Author Topic: Apollo 12 and the Surveyor 3 Mystery  (Read 2384 times)

Offline Derek K Willis

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Apollo 12 and the Surveyor 3 Mystery
« on: June 01, 2019, 11:32:36 AM »
I recently published an article on the aulis.com website describing what I consider to be "anomalies" with the account of how the Apollo 12 astronauts Pete Conrad and Al Bean examined the Surveyor 3 lander.

I was asked by some members of the Unexplained Mysteries forum if I would join ApolloHoax and debate the issue here. I am happy to that, and will attempt to answer any questions. The article can be found here:

https://www.aulis.com/surveyor3.htm

It would be helpful if people looked at the article before commenting, as that would save me from having to explain what it is all about.

Offline AtomicDog

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Re: Apollo 12 and the Surveyor 3 Mystery
« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2019, 01:07:23 PM »
Not how it works. You present you argument here, and your link is for reference.
"There is no belief, however foolish, that will not gather its faithful adherents who will defend it to the death." - Isaac Asimov

Offline JayUtah

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Re: Apollo 12 and the Surveyor 3 Mystery
« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2019, 01:48:20 PM »
In that the OP was specifically invited here specifically to discuss the article in question, it doesn't seem unreasonable to read the article where it stands.  I personally won't have time to digest anything of substance until next week.

The stipulation that arguments appear here rather than elsewhere has roots in prior bad experiences.  In general, we like the claims and the rebuttal of the claims to appear in the same place.  If the claims are there and the rebuttal here, one can easily read one without the others.  And it has often been the case that claims sourced from elsewhere are brought here by people other than their authors, and the rejoinder too often then is, "You'll have to ask the author."  That obviously won't do.  But the OP has clearly identified the article as his original work and seems to be willing to argue it here in good faith.
"Facts are stubborn things." --John Adams

Offline Derek K Willis

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Re: Apollo 12 and the Surveyor 3 Mystery
« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2019, 01:56:35 PM »
My argument is presented in my article. But, okay, here is a condensed version.

Photographs of Surveyor 3 clearly show it is discolored due to being covered in dust. The astronauts, however, insisted the discoloring was caused by the paint having been been baked in the Sun. Then, after half an hour examining the lander, they suddenly realized it was covered in dust. I find that hard to believe.

Also, as far as I can see, there has never been a convincing explanation for why the Surveyor 3 was covered in dust. A small amount was deposited during the Surveyor's "difficult" landing - the T.V. images sent back were blurred, and that seems to have been caused by dust deposited on the camera's mirror. Explanations for the dust shown on the Apollo 12 photographs have included "lunar fountains" and the electrostatic attraction of the lander. The most popular explanation is that dust was blown onto the Surveyor when the LM flew past prior to landing. When asked by Mission Control, Conrad and Bean had said any dust would have flown over the top of the lander.
         

Offline JayUtah

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Re: Apollo 12 and the Surveyor 3 Mystery
« Reply #4 on: June 01, 2019, 02:05:39 PM »
Conrad and Bean had said any dust would have flown over the top of the lander.

I disagree that this would have been the case.  It would have hugged the ground since that's the minimal energy path.
"Facts are stubborn things." --John Adams

Offline Derek K Willis

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Re: Apollo 12 and the Surveyor 3 Mystery
« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2019, 02:19:47 PM »
Conrad and Bean had said any dust would have flown over the top of the lander.

I disagree that this would have been the case.  It would have hugged the ground since that's the minimal energy path.

Can you explain what you mean by that?

Offline JayUtah

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Re: Apollo 12 and the Surveyor 3 Mystery
« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2019, 02:29:49 PM »
Can you explain what you mean by that?

When a jet strikes a surface at approximately right angles, the minimal energy path of the post-impingement flow is along the surface, parallel to it.  In the case of a rocket plume in a vacuum, there is some vertical expansion moving outward because the plume still has residual static pressure.  But the principal flow is along the surface.
"Facts are stubborn things." --John Adams

Offline Derek K Willis

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Re: Apollo 12 and the Surveyor 3 Mystery
« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2019, 02:41:51 PM »
Can you explain what you mean by that?

When a jet strikes a surface at approximately right angles, the minimal energy path of the post-impingement flow is along the surface, parallel to it.  In the case of a rocket plume in a vacuum, there is some vertical expansion moving outward because the plume still has residual static pressure.  But the principal flow is along the surface.

So are you saying the the Surveyor was beneath the plume? Or with what you are describing, does that not matter?

