This is a response to the latest article from Dark Moon authors Mary Bennett
and David Percy ("the Authors") that was posted on their web site.
Fig. 1 -The cover photo to the paper back edition
of Dark Moon.
Notably, while emerging
pro-Apollo websites often present differing answers to any given
problem, the principal theme of Dark Moon has been virtually
One need not disagree with the overarching thesis of a book to
raise objections to points raised therein. Unlike the Authors, we
prefer to speak from within the limits of our expertise. The full
title Dark Moon: Apollo and the Whistle-Blowers and the
Apollo-themed cover photo (Fig. 1) indicate that the book intends to
treat as a significant thematic element the Authors' theory on how the
Apollo record may have been faked, and it is this element toward which
we have focused our efforts to date.
Nevertheless, Dark Moon is, for lack of a better
expression, all over the map. It draws upon several controversial
topics and presumes connections from them to Apollo and the American
space program. We suggest a title along the lines: Dark Moon:
Every Conspiracy Theory in the World Wrapped Up In One Book. In
order to address every theory raised in the book, we would have to
present a web site or book as lengthy, disjointed, and fragmentary as
Dark Moon. We prefer to focus our efforts on the Apollo
missions and record, since that is where our expertise most
Our observations and
discussions concerning the anomalies apparent in the Apollo record are
only a prelude to examining the prime reasons for such hasty attempts
to get out into space.
But if having faked the lunar record is a premise of such an
argument, then surely serious questions that erode the premise must
commensurately erode the conclusion. If the Apollo record was
not faked as the Authors suggest, then their explanation for
why it might have been faked is purely academic.
It is disappointing that Bennett and Percy are vocal about what has
been left unaddressed by Clavius and associated web sites, but they
remain largely silent on the serious questions and refutations that we
have provided over the past two years. Indeed, their responses are
"All we have to say on the subject is in our book and video."
"You must buy both our book and our video in order to appreciate
Note how these frequent responses revolve around the central theme
of suggesting you buy their products.
Further, Aulis.com has attempted and abandoned two separate
mechanisms for collecting and
responding to reader feedback. These mechanisms were suspiciously
discontinued just as readers had begun to ask "hard" questions. The
Authors do not do well to emphasize the "work-in-progress" nature of
their critics' responses after disavowing their own responsibilities
so conspicuously. We fully intend to address all the Authors' Apollo
arguments, whereas the Authors don't appear willing to address many of
the critics' objections.
The Authors took five years of full-time work to produce their
works. It is expected that to address all their findings will take a
number of years, especially since the amount of research necessary for
refutation generally outweighs by a factor of two the research
necessary merely to make conjecture seem plausible.
quantities of mail from both camps in the discussion over the veracity
of the Apollo record, we must sympathise with our readers who do not
have sufficient background to evaluate the reactions from the
That is misplaced sympathy, for the Authors themselves do not have
sufficient background to evaluate the reactions from their critics.
Ms. Bennett and Mr. Percy have perpetrated upon the reader an
ill-researched, oversimplified, and factually questionable account of
Apollo. When questioned by competent critics, they invent excuses for
The Authors claim to have conducted painstaking research, but in
many cases we can easily find (sometimes after only minutes of
looking) evidence that contradicts or materially alters the Authors'
conclusions. The Authors' failure to locate and discuss this evidence
in their book is egregious. Their failure to do so even years after
its publication is inexcusable; it leads us to conclude that the
Authors' claim of thoroughness is exaggerated.
The Authors implicitly promise the reader that he will benefit
from their exhaustive research and be liberated from the necessity of
educating himself in the relevant topics. The role of author-teacher
places a burden upon the Authors to get their science right, and to
take care in their redactions not to eliminate pertinent details. Yet
when their science is questioned by scientists, and when the important
omitted details in their evidence are restored, the Authors lament
that the reader may not be able to appreciate such criticism. In
fact, we lament that the Authors have done such a poor job of
conveying important, technical, complicated, detailed topics to their
readers. We suggest the readers hold the Authors responsible, not us.
We intend to educate the reader so that he understands the issues
of space travel that apply to Apollo. At this level of understanding,
the absurdity of many of the Authors' statements is self-evident. We
believe in providing a wealth of information. Conspiracists, on the
other hand, spoon-feed material that has been carefully selected to
raise suspicions and doubts in the reader with the ultimate goal of
distrusting and dismissing a large body of extant evidence. The
effective result is to leave the reader with less knowledge than when
Simplification is often necessary when discussing complicated
subjects for the layman reader. We must accept either the
responsibility to educate the reader beyond the need for simplism, or
the responsibility to measure up to his faith in our simplification.
