review: a funny thing happened on the way
  to the moon
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"It is estimated" that many more photographs could have been taken during the first 60 minutes of the moonwalk.

Estimated by whom? According to what criteria?

Sibrel simply gives us the "If I Ran the Zoo" argument, claiming it was suspicious that the astronauts did not act like tourists and waste their precious single roll of EVA film taking pictures of each other posing in front of the lander, the flag, etc. Mr. Sibrel doesn't consider that we know what the astronauts looked like; we are more interested in what the moon looked like. That's why there are only twenty or so pictures of the astronauts, and only one or two of Armstrong.
If Neil Armstrong had not wanted to be photographed, why couldn't the hoaxsters have hired a stand-in?

Sibrel argues the crew should have just thrown out the carefully allocated mission photo plan (cf. Apollo 11 Flight Plan, pp. 3-79 thru 3-81) and given us Armstrong by the ton. Sibrel claims correctly that only one or two 70mm still photographs were taken of Armstrong during the EVA. But he also points to a "single" other photograph taken by an "automatic" camera. That camera was the 16mm motion picture camera hung in the LM window. It took literally hundreds of frames of Armstrong working on the lunar surface, not just one. And before Aldrin himself left the lunar module, he shot an entire roll of 16mm film through the cockpit window of Armstrong descending the ladder and picking up the contingency sample.

The only way you can say Armstrong wasn't on camera is to arbitrarily limit your consideration to only one type of photography: the 70mm stills. Armstrong was under-represented there; it is true. But it's easy to make the evidence come out the way you want it by paring away what doesn't fit your conclusion. That's what A Funny Thing has done here.

But did Armstrong refuse to be photographed? Not at all. That doesn't stop Mr. Sibrel from postulating all sorts of reasons why Armstrong wouldn't want to be photographed "on the moon": his reputation, potential liability, etc. -- all of them based on a false premise and circularly reasoned from Sibrel's predetermined conclusion. Later Sibrel raises the possibility that the astronauts in the photos aren't really Armstrong and Aldrin, since you can't see their faces. That's certainly possible, but Sibrel never reconciles this argument with his previous ones. Since we can't recognize them anyway, why is it such a historical faux pas not to have taken more pictures of them? And if Armstrong had been temperamental about having his picture taken, they could have brought in a stand-in to wear his suit and pose as necessary.

This picture (Fig. 1) shows shadow angles that cannot be produced in sunlight.

Fig. 1 -Neil Armstrong photographs the lunar module Eagle from a distance. (NASA: AS11-40-5961)

Of course they can.
Fig. 2 -Rocks photographed in the desert with a low sun show the same shadow angles as lunar photography.

See here for a more detailed description of this particular photograph. Mr. Sibrel presumes the implement casting the long thin shadow at lower right is standing straight up so that the handle is perfectly vertical. It is not. If two objects are not parallel in three dimensions in the scene, there is no guaranteed that their shadows will appear parallel in a photograph.

Mr. Sibrel implies that he has seen all the color photographs from Apollo 11. If that were true, he would have noticed, in the same sequence, photos of the object itself -- the surface close-up camera -- which is most certainly not vertical. Mr. Sibrel has misled the viewer either about the depth of his research or about the nature of the evidence.

"Hot spots" such as this one cannot be produced in sunlight.

Of course they can.
Fig. 3 -Texture shadow-hiding photographed on an asphalt roadway.

There's a rock with a "C" on it -- obviously a prop.

We discuss this at length here. Bart Sibrel claims to have a background in film and theater, yet he seems to forget that props are rarely labeled conspicuously as he suggests here. A trip backstage at any theater or on any film set confirms that props are kept on tables or in racks and the tables and racks are labeled, not the items themselves. It is up to the property master to know which is which.
Fig. 4 -The tip of the gnomon's shadow falls over the rock in question. (NASA: detail of AS16-107-17446)

The alleged "crease" that tips off Sibrel to the possibility that it's a papier-mâché rock isn't a crease at all but rather the shadow of the gnomon tip falling across it. Again, either Mr. Sibrel saw this when he was cropping the photo and thus intentionally omitted it, or else he has never seen the full photograph and is basing his opinion on hasty and incomplete research.

Considering the sheer number of rocks that would have to appear in a moon set, making them all by hand would be labor-intensive and lead to the temptation to reuse them in different setups. Far better would be to do as the Clarke Planetarium (Utah) did when building their lunar surface diorama -- just use real rocks. They're cheaper, more plentiful, and come pre-made in a wide variety of shapes and sizes.

The film shows us one example of a "suspicious" missing fiducial, but certainly no examples of those that don't seem to be the result of image compositing. And we also see the standard no crater argument. Sibrel complains that the lack of dust on the footpads is "explained away" by the absence of an atmosphere, but he doesn't give any details about why that explanation is wrong. The viewer is apparently supposed to decide that NASA's story is "naturally" preposterous simply because it comes from NASA. In fact NASA has a perfectly good explanation for the behavior of dust around its spacecraft. Sibrel just isn't interested in it.

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