Author Topic: "The LM was made of aluminum foil and tape!" - counterargument  (Read 2257 times)

Offline Everett

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"The LM was made of aluminum foil and tape!" - counterargument
« on: September 05, 2019, 10:26:10 AM »
One common argument for the landings being faked is the whole "The LM was made of aluminum foil and tape!" thing. Here's some good counterarguments. "Well, the De Havilland Mosquito (a WWII airplane) was made out of balsa, and could fly at 400 mph. It's as true as the LM being made out of foil." (Posting a picture is good.) (Ironically, it's actually more true than LM was made out of foil bit. The Mosquito was effectively made out of what was in many ways an early version of composite materials, except using wood products, and IIRC, balsa was one of them.) Another good thing to point out is that foil like that is used extensively on satellites and planetary probes.
Even I was surprised to learn they used tape to attach the Kapton? foil. I would have assumed they would have glued it to the underlying structure. But it was explained to me quite well - what is tape, but a piece of material with glue on one side? That pretty much immediately led to an "ah, now I understand" moment. The tape is just a piece of material across a joint was glue on one side. Another thing to bring up is that the "foil" is just an outer covering to keep the sun off, and actually is somewhat flimsy. But then again, with no air resistance, it didn't need to be strong, The actual structure was underneath it, and was plenty strong enough. (Post a picture of a LM under construction without the outer covering attached.) Another point is that the actual cabin the astronauts were in was about the thickness of a beverage can. So, IIRC (I think) was the outside of a B-17.

One final good thing to do would be to turn the question around, and ask a HB what a lunar lander should look like, or how they would design one. Hopefully that would occasionally lead to a bit of thinking,

(PS: About the Kapton tape, would common duct tape have been strong enough for that application? Just something I recently wondered about.)

Offline BertieSlack

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Re: "The LM was made of aluminum foil and tape!" - counterargument
« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2019, 10:59:05 AM »
I think I'm right in saying that the only bits of the pressurised crew cabin that are visible from the outside are the windows and the hatches. What you see is basically thermal insulation and the micrometeoroid shield - which are not necessary for the structural integrity of the vehicle. The frame, substructure and crew cabin were made of titanium and aluminium sheeting, and were strong enough for a vehicle that didn't have to deal with aerodynamic loads. With the layers of insulation stripped off, the LM looked like this:

https://i.stack.imgur.com/o8hnx.jpg

It's also worth remembering that LM was built by Grumman - who also made the F-14 Tomcat.

Offline bknight

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Re: "The LM was made of aluminum foil and tape!" - counterargument
« Reply #2 on: September 05, 2019, 02:22:37 PM »
An image is worth a thousand words, and I wish they would have never said you could punch a hole in the LM (insulation) in my mind propagating such hoax beliefs.  Similar to
Mr. Smith video a couple of years back where is describing the task of venturing through the VARB, when Apollo did tha by skirting the less dense parts, but we all know how the CT crowd viewed this video.  A follow up video showing the interior of Orion went a long way to correct the poor language choice in the first.
Truth needs no defense.  Nobody can take those footsteps I made on the surface of the moon away from me.
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Offline Mag40

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Re: "The LM was made of aluminum foil and tape!" - counterargument
« Reply #3 on: September 05, 2019, 02:33:19 PM »
"The LM was made of aluminum foil and tape!" thing. Here's some good counterarguments.

Here is a better one. No it wasn't.

Offline Allan F

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Re: "The LM was made of aluminum foil and tape!" - counterargument
« Reply #4 on: September 05, 2019, 03:44:41 PM »
The LM had thicker pressure-bearing walls than a soda can.

A soda can holds 30 psi - the LM had to hold 5 psi.

Also, al commercial airliner has thinner pressure-bearing walls than the LM - and carries greater pressure differential over a much larger area.
Well, it is like this: The truth doesn't need insults. Insults are the refuge of a darkened mind, a mind that refuses to open and see. Foul language can't outcompete knowledge. And knowledge is the result of education. Education is the result of the wish to know more, not less.

Offline apollo16uvc

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Re: "The LM was made of aluminum foil and tape!" - counterargument
« Reply #5 on: September 05, 2019, 04:26:02 PM »
The LM had thicker pressure-bearing walls than a soda can.

A soda can holds 30 psi - the LM had to hold 5 psi.

Also, al commercial airliner has thinner pressure-bearing walls than the LM - and carries greater pressure differential over a much larger area.
The sodacan has the benefit of a geometrically strong shape (Cylinder)

The LM does not.
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Offline Allan F

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Re: "The LM was made of aluminum foil and tape!" - counterargument
« Reply #6 on: September 05, 2019, 05:42:38 PM »
No, but the LM had a lot of ribs for structure. More per hull area than an airline. The can has none.
Well, it is like this: The truth doesn't need insults. Insults are the refuge of a darkened mind, a mind that refuses to open and see. Foul language can't outcompete knowledge. And knowledge is the result of education. Education is the result of the wish to know more, not less.