We at Clavius.org have confidence in our readers' ability to
understand and judge for themselves, after having been armed with an
understanding of the world they live in. Conspiracists have no such
confidence: they compel belief (or disbelief) by carefully controlling
what the reader is likely to see and hear and hoping he doesn't look
for anything on his own.
[F]or every question
that has been asked, they have responded with several different,
sometimes conflicting answers-when there can be only one correct
The Authors' "every question" is an exaggeration; they have to
date provided only two examples of this alleged chaos: the shadow
analysis argument discussed below, and a statement made in a previous
Aulis web page alleging that critics' estimates of Van Allen belt
radiation differ significantly.
In each of these cases the Authors themselves demonstrate marked
incompetence in the relevant scientific fields. This has led them to
mistakenly assert that various criticisms and answers are incompatible
and therefore unlikely to be true or applicable. We stress that the
perception of inconsistency in these two cases is solely the product
of the Authors' inexpertise which they intent to propagate to their
Turning to a more abstract discussion, we believe this dismissal
is the Authors' gambit to wriggle free of intellectual responsibility
for supporting their claims against criticism and refutation. They
believe they have no responsibility to respond until the critics "get
their act together." Unfortunately the Authors clearly do not
understand the epistemology of their own
arguments. So long as they employ indirect reasoning, Ms. Bennett and
Mr. Percy have the burden of proof to eliminate all competing
hypotheses. Each suggested candidate must be examined and
individually eliminated. They may not collectively be dismissed
simply on the basis of their plurality.
We agree with the Authors that there must be only one correct
answer for any given anomaly. But the Authors suppose that we can
refute their attempt to find it only by finding the true cause
ourselves. That's not necessary, and it's not what we're trying to
do. Refuting an indirect inductive case is a matter of showing that
the process of elimination was incomplete. By bringing up
alternatives that the Authors haven't considered, we demonstrate the
insufficiency of the Authors' case. It doesn't matter that they might
be collectively incompatible. It matters only that each one is
individually plausible and wasn't expressly eliminated.
A simplified version of the Authors' reasoning is illustrated in
this fictitious dialogue
John: I saw an alien spacecraft.
Tom: How do you know it was an alien spacecraft?
John: Because it wasn't an airplane and it wasn't an
optical illusion. The only remaining possibility is that it was an
Tom: But perhaps it was a weather balloon.
Dick: Or perhaps it was Venus.
Harry: Or perhaps swamp gas, or the space station.
John: But it can be only one thing. It can't be a weather
balloon and Venus and swamp gas and the space
station. You three can't agree, so clearly you don't know what you're
talking about. That means my argument still holds.
If John wishes to continue with his indirect proof then he must
eliminate each of the possibilities that Tom, Dick, and Harry have
suggested. The fact that they are mutually exclusive is irrelevant.
And similarly, the Authors' accusations of inconsistency -- whether
justified or not -- simply do not excuse them from the responsibility
inherent to their indirect method of reasoning.
While endeavouring to
explain the shadow anomalies in some photographs, a variety of
explanations have been thrown into the same pot, such as differing
inappropriate aspects of perspective analysis and shadow
No. All those methods -- especially those with demonstrated
empirical validity -- are manifestations of the basic underlying
elements of projective transformations well known to geometry and
mathematics. They all discuss the projection of an affine space onto
a film plane, the formalisms of which the Authors have never even
acknowledged and which they do not appear to understand when
introduced to them.
It is particularly galling that Bennett and Percy should label the
efforts of their critics as "inappropriate" since their own methods
are mostly invented by them and appear only in their book and video,
while ours are documented in numerous textbooks. We find that Dark Moon's ad hoc
"analysis" techniques work only on the few carefully constructed
examples in the book and fail miserably in real-world examples. And
Dark Moon's "photo rules" in some cases even invalidate the
photos used elsewhere in the book! For example, the Authors' Photo
Rule #1 states
"Light travels in straight, parallel
lines at any given moment. Shadow directions are constant because the
light comes from the Sun -- a single light source -- some 93 million
miles away." (op. cit., p. 21)
However, in Photo #31 (p. 27) from Dark Moon the shadows do
not appear at all parallel despite having been cast by the sun. The
Authors were asked to address this discrepancy but declined to do
Attempts to define a
light source have dismissed the relevant shadow angle of the
Attempts by the Authors to describe or measure the shadow angle of
the sun (e.g., Photo #23, Dark Moon p. 25) are, as described
above, subjective and purely ad hoc. They fail to consider, among
other things, aspects of terrain and the principles of perspective.
