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  Apollo 11: Preservation of the first lunar footprint (Page 2)

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Author Topic:   Apollo 11: Preservation of the first lunar footprint
David C
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posted 08-05-2014 04:54 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for David C     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sev8n:
Those of us who know (or are) test pilots know that checklists and procedures are to be followed to the letter, which appears to be exactly what Aldrin did.
Well, I used to be a good boy and fly the card, but I know several who deviated, sometimes the results were embarrassing, other times it was actually pretty useful.

Flight test has changed with the passage of nearly half a century, and anyway, Aldrin was not a tp. I used to be firmly in your camp, but having since met Aldrin several times I consider him fully capable of intentionally not taking the opportunity. That's simply my personal opinion of his character. Does that mean he did? Of course not, only he knows that.

His photo of Neil in the LM is excellent and to me possibly better than an anonymous looking surface shot.

moorouge
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posted 08-05-2014 07:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for moorouge   Click Here to Email moorouge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
There is no evidence to suggest that Aldrin acted in any other way but professional, so to suggest otherwise is speculation.

This cuts both ways Robert. As pointed out, only Aldrin knows the answer. No one is suggesting that Aldrin didn't act in a professional manner, only questioning why he did so to the exclusion of a posed photo of Armstrong on the surface given that he had the opportunity.

MCroft04
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posted 08-05-2014 07:44 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for MCroft04   Click Here to Email MCroft04     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
While we're lower looping, let's consider the time wasted by the phone call from President Nixon. That would have given the 2 moon walkers several more minutes to collect samples or even take more photographs. In my opinion Nixon should have called once they were back in the LM.

My point is that Aldrin and Armstrong had so little time on the EVA that it's easy to understand how something could have been overlooked had it not been scripted by a check list.

For those who believe that Aldrin deliberately avoided taking a photo of Armstrong, I suggest that you pull out the video and watch the entire EVA to get a feel for how busy they were.

Is it possible the Aldrin purposely avoided taking the photo? Of course it is. But is it likely? No.

schnappsicle
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posted 08-05-2014 08:21 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for schnappsicle   Click Here to Email schnappsicle     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by David C:
His photo of Neil in the LM is excellent and to me possibly better than an anonymous looking surface shot.

Aldrin's shot of Armstrong at the MESA reminds me of the photo Joe Rosenthal took of the flag raising on Iwo Jima. You can't see the faces of any of the Marines in the flag raising shot either, which is what makes it such a great shot.

While I would have loved a visor shot of Armstrong, I think the way things happened turned out for the best. Armstrong didn't have to sign a bunch of photos of himself on the moon and Aldrin gets to sit at autograph tables and collect his money. They both win.

Rusty53
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posted 08-05-2014 03:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rusty53     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have read that Nixon's call came just after Neil Armstrong took Buzz Aldrin's picture saluting the flag, and that the plan was to hand the camera over to Buzz so that he could return the favor.

Perhaps the call interrupted the plan and in the rush to accomplish as many of the surface activities as possible they forgot about the camera exchange?

Captain Apollo
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posted 08-05-2014 05:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Captain Apollo   Click Here to Email Captain Apollo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Not according to James Hansen, "the sequence of events as evidenced in the NASA communications transcript shows that the first word of Nixon's call did not come to the astronauts until well after Neil took the picture of Aldrin saluting the flag; the picture was taken during a break in communications very shortly after 04:14:10:33 elapsed time whereas the news that Nixon wanted to talk to them came at 04:14:15:47. During most of that five-minute-and-fourteen-second interval, the two men were no longer even together. Following the flag planting, Armstrong moved back to the LM, the camera still with him. There, at the MESA, he prepared to collect his first rock samples. Aldrin moved out westward from the LM a distance of some fifty feet before rejoining Neil at the MESA."

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-05-2014 05:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Armstrong's and Aldrin's commentary discussing the Nixon call for the Apollo Lunar Surface Journal reflect the schedule pressure they both felt they were under:
Armstrong - "We were behind."

