Author Topic: Fakeologist live stream debunking Apollo landing  (Read 1662 times)

Offline Glom

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Re: Fakeologist live stream debunking Apollo landing
« Reply #30 on: July 29, 2019, 09:16:59 AM »
What the designers didn't know was just how much of a thermal problem lunar dust would be. That's my only point. Even Surveyor couldn't be expected to provide that information, but the Apollo astronauts discovered it pretty quickly.

Okay, I think we agree.  So let's say the various effects of dust constituted an unforeseen hazard.  It was unforeseen by all the experts who contributed to Apollo mission planning, which included a fair number of top geologists.  Can you think of any reason why having a geologist onsite would have made the initial lunar missions safer with respect to dust behavior?  I'm struggling to come up with any.
What they should have done was have men of physical capability to land on and explore an uncertain environment with geologists in their ear advising based on close up observations as they came up.

That's what they should have done.

Also, space is risky business and society was a lot more cavalier than today. We triple check everything these days. A military pilot can't release a missile without there being a mountain of effort it is safe to do so, which is funny given the purpose of the missile is to make things very unsafe for another party.

Offline JayUtah

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Re: Fakeologist live stream debunking Apollo landing
« Reply #31 on: July 29, 2019, 12:10:08 PM »
What they should have done was have men of physical capability to land on and explore an uncertain environment with geologists in their ear advising based on close up observations as they came up.

That's what they should have done.

And I'm sure you're referring to the J-class missions, where that was almost literally what was done.  Even before Apollo 17 and Jack Schmitt, you had backroom geologists essentially directing the exploration.  This, of course, was to amplify the quality of science that the later missions were expected to produce.  Apollo 11 was the last test flight.  Its sole objective was "To perform a manned lunar landing and return."  All science objectives were secondary.  If conservative caution were expected to prevail ├╝ber alles, then neither Armstrong nor Aldrin were compelled by mission rules to egress the LM.  What puzzles me about the claim is the notion that an onsite geologist was essential for the safety of the mission, and that it is irrational to think otherwise.  Not just to ensure better science, as we did in later missions, but to ensure safety.  I can come up with plenty of terrestrial situations where not having a qualified geologist onsite (or at least heavily involved) can risk serious danger.  But none of them is as literally pedestrian as walking around on the surface for an hour or two collecting random samples.  The argument goes on to play up the supposed hazards of a "completely unknown" environment.  Regardless of what extent you believe that environment to have been unknown, no effort seems to have been made to connect that premise to the conclusion that an onsite geologist was mandatory.  What was that geologist supposed to have done to mitigate the effects of allegedly unknown hazards?  When protection from those hazards is expressed in terms of custom-designed machinery and procedures for operating that machinery (spacecraft, EMUs, etc.) then what special expertise would a geologist bring to the table, that was not brought by the people actually assigned to the missions?

I concluded that the argument was a veiled hubristic attempt to assert the supremacy of geology among the sciences.  I'm ashamed of my emotional response to what I took the argument to be.  Even if that was the intended argument (and I'm not sure it was), it should be addressed fairly without ignorance, insult, and worse hubris on my part.

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Also, space is risky business and society was a lot more cavalier than today. We triple check everything these days. A military pilot can't release a missile without there being a mountain of effort it is safe to do so, which is funny given the purpose of the missile is to make things very unsafe for another party.

This is actually something that science rightly praises the military for.  In many fields there is the need to manage high-risk technologies responsibly and rationally.  Recombinant DNA is an example, as is nuclear and petrochemical industrialization.  However, weapons of war are unique in the sense that they are intended to cause harm when used properly.  And, with a few notable examples notwithstanding, the military does an amazing job of routinely handling and operating intentionally dangerous technology with minimal collateral damage and mishap.  It may not seem like it, but in proportion to the sheer destructive power managed by military systems, it's a near-perfect rate of success.  We chalk this up precisely to rigidly set rules and highly authoritarian chains of command.  Many of us in the private sector secretly wish, at times, that we could issue instructions to our subordinates and be able to expect rote compliance.  In the military that is the norm.  Obedience breeds safety.

But yes, we have to recall that Apollo was part of a space race, and that the Soviet Union too had already suffered a number of failures for the sake of hurry.  We sent people to the Moon who were demonstrated to be able to fly experimental flying machines coolly and calmly, and to have temperaments well suited to thinking on their feet and solving unexpected problems creatively and dispassionately.
"Facts are stubborn things." --John Adams

Offline Morgul

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Re: Fakeologist live stream debunking Apollo landing
« Reply #32 on: July 29, 2019, 08:09:29 PM »
And let's not forget that Armstrong was initially tethered to the LM, presumably so he could be hauled up in an emergency.  He untethered once it became apparent that mobility wasn't going to present unexpected difficulty.