The Authors simply declare terrain to be irrelevant. And they give
the educated reader numerous clues that they do not understand the
nature of angles and directions in the three-dimensional world and how
they are either preserved or altered by perspective.
Granted, the reader isn't expected to intuitively understand this
either, but it is the Authors' responsibility to get it right, and
they haven't. Again the Authors fail to grasp the relevant geometry
and mathematics. The chaos they attempt to pin on their critics is
instead a manifestation of their own inability to deal with criticism
which is out of their technical league.
Vanishing-point analysis and other techniques that derive from
projective geometry do not require first guessing where the light
source may be or where a shadow "really" falls. The Authors are
attempting to hobble the legitimate techniques with the shortcomings
of their own ad hoc methods. In a very real sense, Ms. Bennett and
Mr. Percy are complaining that our techniques do not replicate their
mistakes! Projective geometry provides the physical basis and rigor
that free the analyst from the problems of the Authors' naive
approach. Its power derives from its being impervious to the effects
of subjectivity, perspective, and terrain that plague the Authors'
analysis. That's why these techniques -- not the Authors' -- are
universally used; they're known to work.
In one particular scene
an individual managed to demonstrate that the source of the light was
indeed a single light source-but not that it was the Sun so fervently
But the Authors' original claim was that the shadows in the image
could only have been produced by multiple light sources. The
Authors have frequently employed such egregious horse-changing when confronted
with well-founded criticism. The critic has shown by a standard
vanishing-point analysis (VPA) technique (instead of the Authors'
home-grown techniques) that the shadows are consistent with a single
light source, contrary to the book's assertions. But now the Authors
complain because he has not proved that the singular light source was
the sun, even though their original argument is no longer valid.
For some of the photos discussed in Dark Moon, the
multiple-light hypothesis is the only means by which the Authors have
declared them fakes. If they were indeed taken using multiple lights
(to explain the apparently inconsistent shadow directions) then they
must be questioned, for no such photos could plausibly have been taken
on the moon with its single direct light source. But by showing that
the shadows are consistent with having been caused by a single direct
light source, we show not only that the authors are inexperienced and
unskilled at analyzing photographs, we also eliminate their only claim
for these particular photos being anomalous.
True, photos taken indoors using a single artificial light will
satisfy the VPA criteria as well as the sun, but there is no means by
which the Authors can differentiate between one or the other and
therefore no basis therein upon which to argue for forgery or
authenticity, so long as the VPA test passes. It is not necessary to
prove conclusively that the shadows were cast by the sun in order to
refute the Authors' multiple-light theory.
Bennett and Percy seem to labor under the delusion that the only
viable method of refuting their claims of fakery is to prove the
authenticity of the photos. This is not true. To refute any claim on
any subject one must simply show that the case made for it is
incorrect or incomplete. It is not required that some other specific
case be proven instead. We can reliably say that the Authors are
wrong without necessarily having to say what else, if anything, may be
right. This important distinction is fundamental to the science of
investigation. Note that we cannot hold that the photos must be
authentic because we have refuted the Authors, only that that Authors
have failed to show they are fakes.
With a sweep of the
critic's hand the results of the detailed photographic analysis by Dr
David Groves were dismissed -- his qualifications and professional
experience apparently inadequate.
No. The Authors fervently wish the reader to accept without
question the testimony of Dr. Groves on the basis of his credentials
alone. Our rejection of his results is stated on the basis of the bad
science and oversimplified assumptions underlying them, not on a
failure to be impressed by his credentials. Dr. Groves is not the
only authority on these matters. Other authorities not only disagree
with Dr. Groves, but can provide purely factual reasons for their
If a Doctor of Mathematics tells you that 1 + 1 = 3, his degrees
and honors do not make the statement correct. Nor would a rejection
of that statement be an affront to those credentials. In fact, the
citation of such a "fact" under color of expertise would indeed be an
egregious misuse of that expertise. Dark Moon is full of
misapplied and misunderstood expertise. The Authors want us to accept
that 1 + 1 = 3, in a manner of speaking, because a Doctor of
Mathematics cannot possibly be wrong on such a point. We refute that
simply by noting that 1 + 1 does not equal 3. The Doctor's
credentials are irrelevant.
