Just this last week there was a story: "Driverless cars are here. They are in Tokyo now. Oh, and there's a person in the driver's seat, just in case. Rodney Brooks: That's hardly a replacement of a Tokyo taxi driver. But in the long run, just as cars totally transformed our cities and our countryside, I think driverless cars will transform our cities again.
They won't look like what they look like today, with driverless cars. And we can't imagine exactly what it will be. But, the way we'll get there is we'll start having special areas dedicated to driverless cars, where the laws are somewhat different from where we have cars with drivers. And, over time, they will take over and restructure our cities in some way yet to be determined. Russ Roberts: Let's talk about that for one second--just because it's any issue that's come up many times on the program. I had an episode with Benedict Evans where we mused about what those transformations might be.
And of course, as you point out, I'm sure we are going to get that wrong. We are going to misunderstand what's coming. But, I'm curious what you think the mix of challenges are for driverless cars. You argue there are three challenges. One challenge is technology. Which is advancing slowly but steadily, as cars without drivers driver along and map out streets.
And algorithms try to learn to deal with surprises. The second challenge, you could argue, is regulatory: Are the politicians and bureaucrats going to allow this to happen? And, are they going to have to potentially create the infrastructure that will make them succeed?
If that's necessary, and I think it might be, do you have to deal with the fact that there might be a world for a long time where there's some driverless cars and some not, and how those are going to interface in the regulatory environment? Are you going to ban driver cars because they are too dangerous? Are we going to let that persist? All those regulatory issues. And of course there will be people like the taxicab business and the trucking business that will have a stake in keeping the status quo.
And then, the third issue, I'd say, is cultural: just the idea of people getting into a vehicle that doesn't have a driver, and the norms that will have to evolve and change to deal with that. Of those three challenges, which do you see as the biggest? Do you feel that they're all going to be solved? Rodney Brooks: They will be, but not in the [? Let me go to your third challenge there and relate it to the second challenge: the cultural norms. When you pick up, get a Lyft or an Uber today, generally the Uber or Lyft either double parks to let you in, or pulls into a bus zone or somewhere they're not legally supposed to be.
And there is a social interchange between you and the driver--I always say, 'Hi,' because I've got that from the app; and then I say my name so they can confirm that I'm the right person getting in the car--because a few times I've gotten in the wrong car. Which hasn't been good. And so there's that interchange. And then, as we're driving, I may change my mind, or whatever. Now, imagine that in the future a mother or father wants to put their kid in a driverless car to take him to soccer practice. And it's a year-old kid. You can imagine letting that happen. Well, now this car is driving along; like, it's stuck somewhere.
And it needs some help. Is the kid allowed to tell the car what to do, or change what's going on? If the kid is doing that, is the kid now, in scare quotes, "driving the car? These are questions which don't come up with a human driver, but they will come up when there's no human driver there. The whole definitions of who is in charge and when should it listen to a person in the car. Should it listen to any adult? What if it's a dementia patient on their way to adult daycare? Should it listen to them? Lots and lots of edge cases where are just going to take a long time to get solved; and there's going to be horrible incidents along the way that will be really blown up in the press.
And it's not going to be smooth sailing. And I'm not being a pessimist. I'm just trying to be a realist. These things are tricky. Russ Roberts: In the short term in that case because we think it's going to be any day now. And then we are underestimating in the long run because we don't really appreciate how it's going to be transformative. In the article you mention GPS global positioning system , which is I think something people don't fully appreciate as a technology.
I think most people, like myself, tend to think of it like, 'Oh, that's how I use Waze or Google Maps. So, talk about that. It almost got killed many, many times when it was being developed by the U. But, now it is so completely intertwined with that infrastructure that if GPS goes down, we are going to have us some months at least of serious disruption to our country.
And this is true of worse[? Because we've got these super, super, super-accurate clocks above us, available at all times, our electrical network, infrastructure, uses those clocks on those GPS satellites in order to synchronize the whole grid. If the GPS satellites go away, our grid is going to break, and we'll have to break up the grid very quickly into isolated sub-pieces and not be able to ship electricity across the country as we do.
That's one for instance. But there are many, many, many uses of GPS. For instance, it's how we estimate how much ground water there is in vast swaths of the country to predict fire danger. As we've seen, fire danger is going up. All sorts of uses of GPS that no one thought of are now being built into our society, and we entirely depend upon them. Russ Roberts: Can we talk about that electricity grid for a sec? Did I miss the science fiction movie about that? Because there could be an obvious one that dwells on somebody taking that down.
I don't know how easy it is to take down the GPS system. I don't know what that would involve. It's a lot of satellites, right? It's, what? Rodney Brooks: Yeah, but, you know, yeah--some tens. Less that a hundred. I can't remember the exact number. Rodney Brooks: No. If one of them goes, we're not. But what if, you know, some adversary, probably a non-state actor--non-state actors would have it in their interest to do it for their own state's sake--if a non-state actor gets something up there and blows one up, and in the orbit, orbital planes, just fills that orbital plane, which is a sphere, actually, with debris, and they all start [?
That's going to be bad. Rodney Brooks: Well, many of the systems are now using multiple--because there's more than one; the Russians have their own system, and the Europeans are building their system, and so some of the chips[? But, you know, they could all go down. And by the way, the GPS doesn't just run. GPS is operated out of Colorado Springs with a Rodney Brooks: [?
Airforce team. If they stop work, in about a week, your car GPS wouldn't know exactly what street it was on. And in 2 or 3 months it would get Town wrong, where it is. That's how much adjustment needs to be done to keep everything in lockstep at the moment. Rodney Brooks: But we totally underestimated how it was going to pervade our lives. Russ Roberts: Anything right now that's out there that you think is being underestimated in important ways, besides--you mentioned driverless cars, but I think people might have some idea what might happen there.
Anything out there that--you know, drones, or nanotechnology, or something that you think is being underappreciated that you don't want to--that you can share, because you've already bought the stock? I tend to think that--and you can see sort of megatrends driving this--I tend to think that the indoor farming is going to be much bigger than people imagine right now.
People are still thinking that farming is going to work like it's always worked for the last 10, years. And my characterization of the last 10, years of farming is: You go outside; you put some seeds down; you watch the weather; you complain about the weather; and then ultimately you harvest the crop. Rodney Brooks: With--for a number of reasons, that's problematic. Climate change is one of them. Where certain crops grow well is going to change as climate, you know, upends things. The other is the Rodney Brooks: if you look at meat production, that's a major contributor to CO 2.
I just saw a thing recently that there a--the volume of carbon in livestock--just as a measure--the volume of carbon in livestock in the world is 1. And, humans have 9 times the volume of carbon of all other mammals. Which is incredible. We've upended[? We can't continue that. So, you know, we're starting to see synthetic meat companies. Starting to see them on menus Rodney Brooks: synthetic meat. I think we are going to have a transformation in our whole food supply system over the next 50 years.
Indoor farming and synthetic meat. So, I think people aren't seeing that as much as they might. Russ Roberts: Let's move on to the next argument you make. Which is utterly fascinating to me. Which is: The dangers of treating technology as magical. Which is--I love it because at first it's ironic. We all think of technology as the opposite of magical. Magical is stuff we can't explain; and technology is this mathematical, engineering, analytical set of techniques that's the opposite of magic.