Aldrin - "Possibly, the original schedule hadn't included the plaque and the flag."

Armstrong - "That's true."

Aldrin - "And the Oval Office is just about to put us even further behind."

So even before the call from the White House, both men seemed to be aware they were running behind schedule.

This whole question of taking photos of Armstrong might have been able to put to a final rest if the flag photos were not done during a comm break. If only there was a record of what Armstrong and Aldrin said to each other between Aldrin saluting the flag and Armstrong heading back to the MESA.

LM-12
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posted 08-06-2014 06:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Buzz Aldrin only took about 45 photos during the EVA, and that included two panoramas, LM inspection photos and the bootprint photos.

Frame 5886 may be the only good image of Armstrong on the surface, but Aldrin did manage to get Armstrong and the flag in the same shot.

onesmallstep
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posted 08-07-2014 02:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for onesmallstep   Click Here to Email onesmallstep     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Interesting how this thread has evolved. To take it in another direction, if Aldrin had taken more pictures of Armstrong and Armstrong just a few (or none) of Aldrin, would we still question the Apollo 11 Commander's judgment or picture choices as we are doing with Aldrin?

Or is it due to Armstrong's stature since his passing, and the importance (and nostalgia) surrounding the moon landing? As often happens in history (or 'real life'), the outcome does not often follow the intended script or our own wishes, Oversight, yes-but no conspiracy or deliberate act.

datkatz
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posted 08-07-2014 06:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for datkatz   Click Here to Email datkatz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by onesmallstep:
Oversight, yes-but no conspiracy or deliberate act.
And you know this for a fact because...?

David C
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posted 08-07-2014 06:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for David C     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by onesmallstep:
Or is it due to Armstrong's stature since his passing, and the importance (and nostalgia) surrounding the moon landing?
No, this has not suddenly cropped up as a topic of conversation since Armstrong passed away, it's been going for decades.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-07-2014 08:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by David C:
...it's been going for decades.
But it is important to note that it does not date back to the time of the mission itself.

This myth (and in the absence of evidence it must be considered a myth) emerged decades after the first moon landing.

Case in point, it wasn't until 1986 that Aldrin's photo of Armstrong at the MESA was identified as being Armstrong. Why? Because the prevailing perception at NASA was that Aldrin never had the camera (in part due to errors in the transcript).

Had there been a belief within NASA that Aldrin had acted improperly — having had the chance but purposely foregoing photographing Armstrong — then the perception that Aldrin never had the camera wouldn't have had the chance to take hold.

moorouge
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posted 08-08-2014 08:00 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for moorouge   Click Here to Email moorouge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As a historian I worry about the accuracy of statements about thoughts and feelings made some twenty or more years after the event. The intervening years allow time for perceptions and attitudes to change. It worries me even more when the thoughts expressed years later are taken to be conclusive proof of what was being thought at the time of the event in question. This is not to say those recollecting events are lying, but one has to be aware that what they say may be coloured, perhaps even mellowed, by the passing years.

On edit - of course, another factor in determining the weight one places on these statements made later depends on one's opinion of the person making them.

onesmallstep
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posted 08-08-2014 01:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for onesmallstep   Click Here to Email onesmallstep     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
All statements so far as to explaining Aldrin's actions (or inactions) should be taken as opinions, as the 'evidence' cited by many to try to get into Aldrin's mind is skimpy or circumstantial at best. Given the controversy surrounding who would step out of Eagle first (covered in depth in other threads on cS), and Aldrin's personality and healthy ego, it would be natural to assume he acted out of spite in not taking more photos of Armstrong on the Moon.

However, even well-intentioned plans not even on a prescribed EVA checklist can go wrong. Alan Bean had a timer for a camera in order to take a photo of both him and Apollo 12 Commander Pete Conrad together on the lunar surface, but could not find it in time (it was found later stuffed into one of his space suit pockets, which he then threw onto the surface). And the confusion in pictures as to who was Bean and Conrad led to the red stripes being worn by the mission Commander in subsequent Apollo flights.