We have discussed here the crippling
flaws in some of Dr. Groves' experiments.
So where does all this
argument leave the reader? This lack of consistency in the responses
to our findings strongly suggests that there is indeed something
seriously wrong with the Apollo record.
No. The Authors simply want the reader to believe that they are
right simply because someone else appears to be wrong. The appearance
of impropriety is not per se evidence of malfeasance.
As stated above, one need not respond consistently in order to
refute the indirect proof that the Authors have provided. In fact,
the scientific method works best when several hypotheses -- possibly
incompatible ones -- are considered as explanations for a single
observation. The question is not why the Authors' critics have
considered so many different hypotheses. The question is why the
Authors have considered so few.
Bennett and Percy are attempting the age-old propaganda technique:
"Something is wrong, therefore I am right." Let's say your car grinds
to a halt by the side of the road. Your passenger says it must be an
electrical problem, but you feel you must be out of gas. When you
discover plenty of gas in the tank, does this prove your passenger's
theory that the problem is electrical? Of course not. There are many
other potential causes to consider. A good investigation into the
cause of your car's failure will consider many theories, some of which
perhaps conflict with or outright contradict other theories. So long
as any one or number of them remain plausible, your passenger may not
assert by default that the car problem is electrical. The Authors are
experts in considering only one or two competing theories and the
considering the case closed in favor of theirs. However, such an
approach has no basis in logic, except as an example of the false
As for awkward points
such as the Apollo 11 Coca-Cola bottle incident recounted by Western
Australian resident Una Ronald-according to our detractors this
account cannot be true.
We have considered the Authors' latest statements in our general
treatment of the "Una Ronald" story.
The Apollo material that
we received from NASA was supplied either as 5x4 copy transparencies
from the originals.
No. The original 70 millimeter transparencies are never used for
routine duplicating purposes. At best the Authors had
The Authors suggest they have in their possession a duplicate
transparency of AS16-107-17446 with the "C" mark on the rock. If so,
it is the only such transparency known to exist. Let them present it
to their critics for independent analysis. This would substantiate
their case beyond any reasonable doubt. As it stands we must simply
take their word for it.
Any picture published
without the hair on the 'C rock' in our opinion is an image that has
been retouched to remove the 'C', as upon close examination tell-tale
evidence of retouching can be seen.
This is preposterous. The Authors simply attempt to dodge an
uncomfortable fact by piling conjecture upon conjecture, clearly
basing their interpretation of evidence upon the conclusion they have
predetermined instead of the merits of the evidence. If a photo has
the "C" on the rock, it's genuine; if a photo doesn't have the "C"
then it "must" have been retouched! You cannot get any more selective
Dark Moon states (p. 42) that the "C" on the rock was "air
brushed out," but nowhere do they give any evidence of such an act of
erasure. They have simply formulated a hypothesis to explain the
mark's absence that happens to favor their theory for the photograph
There are two examples
of the letter 'C' on the image in question-not just one. This second
'C' has been totally missed by the detractors.
Not missed, just dismissed. It likely is a real mark on the
ground, but the claims regarding it are still preposterous.
The Authors claim (op. cit., p. 41) that the "C" on the
rock is a set dresser's reference, and we infer that the "C" on the
ground is supposed to be the corresponding reference. But none of the
dozens of professional set dressers we've consulted in Hollywood or
elsewhere agrees that a prop should be marked in such a conspicuous
way -- if, indeed, it is marked at all.
If one is sufficiently lenient in his pattern-recognition, one can
find several examples of letters and numbers in the noise of the lunar
surface. It is also worth mentioning that the surface "C", as
represented in Dark Moon (Photo #58, p. 42) has been admittedly
enhanced in the Authors' version to amplify its apparent regularity
and significance. This is a deliberate ploy to overstate the
evidence. While an unretouched version of the photograph appears on
page 269 of Dark Moon, the reader is not directed to it as part
of this discussion and is left to his own devices to match that photo
up with one that was discussed two hundred pages previously. Why do
the Authors obscure the actual data with their retouching?