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But, you say people often misperceive it as magical. What do you mean by that? And then you say that it's an argument that can never be refuted: it's a faith-based argument, not a scientific argument. What do you have in mind there? Clarke, the great science fiction writer, who, by the way, invented the communication satellites.
And also was the consultant, also co-author on , A Space Odyssey. And he's the guy who really drove the foreseeing the computer power of Hal in But he's got this--he has Three Laws. And his Third Law is: Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. And, the argument there is that if it's a sufficiently advanced technology, you can't tell what its limits are. And I got to thinking about this because I would have debates with pundits who were saying, 'Oh, we're going to have superintelligence any minute now.
It's going to destroy the world. And they'd tell me, 'Oh, but you don't understand how powerful it's going to be. So, as an example, I thought: What if we had time travel and we could bring Isaac Newton back from the past--the late 17th century--and transport him to today in, say, Trinity College Chapel, University of Cambridge. Trinity College Chapel had been around for a hundred years when he was at Cambridge.
So, we'd transport him to the Trinity College Chapel of today; and it would look much the same. We'd probably turn off the electric light and just have a few candles around. Rodney Brooks: He'd be very comfortable. It's--you know. And then, you pull out an Apple--the Apple being an iPhone, this time. And you show him the iPhone.
Now, remember, Isaac Newton is the guy who figured out optics, personally--how light through a prism turns into many colors. Russ Roberts: That alone--by the way, if you just left it at that, he'd be so intrigued and happy to look at it. But then you start using the iPhone for a few things.
You play him a movie. Let's make the movie a country scene of England with common animals--badgers and, you know, English animals. But it's a movie, and he can see it. And so, the content is not surprising to him: the content of a movie is certainly surprising. And that this little screen is showing these creatures and the sound. Then play some music for him--that was around at the time that he was around, so that he'd know the piece of music. And it's coming out of this tiny little thing. It's amazing. Russ Roberts: Little tiny musicians in there somehow playing little tiny instruments.
Rodney Brooks: And they could go on the web. And you can find this--you go and find this personally annotated copy of his masterpiece, Principia. He--you know, he wrote Principia and then in his personal copy he then wrote in the margins, also, notes about it. Well, you show him those pages. His copy. It's inside this little thing in his hand. But there's all this other stuff. Show him more stuff. Like, counting his steps and, you know, the calculator and how quickly it can multiply numbers and stuff. You know, turn the camera on, and it would turn into a mirror for him.
You record him and play himself back. Now, what would he be able to say about what are the limits on this device? You and I know some limits. You and I know that you have to recharge it. If you keep using it for a few hours, it goes dead. He certainly wouldn't think of that.
How could this amazing device not just keep working? He won't know what limits to put on it, what it's capable of, what it's not capable of. He'll have no reference. He certainly won't be able to explain it. Russ Roberts: And if you hired him to work at Apple, what an irony--if you hired Mr. Apple to work at Apple, because he's one of the greatest minds of all time, right? Russ Roberts: Probably the greatest, if not--maybe you could say he's the second-greatest scientist of all time.
But you can make the case that he's the greatest. So, you'd think he'd add a lot to the engineering team. But he would add nothing. Rodney Brooks: He wouldn't be able to begin to explain this thing. So, when you are asking questions about what it can do and what it can't do, he has no way of knowing, because it's indistinguishable from a magic device for him. And by the way--he was very interested in the occult. Rodney Brooks: And, you know, he was very interested in transmuting lead to gold. Maybe this device can transmute lead to gold?
It can build this out of magic. Why can't it do that? What are its limits? Rodney Brooks: So, I think that's a good example of--really smart person. Show the person something sufficiently advanced, they are not going to be able to have an hypothesis of how it works, and not going to be able to know its limits. And I think too many of the arguments about the future of artificial intelligence today are made by people who just assume that can do anything. So you can't have a rational argument with them.
Because, when you say, 'Well, won't it be able to do x? And it will be able to do y and z, also, because it is going to be so' Russ Roberts: -squared--x, y, and z squared --to the n actually[? But, it was so stimulating, your example. Now, you'd think he'd have a pretty good shot at that. My wife's an AP Calculus teacher. And I think he'd do well in the class. I think he'd get a good grade. But whether he could just sit down and get a it's not obvious. Which is just fascinating. Rodney Brooks: you know, symbolism rather than his. That might really annoy him. Russ Roberts: Yeah.
Just for listeners who don't know--Newton and Leibniz get co-credit, to some extent, for inventing calculus. The other thing I have to confess--this is really embarrassing, Rodney--but I always thought Principia Mathematica was just a pretentious title he gave his work. And so, when I click through the link to actually look at the manuscript as you suggested he could--where he could have an iPhone in his hand and he could read his margin notes, you could see the first edition--which it's an extraordinary thing to be able to do that.
You would have to teach him how to pinch on the screen, as you point out. But, it turns out the whole book is written in Latin. I just thought--I just assumed it was written in English with a fancy title. So, that was very educational for me. Rodney Brooks: No, that was what was used for science in the 17th century.
It was still Latin. Russ Roberts: So, on this issue of faith-based, it's ironic, because--we're turning now to the more serious content. When I had Nick Bostrom on this program, whose book--I think it's called Superintelligence --and he suggests that artificial intelligence will become so smart that it will be able to fool us into trusting it, even, because it will understand our brains so well, and our chemistry, it will know how to manipulate us, etc. And I suggested to him, actually, that this is a medieval religious view of God.
It could do anything. Anything you think it can't do must be wrong. Because, by definition, it can do anything.
Rodney Brooks: That's why I can't have arguments with Nick, and Sam Harris, and other people because they always resort to that rhetorical flourish--you know, that it's more powerful than I can imagine. Rodney Brooks: Well, is any technology we've ever developed more powerful--have no limits? There are limits on humans. There are limits on everything we have developed.
Russ Roberts: 'But they're going to be so smart. They are going to figure out how to get around limits. I'm with you on this one. It just makes no sense to me. And I'm sorry. Russ Roberts: But should we be worried at all? And when he was alive he raised a flag about AI dominating humans. Elon Musk is a smart person. Those are the three I know of. I'm sure there are more. There are smart people who think this is an enormous threat to humanity. Well, on Nick you should go and look at his general work, because his whole work is about how everything is a threat to humanity.
And AI is just one of the 20 things that he believes is a threat to humanity. He's worried about us searching for extraterrestrial life, because then it will come and kill us all. He's worried about research into certain nuclear things--because it will kill us all. So, people in AI [? Russ Roberts: Well, it's good to be cautious. It's good to think about the downside. But he finds the downside in everything.
That's what he does. Rodney Brooks: It's not just AI. He's not particularly more expert on AI than he is on search for extraterrestrial life. But that's what he does. That's his schtick. So, as for the others--and including Nick--none of these people who worry about this have ever done any work in AI itself. They've been outside. Rodney Brooks: They are missing how hard it is. That's actually my next point in that article. They make a mistake of performance versus competence.
Maybe I can explain that. Rodney Brooks: When we see a person perform some very particular past, we have a pretty good model intrinsically in our heads of what that means about their general competence. So, if we see a person--suppose we know that it's a person whose first language is not English--and we see a person taking picture after picture and writing an English caption, a pretty good description of what's in the image.