It is curious, though, why no effort was made to make a posed photo of BOTH Moonwalkers on any of the flights. Which brings up an important point: Given the tight script of all the lunar EVAs (even on the later, longer stays of the J missions), the primary goal was obviously science, exploration and engineering, with photography in a supporting role documenting the geology and surroundings. If the photos captured the astronauts at work or posing with the flag, that was considered a photo to document the mission for posterity and was left to the photographer behind the lens. I'm sure on the first manned Mars flight everyone will have a camera to take a selfie or group shot when the time comes!

p51
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posted 08-08-2014 01:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for p51   Click Here to Email p51     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by onesmallstep:
I'm sure on the first manned Mars flight everyone will have a camera to take a selfie or group shot when the time comes!

No doubt of that.

I am surprised that with Al Bean's missed chance for a shot of him with Conrad on Apollo 12, why a serious official effort wasn't thought of on the J missions when they would have had the time?

LM-12
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posted 08-09-2014 09:02 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Figure 3-3 in the pre-flight Apollo 11 Lunar Surface Operations Plan shows that the MESA camera field of view was to have included the LM footpad and Armstrong's boots. The actual field of view seems to have been cut off around knee level.

0+30 into the EVA, Armstrong was to "transfer still camera to surface" and tether it. About 5 minutes later, Aldrin was to "place spare Hasselblad camera on floor at left side of +Z hatch" before backing out of the LM hatch.

A 70mm camera, with black and white film, will be used for surface photography from the LM and will be transferred to the surface if a malfunction of the other camera occurs.

datkatz
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posted 08-09-2014 04:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for datkatz   Click Here to Email datkatz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
This myth (and in the absence of evidence it must be considered a myth) emerged decades after the first moon landing.
There's absolutely no evidence supporting any religion, either. While I feel they are all myths, many here would disagree.

There is an equal lack of evidence to support all the theories presented here as to why Aldrin failed to take what is arguably the most important (from an historical perspective) photo of the moonwalk. No evidence whatsoever that he was conserving film, or he didn't have time, or he didn't take it because he wasn't expressly directed to in the flight plan, or he didn't think of it, or... So by your reasoning, those must be myths, as well.

The only possible evidence would be Aldrin saying it was an intentional act (or failure to act). I doubt that will ever happen.

quote:
Why? Because the prevailing perception at NASA was that Aldrin never had the camera (in part due to errors in the transcript).
How can that be? The boot selfie was always recognized as Aldrin's boot.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-09-2014 08:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by datkatz:
...arguably the most important (from an historical perspective) photo of the moonwalk.
The most important photo, from a historical perspective, is arguably (and simply) a man on the moon.

John F. Kennedy didn't challenge the nation to send Neil Armstrong to the moon. He challenged the nation to send "a man" to the moon and the photo of such was proof positive of that goal having been met.

Everything else (photo-wise) was a bonus.

quote:
How can that be? The boot selfie was always recognized as Aldrin's boot.
That boot shot is still mistaken for Armstrong's even today.

To quote Armstrong (from the ALSJ):

"As a matter of fact, I think a lot of them didn't know that you (Buzz) ever took pictures with the Hasselblad. I don't know why they wouldn't; because if they looked through the dialog where you made that statement (about taking the pan), NASA wouldn't have made that (mistake)."

datkatz
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posted 08-09-2014 09:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for datkatz   Click Here to Email datkatz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Sorry, Robert, but I strongly disagree. From an historical perspective a photo of the first man wins. The two moonwalkers are certainly not interchangeable.

Assuming photography existed at the time, do you suppose you could find a single historian who'd say that a photo of any Santa Maria crewman ashore in the New World is just as good as a photo of Columbus ashore?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-09-2014 10:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by datkatz:
The two moonwalkers are certainly not interchangeable.
Of course they are interchangeable.

The very fact that they were almost completely unrecognizable from one another once their visors were down only emphasizes that point. NASA didn't even recognize a desire — let alone a need — to tell the two apart until after the mission was over.