Which is more important?
The alleged correspondence to the "C" on the rock and the "C" on
the ground depends on whether the mark really is on the rock. And
apparently the Dark Moon authors have the only early-generation
transparency in the whole world that establishes this "fact".
If NASA were trying to remove evidence of the "C", why would they
airbrush it out of the rock, but not off the surface in front of the
rock? What purpose would airbrushing the "C" serve except to raise
more suspicion that NASA was deliberately altering the record? You
don't lock the barn door after the horse escapes.
And the Authors seem unconcerned that there are actually
two photos of this rock taken from different angles. The other
one, AS11-107-17445, has absolutely no trace whatsoever of the "C" on
the rock, in any print or transparency. Of course we expect the
Authors to argue that it was airbrushed out of this one too. So
although the mark can be conclusively traced back to a single print in
someone's file cabinet, the Authors' preferred explanation is that
this is the only "correct" version among countless "C"-less ones,
including the dupe masters.
We have never stated
that human beings did not explore the lunar surface. Our hypothesis
has always been that although research evidence suggests that the
named Apollo astronauts did not venture beyond low Earth orbit, in all
probability surrogates were sent to the Moon in the late
The Authors accuse their critics of confusing the two questions
(1) whether manned moon landings actually occurred, and (2) whether
the Apollo record is a true record of any such landing. We
acknowledge that the Authors state repeatedly that they question only
the veracity of the record. However, they sometimes forget
themselves and make a case that would seem to preclude landings
A substantial segment of the Apollo-related chapters in the book
describes what the Authors feel was a total unreadiness of the
U.S. aerospace community to conduct manned lunar landings. For
example, they question the ability of the Saturn V to launch a lunar
mission (op. cit., pp. 124ff). If no suitable booster existed,
how could anyone -- named Apollo astronauts or surrogates -- get to
the moon? Either the technology was too immature and therefore
nobody went to the moon, or else the technology to send the
surrogates was adequate and therefore the Authors wrongly estimate the
And of course we wonder a bit about the the hypothesis that highly
trained pilots (albeit not those whose names we know) would volunteer
for a surely suicide mission without any recognition or apparent
purpose. In fact they would go knowing someone else was taking credit
for their deeds. The Authors have declined to describe just who would
agree to do this and why.
Dark Moon can't help but make a contradictory case on this
point. It seems more reasonable that the Authors' concession to the
possibility of "surrogate" lunar explorers is a ploy to enhance the
credibility of their case: it's controversial but not as
controversial as some other cases that have been made. Yes, we agree
that the question of the landings is separate from the question of the
record's authenticity. And we hope the Authors will also bear the
difference in mind.
One NASA protagonist,
... asked one of our readers, ... whether he thought that WWII was
It is evident to all thinking beings, as he surely
knows, that WWII happened.
Yes, that's the point. Of course any rational person believes
that World War II occurred. However, by using the same techniques as
the Authors have used to question the Apollo record (i.e., unskilled
analysis, selective quotation, copious amounts of conjecture), we can
show that World War II might not have occurred! If someone is allowed
to explain away bald fact by means of some hypothesis about how it
"might have been faked," then he can prove any proposition whatsoever.
The analogy to World War II is a way of testing the Authors'
method, not directly to compare the war to the Apollo missions.
It is well known in logic that a proof which supports a proposition
known to be false must be an incorrect proof. If the Authors'
method of historical investigation can be used to disprove an
unmistakably true event, then there is something wrong with the
method. Knowing this, it becomes an academic exercise to determine
just how and why it fails, and we're proud to say we have identified
many aspects of the Authors' method which compromises the reliability
of the conclusions they draw by it.
Sean] O'Keefe stated that NASA still faces two key obstacles in the
exploration of space: 1. Power and propulsion in deep space. 2. The
hazardous radiation environment for humans travelling beyond
Earth. Indeed radiation was one of the greatest challenges faced by
NASA is looking beyond the moon to Mars and the other planets.
This will require technology and techniques vastly different from
those developed for Apollo. In some cases Apollo was able to "cheat"
and use techniques that would not work for longer missions. This is
not foul play; Apollo had a distinct deadline. But it is important to
take with this grain of salt statements by O'Keefe and others.