People playing frisbee in a park. A child on a swing. So, they are writing the captions in English. We know that English is not their first language. But we then think, 'Well, this person understands English well enough that we could have a little conversation with them in English, most likely. At least they'd know about the weather. We could ask them how they got here today. We could look at that picture of the kids playing frisbee in the park and say, 'How big is a frisbee?
And we'd expect that if we said to them, 'Oh, frisbees are really tasty,' they would look at us as though we were a little nutty and say, 'What are you talking about? But, the system didn't even know what a game was, what a frisbee was. Couldn't answer any questions at all: Could a six-month-old play frisbee? It wouldn't know. Can a person throw a frisbee three miles?
So I think people make that mistake. And I think these pundits have seen performance and mistake it for competence. And the AI systems we have today are only very, very narrow performance. Russ Roberts: And the analog here would be the driverless cars--I forget which guest it was and I apologize to the person--but somebody pointed out on the program that they are not really driving.
They are more like a train--a fixed track they kind of stay on. They can't really deal with surprises anything remotely like a human driver. They are not mimicking what a human does when a human drives a car. That's the most important point. And that's your point about the photograph. If you take a photograph because it looks interesting to you, and a foreigner wants to talk to you about it, and you speak their language somewhat, you can have a conversation about what's in the photograph. But, while the computer might be able to label the photograph, it doesn't "understand" it. But wouldn't the argument be that that's just a matter of time?
Rodney Brooks: Oh. That's the magic thing. I often think--you know, maybe we're building ladders, and people are saying, 'Oh, yeah; we're getting closer to the moon. They'll get to the moon really soon. And it may not be just a matter of time at all. It may take hundreds of years. You know, we've had chemistry for years; and those great economic drivers of chemistry--you know, if only you could turn lead into gold--but then, more chemistry in everyday life. It's been years and there's still a whole lot of stuff we don't begin to understand about chemistry.
And so, these things are not automatic. Russ Roberts: Don't disillusion me, Rodney. I thought we had chemistry figured out. My son's a chemist, so I'm going to tell him that he's in trouble. He's got work to do. Rodney Brooks: We've got some things figured out. But there's a whole lot--we're going to have research in chemistry for a long, long time, still.
Russ Roberts: But I think the reason for that--some of that over-optimism, or, I would call it inevitability, which, like you, I'm a little bit skeptical about--you know, it remains to be seen. But some of that inevitability comes from the skeptics who scoffed at the early days of AI and then were forced to recant. So, 'They'll never recognize faces. A computer will never be able to recognize a face.
A computer will never be able to play chess well. Russ Roberts: 'A computer will never beat a human being in Go. I mean, Go is way too complicated. No, no, no, no. What was said was: Using brute force search will never beat a person in Go. Whereas brute force search works in chess.
And in fact, Alphazero, Alphago, don't just use brute force search. They use other techniques. So, I don't see--we didn't know when it would happen, but we were correct in saying, well, at least so far correct, in saying brute force search isn't going to get you there. Alphago had to use other techniques.
I think that statement is just wrong. Russ Roberts: But I think the more important point, which I take to be your point, and it's the point that I, as an economist, am drawn to, is that: It's not happening tomorrow. Tomorrow is not going to be this quantum leap where a computer can not only solve a problem you give to it, but can figure out how to solve problems you haven't given to it.
It will teach itself; it will learn, not just in the sense of accumulating examples and algorithms and search paths and branches of a decision tree, but will understand how to--I find it absurd--but it will eventually decide--'it will be wise. It will have human capabilities; and then it will use those capabilities to add even more. But, if I'm wrong, it's not going to happen tomorrow.
It's not going to happen in a week. It won't even happen suddenly. And, the point I understand you making--and correct me if I'm wrong; and maybe I read it somewhere else--but, I thought you were saying as these things take time, we'll understand how to adapt and deal with them as human beings. You know, if we want to continue through my "Seven Deadly Sins," the very next one is Suitcase Words; and you just said your understanding was that computers would be able to learn how to do these things. Well, "learn" is a great suitcase word.
A suitcase word is something that Marvin Minsky, one of the founders of AI, came up with where, it's a word that has so many different meanings packed into it.
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So, you know, we say "learn"--you learn how to walk. You learn how to ride a bike. You learn a new language. You learn your way around a new city. You learn ancient Latin. You learn calculus. But all these learnings are done in very different ways. So, that word "learn" means so many different sorts of techniques.
Now, when someone in an AI system gets it to learn something new, they may put "learning" in the title of their paper. But these days, more like the Press Office of the University, which is always looking to hype up what that university is doing, is going to put out a little press release about 'Our scientists as XYZ University have just made a breakthrough and they have computers learning. We've seen in the last year about computers deceiving, computers cheating. Computers, this.
But in each of those cases they use the word to describe--you know, reasonably, the thing it is doing; but then packed around that is all the other uses of that word have not even begun to be looked at. And it's a very brittle version of that word. And so these suitcase words lead people astray. We've seen what's called deep learning--and by the way, the "deep" doesn't refer to deep analysis or deep thinking. It refers to how many layers of network there are: 12 rather than 3. So just the use of that word "deep" leads people astray.
Rodney Brooks: So, we see systems learning to parse out full names, which is why we now have the Amazon Echo and Google At Home able to understand our speech, you know, at least, when[? Which we couldn't do 5 years ago. And that's, deep learning has enabled that. But, when people hear that learning was able to do that sort of thing, they think, 'Well, then the computer can learn anything. It's only very isolated, specialized things with a lot of individual work by a big team of scientists to get every new step.
You know, when Alphago, which learnt to play Go, was playing the world Go champion, you had engineers there worrying about helping it, and supporting it Rodney Brooks: and the world Go champion had a cup of coffee. That was his support. So, it's not the same sort of stuff. Russ Roberts: Well, I agree with that.
But, I think the deeper point--which I love; and I love that idea of a suitcase word. And I assume it's called that because you don't know quite what's in it. It's a bit of a mystery Russ Roberts: But, what I think is deep there--we probably won't get to it today, but you have another article about consciousness and what robots actually perceive.
And also relating to your earlier point, we bring, we anthropomorphize, we bring our human understandings inevitably to these new technologies. And, when I learn something, I can learn, say--let's say I learn how to play a piece on the piano with one finger playing the melody, because I've learned how tablature and staff notation corresponds to a keyboard. But, I can't play the piano, obviously. And more importantly, I can't compose. And even more importantly than that, I can't fill my soul and heart and mind with emotion--I'm not flooded with emotion the way I would be if I could play something even fairly simple like "Moonlight Sonata" on my own.
Russ Roberts: Or the audience. That's much better. And yet we assume that when a computer "learns" how to play the piano, we inevitably place on it these human--the way I would--I make a distinction between learning and understanding. So, we can learn how to do something but we may not understand it. And I think there's a certain inevitable--at least at this stage; maybe it will change--but at this stage of computer learning, it does not have the richness of human learning.
And yet we assume it does or at least that it will. And that's not necessarily the case. Rodney Brooks: I agree with you completely. It's that, again, that performance versus competence; it's the suitcase word. They are variations on similar problems. Another thing that these pundits say, 'You know, it's just going to get faster and faster. Because we've had exponential growth in computer power.
