Indian space journeys are making waves for the right reason. ISRO, India’s space agency, is seeking to tap the market for commercial launch services using the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV). Antrix Corporation, the commercial arm of ISRO, is in talks with various countries on satellite launches using the GSLV.
So much have changed since 1969, when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to set their foot on the moon. The incident made America’s space workhouse NASA a household name. But the expedition also became mired in “fake controversy”. The very pictures and videos of the lunar mission that NASA released became instrumental in discrediting the agency of the feat.
The fluttering flag
The Apollo11 mission was telecast live on television; when sceptics witnessed the American flag waving, they immediately pointed out that a flag can’t flutter in the space vacuum. NASA said the flag was covered in a sheet, and it’s the crease that looks like a flutter.
Apollo11 lands softly on lunar soil
The landing was fake, because the space vehicle created no blast crater when it landed. The vehicle displaced no lunar dust, which is a little strange, considering the impact of such a landing. NASA explained that that the module required quite less force in the low-gravity soil of the moon, than it would have done on Earth. Also, the surface of the moon is rocky, so a blast crater probably wasn’t feasible.
All the A11 pictures had photographic crosshairs to help in scaling and direction. Conspiracy theorists believe the marking is doctored, considering the fact that several objects are shown to be in front of the crosshairs, including the American flag in one picture and the space vehicle in another.
Photos show several shadows falling in different directions. This was not natural because the moon has a singular source of light, the Sun. The multiple shadows only reiterated the fact that the landing was fake, and was shot in a movie studio with several light sources. NASA tried to counter the allegations by stating that uneven landscape and little hills on the moon’s surface were the culprit.
An inexplicable image gives the conspiracy theorists great mileage. A mysterious object was seen in the reflection of an astronaut’s helmet. The object seems like an overhead spotlight hanging from a rope or wire, and lends credibility to the theory that the mission was shot in film studios.
Some people believe that the slow-motioned, jumpy moonwalk of Armstrong and Aldrin are actually the work of hidden cables and wires attached to them. In some screenshots outlines of alleged hidden cables can be seen.
Absence of air pollution in the moon should make stars look brighter and clearer. But all the pictures of the A11 mission have a blacked-out background. Conspiracy theorists believe that NASA decided to not show the stars because it was impossible to map out their exact locations. The agency said poor quality of the photographs blots out the stars. Sceptics laughed at this explanation because night pictures of the sky taken from Earth did show the twinkling stars…
The Van Allen Radiation Belt
The way to the moon would be impossible without crossing the Van Allen radiation belt. The belt is held in place by Earth’s magnetic field. Science-lovers argue no amount of aluminium coating in the spaceship was enough to shield the radiation, and it would have charred the two space passengers to death. NASA contended the allegation by emphasizing that the two men received negligible doses of radiation because Apollo 11 took little time to cross the belt.
The embedded rock
A particular picture shows a rock lying in the lunar soil, with the letter “C” engraved onto it. Some believe the rock was a prop of a film set, which might have left overturned by a film crew member in a hurry. How NASA reacted to the allegation is interesting; it said a photo developer added the alphabet as a practical joke. It also stated the possibility of a stray hair that stuck to the negatives while it was being processed in the lab.
The conspiracy refuses to die down after all these years. No matter what NASA did to plant the first human in the moon, it did open the gates of the space to all of mankind.