Power. Apollo spacecraft used consumable cryogenic fuels
for generating power. This works well for missions of 15 days or
less. The same technology has been advanced on the larger space
shuttle to support missions of up to 30 days. But to support the
needs of a spacecraft for months on end is a problem that cannot be
readily solved with cryogenics technology. Solar power is
insufficient in the outer solar system, where the sun is too dim.
Radioisotopic thermoelectric generators have been used successfully in
unmanned deep space probes, but are not yet developed for manned
applications. But for short missions, cryogenic hydrogen and oxygen
combined in fuel cells works very well.
Propulsion. Missions to deep space require considerable
delta-v capacity. This requires a spacecraft to carry extra fuel,
which precludes launching a fully-fueled spacecraft from Earth. It
also requires propellants of sufficient potency that can be stored for
months on end with no consequences. Cryogenic propellants have
drastic thermal constraints that must be maintained. The current
generation of hypergols is corrosive and cannot be stored for long
periods of time within the spacecraft's plumbing.
The Apollo missions required less fuel than is contemplated for
Mars missions, and the Apollo missions were short enough that
hypergolic fuels could be loaded, stored, and used within the window
afforded by the spacecraft hardware. Again, the difference between a
short mission and a prolonged mission is the key.
Radiation. We have spoken at length about radiation and the
means by which Apollo dealt with it. The Authors have not addressed
at all our discussion of their claims. Apparently they believe that
O'Keefe's statements "trump" any analysis we might perform. But if
they sought to understand space radiation they would understand why
O'Keefe's statements do not preclude the success of a lunar mission.
The cislunar ambient is such that 15 days (or less) exposure --
most of it inside the spacecraft -- is not biologically significant.
However, it likely would be for a Mars mission, since prolonged
exposure (even at low levels) is hazardous.
We discuss passage through the Van Allen
belts, which would be roughly identical in a Mars mission.
But a fortnight outside the Van Allen belts is not equivalent to
several months outside it when discussing the possibility of solar particle events. Statistically the
chances of avoiding a solar event in any given 15-day period (i.e., a
lengthy Apollo mission) are very good. But the chances of going 18-24
months without a solar flare of hazardous magnitude are practically
nil. Whereas the Apollo missions relied on statistical probability to
protect them, a Mars mission -- or any long-duration manned mission --
will encounter one and must be prepared to carry on afterwards.
We are always surprised by the conspiracists' ability to escalate
a "problem" or a "hazard" or an "challenge" to the status of, in the
Authors' words, an "insoluble problem." Simply pointing out the
difficulties inherent to some endeavor does not make those problems
insurmountable. The Authors rarely describe the problems of space
travel in anything other than the superlative.
However, in March 2001
pro-Apollo reader Jay from Utah, perhaps inadvertently, supported our
justifications for staged footage when he commented on a documentary
he had seen on American TV. In this programme WWII combat cameramen
stated that lots of the 'documentary' footage of combat actions was
actually staged. And that apparently war footage has been routinely
staged as long as there have been cameras covering wars.
Having been the person to write this I feel the most competent
addressing it. There are important differences between my thesis and
the thesis of Dark Moon. First, "lots" does not mean a
majority. In fact, I know personally of only two: the storming of the
Reichstag and the raising of the (second) flag over Iwo Jima. The
latter doesn't really count because it was actual Marines actually
raising a flag in actual combat, but they did specifically take a film
cameraman along and waited until he was ready to film them before they
took action. This is not necessarily to "stage" the event. I have
heard of similar stagings from the Spanish-American war, but none (for
example) from Viet Nam or any of the conflicts in the Persian Gulf.
Second, we have unquestionable evidence that this was done in
World War II by the testimony of the cameramen who did it. Can the
authors produce any such evidence? Can the authors produce one person
who can substantiate having worked to fake the Apollo photos? No,
they cannot. They can provide only excuses for why these people -- if
they even exist -- are not forthcoming.
Finally, the point I wished to make is what effect such staged
footage has on the question of authenticity. Despite having staged
photography, there is still the vast majority of actual photography
shot in combat. And this photography is still evidence and
documentation for World War II. The historicity of the events and the
authenticity of the accounts is not drastically diminished, nor our
understanding radically altered, by the presence of forgery. Mary
Bennett and David Percy wish us to believe that even the merest
impression of impropriety in the record demands that Apollo must have
unfolded dramatically differently than we have been told. Qualified
historians favor a conservative approach to possibly fraudulent
evidence; but Dark Moon wants everything to be rewritten on the
We are disappointed that the Authors reproduce comments submitted
to their web site when the comments appear to support their point, but
they let pass in silence Jay's conclusive refutation of the so-called
"jump salute" inconsistency and the lunar module crater argument, which were
also submitted to their web site long before this, and which the
Authors have never addressed. Further, the submissions to their site
over the past few years are no longer available for public viewing,
although the Authors continue to invoke them for their own purposes.
