Monday, November 5, 2012

Tinfoil Hats At The Ready


From time to time, people ask questions about conspiracy theories or email links to web sites and YouTube compilation videos that claim to "prove" the moonwalks were fake, or that Ed Mitchell saw aliens. All of it is easily refutable, often with laughable ease, through 8th grade science and basic common sense.  But now? The newest Martian hype didn't just take the cake, it exploded the whole bakery.

Teleportation to Mars? Really?

It's a Conspiracy
Professional heckler Joe Rogan is a notorious moon landing denier, and I'll admit, his working himself into a froth is rowdily entertaining. He's a nutjob, but at least he's funny. My favorite clip was on Penn Jilette's  show, where he ranted about "the impossibility of passing through the radiation belt discovered by Robert Van Allen."

Well, Captain Brainiac -- that would actually be James Van Allen -- and all Gemini, Apollo and Shuttle astronauts passed through this belt, as does the Hubble on each orbit. But this gives you an idea of the quality of arguments by the non-scientists who fall into the category of typical conspiracy theorists.

However, I choose not to get into arguments. Even when I dip my toe in the lunatic pool, I confine myself to humor, such as a newspaper outlet who actually fell for a deliberately false report that the moon landings were a hoax.

This past weekend, however, a tweeter who shall remain nameless attacked me personally about "championing the industry that perpetrated the greatest hoax of all time."  Still another personal friend posted (more benignly) to my Facebook page, asking about the newest allegations about Mars.

Really, you took time out of your life to wonder about these things?  Thankfully, Stephen Colbert and William Shatner gave it precisely the time and tone that it deserved.  To allege that Barack Obama was married to a man on Mars after using a "jump room" to teleport to the red planet is to wipe yourself forever off my radar.

I could list all the reasons it's impossible; the painful part is, I shouldn't have to.

 As for the Joe Rogans of the world: NASA sent twelve American men to the moon between 1969 and 1972. Millions of people watched the launches, and thousands of people watched the splashdowns.

Multiple Mission Controls in varying nations tracked the Apollo program, monitoring communications throughout. By the end of the program, Soviet Premier Alexei Kosygin took not only a congratulatory but conciliatory stance about the US and USSR's space programs.

Honestly, if Russia believes we pulled it off – and they had a lot to gain if we didn't pull it off – that alone leads me to believe... we pulled it off.

Hey, that flag shouldn't be fluttering like that!

Hours of film footage. Innumerable technical companies and contracts. Thousands of workers were involved in multiple countries, and you'll be pretty hard pressed to find anyone who worked (or still works) for any space program who isn't absolutely fiercely proud of it.  NO inside whistle-blowers, in all this time?

Geologists all over the world have seen the 800+ pounds rock samples from the moon's crust, and not one educated scientist who spent time in the Lunar Sample Laboratory at Johnson Space Center has come away saying he thought the rocks were fake. Or Earthly.

Could the moon program all be an elaborate, international, 4-decade-long prideful prank... in between teleportation jumps to Mars? Think whatever you like. I think not.  If you really want a good conspiracy theory, go read about the Apollo 18 mission that never happened... or did it?