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Landmark events in human exploration and scientific discovery can often capture the human imagination to such a degree that certain aspects become enveloped in a cloud of mystery from which bizarre interpretations eventually emerge. The first human steps on the Moon undoubtedly became the story of the century, though some Apollo 11 myths question whether they were fact or fiction.
RufusCi via Wikipedia Since the Apollo 11 spacemen re-entered society after their lunar voyage, the quieter aftermath seems to have provided a fertile pool for the spawning of many myths concerning the space mission, ranging from the farcical to the speculatively ingenious.
Did Neil Armstrong convert to Islam? Firstly there was the Islamic conversion myth. Not long after the first moonwalk crew returned home did a story emerge that Neil Armstrong had become a Muslim. The rumour goes that on finding out what the words were, Armstrong converted to Islam.
Although the source of this myth is unclear the story found its way onto the pages of newspapers in Egypt, Indonesia, and Malaysia. So was there truth in Understanding the truth behind the software myths myth? Over a period of time the first man on the Moon was then contacted by particular religious organisations, governments, and individuals inviting him to take part in Islamic activities.
Although emphasising his desire not to offend anybody or disrespect any religion he advised the Department of State that the news of his Islamic conversion was inaccurate and that any individual s making further enquiries be politely but firmly told that he had not had a conversion experience nor was planning to participate in any religious activities overseas.
When Neil Armstrong continued to find himself the focus of some similar unwanted attentions, he felt it necessary to have a phone conference with members of the press in Cairo in which they heard him say that he was not a Muslim.
To this day some are rumoured to believe that his public denials on the issue were only under extreme pressure from the US government. Already an eventful journey: It was rumoured that at least one unidentified flying object, cylindrical in shape and matching the speed of the Columbia spacecraft, was observed by its crew during the Trans-lunar cruise, but disappeared before any photographs could be taken.
To verify if it was possibly the upper section of the Saturn V launch rocket chasing them, the crew radioed Mission Control to try and establish the estimated distance between Columbia and their last nearest known manmade object in space.
After flying parallel to the spacecraft for a few minutes this bright, flashing object eventually fell behind and Columbia completed the rest of its journey to the Moon void of escort.
Their agreement on this point is based on their sure knowledge of the shape of an LM housing bay protection panel which the UFO was similar to. Did Neil Armstrong have to take special fitness training?
Somewhere along the line a rumour emerged that in terms of physical strength, Neil Armstrong would have initially fallen far short of what was required for the role of astronaut, had he not taken drastic action.
According to the myth, as compensation, he put himself through long arduous hours at the gym which ultimately saw him cleared for going into space. The actual facts however were quite different. Although overall he lived out a fairly healthy lifestyle, Armstrong rarely exercised. His well-known philosophy on the theme was that he believed a man had only a certain number of heartbeats allocated to him in his lifetime.
As a result, he had no intention of doing anything that would use them up faster. As we know, food and liquids consumed by astronauts have to be specially prepared and packaged before being taken into the vacuous environment of space.
So the suggestion that an everyday Coke bottle may have rolled passed the camera and was caught on film while Armstrong and Aldrin were out on the surface of the Moon, is simply too fantastic for words.
Twinkle twinkle little star: After the birth of the Apollo 11 myths, many conspiracy theorists would never look at the famous American agency the same way again. So on closer inspection of the Coke bottle conundrum, this Moon myth really does not fare well.
The main reason being that although the offending article in the Apollo 11 Moonwalk footage, allegedly observed by an Una Ronald from Australia, was so obviously incongruous with its lunar surroundings, none of the other millions of observers around the world watching the same NASA-relayed footage inmanaged to spot it.
That of course slightly undermines the entire myth. So perhaps the real question we should ask ourselves is, just how did some Apollo 11 hoax myths with so little real substance to them, such as this one, ever manage to gain such a high profile in the first place?
In the case of this myth, sceptics claimed they had found visual proof of the LM landing site being a mere studio set in the unrealistic absence of stars pictured in the dark sky above the surface of the Moon.
Although a clear night on Earth is generally associated with a black sky and the visual presence of stars, we know that light from our nearest star, the Sun, overwhelms and drowns-out all other comparatively dimmer light sources in space.
The myth-makers in this story forgot that any photographs and videos showing the astronauts, their experiments, and the Eagle on the surface of the Moon could only be seen because they were filmed during the day, with the aid of sunlight.
Once again, as on Earth, the bright glare from the Sun and its reflection off the lunar terrain hid the other stars in the blackness from view.
Is the Hubble Space Telescope forbidden from looking at the Apollo 11 landing site? With escalating public controversy surrounding the numerous Apollo 11 hoax myths, one unanimous request eventually came to the fore.
Any attempt to look for the Apollo 11 landing site with the Hubble telescope they explained would therefore be pointless. Just as NASA, the owners of the Hubble Space Telescope ought to be able to vouch for its optical power better than most armchair experts, they ought also to be able to do so for the rest of their fleet of space satellites.
Convincing proof more than forty years on? Moreover, the idea that the remaining Apollo astronauts could have delivered such convincing performances in countless interviews or could have lived with themselves for all these years after lying so publically to the world — will probably remain too much for many of us to believe.
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