Had Armstrong and Aldrin been limited to taking just one photo, the priority would have been to capture a man on the moon. It didn't matter which man, only that man was there.

(As for Columbus, unlike Armstrong or Aldrin, he isn't remembered for what he did on the surface [shore], but for [falsely] discovering the New World. His ship's crew are seen [wrongly] as carrying out his vision. Armstrong and Aldrin were equals who made history together. They have more in common with Lewis and Clark then they do Columbus.)

datkatz
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posted 08-09-2014 11:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for datkatz   Click Here to Email datkatz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
Had Armstrong and Aldrin been limited to taking just one photo, the priority would have been to capture a man on the moon. It didn't matter which man, only that man was there.
Mere conjecture on your part, Robert. NASA went to a great deal of trouble to make sure that man's first steps on the moon were transmitted back home. If any steps would have sufficed, it would have been much easier to simply have Armstrong hold a TV camera as Aldrin stepped off. But it wasn't done that way because they were not interchangeable.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-09-2014 11:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Because historic priority was the only possible reason to want to broadcast TV from the start of the EVA?

Maybe they should have had Aldrin get out first and stand on the footpad so he could photograph Armstrong coming down the ladder and making the first step.

moorouge
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posted 08-10-2014 01:42 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for moorouge   Click Here to Email moorouge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
NASA didn't even recognize a desire — let alone a need — to tell the two apart until after the mission was over.

And therein lies the biggest failure of Apollo in the opinion of many that NASA didn't recognise the importance of keeping the public onside with more pro-active output into what they were doing.

On edit - Robert, when you say that Columbus is falsly remembered for discovering America I assume that you are alluding to the Vikings, etc.. However, it's worth noting that Columbus was not on a voyage of discovery, nor did he claim to be. All he was after was a quicker, more profitable and less dangerous route to the riches of India. Unfortunately for him, the Americas got in the way.

datkatz
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posted 08-10-2014 03:10 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for datkatz   Click Here to Email datkatz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
Maybe they should have had Aldrin get out first and stand on the footpad so he could photograph Armstrong coming down the ladder and making the first step.
Deliberate obfuscation, Robert. Your suggestion is not even self-consistent.

NASA made sure that the historic first steps on the moon were transmitted, and not the (in your view just as good, and far easier to televise) second man's steps. They spared no expense and effort to do so, because the two astronauts were not interchangeable; the true historic event was Armstrong stepping off the footpad.

As I said before, if "all man's lunar foot steps were created equal," NASA would have had Armstrong, already on the lunar surface, transmit Aldrin stepping off. Easier, cheaper, less weight carried (could have been translated into more samples returned), and far better resolution. That they did not do it this way speaks volumes.

GACspaceguy
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posted 08-10-2014 06:23 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for GACspaceguy   Click Here to Email GACspaceguy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Almost hate to step in here but I do want to interject a thought from one who witnessed the event and would ask the thoughts of others who not only watched the event but followed space at the time.

While still film/photo images are very clear and impressive, it was the live broadcast that I cared about. TV was still relatively new to the general public and by then most everyone had one. (In fact, my parents bought a small TV to have at the campground we were at so they would not miss the landing event and we went home to watch the first steps.)

At the time if you had told me the only still photos were of Aldrin it would not have phased me as the first steps were on TV as well as entire EVA, what more do you need? Also, they did a replay the next day so you know they had the complete event captured for all of history.

It is only now, in our conspiracy riddled society that we are being forced to look at an oversight as some contrived plot of revenge inside one of man's greatest adventure.

So for those that were there what are your thoughts of the stills vs the TV documentation that we all witnessed?

datkatz
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posted 08-10-2014 12:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for datkatz   Click Here to Email datkatz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I "was there," as well. It was the summer after my freshman year in college, and I was working in the university's Nuclear Structure Lab. I was listening to the radio when the Eagle landed, and, with many others, watched the historic first steps on a dorm-room TV.

