Scientists can be so naive.
A couple of weeks ago on the CBC radio program Quirks and Quarks, host Bob McDonald had on a guest, Dr. Sarah Ellison, an astronomer at the University of Victoria, to answer a question about why there have never been any photographs of lunar landing sites taken by earth-based or space telescopes such as Hubble.
The answer, of course, was resolution. Even our biggest telescopes are only capable of resolution of 100 metres or so at the distance of the moon.
There are very detailed photos of the landing sites, however, taken by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO). This satellite, launched in 2009 into a low (50 kilometre) orbit above the moon is tasked with mapping the entire surface of the moon in minute detail.
So far, it has taken snaps of four of the sites from the six moon landings.
The pictures show exquisite details including the American flag Neil Armstrong planted and footprint tracks from the astronauts walking around.
At the end of the segment, McDonald asked: So, for all those conspiracy theorist who think they didn’t land on the moon, this is proof that they did?”
Ellison replies: “Yes, the pictures are right there on the Internet, you can go check them out for yourself.”
I am not criticizing, but the idea that this is going to change the minds of conspiracy theorists is, as I mentioned at the top, naive.
Conspiracists are very good at moving the goalposts. If they don’t believe the moon landings took place, how can you ever convince them that the LRO images are not also faked, or even that the satellite exists for that matter.
No amount of third party evidence will ever be good enough for some people.
In fact, various polls of the American public have shown that anywhere from six to 20 per cent of people believe the moon landings never took place. In Russia, the number may be as high as 28 per cent. Of course, since they ostensibly “lost” the space race, they have greater motivation to not believe.
Personally, I have no time for conspiracy theorists, particularly since, in the case of the moon landings especially, there would have had to be hundreds of thousands of people involved. Two people have a hard enough time keeping a secret. In any event, it is admirable that there are those who continue to debunk these things.