Offline JayUtah

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Re: Apollo 12 and the Surveyor 3 Mystery
« Reply #8 on: June 01, 2019, 02:45:32 PM »
I'm saying that claims that the dust would have flown over the top of the (Surveyor) lander have no basis in fluid dynamics.  If the LM plume struck the ground at roughly right angles anywhere near Surveyor, there is every expectation that the Surveyor would have been pelted with the entrained dust.
« Last Edit: June 01, 2019, 02:47:17 PM by JayUtah »
"Facts are stubborn things." --John Adams

Offline Derek K Willis

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Re: Apollo 12 and the Surveyor 3 Mystery
« Reply #9 on: June 01, 2019, 02:56:45 PM »
I'm saying that claims that the dust would have flown over the top of the (Surveyor) lander have no basis in fluid dynamics.  If the LM plume struck the ground at roughly right angles anywhere near Surveyor, there is every expectation that the Surveyor would have been pelted with the entrained dust.

I am still not sure what your answer to my question is. If the Surveyor was beyond the boundary of the plume then are we still talking about fluid mechanics? Or are we talking about a flat sheet of particles moving at very high velocity?

Offline JayUtah

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Re: Apollo 12 and the Surveyor 3 Mystery
« Reply #10 on: June 01, 2019, 03:03:05 PM »
I am still not sure what your answer to my question is. If the Surveyor was beyond the boundary of the plume...

I do not represent that the Surveyor was or wasn't beyond "the boundary of the plume" in the sense of being more or less directly under the DPS.  If the plume impinged on the lunar surface anywhere near the Surveyor, at roughly a right angle, there is every expectation that the post-impingement flow would entrain dust particles, that it would remain close to the surface, and that it would not go over the top of the Surveyor as claimed.  I understand your argument to be that the DPS plume cannot be responsible for depositing dust on the Surveyor because it is claimed the dust would go over the top of the Surveyor.  That argument is not consistent with the known characteristics of fluids in these circumstances.

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...then are we still talking about fluid mechanics? Or are we talking about a flat sheet of particles moving at very high velocity?

How is that different from fluid mechanics?
« Last Edit: June 01, 2019, 03:06:11 PM by JayUtah »
"Facts are stubborn things." --John Adams

Offline AtomicDog

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Re: Apollo 12 and the Surveyor 3 Mystery
« Reply #11 on: June 01, 2019, 03:09:05 PM »
In that the OP was specifically invited here specifically to discuss the article in question, it doesn't seem unreasonable to read the article where it stands.  I personally won't have time to digest anything of substance until next week.

The stipulation that arguments appear here rather than elsewhere has roots in prior bad experiences.  In general, we like the claims and the rebuttal of the claims to appear in the same place.  If the claims are there and the rebuttal here, one can easily read one without the others.  And it has often been the case that claims sourced from elsewhere are brought here by people other than their authors, and the rejoinder too often then is, "You'll have to ask the author."  That obviously won't do.  But the OP has clearly identified the article as his original work and seems to be willing to argue it here in good faith.

You have a point. On the other hand, links can go dead over time. I've read many a thread of past hoax arguments full of dead links. Presenting the theory in the OP lessens the chance of future confusion. But since the argument has been presented, the issue is now moot.
"There is no belief, however foolish, that will not gather its faithful adherents who will defend it to the death." - Isaac Asimov

Offline onebigmonkey

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Re: Apollo 12 and the Surveyor 3 Mystery
« Reply #12 on: June 01, 2019, 03:18:23 PM »
My argument is presented in my article. But, okay, here is a condensed version.

Photographs of Surveyor 3 clearly show it is discolored due to being covered in dust. The astronauts, however, insisted the discoloring was caused by the paint having been been baked in the Sun. Then, after half an hour examining the lander, they suddenly realized it was covered in dust. I find that hard to believe.

Why do you find it hard to believe?

The astronauts had already suggested to Houston that any dust is likely to have blown over Surveyor. They changed their mind when they examined it more carefully. The intervening time was not entirely spent looking for dust - they were examining everything about the probe and its immediate environment, not just looking through their tinted visors for dust. You also seem puzzled as to why, when landing a spacecraft, looking through windows and a visor, they can't spot fine dust entrained by the LM engine. Just because the 16mm camera didn;t pick it up, and just because they didn't see it, doesn't mean it wasn't there.

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Also, as far as I can see, there has never been a convincing explanation for why the Surveyor 3 was covered in dust.

Did you decided this before researching the subject or after? What about the explanations offered is unconvincing?

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A small amount was deposited during the Surveyor's "difficult" landing - the T.V. images sent back were blurred, and that seems to have been caused by dust deposited on the camera's mirror. Explanations for the dust shown on the Apollo 12 photographs have included "lunar fountains" and the electrostatic attraction of the lander. The most popular explanation is that dust was blown onto the Surveyor when the LM flew past prior to landing. When asked by Mission Control, Conrad and Bean had said any dust would have flown over the top of the lander.

The most popular explanation is actually that the LM blew dust off the lander rather than deposit it, that dust is likely to have come from electrostatic attraction caused by repeated heating and cooling of the surface.