Of course nothing could ever beat that telecast. But it sure would be nice to have a good photo of Armstrong on the moon.

By the way, we will never know why that photo was not taken. Only Aldrin knows for sure. But, as he was the only person involved, believing the omission was deliberate is not a "conspiracy theory."

LM-12
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posted 08-10-2014 02:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM-12     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Too bad the EVA timeline did not have Aldrin using that spare 70mm camera during the moonwalk.

Blackarrow
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posted 08-10-2014 03:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
On my side of the Atlantic, the landing took place at 9.18 p.m. When it was clear the EVA was going to be brought forward (to around 3.00 a.m.) my father sent me and my younger brother to bed (I was 14 and we were tired, having arrived home from our holidays half an hour before the landing). He promised to wake us up to see the EVA, and fortunately he kept his word.

I vividly recall being frustrated at how long it took to depressurize "Eagle's" cabin before the astronauts were able to open the hatch. When we got TV pictures, I was horrified that the picture was upside down and very relieved when this was corrected. Finally, when Armstrong was climbing down the ladder, only his foot was initially visible silhouetted against the lunar horizon.

There had been a great deal of speculation about what Armstrong would say when he first stepped onto the Moon, so I was disappointed when he jumped off the ladder and said nothing particularly memorable. I don't remember anyone telling the TV audience that he would first jump onto the footpad, and therefore hadn't actually made his first historic step.

However, I soon worked out what was happening and was able to record Armstrong's first words (without the "a") in my diary, which I still have. It was a truly memorable night. One of the few advantages of being 59, rather than 49 or 39 or 29 is that I saw Neil Armstrong stepping onto the Moon, live on TV.

sev8n
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posted 08-10-2014 04:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for sev8n     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
By datkatz' logic, the First Man On The Moon should have said "That's one small step for Neil Armstrong..."

But he didn't. The act was mankind's accomplishment, not his personally. His words reflected that fact.

datkatz
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posted 08-10-2014 05:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for datkatz   Click Here to Email datkatz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Was that modus ponens, or modus tollens, sev8n?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-10-2014 07:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Let's try looking at this another way: Suppose Aldrin had photographed Armstrong.

How different would it be from the shot we already have?

I think (I hope?) we can agree that the most iconic shot of an astronaut taken during the Apollo 11 mission was the photo of Aldrin standing on the moon, Armstrong reflected in his visor. So if we wanted an iconic shot of Armstrong, it would more or less that shot.

The spacesuits were nearly identical. The primary feature that distinguished Armstrong's suit from Aldrin's was a name tag, which in most reproductions of the photo is too small to read clearly anyway.

For most intents and purposes, Armstrong might as well have been photographing himself in a mirror (which, in the case of his reflection in the visor, he was).

So how has history really been hurt by having a photograph of one spacesuit and not the other?

moorouge
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posted 08-11-2014 02:33 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for moorouge   Click Here to Email moorouge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
So how has history really been hurt by having a photograph of one spacesuit and not the other?

Probably not a lot, with one exception. The avid collectors of space history might disagree.

ejectr
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posted 08-11-2014 10:00 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ejectr   Click Here to Email ejectr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If you watch the film of them on the moon after they set up the camera, there is plenty of Armstrong coverage in that. And you really can't tell who they are.

Space Cadet Carl
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posted 08-11-2014 10:06 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Space Cadet Carl   Click Here to Email Space Cadet Carl     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I don't recall one person raising a fuss or questioning why all the lunar surface photos were of Aldrin. Everyone was thrilled to see the photos about one week after the mission ended and absolutely no one cared who was who in the photos.

Blackarrow
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posted 08-11-2014 03:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
....because many (most?) people thought they were looking at "the first man on the Moon" and many newspapers and magazines fed the misconception with misleading captions. No issue was made of it at the time because nobody would have guessed in a million years that the first Moon-landing mission had not produced a good picture of the first man on the Moon.