Which, ironically have led to improvements in AI without any further thinking. You know, Alan Turing had the essential ideas of how a computer plays chess back in the s, but he had to simulate a lot of computers. Mac Hack, a program from MIT in embodied those ideas in a computer program, but it was easily beaten by people.
And really there weren't any particularly new innovations through the s, when Deep Blue beat Garry Kasparov. It was exactly the same algorithm that Turing had come up with back in the s. And, by the way And Garry Kasparov has now got a whole business around chess-playing programs. And he has reconstructed exactly the heuristic functions that Turing suggested. And they play a pretty damn good game of chess when you've got a modern computer. Turing got it right, his heuristic functions about limiting the search. But, that's just an aside.
But, you know, we tend to think everything is exponential. So, my friends who are economists or others say, 'Oh, but in the last 5 years we've seen such a big such a big jump in artificial intelligence due essentially to deep learning. Surely it's going to get faster and faster now, those improvements. And, there was a big buzz about backpropagation in the s. A lot of people thought it was the future.
But then it sort of ran up against limits. And, almost everyone in the field decided, 'Ach, we didn't get it right. It must be something else. They are just pushing away. They lost. One was more computer power; one was a better mathematical form of function that's used in the networks to relate the output to the input, which meant that technically you could figure out the derivative on the inputs by just looking at the output.
And the third one was something called clamping, where you pre-structure a deep network with 12 layers rather than 3, into little segments of 3 layers by pre-digesting what the concept is going to be by getting it to reproduce its input as its output, and then you the learning go. With those three things, it suddenly--suddenly: since this backpropagation learning started to work a whole lot better. And in a mere 10 years, it's now become the dominant approach to machine learning.
Ten years after the 20 years of pre-work on it. So, it didn't just happen. There was a lot of work to get there. But there were maybe similar things back in the s that people decided weren't going to work. And when people asked me, 'How come you didn't know that deep learning was coming? Maybe one of those others is going to pop some day and we'll see some great new applications. But we don't know which one it will be. I'm pretty sure that a few years from now something else will be the hottest flavor in AI. I don't know what it's going to be, but I'm sure there have already been a lot of research papers written about it.
But we just don't know which of the thousands and thousands of ideas that are out there are the ones that are going to work out for a particular rather narrow capabilities. That gives you a total burn time of only 1. Wikipedia will help you out. I would like offer you yet another way you can look at this, as a change of momentum problem.
The total change of momentum is We know the maximum force of the Lunar Descent Engine 45, N. Now you can solve for delta Time and the math comes out to seconds, which is about 9. That means with a thrust of 45, N you need full thrust for 9. My calculation earlier shows you only have full thrust for about 90 seconds.
Your calculation does not include mass change! A isp engine has But it makes 3 seconds difference no big deal. Thank you for your response. As you know, there is a difference between theoretical and actual field performance numbers. Margin of error creeps in with large numbers upon large numbers as it relates to theoretical verses engineering.
The V-2 you reference is not relevant to this discussion. Different rockets have different exhaust velocities. To produce 45, Force over 60 seconds per minute you need 5, Kg of fuel plus oxidizer. Therefore, with 8, Kg of fuel and oxidizer, you only have about 90 seconds of fuel and oxidizer this gives you a total change in mass question at full thrust. No way around it. There simply is not enough fuel aboard to actually land.
To land on the moon you need a minimum of 5, Kg x 9 min. To actually land, and provide for unanticipated burns and such, and provide even a minimum standard for safety, you can see, needs a great deal more fuel and oxidizer than even 48, Kg provides. The 30, lb. This is deadline i guess.
As stated keep in mind the difference between laboratory conditions and field conditions. Why would a designer not include additional margin for unplanned orbital burns, and other emergency maneuvers? If given a choice, would not a planner build in as much margin as possible? Let alone nearly none. If you take your calculation there was theoretically just enough fuel to make the descent, and therefore it happened, ignores the reality of field operations. A theoretical calculation which leaves you little, or zero margin for error is in no way a practical device.
I have never seen any NASA footage of the actual descent burn. Have you? I put it too you. If you were designing a manned lunar mission, with the lives of the astronauts in your hands, and your responsibility, would you only pack 8, Kg of fuel and oxidant in that craft? The bare theoretical minimum if everything works in the field exactly as laboratory conditions predict? Given the fundamental requirements of even basic safety, and the need to insure success of the mission, I think not.
Couple of Questions: With no air lock on the lunar lander what happened to the air when the astronauts opened the door? Did it go into space? Did they pump out the air so they could reuse or did they just pressurize it? How much air was brought with the lander? If they just keep wearing the suits until they returned to earth how did they eat, drink, or use the bathroom? If there is a vacuum in the lunar lander what happened to the command module ounce they docked?
What happened to the astronaut in the command module? If they opened the door to a vacuum, that air would instantly expand and dissipate outside and be lost. That is what I understand happened. Can you do a calculation to compare to their reserves? Hi, I had a question about how much fuel it takes for the decent to the lunar surface, and the accent back to lunar parking orbit. Trying to be objective, would appreciate your comments, thanks. Exactly so. To be perfectly honest, the designers did not need to take any potential emergency maneuvers into question because even the critical maneuvers considered, those of actually getting straight to the surface, did not take place.
Not to mention the effects of particulate matter inevitably brought into the module by surface treading personnel as there was no decontamination chamber mud room. Thank you. Well said. You mentioned temperature and particulates. Your points are well taken. Temperature control inside the different space craft, and the space suits, over long solar exposure is very problematic.
As you see in the photos, videos, and technical drawings there are no radiators. How could any significant amount of heat be rejected from the system? In extreme conditions of the high vacuum of space, and being exposed to solar radiation alone 1. There will be thermal gain. Anything not exposed to the sun will freeze. Very difficult to control an environment subjected to such a violent, and rapidly changing thermodynamic reality.
The temperature range is extreme. A very demanding condition for both hardware and humans. The reality is whenever one side of your craft or suit is baking and the other half freezing it would be — a very difficult task to achieve internal temperature control — especially with limited power supplies, and in such extreme conditions. After prolonged exposure to the intense solar radiation — both suit and craft would not be able to reject accumulated heat-gain and bake. I notice there was no reply to this question.
The issues presented in your multi-paragraph questions are those that have always bothered me. I must commend you on both your knowledge of the program and your patience with some of the contributors here. It astounds me to read the posts above and to see the level of missunderstanding this program has been subjected to over the years. Keep up the good work. Thanks for the support!! It is easy to get lost in all the comments, and if you are a site admin, you do seem to need all the patients in the world.
It is nice to get to talk to everyone! Why did NASA destroy that technology? I then watched a video of Obama saying NASA is still using the same old technology from 40 years ago. The most important event in the history of the world and the technology has been destroyed and reels lost? I think if we had those original reels, we could out the hoax to rest. Bottom line, none of us can travel to the moon to validate what we are being told. Can you imagine what we could capture on film now with HD and the Nikon P!! So dear Admin, why Pettit claim they destroyed the technology? Hi Tann, thanks for the comment.