Other specific points in your article:

You seem to want to cast doubt on the precision landing of Apollo 12, based on the fact that Apollo 11 landed 6km away from the intended site. Apollo 11's distance was not down to inaccuracy, but to the lack of high enough resolution photographs showing the hazards at their intended destination. Those hazards have been confirmed by later probes.

Putting the word accidentally in quotes is just a cheap shot. You imply that Bean did it on purpose. I have met him, I'm willing to bet you haven't. I know who I believe.

You claim that Mission Control had prior knowledge of dust and its distribution. That is not reflected in the question they asked. They asked about effects of the dust from landing, something they knew about having a) an understanding of the subject, b) seen the Apollo 11 16mm footage, and c) having heard the astronauts talk about dust during landing.

You claim that the astronauts were 'certain' that Surveyor 3 wouldn't be covered in dust. In fact Conrad said it would 'probably' have gone right over the top of it. Bean is sure, but they were both kind of busy you know, landing the spacecraft. They made an a priori judgement, they were wrong, just like you did and are. Technically, they weren't wrong. They said the lander wouldn't be covered in dust from the landing - it wasn't. What they didn't expect was for it to be covered in dust at all.

Your photograph of the Surveyor 1 is disingenuous. Figure 3.38, 4.7 and 4.8 in the Surveyor 3 Preliminary Report

https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uc1.$c239744

clearly shows dirt deposited on the footpad by the sampler arm in the same place as photographed by Apollo 12. Surveyor 1 had no such sampler arm.

Photographs taken by later space probes confirm both the detail in Apollo photographs and human activity at the landing site. Photographs taken of Earth during the mission confirm that those images were taken during the mission timeline. These are incontrovertible facts. I'm sure you want to avoid them by narrowing your focus into a micro-detail where you feel there is room for ambiguity, but the Apollo mission did not consist of one aspect alone. The Surveyor probe is one small feature of it.


« Last Edit: June 01, 2019, 03:22:05 PM by onebigmonkey »

Offline Derek K Willis

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Re: Apollo 12 and the Surveyor 3 Mystery
« Reply #13 on: June 01, 2019, 03:26:50 PM »
I am still not sure what your answer to my question is. If the Surveyor was beyond the boundary of the plume...

I do not represent that the Surveyor was or wasn't beyond "the boundary of the plume" in the sense of being more or less directly under the DPS.  If the plume impinged on the lunar surface anywhere near the Surveyor, at roughly a right angle, there is every expectation that the post-impingement flow would entrain dust particles, that it would remain close to the surface, and that it would not go over the top of the Surveyor as claimed.  I understand your argument to be that the DPS plume cannot be responsible for depositing dust on the Surveyor because it is claimed the dust would go over the top of the Surveyor.  That argument is not consistent with the known characteristics of fluids in these circumstances.

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...then are we still talking about fluid mechanics? Or are we talking about a flat sheet of particles moving at very high velocity?

How is that different from fluid mechanics?

Firstly, let's remember that it not me who is making the claim. I am simply describing what Conrad and Bean said. More specifically, Bean said the dust would "... never go down this crater" and Conrad said the dust "... probably went right over the top of it [the Surveyor]".

You say there is "every expectation" that the dust would remain close to the surface and not go over the top of the Surveyor. The point the astronauts seem to be making is that the dust would have been travelling over the essentially level surface in a thin sheet at very high velocity, and then because the Surveyor was someway down in the crater, the dust would shoot over the top of it. So what force is involved that would make the particles "hug" the surface and travel down into the crater, rather than shoot over the edge?


Offline JayUtah

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Re: Apollo 12 and the Surveyor 3 Mystery
« Reply #14 on: June 01, 2019, 03:38:17 PM »
Firstly, let's remember that it not me who is making the claim.

It doesn't matter who made the claim.  It matters whether the claim is consistent with knowledge.

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The point the astronauts seem to be making...

Well now that's you interpreting what someone else has said.  So it ceases to be their claim and starts to be yours.  What leads you to believe the expanding post-impingement flow would be flat or remain flat?  It will be largely flat, but it will expand as it radiates outward because it still has residual static pressure until it disperses sufficiently.

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So what force is involved that would make the particles "hug" the surface and travel down into the crater, rather than shoot over the edge?

By "hug the surface" I don't mean follow arbitrary contours.  I apologize if that was confusing.  But if the expanding sheet encounters a depression, the vertical expansion of the sheet as it radiates will extend into the depression so long as there remains static pressure to do so.  Previously its vertical expansion was restricted by the ground.

Since we're talking about expectations in a specialized field of study, now would be a good time for you to tell us what your education, qualifications, and experience might be in the field of fluid dynamics.  That will help us understand to what degree your expectations are informed by the principles of the field.
"Facts are stubborn things." --John Adams