 8)
  • the longest time in lunar orbit (about 145 hours; only two hours less than the entire Apollo 8 mission)
  • the longest crewed lunar mission (295 hours), longest Apollo mission (295 hours – previous high was 244 hours, 36 minutes on Apollo 12)
  • the first satellite placed in lunar orbit by a crewed spacecraft
  • the first deep space and operational EVA.

The mission splashed down in the Pacific Ocean safely on August 7 despite the loss of one of its three parachutes. The recovery ship was USS Okinawa.

Moon landing was faked? James B. Irwin salutes the United States flag on the Moon
Apollo 15 Lunar module pilot (LMP) James B. Irwin salutes the United States flag on the Moon, August 1, 1971. Photo: Wikipedia

Sources

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