The jigs were disassembled. The moulds were destroyed. The technicians, engineers, scientists, and flight controllers moved onto other jobs. Over time, some of the materials used became obsolete. It is kind of like trying to build an old car, say a Model T. Those factories were re-purposed a long time ago, along with the machinery. Sure we could build back up again, but it would be done in a more modern, and safer fashion.
As you can see kind of thing happens all the time. This type of thing happens, we modernise. It takes a long time to build something like a lander etc. Any equipment that we do build will differ from what has been made previously. Just like cars, models are constantly improved. Safety procedures now are also much more strict than they were back in the 50s and 60s, and this adds extra red tape to things. The astronauts who landed on the moon discovered the moon is not made of cheese. Therefore, there was no reason to go back to the moon.
I am quite confused, how are the astronauts lit up in shots where the sun is behind them? I also know they did not carry any artificial light at least not that powerful The inconsistency is that the shadows falling from the module and the astronauts are hard solid black, but voila, the details on the person are clearly visible. Especially all the pics which are similar to Alan Bean coming down from the module, al most all the astronauts have that one picture.
Being a cinematographer for 2 decades and having worked on a huge range of formats, I know its next to impossible to get details in absolutely black shadows without an artificial source. What were they using? Huge reflectors, maxi brutes, xeon lights or HMIs…?? This is a joke, right?
Does anyone else notice all the scotch tape and construction paper holding the lunar module together. Hail to you Admin, for having such tremendous patience with all those moonlanding deniers. They try and try, but you stay calm and provide all sorts of interesting answers, a lot of which was unknown to me. And where you do not have an answer, you do not claim to have one. You have my utter respect! Greetings from the Netherlands. Yet just 6 months prior to launch the lander crashed during a test flight on earth. Luckily Neil Armstrong ejected to safety.
I also find it so amazing that all the moon landings went off without any malfunctions or mistakes, yet the challenger space shuttle was only going into low earth orbit have to avoid going to high due to cosmic radiation and had a major malfunction. Go figure. It almost makes one wonder how did NASA pull off going to the moon? I mean the probability of making it to the moon was something like. HI Mister X, The number of shuttle missions was very large compared to lunar missions, shuttle launches and re-entries. Two shuttles were lost out of was probably what some engineers would have expected.
Your probability of only one in , making it to the moon is very pessimistic, good job you were not on the planning team. It is much better to crash in test flights and sort out the problems prior to a real mission. To push the boundaries of discovery and science, optimistic and brave folk are needed to be astronauts and great engineering teams are needed to design the craft to get them there. This was nothing like the lunar lander, powered by — I think — eight different engines, including a jet and a number of rocket engines, both liquid fuel and solid rockets. With an endurance of only ten minutes it was a pig to fly, involving delicately balancing the different engines and trying to keep the thing steady.
Dear Admin, You must be the most patient person in the world! I stumbled over your site when I searched for technical information about the lander. And I have to say that I have learned a lot. May I congratulate you not only on being an incredibly knowledgeable person on the subject of the Apollo missions, but also on having the patience of a saint for answering some of these questions put to you, in particular the ridiculous ones from people who believe the conspiracy theorists, with such grace — quite remarkable.
My second cousin is the astronaut John Young and he inspired me to become a pilot. Dear Richard, thank for your question. According to Engineering Aspects of Apollo link. Toward the rear, the cabin was even more cramped than it was from side to side. At eye level, the cabin was a full seven and a half feet deep; however, from about knee height down, the aft portion of the cabin was filled with the ascent engine cover and, forward of that, the floor space was only three feet deep.
Readers should also note that, contrary to what is shown in the accompanying drawings, the crews of the extended missions Apollos 15, 16, and 17 did not wear their suits during the rest periods and, rather, slept in their underwear. The suits were stowed on the ascent engine cover and further reduced the usable space in the cabin. Probably, of some reason I thought it was about the same as CSM just because the size is. In that case theoretically the two vessels would have the same speed when running the same orbit. And if LM speed is decreased in order to await CSM instead this will result an orbit dangerously near lunar surface and gravity forces will exceed centrifugal forces and bring it down.
But thank God, of course we are now talking about the ascending module only wich is 4,5 T only. Less than half the CSM. An expedition to and from? Mars might perhaps face these issues? In Swedish: E jag ute och cyklar nu? Dear Allan, apologies if I am failing to understand, but do you believe that the mass of an orbiting spacecraft effects its orbital height?
That is not the case. You might want to research how other orbital rendezvous are done, from the s Gemini missions to the ISS today. Of course when spacecrafts of different mass are frefalling the trajectory will be the same. Dear Allan, why do you think the orbital height is decreasing? There is no drag force acting so the spacecraft keep on moving at the orbital speed for their altitude. Could you look at the material at this link to see if it is helpful? Apologises if it is too simple. There is more about this at Bizarre Lunar Orbits link. Hello again, My other question is about the following rendes vouz with the command module.
I understand that the moment of lift off is very precisely calculated in order to get the both vehicles meet at the right moment and place and velocity. But what happens when LM at descending procedure of any reason have to abort at an unexpected phase and return to orbit. The CSM might in that case be at another location far away? And my question is how to accelerate or decelerate without going at a far to high altitude resp low? Sorry for my poor english….
Dear Allan, thank you for your question. Unfortunately I am not clear what you are asking. Have a look at the question by Michail posted on 28 July and my response on the same day, do these cover your question? Just what I was looking for. I never thought about that possibility for the LM ascend module to take a very much lower orbit which also is shorter.
They only have to wait and catch-up the CSM above. Besides the orbiting phase is not for a very long time so the extra gravity forces will not affect the module at all. No extra waste of energy at all. I am still unclear about one the points you are making. You said. I was concerned about the gravity forces in that case would bring them down to surface after a while.
Hi Admin! I this morning found your website while googeling for LM. So I have not yet read it all — perhaps the answer to my question is there. Anyway I have read many times about the LM crew are standing up while landing due to the relatively low gravitation. But how about standing up during the start from the surface? Dear Allan, Thank you for your question, no there were no chairs. The astronauts were strapped down though, there is a description of this at this link.
Thank you for your answer. Those 30 pounds extra weight makes the person unnecessary heavy at the moment of lift off. I commend you on your incredible ability to accurately respond to every question, no matter how pointed or absurd the inquiry. I am an ongoing advocate of our entire space exploration history and wanted to thank you sincerely for your fortitude and diligence. I absolutely love this amazing and detailed writeup. I stumbled upon your page while looking for pictures of the underside of the LM Ascent stage rare apparently.
I really enjoyed reading through each of the sections and learned so much! Looking at the Chinese Chang and comparing it to the Eagle, we can see dust is seen near Chang, as a result of the landings, whereas it does not, whent it comes to the Eagle. What are the chances men went to the moon and got back safely the 6 times it happened, when in nearly all other space endeavours people died, including Challenger and flights before Gagarin made it? Does it not seem chances are slim? Dear Jonathon, thank you for your questions.
Unfortunately I am not sure what you are asking for the first one, could you clarify please? The second one is more about my opinion. These seem pretty well to have been achieved. I have not made an estimation of my own. I just find it kind of surprising it worked so well when in other space endeavours some fatalities did occur not to mention other human risky adventures. My question would be then: why no dust is seen near the Lunar Module parts which touched the moon?
