Apollo Investigation

Miniature used for Apollo 17 lunar liftoff

Julius A. Birch PhD

Lunar Ascent of Apollo 17 LM in the Television Broadcast

Julius A. Birch PhD

fig 2

We analyze the Apollo 17 ascent from the lunar surface that occurred on December 14, 1972. The LM lunar ascent was captured by a remotely-operated pan-zoom-tilt (PZT) camera on the Lunar Roving Vehicle parked some distance away, and transmitted via TV to audiences on Earth. We use the known features of the camera tilt and zoom to find the elevation (angle above the horizon) as a function of time of the craft in the TV transmission. This, in combination with the distance to the camera, is used to reconstruct the ascent.

We compare the ascent to that of the Apollo 5 and 11 missions and find a number of differences. Following detailed analysis of these differences, we conclude that the transmission features a scaled-down scene of the launch, in which a scaled-down self-propelled miniature of the Apollo 17 LM ascent stage ascends from the surface along tracks.

Following the reconstruction of the reported Apollo 17 lunar liftoff, we show that the trajectory of the craft in the television broadcast is not consistent with the LM ascent stage flying freely in space. Rather, we have isolated a number of anomalies all of which strongly suggest that what was shown in the broadcast was a scaled-down replica of the LM ascent stage ascending along tracks from the stage in a specialized film studio on Earth.

Julius A. Birch PhD

Aulis Online, June, 2020

PDF Read the full analysis by Julius A. Birch PhD here

Email: Julius Birch

About the Author

Julius Birch received his PhD in applied (engineering) physics from the Fakultät für Mathematik und Physik of the Hannover University, Germany. After a brief post-doctoral work at his alma mater, he moved to the USA to pursue a career in applied industrial research. Currently Julius Birch is with a private company working on problems in system analysis & control, and remote sensing. His interest in NASA's accomplishments started after he viewed a YouTube documentary about the Moon.

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Observation of Apollo Anomalous Ascent Trajectory from Larry Holland

The Apollo 17 lunar module liftoff footage is totally inconsistent with physics – it has no discernible change in speed but instead lifts off at the same speed from the moment it starts its ascent. That is to say the speed is immediately linear, which is physically impossible. Per inertia/momentum, a mass does not move as much in the first second as the next second, and not as much in the second as in the third. The only way the movement would appear even close to linear is if the force was absolutely overwhelming versus resistance/mass – which is clearly not the case here, given the known mass of the module and the known engine parameters.

The inconsistencies:

One second after liftoff:
Calculated altitude: 0.7 meters (~2 1/4 feet)
Video footage altitude: A good 15 feet. Not caught with perfect precision when I recorded the analysis, but it doesn't matter in that the movement by any measure is off by MULTIPLES, not percentages, from what physics demands.

Two seconds after liftoff:
Calculated: 3 meters (just short of ten feet) (note at ONE second it was already more than this)
Footage: A good 30 feet.

Three seconds after liftoff:
Calculated: 6.7 meters (~ 22 feet)
(Note height at 2 seconds is well above this).

To this analysis' credit, the entire scene is consistent with miniaturisation, see Scale Mannequins and Miniatures in Apollo Imagery. Clearly this was created using a scale model with low weight.

March 2020

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