As time passes since the last days of Apollo, an increasing number of anomalies in the Apollo record are coming to light, thanks to the diligence of many researchers. We include some of these new findings below.
The best 'trackless rover' photograph?
This ‘trackless rover’ finding is from Kazimierz Ozóg, who lives in Poland. The above photo was taken from the LM window, showing the LRV and the flag. This picture, as well as similar photos (21352/53 & 21358) of the lunar rover (LRV) were allegedly taken during the Apollo 17 mission on the Moon.
This series of photographs purport to be post EVA #2. Although this photo leads us to believe that the rover has been driven extensively (background tracks in shot) and suffered wear and tear (repair to right rear fender), looking at a closer view it is abundantly clear that there are no tracks immediately behind or under the vehicle generated by the arriving LRV. If the LRV had already been driven as implied by this image, why not?
It is also noteworthy that the right rear wheel has the benefit of additional illumination to bring out the detail of the right rear wheel tread, separating it from the wheel's own shadow. The technique of using close up reflectors and carefully-placed lights is used in automobile photography to make a vehicle look its best. No artificial lights were taken to the Moon during Apollo – but see studies at the end of this article.
It could be argued that the astronauts moving around the vehicle may have partly disturbed any rover tracks – but there are none visible whatsoever – not even under the LRV. (See previous picture AS17-140-21354, and photo AS17-140-21358 above.)
Apollo 11 lens flares
Kazimierz Ozóg has also drawn our attention to an Apollo 11 composite image created by Ed Hengeveld – a space flight historian who lives in the Netherlands.
Apollo 11 LM – composite
We assembled our own version (above) from photo numbers AS11-40-5850, 5863-69 and 5935 – the latter being essentially the flare of the ‘sun’ – located just outside the image frame. The main part of the large flare in AS11-40-5935 was placed in a position to roughly approximate the location of the studio light source, the 'sun'.
During the original photography of these individual Apollo 11 images, a variety of lens flares were registered. We have superimposed Kazimierz Ozóg's lines tracing three separate axes of these lens element flares. (Lens flare is the non-image forming light entering the lens in such a way as to reflect off the internal surfaces of the lens, thus causing the flare elements themselves to become incorporated into the image).
Does this composite reveal the differing directions of the various key light sources positioned at the time of photography to ensure the best-lit result for each of the individual shots? See also studies analysing the 'sun' later in this article.
A familiar Apollo 17 image
However, the version shown below, enhanced by Kazimierz Ozóg, is not the image located in the Apollo Archive and the Apollo Lunar Surface Journal, but can be found at another NASA website, it is catalogued there as GPN-2000-001137.jpg.
For some reason the black area immediately surrounding the astronaut is a full, rich black, whereas the background to the flag and the earth has a much noisier, grainier black ‘sky’ – graduated in density.
In What happened on the Moon? it was suggested that it would have been difficult for a photographer to take the above picture. This conclusion was reached because in the Apollo 17 TV recording of the EVA, the astronaut appears unable to get down low enough to take this picture at such an upwards angle.
So is AS17-134-20384 a composite image? Was the flag superimposed over a picture of an astronaut, or an astronaut combined with a shot of a flag and its reflection? Jack White has also investigated this image.
Update 2017: see Shadows in the Lunar Sky? by Leonid Konovalov, of the Russian State University of Cinematography.
Another example of ‘blacking out’, in this case crude black retouching around an object in an Apollo photo is shown below:
AS11-44-6581 LM supposedly in flight (enhanced)
Retouching any black regions (as in the above example) means making an area solid black. This is done sometimes to conceal the fact that different blacks might show up in a montage. It is also a technique deployed when unwanted objects in the background need to be concealed that may be faintly visible 'through' the black.
If done correctly, the technician should follow the edge of an object exactly. But if the subject contains fine detail, including flares and contact probes attached to the feet, as in the case above, it is easier and simpler to just ‘skirt around’ a section. See also studies by Jack White.
And again blacking out – crudely executed – is apparent around the astronaut and LM in this Apollo 12 photograph (AS12-46-6726) to be found at http://grin.hq.nasa.gov and listed as GPN-2000-001317, see our enhanced versions below. Kazimierz Ozóg brought our attention to this example:
A close up of the area around the astronaut (see below) reveals in more detail crude retouching of the black ‘sky’. Note the un-retouched black to the right of his right leg – the un-retouched 'noisy' green zone.
Revisiting the Apollo 16 ‘Jump Salute’
A further anomaly regarding the ‘jump salute’ TV scene has been found by Apollo researcher Pascal Aauger who lives in France. After studying the sequence frame-by-frame, he has concluded that the astronaut remains suspended for 0.3 seconds before beginning his return back down to the surface, while the ‘lunar dust’ commences its fall back again after just 0.1 second.
Therefore Pascal Aauger concludes that the astronaut stays at the highest point of his jump trajectory for three times longer than the dust.
He asks, can there be a strange law of gravitation on the Moon that does not apply similarly to the astronaut and the dust?
Or did a wire aid the astronaut? Update 2019: see Apollo Smoke & Mirrors
Apollo 11 anomalous footprint – and added flag?
As we have pointed out previously in the Apollo 11 photos AS11-40-5874 and 5875 there is a single, clear boot print lying at 90 degrees across the boot tracks that lead out from the flag to the camera position (see also close up below).
This extra large boot print has 12 rib marks. The other astronaut boot marks in this picture have 9 rib imprints. There is absolutely no sign of any other prints made by this lonesome boot.
Without a companion, or any other prints lying in the same direction and in the same vicinity, it is very difficult to see how this anomalous imprint could have come about. Such an occurrence is more consistent with the single imprint of a support of some kind, perhaps introduced to carry out an adjustment on the set and placed in the 'wrong' direction. Even, more probable, intentional whistle-blowing.
Jack White has demonstrated in his study of the above scene that the flag in this image casts no shadow. But closer examination suggests the minimal disturbance around the base of the flag pole is inconsistent with it having been anchored into the surface.
Was the flag pole added to the photograph? Is this the reason why there is no shadow?
Apollo 17 anomalous imprint
Henrique Marinho who lives in Curitiba-PR Brazil has pointed out another anomalous imprint or indentation visible on the above Apollo image.
AS17-145-22169 close up enhanced by Jack White
This bizarre imprint looks like a rectangular frame. (Scaffold support base? The same imprint is also present in the adjacent Apollo image, AS17-145-22170.)
Is this really the Sun?
Kazimierz Ozóg noticed an interesting aspect of this photo from the Apollo 12 record. He considers that this is unlikely to be the sun, as surely it would be so bright as to burn out totally white. After darkening the image it appeared to him to be an artificial light source. See his enhanced study below:
AS12-46-6765 enhanced close up
This recent finding has very serious implications. It again suggests that the 'sun' in the Apollo photographs may not have been the sun at all, but a large, artificial light source. This possibility was first postulated in DARK MOON and the video production What Happened on the Moon? See also: Why is the Sun so Big?
And as a Post Script, Jack White has enhanced a further version (see below) from another image taken during the same Apollo mission.
Aulis Online, 2007