Serious problems in the Valley of Taurus-Littrow – Part One
Researcher Duane Daman suggested that we take another look at the anomalies in the differential sizing of the LM in relation to the surrounding mountains in the Taurus-Littrow region.
But having already presented our findings at the first ForteanTimes Unconvention in the mid 1990s, as well as in our book, video and DVD, we were unsure that there were any more significant irregularities to be found in these Apollo 17 photographs.
However, Duane was insistent so we looked once more at the Apollo photographic record and indeed there are more anomalies to be found in these images. Many photographs were taken on the valley floor of Taurus-Littrow with the East Massif visible in the background – incredibly both with and without the LM at this location.
Who moved the mountain?
Looking at some of the 'LM and flag' images photographed near the end of one of the Apollo 17 EVAs, the Apollo Lunar Surface Journal (ALSJ) states:
AS17-134-20508-13 170:26:44 "This is one of several pictures that Jack took of the LM and flag on his way back from the ALSEP site for close-out at the end of EVA-3. The East Massif provides a backdrop."
As we examined these photos more closely (AS17-134-20511, 20512, and 20513) we noticed, to our utter amazement, that the US flag appeared to have been relocated between pictures.
Then, no doubt as part of an illusion to produce a convincing perspective change consistent with three different camera positions, the mountain backdrop moves even more drastically from shot to shot.
However, the LM stays in virtually the same orientation in all three pictures, as does a row of 10 or so little rocks located between the LM's feet and left of frame. In reality, such a minimal orientation change of the LM would require the distant mountain to change far less than the LM itself – not more.
AS17-134-20511, 20512 & 20513 EVA-3 at the LM & flag
Who moved the mountain, flag and foreground rocks – but not the LM?
Moving the backdrops and some foreground detail was all that was necessary to complete the ‘perspective change’ illusion that went with the ‘different’ viewpoints. Whistle-blowing photo laboratory technicians would have had ample opportunity to selectively move items around from shot to shot, and if key officials checked the images prior to their release they obviously didn't notice, because the eye sees what the brain wants it to see.
How was it done?
Special effects and image enhancement experts in those days (early 1970s) might have opted to create this scene in a very large studio, or maybe in this case, as the entire Taurus-Littrow valley location was so extensive, even deployed scale models. A model set would have been much easier to manage and light – with mannequins for the astronauts.
AS17-134-20447 & 20448
Compare the valley floor with the previous shot on the roll – top picture
Why may they have used mannequins? The astronaut (although having moved to a different location by the LM and no longer in sunlight but in shadow) is in virtually the same pose in 20447 as in 20448. (See also Jack White’s study re small models.)
Alternatively these photos may have been taken without the flag or backdrops, adding them afterwards in the image enhancement laboratory*. This solution may have been adopted with Apollo 11 as well (see study by Jack White and our article Further Findings). In some Apollo 11 photos the flag and pole have no shadow whatsoever – suggesting the flag may have been added after the picture was taken – intentionally leaving out the shadow as another subtle blow on the whistle.
The vanishing LM
Not only do the mountains etc move around but the LM itself comes and goes as well. Below are three images by way of examples: namely AS17-134-20448, 134-20416 and 134-20513.
AS17-134-20448 top, 20416 and 20513
Although the top two images have adjusted lighting on the mountain backdrop, and the 'valley floor' surface detail is dressed differently, it is recognizable as the same location.
What specific evidence is there that these pictures have the same backdrop? As we have pointed out elsewhere the perspective of the background is the same in each case, and two features in particular are clearly visible, those marked ‘A’ and ‘B’.
The LM in the top image, taken with the rover (LRV) antenna in foreground, results in a larger LM relative to the backdrop than in the lower picture, as the LRV is nearer to the LM. However, in the middle picture, there is no sign of the LM at all.
"But surely none of these physical differences could have occurred in reality on the Moon – even if they were actually there?" you may ask. No, of course not. So what really happened in the taking of these photographs? No one will ever know for sure. But it is clear, as we have stated before, that the same locations and the same backdrops enjoyed multiple re-use.
These locations were also the settings used as an arena for the astronauts in the recorded TV coverage.
To produce the differences in the photos discussed so far, the ‘valley floor’ would need to be dressed: LRV tracks laid down and/or removed, the LM added and/or taken away, the mountain backdrops moved between the various set ups.
So imagine two scenes, one with and one without the LM, but utilising the same backdrop in both instances – albeit in the upper example with different lighting – in the hope that it would go unnoticed. Or depending on the intention, in the hope that it would one day be noticed.
Well, it did go unnoticed for about twenty years.
llustration of how a moveable mountain backdrop would appear in a studio set
when viewed from the side – the flat area in front representing the studio floor
Continued Part Two NEXT PAGE