Apollo Investigation

Seeing Stars?

by Mary Bennett, 2017

The latest attempt to further remind us of the reality of Project Apollo comes in the form of a new movie In the Shadow of the Moon directed by David Sington – released in the US in September 2007 and eventually to air on Discovery Channel.

This documentary wants Project Apollo to reprise its role as a political tool designed to advance American interests on the world stage. Only this time around, the aim is apparently to unify and heal the American people, after the damage done to themselves and their world image, by their latest choice of administration.

This point was succinctly put by Cara Mentez, the Sundance Film Festival’s documentary director:

The way in which the film tells, in some sense, the story of the American dream is particularly moving now. These are troubling times for a people brought up on the dreams of a civil society and the values of democracy. Many, many people in this country are grappling with a deep and damaging contradiction: America stands for freedom, and yet is exercising its dominance in the world by bringing oppression, chaos, war and instability. This film is a reminder of a seemingly long-ago moment when the dream seemed possible, and a world that might be united through its humanity didn't seem so utopian.

Sington’s team had access to NASA’s cold storage facility of ‘extraordinary archival footage’, from which they chose some four hours of footage as the basis for their final documentary. If the selection of shots on their website gallery is anything to go by, the numerous problems and countless anomalies we have already discussed at length at Aulis Online concerning the Apollo photographic record apparently went totally unnoticed by the production team.

But then as Sington has ‘unabashed admiration’ for the astronauts and a ‘sense of wonder’ at the Apollo achievements, he might not have had the objectivity to be able to see the problems rife within the Apollo record.

Indeed if the aim of this film is to raise morale, then the fact that it comes from the same stable, or the stable next door to that ‘living history of the Apollo missions’, the Apollo Lunar Surface Journal, informs our readers that this is yet another attempt to maintain the status quo against all odds. For we have learned from a NASA employee (who wishes to remain anonymous) that there are indeed discrepancies in this documentary.

This person was particularly aware of the fact that one of the Apollo astronauts in the movie refers to looking into the blackness of space from the Moon. But this NASA employee says it’s not the way that it would have been. What struck this person was the incongruity of the astronauts' accounts in contrast with the first civilian astronaut Mike Melvill’s description during his recent, albeit brief, visit to space as reported in Cape Times:

"Seeing the bright blue sky turning pitch-black and seeing stars appear while it is daytime is absolutely mind-blowing."

Melvill was amazed by the stars, whereas the Apollo astronauts were not.

While defenders of NASA might say that the Apollo astronauts were simply emphasizing the blackness of space, and not the stars – we do know that the stars are indeed visible from the lunar surface. Of course the Apollo astronauts would have seen stars from the lunar surface as clearly and as vividly as did Mike Melvill.

(One cannot help but conclude that such statements are intended to help explain away the absence of any specific Apollo images taken by Hasselblad Lunar Surface Cameras of the canopy of stars visible from the Moon.)

For this movie to uphold such statements is doubly sad, for this NASA employee had been questioning the veracity of Apollo for some time. However, watching this documentary confirmed and increased this individual’s need to question, even further, the accuracy of the Apollo record. For with this obvious discrepancy retained – when it would have been perfectly possible to both explain and correct such information – dismay set in.

And it must be said that this avoidable inaccuracy, combined with the numerous anomalies in the official record of 9/11, that many loyal Americans are now being obliged to consider, has shocked this particular NASA employee into taking a much closer look at Apollo.

Surely then, if these documentary makers truly wanted an uplifting, unifying, patriotic experience, this reaction is the opposite result to that intended by the filmmakers. They have missed a golden opportunity to not only heal their nation but also set the Apollo record straight.

If however they are looking to reinforce the status quo on Apollo, then they are flogging a dead horse, for as we have adequately demonstrated the Apollo record is now in tatters.

That fact that the enormous ‘sun’ in all the Apollo imagery has been shown to be more than four times too large, and an artificial light source, is sufficient to demonstrate that Apollo’s chariot should stay in the stables, for perpetuating the same old falsehoods will no longer work. Thanks to their best endeavours we are all growing up fast and in trotting out this tired formula once too often – a bystander, most loyal of citizens and loyal employee, has been forced to exclaim:

“Look! NASA is wearing no clothes!”

Mary Bennett

Aulis Online, 2007

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Full Mike Melvill article:

Astronaut visits SA after SpaceShipOne trip

Cape Times March 30, 2005

Mike Melvill
Photo: Alan Taylor


Spaceship aviator: SpaceShipOne
pilot Mike Melvill stands beside a Long Ez aircraft – the design was used to build SpaceShipOne

By Miriam Mannak

About nine months after piloting the first privately-sponsored flight to space, SA-born astronaut Mike Melvill, 63, visited the Stellenbosch Flying Club for a presentation on this landmark achievement in the history of space aviation.

In September Melvill became the first civilian astronaut to reach space in a privately financed spacecraft, the SpaceShipOne. Until then only governments had undertaken flights into space.

Melvill – who moved from South Africa to the US in the 1960s – said a childhood dream came true when he travelled into space, saw the Earth from above and reached the level of weightlessness.

It was a dream he had thought could not be realised. "I never thought it would happen as the money was a serious issue. We needed R1.5 billion to realise the project."

This obstacle was overcome two and a half years before SpaceShipOne took off with space as its destination.

"Co-founder of Microsoft Paul Allen decided to take on the financing. He just gave us the money and we did the job. Simple as that. Allen did it without questioning our plans – which was quite extraordinary," said Melvill.

Flying into space was not his only dream.

"My next goal is the cultivation of space tourism," he said. "I want to take thousands of people to space and share with them the experience of being up there. I want to show them how planet Earth looks from up there, how it feels to be weightless.

"Seeing the bright blue sky turning pitch-black and seeing stars appear while it is daytime is absolutely mind-blowing."

Melvill said he aimed to take 3,000 civilians to space within the next three years – despite the high costs of such a venture.

"At the moment travelling to space will cost about $2-million (R1.6-million) for each person." Such a trip would be more affordable in five years, Melvill said.

"I estimate a trip to space (then) will cost about $10,000 for each person," he said. Other than working hard on realising this dream, Melvill travels the world telling people about the experiences he had in space.

"It is the first time in eight years that I am here in South Africa. I don't come here often as it is a long trip. And an expensive one, too."

Source: Cape Times

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