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Did Man Walk on the Moon in 1969?

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Author Topic: Did Man Walk on the Moon in 1969?  (Read 628 times)
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« on: September 17, 2010, 07:00:01 am »
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Editor's Notes: *According to Andrew Chaikin, author of A Man on the Moon the LRV averaged only 5 to 7 miles per hour, which would reduce even further the time available for photography.

Timing Out
Taking the Apollo 11 mission as his example, and the Apollo 11 Lunar Surface Journal (1) consulted by Jack White in this Skeleton article, an 'apollogist' or critic, has posted a long refutation of the above time and motion study. This critic asserts that a shot rate per mission calculated on time available over number of photos taken is inappropriate, since some pictures took longer than others, and that the pictures were taken during the tasks over the whole EVA period.
This is not a point that Jack White is disputing.

Taking the Apollo 11 EVA of 151 minutes, the critic would prefer that the photos are evaluated according to his own calculations which split the EVA into 9 segments of 'about 15 minutes each' (2). Working from the Apollo 11 Lunar Surface Journal, this critic has estimated the number of photos taken for each segment.

According to these criteria there are variable averages of 7.5 minutes (segment two) to 2.5 minutes (segment six) or 31 seconds (segment seven). However, when studying the actual mission elapsed time line we can see that this is not a reflection of the time allowed for photography at all. Nor is the approximate 15 minute segment a true reflection of the time taken by each bundle of tasks that this critic has allocated per segment. Further, while taking Jack White to task for not listing the EVA tasks in the correct order, the critic splits single EVA tasks (such as the flag ceremony) across two separate 'segments' and also splits multiple panorama shots across 'segments'. As it turns out, this critic's method simply demonstrates that at some points in the mission fewer shots were taken than at others.
Not a point Jack White is disputing either.

Nor is the critic's argument the same. He proposes that there was plenty of time for photography since it was spread across the mission. Jack White proposes that given the workload, the number of photographs to be taken, and the conditions under which they were taken, there was not enough time to achieve the standard of photography revealed within the official Apollo record. Not to mention the anomalies!

Jack White's critic demonstrates that he is in a muddle about what he is trying to prove by recommending the ideal method for ascertaining accurately the time available for photography. While not doing it himself, due to the amount of time it would take, he thinks is necessary to note each shot relative to the mission elapsed timings. Taking this advice to heart and also checking the tasks of each astronaut against their individual EVA timings (3) does indeed take hours.
It also produces the following result:

The Apollo 11 EVA workload was ............2hrs 03 minutes
The time allocated to photography was........... 28 minutes
The average time to point-and-shoot .......121 photos was 13.88 seconds
The average time to point-and-shoot .......122 photos (2) 13.77 seconds

These figures demonstrate two things:

a) The role of astronaut photography in this mission was minimal, and most of it was of the point-and-shoot variety. Which begs the question regarding those carefully composed shots.

b) There is a difference between a time and motion study as per Jack White, demonstrating the time available for photography within a mission, and the dissenter's demonstration of the moment within that mission during which that photography took place.

Using the second demonstration as a response to the first is to merely demonstrate these differences, and saying that "White suggests in his study that the work load was such that there should have been two hours with no photography" is a false premise. Yet this statement turns out to be virtually correct when it comes to evaluating the amount of time required for the EVA workload. It would appear that this critic may have done all these calculations and then muddled his paperwork.

As a result of the foregoing, it is clear that Jack White's conclusion of a reserved time of 31 minutes for the Hasselblad still photography across the Apollo 11 EVA, was virtually spot on. We are down to 28 minutes.

In any event, the crux of the matter is that on average across all missions, one photograph had to have been taken every 50 seconds even if Apollo astronauts were doing nothing but photography while allegedly on the Moon.

(1) Lunar Surface Journal reference: http://history.nasa.gov/alsj/frame.html used by White, critic and Aulis editor in this matter of the Apollo 11 EVA.
(2) Critic's posting: 'Bad Apprentice': Wed Apr 20, 2005 10:28 pm on badastronomy.com. His segments are 'approx. 15 mins', his total photos is 122:
1. 0 photos; 2. 20 photos; 3. 2 photos; 4. 4 photos; 5. 17 photos; 6. 25 photos; 7. 29 photos; 8. 19 photos, 9. 6 photos.
(3) The Apollo 11, NASA Mission Report volume 3 (complied from the NASA archives, Edited by Robert Godwin) pp 145/174.

"Apollo debates are usually dominated by physics arguments which can be confusing for most people. Jack White's new analysis is breath-taking in its simplicity: now anyone can understand the evidence and come to their own conclusion."

John P. Costella PhD
Dr. Costella is a physicist living in Australia

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