We propose the Authors publish all the comments that have been
made, not simply those that appear to agree with them.
Six decades after WWII
it is now calmly acknowledged that considerable amounts of the
historical record were staged. Four decades after the first mission to
the Moon the authors ask if the same approach was adopted for
And it is appropriate to answer each question differently. The
Authors, in amplifying and sensationalizng the notion of staged
footage in combat, have attempted to borrow evidence in one case to
apply it to theirs. We can prove without much difficulty that some
selected portions of combat photography from various wars was staged
because we can talk to the people who did it and they can show us how,
where, and why it was done. But the authors of Dark Moon enjoy
no such credibility. They have only a hypothesis, and when we examine
the evidence that supposedly favors that hypothesis we find a trail of
half-truths, of omitted pertinent information, and of pretended
It is not a matter of "shock" value, as the Authors suggest. We
reject their conclusions not because we aren't yet "ready" to accept
the possibility of a fraudulent Apollo record. We reject their
conclusion because there is no compelling evidence in favor of it.
"But nobody has
acknowledged that any single one of the images of Apollo were staged,"
we might hear you cry. Well, yes they have.
Here, in referring to Shepard's Moon Shot (1994), the
Authors continue their penchant for ignoring primary sources in favor
of secondary sources. That an editor or even an astronaut author
would create out of several original sources an image to illustrate
his popular book is not evidence of fraud on NASA's part, even if
Shepard was once a NASA astronaut.
The photograph that sticks in the Authors' craw is not labeled as
one of the Apollo Hasselblad photographs, nor is it claimed in the
text to be an actual photograph depicting the actual image of the
events. The Authors note this, but say it is likely to be believed as
authentic. But that is the all-important difference between what is
claimed and what is inferred. Popular books do not
generally give specific disclaimers on their illustrations.
The authors simply strain to make this an "official" NASA
photograph from Apollo when it patently is not.
In the 1975 Michael
Collins biography Carrying the Fire a photograph appears of
Collins on an EVA floating against a black sky. In fact (noted by
Ralph René) this picture was originally taken within the confines of
the zero-G aircraft. With the background blacked out and the photo
reversed it purported to be an image from the Gemini X
No it did not. The author Ralph René simply made that claim
himself and then attempted to pin it on Collins, and then by strained
verbal gymnastics, on NASA. The photograph in question appears
without a caption, and nothing in the book purports it to be an image
from Collins' Gemini mission. In fact, later in the book the
unaltered photo appears with a caption clearly identifying it as taken
in the microgravity training aircraft.
René was offered $10,000 by author James Oberg to produce any
edition of the book in which this photograph is identified as a Gemini
EVA photo, and so far he has not been able to do it. Here too, the
conspiracists have dressed up a straw man in flimsy, inferential
reasoning that purports to connect their secondary-source (or worse)
evidence back to NASA. There is no such claim as the Authors have
purported, and no evidence of intent to deceive.
The Authors rely heavily on "inferring" and "hints" when examining
this type of material. This is simply to disguise their efforts to
"read into" these sources the problems they say are contained in them.
And they are ones to talk. In Dark Moon they have attributed
to NASA a film clip allegedly of Apollo 12's landing on the Surveyor
landing site. But when pressed, they admit they just assumed the clip
was from NASA; they have no evidence that it was produced by NASA nor
that it was intended to depict the actual landing. It seems the
Authors cannot resist drawing sweeping assumptions and inferring
relationships, then stating them as fact. We cannot accept them as
serious researchers if they do that.
- A brief bibliography would include
- Coxeter, H.S.M. Projective Geometry, 2d ed. Toronto:
Univ. of Toronto, 1974.
- Edwards, Lawrence. Projective Geometry. London: Rudolf
Steiner Press, 1980.
- Struik, Dirk. Projective Geometry. London:
- Veblen, Oswald and Young, Arthur. Projective Geometry.
Boston: Ginn and Company, 1910.