The wider view
Now on to the bigger picture. The large study below may at first seem rather complex, so let’s go through the elements one at a time. Here is the basic scene:
AS17-140-21497 & 140-21494
This picture at Split Rock is composited from two images, AS17-140-21494, to the right of the scene and AS17-140-21497 covering the area to the left of the picture.
AS17-140-21497 & 140-21494 composite with inserts
The area on the left of this composite is called the East Massif. The lower inset picture section AS17-134-20511 (rotated 6 degrees clockwise) is another example of the LM pictured in this same setting. The details at ‘A’ and ‘B’ are visible as before and there is a third, darker, feature ‘C’ that also lines up – located on the top of the backdrop.
The picture insert at top left is AS17-134-20448. We have added this in order to show the backdrop transition across to the right hand side of the large composite image. The mountain range in the background of this inset is part of the same range as in the composite – it’s the southwestern wall of Taurus-Littrow (South Massif).
We saw several examples of the LM in this location previously, the mountain backdrops as depicted in these photos (even when photographed in close proximity to the LM) are similar in height to the LM. However, please note that in the top insert the mountain backdrop 'D' to the right of the LM is only half the LM’s height in this photo.
The central vertical line aligns with part of the South Massif, 'E' in the composite picture. However, in the composite with inserts an additional mountain ‘F’ and a peak between 'B' and 'D' are now visible as well.
Moving on to the picture insert at top right, it is AS17-139-21204, (21203 & 21205 are similar). Image 21204 was rotated 11 degrees clockwise to correct the horizontal and we have outlined the relevant section of the composite image (with white border) where this insert belongs.
A sister (139-21203) to the image at top right was also rotated clockwise 11 degrees and is show at left. Details of this scene are very interesting indeed for a variety of reasons.
The top version is a scan from a print made before the existence of the ALSJ and amazingly, is without reticles. These reticles have not been removed by us, this is how it was published. Has NASA since added* reticles (lower picture) to the versions now available on the Web? (See also Jack White's studies)
The item in the centre of this telephoto image, believe it or not, is the LM – allegedly at the same Apollo 17 location we were looking at earlier. According to the record, the LM is almost two miles away, photographed from the base of the North Massif. The sides of the South Massif in the background are 5 miles away.
The ALSJ states:
"Jack Schmitt took this superb picture of the LM from Station 6 with the 500-mm lens. Note the lighter surface around the spacecraft, produced by the sweeping action of the descent plume. Station 6 is about 3.1 km from the LM, which is about 7 m tall... "
It is interesting that this "sweeping action of the descent plume" is not visible in other photos – in any event should it not be a long blast trench? – see article Dust-to-Dust.
How? and Why?
How can anyone reconcile the relative size of the LM in this telephoto image to the surrounding mountains now towering behind the LM, mountains so enormous that they are dwarfing the LM ? – very difficult.
How can a Lunar Module appear in different locations at the same landing site? – It can't.
How did they achieve the look of the 500mm lens shot? – Special effects of course, including the use of models, miniatures and/or image manipulation. Let us not be at all naive about this:
We previously noted that in photo 134-20448 mountain 'D' was only half the height of the LM, so the mountain backdrops in the inset (139-21204) have, to all intents and purposes, been morphed into a totally different relative scaling. Of course defenders of this indefensible situation may argue that the LM now looks smaller due to the lens used. But if the LM looks smaller due to distance, then the mountains would look smaller too – not larger.
Only one ‘genuine’ setting can be valid – each one is mutually exclusive. This scene with seriously HUGE and FORBIDDING mountains might well be the most valid representation of what it's like on the Moon – but apparently not what NASA wanted as a backdrop for the photo action scenes. It would appear that a suitable 'arena' was created for both the action photography and for recording the TV coverage.
Why would NASA even want to make the transition between the less intimidating mountains (behind the LM and astronauts in the previous pictures) to the HUGE and FORBIDDING mountains taken from around five miles away? – Perhaps because when used on their own, images like 139-21203/4 convey SCALE and IMPRESS. Exactly what was needed back in December 1972 as Project Apollo came to an end – powerful images in magazines such as National Geographic promoting the awesome achievements of NASA’s space program – manned or otherwise.
If the close up action scenes were filmed in settings as suggested by 139-21203/4, in all probability all you would see in the background would be a vertical wall of rock. The backgrounds in these action scenes needed to give the impression of complete mountain ranges, including distant peaks with a black 'sky'. NASA obviously wanted us to see the LM, astronauts, the LRV and the full extent of the surrounding mountains in all-encompassing images such as the two scenes below.
Who moved the LM this time?
AS17-134-20437-20443 top composite & AS17-147-22494-22521 lower composite – (notice the US flag is missing)
Viewed on their own these shots are convincing, and do the trick. But tricks they are, because:
1) the LM cannot change position,
2) the LM cannot change size in relation to the mountain backdrops if the viewpoint is the same, and if the focal length of the lens (60mm Biogon) and the camera used (Hasselblad 500 Lunar Surface Camera) are the same in each case.
Features 'B', 'D' and 'E' are recognisable from the Split Rock composite we studied earlier. It is clearly impossible for the tiny LM set amidst the HUGE mountains (inset image AS17-139-21204) at location 'E' to tie in with either scene in the above composites. Compare with the study at the top of the page, and see also Jack White's studies on the subject.
In a wide view taking in all of the surrounding area, any given location which is host to a large object such as the LM cannot change from picture to picture. However, the above examples reveal that the foreground and background elements were totally interchangeable at any scale the lab technicians wished to use. This tactic produced a far greater variation of imagery than otherwise achievable.
It could not, under any circumstances, have been possible for a LM to have landed simultaneously at both the western and the eastern sides of Split Rock. It could not have been possible for the solitary astronaut in the above image to be working on the valley floor exactly where the LM was supposed to land. But contradictions such as these are exactly what the photographic and TV record actually shows.
Our analysis of these Taurus-Littrow valley pictures demonstrates, once again, that this fakery could not have been accidental. Moreover, these are far more than 'mistakes', 'errors' or acts of 'sloppiness' by any image processing/enhancement* expert working at NASA. Therefore it can only be concluded that it was intentional: whistle-blowing by technicians determined to highlight the fabrication of the Apollo record in which they may have been unwillingly involved.
The images from this epic mission are silent witnesses to the art of photographic fakery raised to the highest degree and further evidence that all is not well with the Apollo photographic record – not well at all.
In fact, the record is in tatters.