Jay, can you provide more information on this?  I've never heard or seen anything about Armstrong being tethered as he exited the LM.  At what point did he actually untether himself?

I'm not questioning your comment, I'm just curious to learn more about it, I've never come across it mentioned before.

Offline JayUtah

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Re: Fakeologist live stream debunking Apollo landing
« Reply #33 on: July 29, 2019, 08:24:04 PM »
As usual, ALSJ is your friend.  It seems not a lot of other people knew about it either.
https://www.hq.nasa.gov/alsj/a11/a11tether.html
"Facts are stubborn things." --John Adams

Offline VQ

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Re: Fakeologist live stream debunking Apollo landing
« Reply #34 on: July 30, 2019, 06:14:16 PM »
Somehow that morphed into criticizing an entire profession...

#notallgeologists

Offline ka9q

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Re: Fakeologist live stream debunking Apollo landing
« Reply #35 on: July 30, 2019, 10:43:05 PM »
[What puzzles me about the claim is the notion that an onsite geologist was essential for the safety of the mission, and that it is irrational to think otherwise.
Well, we did have Jack Schmitt saying that it was easier for a scientist to learn how to fly than to teach a pilot to be a scientist, which I'm sure endeared him greatly to his fellow Apollo astronauts.

But your point is well taken. Even when Schmitt himself was on the moon, he (and Cernan) were greatly assisted by a backroom team of geologists back on earth. For the early missions, at least, it was essential to have the best pilots (or pilot/engineers) available, and to train them to do geology as well as you could. And many of them actually did a pretty good job at it.

Offline Dalhousie

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Re: Fakeologist live stream debunking Apollo landing
« Reply #36 on: July 31, 2019, 04:34:09 AM »
And let's not forget that Armstrong was initially tethered to the LM, presumably so he could be hauled up in an emergency.  He untethered once it became apparent that mobility wasn't going to present unexpected difficulty.


Jay, can you provide more information on this?  I've never heard or seen anything about Armstrong being tethered as he exited the LM.  At what point did he actually untether himself?

I'm not questioning your comment, I'm just curious to learn more about it, I've never come across it mentioned before.

You can also see it in the DAC footage here, from 6:27

Offline JayUtah

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Re: Fakeologist live stream debunking Apollo landing
« Reply #37 on: July 31, 2019, 12:08:43 PM »
Yeah, I have to confess I had forgotten about it too until I saw the DAC footage on a building-size screen.  Then I thought, "Oh, right -- the tether."  It really is hard to miss, and why everyone needs to see Apollo 11 on the biggest screen available.
"Facts are stubborn things." --John Adams

Offline JayUtah

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Re: Fakeologist live stream debunking Apollo landing
« Reply #38 on: July 31, 2019, 12:31:11 PM »
Well, we did have Jack Schmitt saying that it was easier for a scientist to learn how to fly than to teach a pilot to be a scientist, which I'm sure endeared him greatly to his fellow Apollo astronauts.

And he'd proven it by graduating very high among his class of Air Force cadets.  This forum itself and those like it are testaments to the colossal amount of comprehension and facility people can acquire in such specialties as space and engineering without being formally qualified.  I agree with your opinion below that pilot/engineers were the best choices for the early missions until we had a basis for estimating confidence with the machinery.  NASA's rationale that there could be no passengers in Apollo was fairly overbaked in my opinion.  I really do think there was a predilection for hotshot test pilots just because it was the flashy billet and that's where NASA's roots had been planted.  Pilots are used to lobbying for top assignments, and I don't think the dynamic was the same among top-ranked scientists.  But I also think if the Apollo program had ended without a single career scientist setting foot on the lunar surface, it would have risked being labeled a scientific failure.

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But your point is well taken. Even when Schmitt himself was on the moon, he (and Cernan) were greatly assisted by a backroom team of geologists back on earth. For the early missions, at least, it was essential to have the best pilots (or pilot/engineers) available, and to train them to do geology as well as you could. And many of them actually did a pretty good job at it.

They did, because they were fundamentally ambitious, driven people.  The bias we must dispel is the notion that geologists and other relevant scientists or practitioners can't be the same kind of people.  Schmitt is a singular example, but there were certainly more like him.  Obviously putting a geologist like Schmitt on the Moon as a firsthand observer and field worker is essential to scientific success.  But it's far better when one professional on the lunar surface can converse with similarly qualified professionals back at home in the dialect of their profession.  I'm sure we've all felt the frustration of trying to communicate with non-specialists.
"Facts are stubborn things." --John Adams

Offline onebigmonkey

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Re: Fakeologist live stream debunking Apollo landing
« Reply #39 on: July 31, 2019, 12:38:47 PM »
I often wonder how Dave Scott regards the talk about geologists on the moon - he certainly put a lot of work into his own understanding of the subject.