I thank you for your kindness. I used to believe in the Moon landings. However I suddenly started to think it could have been fake. Either way, it would have been a brilliant solution to the Cold War conflict. I know the Soviets managed to put animals on the orbit of the Moon. They also managed to send a craft which brought back rocks to the Earth. So the Americans could at least put animals humans too?
So in theory a possible scenario… however I just find it would be too risky, it could take human lives unnecessarily. Just faking it would be a safer and surer way of winning the Cold War, and possibly cheaper too. Keeping it secret for so long is a problem with the fake theory. I also find it unlikely that the Nixon administration could have kept it secret for so long…. Hello and thank you for a fantastic write-up about this exciting piece of technology and history!
Roughly in this case meaning many hundreds of meters per second delta. They more or less ran the thing with sticks and buttons, no computer aids, and only a pair of tiny windows. The precision required for this type of manouver boggles my mind. Like hitting a bullet with another bullet, while sitting inside it.
Any mistake there would mean that they missed each other with a hundred miles or several hundred meters per second mismatched speed. Any deviation to the orbit vector and this could take lap after lap around the moon while wasting fuel trying to correct trajectory. So I would love to read some account of how this was actually accomplished, because it sounds terrifyingly difficult. Dear Michail, thank you for your kind words and questions. Both vehicles were travelling at the same speed and in the same direction when they rendezvoused.
Low Earth Orbit speeds are much higher that Lunar Orbit speeds, so the absolute speeds the vehicles are travelling at are not an issue as long as they match in magnitude and direction. The LM had a 80 square inch window used in the final stages of docking it is marked in one of the diagrams in the article but again I do not see why you believe this is problematic, it was big enough for what it was meant for. Shayler published in Orbits are completely understood. This explains the procedure, there is a lot to take in but it is comprehensible. Thanks for this page, it is very informative and interesting.
I must also mention as others have that you are a model of civility when providing skeptics with detailed and reasonable responses. Admin May I just say… I think I love you. Your wonderfully calm, collected and objective responses to pseudoscientific data is awe inspiring. I desperately try to exercise composure when confronted with often aggressive claims of hoaxes. I will now use your website and general demeanour as an inspiration. Thank you! Yes, I agree you do have patience. I too, was 11 years old in and watched the first moonwalk.
It ignited in me an interest which I have to this day. You would have to know him to understand why. He was old and ignorant of scientific things and his religion probably played a part as well. Anyway, I was inspired to put together a picture book of the Apollo 11 mission detailing the major at least to an 11 year old phases; liftoff, TLI, lunar orbit, etc. I was quiet proud of this and read anything I could get my hands on about Nasa and space. No matter what any skeptics said, I was a firm believer in the moon missions and could never see myself questioning the official history of it.
I would like to take a moment to state that not everyone who believes it was a hoax is an idiot. Nor does everyone who thinks it was a hoax wants to believe it was. It would bring me no joy to learn that my country lied to me. Not everyone who believes in the hoax are country bumpkins with no education, I have read several articles and seen many films where photographic experts and physics degree holders are expressing doubt that we ever went to the moon. Why am I saying all this?
I could go into detail here but, I think it would just be an exercise in futility. Why do we have accountants? Why do we have locks on our valuables? Why do we have a free press? I think as a people, to blindly believe in something without question flies in the face of scientific method. I see legitimate questions from people getting dodged and glossed over and straight sensible answers never forthcoming.
I believe in math. I see much more that these two things. Much more. I did not want to believe in a hoax. I have no agenda. I never gave much thought to conspiracies. I did not bend to conspiracy theorists. But during my enthusiastic pursuit of my beloved hobby, I came to believe or disbelieve. But it seems clear to me that there is something very wrong with the photographic record of the event. I would like to say to those who say that a quarter million people could not keep a secret of this magnitude, do you really think the guy who made the bolts that held together the atomic bomb that the Manhattan Project developed knew what was going on?.
The space program was so huge and compartmentalized, very few people would have to be in on the hoax. Even the controllers in Mission Control could have be fooled by telemetry and other data coming it from who know where. That argument does not mean anything. Also, any doubts one may have about the validity of photographs is not going to be convinced by more photographs such as LRO images. Furthermore, I have no doubt that we have better optics than the ones being used take the photos the public see.
I have a x telescope that I honestly believe would give resolutions equal to or better than the LRO pics at the stated distance from the lunar surface. Thank you for this platform. By the way, in all my years, this is the first time I ever wrote my feelings on any website. Again thanks for your patience and grace. I am unsure if you are saying that I do this, if you are please quote an example of where I have done this. I try hard to remain civil, though occasionally I cannot help expressing disappointment at the refusal by some commenters here to research or think for themselves, but I hope I been doing this politely.
Would the difference in reflectivity between lunar surface material and a white spacesuit help to explain this? Have you looked at a discussion of this image at a site which does not start by assuming a hoax has been perpetrated? You might very well have a bigger telescope, after all we have larger ones here for the public to use. What is the objective size of your telescope? We can use that to compare the resolution of the two instruments. I assume the cameras are optimised to do this.
Much higher resolution would have been possible by putting a Hubble Space telescope equivalent in Moon orbit but what would have been the point? The moon landing hoax is almost unique among conspiracy theories in that some time in the future it can be proven beyond doubt, either way. It just requires an unmanned close orbit to one of the sites with a camera and some agreed method of ensuring the photos cannot be photoshopped.
The grainy suspect photos from the LRO were not good enough, they had too many anomalies. It seems remarkable that NASA put so little effort into providing positive proof of the landings such as simple photos of the stars with the earth above the horizon. Why people push the hoax theory confounds me and actually offends me. My father was a great and ethical man and would never have involved himself in a project meant to deceive people. Thank you for this site and your continued mission to educate.
Recently, Nasa published a video with one of its engineers advertising the Orion project, and refering to a yet unsolved problem of how to shield crew and equipment against the dangerous exposure to Van Allen belts radiation. Thanks for your attention. Dear Edmir, thank you for your question. You may want to read item 3 at 5 Goofy Moonlanding Hoax Theories link. Turning to the video, I think you are misinterpreting the dialogue. Briefly, the Orion spacecraft is shielded just as the Apollo CSMs were, but it is somewhat different from the Apollo spacecraft. Three significant differences are its construction of light weight aluminium-lithium alloy rather than just aluminium which to the best of my knowledge has not been used on a previous crewed spacecraft, its use of modern semi-conductor electronics which were not widely used on the Apollo missions and are more vulnerable to radiation damage and its design specifications for prolonged deep space operations causing long-term exposure to cosmic radiation and high-energy solar particles.
Also, there was a research payload onboard the Orion test flight designed to measure radiation levels to test the effectiveness of various experimental shield materials and structures as ideally these would be as light as possible. The engineer in the video may have been referring to this experiment too. Protecting spacecraft from radiation is a very active field of research, you can read more at this link.
For the convenience of other readers the relevant dialogue is at about 3min 10 sec to 3min 45 sec. And when they are asked about it they become very defensive; even hostile. Because they know that swearing on the Bible is recognized as strict testimony they will commit perjury. They also signed a confidentiality agreement not to discuss the truth about us never having gone there. Hence, they will not swear.