Offline raven

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Re: "The LM was made of aluminum foil and tape!" - counterargument
« Reply #7 on: September 05, 2019, 06:38:52 PM »
No, but the LM had a lot of ribs for structure. More per hull area than an airline. The can has none.
It's ribbed for her pressure.  ;)
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OK, jokes aside, the 'foil and tape' crowd obviously have never looked at many satellites and landers for non-atmospheric objects.
And, I'm not an engineer, but the habitable pressure vessel portion of the LM looks fairly cylindrical even so. Not perfectly,  people don't walk very well across curved floors usually, but it's taking advantage of the shape where it can.

Offline Abaddon

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Re: "The LM was made of aluminum foil and tape!" - counterargument
« Reply #8 on: September 05, 2019, 11:44:15 PM »
There is no way thin fragile flesh could possibly contain all of the messy organs while retaining verticallity, therefore people cannot exist.

Same argument.

Why the crank fraternity are so impressed by it is anyone's guess.

Offline Matt D

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Re: "The LM was made of aluminum foil and tape!" - counterargument
« Reply #9 on: September 06, 2019, 02:29:04 PM »

Curiously, the "tinfoil LM" crowd never seem to provide a physical description of what a "believable" LM would in fact look like.  I assume they want it to be silver, shiny, and vaguely bullet-shaped - like something out of Buck Rogers - and since the historical LM does not look like that, then the only logical conclusion is that it's fake.   

This line of argumentation also nicely exemplifies the classic hoax believer paradox; namely that NASA is simultaneously 1) capable of faking anything imaginable with their bottomless resources, and 2) hopelessly inept at faking things.

Hoax believer: "Of course the cloud patterns on earth seen in Apollo photos match weather satellites from those same days - with all of the tax dollars that NASA steals, that would be dead simple for them to fake, even in the era of analog film and decades before the advent of Photoshop."

Also the hoax believer: "LOLOLOL, they mock up a trashcan from popsicle sticks and tinfoil and expect us to believe it can land on the moon?  I feel sorry for anybody who falls for this!" 

Offline JayUtah

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Re: "The LM was made of aluminum foil and tape!" - counterargument
« Reply #10 on: September 07, 2019, 12:19:46 AM »
No, but the LM had a lot of ribs for structure. More per hull area than an airline. The can has none.

Integral stringers, a Grumman innovation. They used a chemical milling process to create them in the curved shapes needed for composing the pressure vessel.
"Facts are stubborn things." --John Adams

Offline JayUtah

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Re: "The LM was made of aluminum foil and tape!" - counterargument
« Reply #11 on: September 07, 2019, 12:22:31 AM »
Regarding tape, pressure-sensitive adhesives can be amazingly strong.  We just don't produce them for the public for liability reasons.  We use polyamide tape with adhesives that are strong enough to hold my weight.  Engineers use tape for the same reasons non-engineers find tape convenient and appropriate.
"Facts are stubborn things." --John Adams

Offline Everett

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Re: "The LM was made of aluminum foil and tape!" - counterargument
« Reply #12 on: September 07, 2019, 11:03:13 AM »
What I meant was that the outer thermal/micrometeorite shield wasn't particularly sturdy, but with no air in space, didn't need to be. The actual structure however was, but you can't see it from the outside, it's under the outer layers. Then  again, everything did need to be stressed for +3 G's to survive loads during launch. (I think.) The picture that BertieSlack posted pretty much counters the "too flimsy" argument all be itself. (Question - was the descent module outer thermal/micrometeorite shield a separate layer away from the structure, or was it right up against/attached to/backed by the structure? I'd assumed the former, but from the picture posed makes me wonder if it was the latter.) And some HB should take a look at what a modern satellite or probe looks like - just like the LM.

I'd also imagine that the typical HB assumes something like a typical Hollywood ship as well. Or alternately, for that matter, perhaps something like the Soviet equivalent to the LM, the somewhat more aerodynamic looking LK:
http://www.astronautix.com/l/lk.html

Also worth noting, don't forget the Grumman earned the nickname the "Grumman ironworks" during WWII for how sturdy its carrier aircraft were. It seems Grumman was the US Navy's preferred aircraft builder. Too bad Northrop Grumman doesn't seem to build planes much any more, or that so few combat aircraft types are produced nowadays there's not room for another contractor. Part of me wonders if letting McDonald Douglass be bought out by Boeing was a mistake. Now any tanker or other airliner derived military aircraft goes to Boeing by default, since heaven forbid that we license-build an Airbus!

Offline JayUtah

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Re: "The LM was made of aluminum foil and tape!" - counterargument
« Reply #13 on: September 07, 2019, 11:41:34 AM »
The core structure of the LM ascent stage was extremely strong:  fore and aft milled frames connected at the bottom by two ventral beams and at the top by the extremely robust docking structure.
"Facts are stubborn things." --John Adams

Offline Abaddon

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Re: "The LM was made of aluminum foil and tape!" - counterargument
« Reply #14 on: September 07, 2019, 02:00:11 PM »
Regarding tape, pressure-sensitive adhesives can be amazingly strong.  We just don't produce them for the public for liability reasons.  We use polyamide tape with adhesives that are strong enough to hold my weight.  Engineers use tape for the same reasons non-engineers find tape convenient and appropriate.
Interestingly, I have twice had occasion to deploy two part epoxy resin this last two months. The sad victims could not fathom why "Superglue" failed, but resin did not.  I could have diverted into a diatribe about evap versus chemical reaction adhesives, but I chose to avoid that madness, "It works, that is all."