Offline Dalhousie

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Re: Fakeologist live stream debunking Apollo landing
« Reply #40 on: August 01, 2019, 04:52:21 AM »
I can understand the rationale for not have a scientist on the first few missions, but I have always wondered at the original the plan not to actually fly one to Apollo 18, and then only perhaps one after that more after that (Lind on Apollo 20). Likewise the slowness to deploy the LRV

Offline Abaddon

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Re: Fakeologist live stream debunking Apollo landing
« Reply #41 on: August 01, 2019, 06:10:08 AM »
I can understand the rationale for not have a scientist on the first few missions, but I have always wondered at the original the plan not to actually fly one to Apollo 18, and then only perhaps one after that more after that (Lind on Apollo 20).
Easier to train a test pilot to do geology than vice versa. In the event of a problem, you are going to need a test pilot, not a geologist.
Likewise the slowness to deploy the LRV
Different objectives competing for a very limited payload. Something has to give.

Offline Glom

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Re: Fakeologist live stream debunking Apollo landing
« Reply #42 on: August 02, 2019, 10:40:22 AM »
Obedience breeds safety.

Well... I wouldn't bank on the universality of that mantra. Piper Alpha suggests that has its limits.

"Shall we shut off the gas flow to the platform that is burning down?"

"Until I have me orders, no."

Offline JayUtah

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Re: Fakeologist live stream debunking Apollo landing
« Reply #43 on: August 02, 2019, 12:17:32 PM »
Well... I wouldn't bank on the universality of that mantra. Piper Alpha suggests that has its limits.

I agree.  You don't remove individual judgment entirely from the equation.  You just arrange for the consequences of independent action to more strongly disfavor casual disobedience.  In the case of skilled operators, you would ostensibly be able to teach them enough about the nature of the system so that they understand the rationale behind rote procedure.  Then in the event the procedure doesn't seem intuitively correct, they have some basis of knowledge.  And, hopefully, some recognition of autonomy from higher authority during later review.  The success factor in the military's handling of high-risk technology is that the authority structure allows relatively unskilled operators to be employed.  Obviously that's not meant as a slight to anyone who has served in the E-level pay grades.  One certainly can understand the basis of orders and procedures at any pay grade.  But if one is conditioned to obey instinctively, then one doesn't need to understand the basis of orders.

Anywhere I go and see unintuitive ground rules, the people who enforce them usually tell me, "Yeah, there's a story behind each one of those."  And consequently, in my own operations, I still have to spend too much time correcting things and very much wanting to say, "Now if you had done this the way we told you to do it..."  The people responsible for the errors were conscientious, well-meaning, and intuitive.  They just didn't have to learn the lesson the hard way at everyone's expense.  The military method of regulating high-risk technology may certainly have its flaws.  But it leverages obedient workers in ways that compensates for the shortcomings of those workers and the inherent danger of working with weapons.  And people who study how accidents happen seem to have suitable praise for its effectiveness overall.
"Facts are stubborn things." --John Adams

Offline Dalhousie

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Re: Fakeologist live stream debunking Apollo landing
« Reply #44 on: August 03, 2019, 08:31:03 PM »
I can understand the rationale for not have a scientist on the first few missions, but I have always wondered at the original the plan not to actually fly one to Apollo 18, and then only perhaps one after that more after that (Lind on Apollo 20).
Easier to train a test pilot to do geology than vice versa. In the event of a problem, you are going to need a test pilot, not a geologist.

Most astronauts are not test pilots these days, or even pilots.  They seem to perform fine.

Even during Apollo the test pilot requirement was dropped from astronaut group 3, nine of the 14 flew on Apollo, eight on significant first missions (Gemini 8, Apollo 1, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, for four this was their first flight.

You are also underestimating the technical competence of the astronaut scientists.  After Apollo 12, which could perhaps still be classed as a test mission to some extent, can you name one mission task that was beyond the capabilities of say Schmitt, Garriott, Gibson, or Kirwin (group 4), or Henize, England, Musgrave, Lenoir, Parker, Thornton, or Allen (group 6)? Schmitt did a superb job on 17, Kirwin was involved in the recovery of Skylab, and Musgrave's record remains exceptional to this day.  If there were such tasks, please name them.

Likewise the slowness to deploy the LRV
Different objectives competing for a very limited payload. Something has to give.[/quote]

Since the LRV was eventually brought forward from 18 to 15 those competing objectives turned out to be less important than envisaged.

« Last Edit: August 03, 2019, 08:36:10 PM by Dalhousie »