We hardly like to say "you've heard it all before from us," but the NASA administrator, Sean O'Keefe delivered to audiences what we related to you back in 1999 within the pages of Dark Moon: Apollo and the Whistle-Blowers.
In a significant speech delivered in Washington on 26 March 2002 O'Keefe told his audience of aerospace professionals that NASA faced two key technical obstacles in the exploration of space:
1) Power and propulsion in deep space.
2) The hazardous radiation environment for humans travelling beyond Earth.
Radiation was referred to as "one of the greatest challenges" faced by NASA, and yet was only number two on O'Keefe's wish list! And given the magnitude of that second challenge, then imagine what needs to be done for the first: that of creating long haul space craft capable of both undertaking the required trip and protecting passengers against problem number two – radiation. O'Keefe stated that NASA's efforts should now go into R&D in these two key areas, rather than in targeting a destination such as the Moon or Mars.
Referring to the Apollo Moon missions he said its true success was not the choice of a destination but more the "demonstration of what we could do" (emphasis added). He also stated that if NASA couldn't conquer the problems he had set out, then "we are engaging in fantasy".
We had already said that too, but maybe he didn't mean it quite as we did – or did he? And we hope he doesn't mean it the way we think he might if that R&D does not work out!
Finally, since NASA itself is stating that radiation in deep space is more than twice the levels measured on the ISS, we should add that The Sky at Night team might like to refer to base before making assertions that turn out to be wrong. Yes, we know, we have already said that elsewhere.
In fact, in order not repeat ourselves any further, we think that this would be a good moment to take a breather – if the Administrator of NASA can acknowledge the major problems faced by human space travel (and these problems haven't in any way changed since Apollo – missions that had variations of problem one and all of problem two as their obstacles) then surely Apollo skeptics and believers can make peace with each other and recognise that we have all turned a corner.
Isn't it now time for all of us to get on with the future? To get behind those trying to seek the appropriate solutions to these technical obstacles that are hindering the true exploration of space by human beings?
Mary Bennett & David S Percy
Aulis Online, 2002
I bought and read your book (Dark Moon) several years ago and was duly impressed – a great effort at trying to stir the pot of our cultural addiction to myth. The bottom line in all this for me is not so much were we fooled but could we have been fooled? And the answer to the latter is a resounding and absolute, YES!
Apollo researcher, USA
I'm inclined to believe the landing was a hoax, on the basis of a rational argument as regards the propagandistic norms of government relative to the high degree of risk involved. Staging [Apollo] makes sense; and the photographic and other anomalies are to me convincing.
Thanks for the very interesting insights into science, government and the media. It is down such a path, I believe, that a more accurate understanding of our past, present and future is to be found.
T.S. Apollo researcher