And in direct response to Robert's last post, I ask this question: would it really matter to a space collector if his autographed picture of Neil Armstrong is actually a good-quality scan or an autopen if most people couldn't tell the difference?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-11-2014 04:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes, it would matter to collectors, but for reasons unrelated to the historical importance of the autopen versus the real signature.

To emphasize that point, consider a bill (i.e. a law) signed by the President using the autopen (which is legal) and a bill signed authentically. A collector would put more value on the latter, but to the archivist, the signature is less important than the original document itself.

I am not disputing a historical or a collectible interest in a photo of Armstrong on the surface. I am only suggesting that a vanity shot of Armstrong is not the pinnacle when it comes to documenting the Apollo lunar landings.

robsouth
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posted 08-28-2014 12:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for robsouth     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
'Buzz can you take a moment to take a photo of me with the flag'?

'Sure Neil, let me take the camera from you. Is here ok do you think'?

'Yes that should be fine from there Buzz with the LEM in the background'.

If you look through the mission transcript you won't find the above conversation because Armstrong never asked for his photo to be taken. The above exchange took place on every other mission. Every other commander asked for a photo to be taken. On Apollo 12 Conrad asked for two to be taken.

Why is this all on Aldrin's shoulders?

If you really need to apportion blame don't lay it on a guy with under two hours to perform a substantial workload, blame Richard Underwood.

p51
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posted 08-28-2014 03:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for p51   Click Here to Email p51     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by moorouge:
With the sad passing of Neil Armstrong, it occurs to me to wonder if his iconic first footprint on the Moon's surface still exists.
Just re-read Chaikin's, "A Man on the Moon" where he says that Armstrong dragged his foot back to get an idea of the walking surface when he first placed his boot on the surface.

To me, that closes the point forever, as he then obliterated the first footprint before he even made the second footprint.

Richard Malcolm
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posted 09-03-2014 12:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Richard Malcolm   Click Here to Email Richard Malcolm     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by schnappsicle:
While I would love nothing more than to visit those sites, I'm in total agreement with preserving them.
I think the argument for preserving the Apollo 11 site undisturbed is the most powerful one. Perhaps one day, more than a century hence, we might be in a position to fly small robotic drones over the site to document it carefully... otherwise, I expect that any international agreement would be respected, albeit hard to enforce. Hopefully the fortune hunters could be kept away.

With other Apollo landing sites, the scientific value of visiting might outweigh the historical value — this would be an ideal occasion to study hardware after decades spent in the lunar near vacuum, a more elaborate opportunity of what Surveyor 3 was for Apollo 12. Not EVERY site might be game; but it's quite plausible that one or more might be selected for follow up visits, striking a balance between historical preservation and scientific value.

There's also an argument for whatever eventual first lunar return mission landing near an Apollo site either to follow up on the geological value of the site, or because it's a safer, documented, known quantity. There's actually an extensive (and quite plausible) alternate history narrative authored by a couple of aerospace engineers over at the Alternative History forum called "Eyes Turned Skywards," where George Low takes over NASA in 1969 rather than Tom Paine, and opts to go forward with evolving Saturn/Apollo legacy hardware rather than the STS. The result is that NASA is in a position to return to the Moon by the end of the 90's, and ends up selecting a site in the Ocean of Storms a few miles from Apollo 12, it being a relatively "safe" flat landing site, and having scientific value not only in examining the state of the hardware left behind but also the unique selenological properties of the site (like KREEP).

At any rate, it strikes me as a plausible narrative. Hands off Apollo 11, I say; but we should be cautiously open to visiting one or more of the other sites if the scientific value is compelling enough. The same, of course, is even more true of unmanned probes left behind.

schnappsicle
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posted 09-08-2014 07:19 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for schnappsicle   Click Here to Email schnappsicle     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The US landed 5 Surveyors on the moon as well as numerous crash landings and Soviet/Russian landings. If someone wanted to study the effect of direct solar radiation on man-made objects on the lunar surface, there are plenty to choose from that don't have any footprints near them.


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