If they really walked on the moon, any astronaut would be willing to submit to a polygraph test after a medical doctor gave an injection of sodium pentothal after having signed an affidavit with their hand on the bible. But is this claim actually true? I know this allegation is on many websites but have all these sources looked into the facts or are they just lazily repeating each other?
Could any of the people who say this have agendas of their own? I understand that there was an individual who made a habit of aggressively confronting astronauts at public venues demanding that they hold a Bible and swear that their achievements were real. Some refused to do this, I believe that the unpleasant and unprofessional manner in which they were approached explains their unsympathetic responses.
However despite this, three astronauts Cernan, Mitchell and Bean did hold the Bible and make this declaration. Do you know this to be a fact or it is just a belief you hold? If it is a fact you must be able to provide me with a source where this is stated. Can you? There are problems here aside from the ethical issues raised by this proposal you are saying that private individuals should undergo interrogations under the influence of drugs to verify their life history.
Outside the USA, polygraph tests are regarded as meaningless and their results have no legal validity, it is a technology that simply does not work. Even if you choose to disregard the testimonies of individuals, the Apollo missions are still some of the best and most thoroughly documented events in history. In addition the body of scientific and engineering knowledge developed for the Apollo project and discovered through it is used daily by astronomers, geologists and engineers. All this field of knowledge is complete and self-consistent. Everyone who uses it accepts that the moon landings occurred as reported.
Dear Quintin, thank you for your question. The Descent Stage carried about kg of propellant and the Ascent Stage about kg of propellant, giving a total of 10 kg this will have varied a bit between missions. Good luck with the project! Do you have any opinion on the feasibility of placing a man on the moon again, today? Dear Specguy, thank you for your questions. Briefly 1. There has never been any doubt about the location of the Apollo landing sites, we have known where they landed from the days the LMs touched down. All the landing sites for Apollo and other robotic missions have been imaged by the cameras on the LRO spacecraft link.
There is a nice article from Universe Today at this link with pictures of the Apollo 11 and other sites. They are exactly where they are supposed to be and show the LM Descent Stages, astronaut tracks and experiments left behind. Reflecting lasers off these gives a much brighter return signal from a point location rather than an area kilometres across.
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Sending people to the Moon today would require a more comfortable and safer spacecraft design as we demand a higher level of both these than was acceptable in the s. For higher scientific returns we would need longer stays, more crew and more gear taken to and from the Moon. These improvements demand a seriously larger and thus more expensive spacecraft. The public are deeply uninterested in paying for large and expensive space projects so I cannot see any western government paying public money to return astronauts to the Moon anytime soon.
When did you ever see street protects calling for more money to be spent on space exploration? Dear Ariel, thank you for your question although sadly I do not understand it. What do you mean by mathematical model? Or the Tsiolkovsky rocket equation? Also probably around 5 gallons of fuel or so, and would be very hazardous! Sounds fun though.
Typically parachutes are used instead. Did subsequent moon landings carrying people for return differ in design from the original lunar lander? Dear Ivan, thank you for your questions. They are mostly answered in the text of the article. Thanks for the great site. Aside from family mementos that were now in a man-made crater on the moon, Jim Irwin had his best friends wedding ring inside as well.
Imagine having to explain that to your best buddy and his wife after returning. I was also looking for a contact primary source to ask a few questions about the LEM. Do you happen to know of anyone from Grumman that could be contacted that might be able to answer a few questions through email?
Dear Ashley, thank you for your question. The plant where the LM was designed and built has closed but there is a museum in the area which has preserved some of its history contact details at this link. It could be your best lead. Good luck with your research. Good day. Thank you for your fascinating website and the information contained therein in regards to this extraordinary machine, the LEM.
I am an electronics hobbyist and the electronics in particular of the LEM are fascinating. I would be most grateful if you could advise me of any books which go into great detail regarding the electronics of the LEM including all parameters such as power available, batteries, thermoregulation for the electronic systems electronic systems are particularly sensitive to heat and it would be therefore interesting to know how all the systems were cooled or heated , radio communications systems and detailed schematic diagrams of these and frequencies used etc.
Any information would be gratefully received. Thank you and best wishes. Dear Duncan, thank you for your question. I suggest you start with the extensive collection of contemporary manuals link to this page link. Here are some books you may find useful too. Thank you very much indeed. I will follow up on the links and books suggested. With best wishes from Duncan Melbourne, Australia.
Great site! I am doing a paper on Apollo 11 that is due in a couple of months and I am very interested in a few questions..
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Please help…. How much breathable air was required for the three astronauts from lift off to splash down on the Apollo 11 mission? Can you tell me in liters? If Both of these vehicles were traveling at 3, mph how were they able to find each other? Also I imagine rocket boosters were used to slow them down before they docked is that right? Also a pretty basic question if there is no atmosphere in space what exactly does the thrust of the rockets push against?
An astronaut consumes approximately 0. The longest Moon mission, Apollo 17, spent In practice they would have had a reserve, plus additional supply to cover the atmosphere lost every time the cabin was depressurised for an EVA. The orbit of the CSM was known very precisely, so at any given time its position in space could be accurately predicted.
By launching at the right time the LM could be put into a similar orbit to the CSM and be maneuvered to an eventual docking. He was aided by the Crewman Alignment Sight, an optical device mounted at the docking window. The absolute speeds of the vehicles does not have any effect on how difficult the docking process is.
Do note that docking spacecraft together happens all the time in Earth orbit at much higher speeds, say 7. The exhaust is pushing against the rocket motor essentially but I am not sure that helps you. Both theory and centuries of practice indicate that momentum is conserved; essentially meaning that it is never created or destroyed. Imagine the LM floating in empty space. Inside it are tanks of propellant and a rocket motor. Looking more closely, every second the motor operates, a relatively small mass of gas is emitted at high speed out of the motor as the exhaust.
A small mass of gas multiplied by a high speed rearward yields a significant momentum in that direction. I was wondering what kind of propulsion system would be needed to get a crew safely to the moon from low earth orbit? Dear Natalie, thank you for your question. I am assuming from the way you have phrased it that you are aware that a substantial propulsion system would be needed to do this.
The Apollo CSM was able to use its AJ10 main engine burning Aerozine 50 as fuel and nitrogen tetroxide as oxidiser to leave lunar orbit and enter a trans Earth coast trajectory. The latter option is completely feasible but needs a considerable amount of propellant carried to the Moon. In did they have such a precision technology to dock on two vehicles moving at such high speeds? Please explain how? Dear Surya, thank you for your comment. The same question has been asked before so I am adapting my previous answers. Rendezvous and docking of piloted spacecraft was extensively practised during the Gemini missions of the mids specifically to perfect the techniques used for the Moon missions.
There could not have been a more dedicated and honest group of people than those associated with the NASA space program. I personally knew two of the astronauts, Gus Grissom and Frank Borman. To suggest that either one of these fine people would have been party to a hoax is vile and repugnant. Apparently a cottage industry has mushroomed around the conspiracy theories dealing with the moon landings. Money must be involved. How much fuel was needed to send this thing to the moon and get it back to earth?
Something about this smells fishy…. Adding up the masses of propellant for the three stages found at this link I get tonnes of propellant. The Lunar Module carried kg of propellant to land on the Moon while its Ascent Stage carried kg of propellant to take it back into lunar orbit. I assume you understand that the Lunar Module did not return to Earth! I have a question I was hoping that you could help me answer, or show me the calculations needed to derive the answer.
Assuming for the purpose of this question that you are not concerned about acheving earth orbit, but instead a destructive reentry perpendicular to the surface of the earth. If you were to launch a payload from the moon acheiving a Lunar escape velocity towards the earth aiming to have minimal velocity passing past the earth moon L1 point.
How fast would the object be accelerated to from the freefall from L1 to atmospheric rentry at an altitude of approximately km? Dear Sean, thank you for a fascinating question. Are you writing a science fiction novel perhaps? From the Earth-Moon L1 assuming average orbit of km and L1 of km from moon center gives a distance of km from earth center. Using these numbers I get Thanks, very interesting article!
I remember watching the moon landings when I was 11 years old and these things still fascinate me four decades later. The real LM displayed is also very interesting. Please explain over lbs of moon rocks that have been examined by thousands of geologists who have never doubted their origin. The USSR would have been the first to decry anything fake. Enough said…. What was the velocity of Columbia and that of the module when their rendez-vous took place? It seems really impressive that it worked pretty fine the 6 times, with the module ascending and managing to successfully get reunited to the Columbia.
Really great article. My 6-yr old son is fascinated by retro spacecraft, in particular the lunar module. Can anyone recommend any good books? Dear David, thank you, I am glad you enjoyed our article. David D. I am a huge fan of Apollo missions and wrote this story just for fun. I was quite surprised that nobody else out there had ever drawn the LM with a face! Dear Kathy, thanks for your question. I will add this information to the article. Just one Q so I can get my facts correct, thanks in advance. Thanks, not a trick question just location if known.
Hi, thanks for your question. Fascinating article, I love anything space-related and have always had a soft spot for the lunar module, since seeing Apollo 13 and how it was used as a lifeboat. I never ceased to be amazed by the folks at Grumman who designed such a good spacecraft. I do hope I can travel to the USA and visit the space museum in future.
I want to study aeronautics as a career. Just amazing all the problems they had to overcome designing the first true spacecraft. In the photo of the LM at the start of this article, how is it that despite the photograph having been taken directly into the sun, that the details of the LM and in particular the words United States can still be read and that the shadow side is so well lit? Professional photographers and those familiar with the Hasselblad cameras used are saying that the latter is impossible without fill-in studio lighting. This photo appears to be a studio shot where the LM has simply been lowered down by a crane.
How hot was it allegedly in the LM when the Astronauts got back inside since it was in direct sunlight? Is there any recording of Astronauts mentioning being uncomfortably hot or cold as with such untried thermal systems in such extremes of temperature the chances of getting the thermal balance right first time were very slim. When sunlight falls on the lunar surface it bounces off it in all directions. Some of it goes back out into space, but some is scattered by the lunar surface at lower angles can illuminate objects in shadow.
As it was impossible to simulate lunar gravity on Earth, the LM could not be tested on Earth, so every flight of the Lunar Module was essentially a test flight. I could argue that the six missions that landed on the Moon were successful test landings! However you are aware that the Moon has no atmosphere, and that means dust behaves differently. Dust particle are blown up by rocket thrust on the Moon, but fall straight to the ground again. The descending LM was not surrounded by a billowing dust cloud. Also the Descent Engine was throttled back in the final stages of landing and in fact was shut down 5ft above the surface.
The chances of dust gathering on the pads was very low. I do know on one mission possibly Apollo 11 the LM crews reported the cabin was uncomfortably cool for sleeping in but this was not noticeable when they were active. First of all, bless you for having the patience to try and work through these questions. And the photographer, or more specifically, his bright white space suit. Apollo 10 added 9 hours in lunar orbit. The LLRV, a sort of jet powered spider looking thing, is the most famous but there were 4 others. I suggest doing your own fact seeking,from those people directly involved in the Moon program and sites like this.
Dear Mr Marquardt, this is the final time I am going to respond to you. As you have been told numerous times before, we are not going to publish your essay because of its excessive length. I have taken some time to read your essay and found it to be full of errors and misconceptions. I would offer the suggestion that before you offer it for publication elsewhere that you carefully review and check the text for factual and scientific and technical accuracy against numerous reliable sources.
I found your article interesting, and your responses to some of the comments entertaining and enlightening. I found this thread looking for info on how the apollo slowed down to land on the moon, and you described it above…………i appreciate that….. These would be a fuel quantity of [ 2. Thus, Apollo 11 and N were refuted forever.
Dear Mr Marquardt, thank you for your comment. I am afraid there is much here to suggest that your knowledge of this subject is not perhaps as accurate or complete as you believe and this invalidates your conclusion. Unfortunately this is incomprehensible, can you explain what you think this means and what the quantities involved are?
You may be doing the wrong drugs. Stop making it up. Why do you go to so much trouble to convince crackpots? They might pass their doubts to their children but once in school they will hear differently. Space travel, like the proverbial caravan, moves on despite their barking. Hi Damocles, we are an educational institution so we are obliged to challenge and correct factual errors especially if we are asked questions about them.
Hi Admin, Thanks for the great article. I also found your patient replies to the above comments to be very helpful. Despite some science fiction elements, it does a great job celebrating space exploration. His reaction is golden! Dear Admin! I wonder that you question my sincerity. But as free persons as you and I are, you have a right to such things. I just feel bad that I may have offended you. But be sure I had no single thought of it, nor any thought of it whatsoever.
Thank you very much. The blue print of LM I acquired at a book store in Poland does not show the bolts nor does it show the fifth explosive charge that would sever the umbilical wires from two stages. That, too, must have been done before ascending. What it does not show either is how the ascending engine is mounted.
Naturally after severing the cables from each of the stages there had to be alternate ways of controlling the ascending engine for the cables and any other circuits would be useless after cutting all of connections to the descending stage. Now, I want to get to what Yuri Gagarin said when he was blown into space and what Collins said at the Press Conference after coming back to Earth. Collins said that he did not recall seeing any.
And Gagarin was not the first man in space. Russians lost three other cosmonauts. Two of them are supposedly lost somewhere in space. They had to decompress the LEM thus leaving gases on the Moon. I have oxygen in mind along with some carbon dioxide from their lungs. But yet some sources claim that the Moon has very diluted atmosphere. Dear Eric, I am afraid your anecdote claiming the Apollo astronauts needing optical instruments to see stars is based on selective reporting of what was really said.
When you were carrying out that incredible Moon walk, did you find that the surface was equally firm everywhere or were there harder and softer spots that you could detect? And secondly, when you looked up at the sky, could you actually see the stars in the solar corona in spite of the glare? Stars cannot be see from daylight side of any planet in the inner Solar System as the Sun and reflected glare from surfaces are far too bright. Dear Admin. I need to correct my English in my last post to you.
But to continue a bit on the landings on the Moon I have a copy of a couple of blue prints of the whole LEM. The ascend stage was attached to the descend stage which always was left after the ascebd stage lifted off the Moon. It is peculiar how much slmall of a space the whole LEM represented and the ascend engine fit in so perfectly almost not noticed. Also, the blue prints do not show any clamps or some hooks that would keep the descend and ascend stages together.