Saturday, October 4, 2008

Space: The Final Frontier

Perhaps I've shared with you my disbelief in all things moon landing. I don't see that we had the technology way back when. Mabel disagrees. She met Wernher von Braun, after all. I'm not saying he didn't design a rocket capable of launching astronauts to the moon. I'm saying that I don't think we had the technology to land them and bring them back. That we lacked the tools for such precision. Think back to the 1960s, people. If you can. If not, think back to Leave It To Beaver reruns. For cryin' out loud, there were not even home computers or cell phones. A calculator for the Beaver to use on his math homework? Try an abacus, Beav.

But I am in the business of molding young minds in the science persuasion, so I go along with the textbook and recorded history. But I DO show them a tape of Conspiracy Theory: Did We Land on the Moon. I taped it years ago off the FOX network. That's reliable, isn't it? Anyhoo, I have them write a little paper listing 3 of the items in question, with reasons why they believe these items to point to truth or hoax. We have some good discussions.

Then those pesky MythBusters horned in on my act. So I recorded their shenanigans, and showed their program after we watched the conspiracy tape. My classes have some good critical thinkers. For example, when the MythBusters got some moon dust to try and replicate the boot footprint with no moisture, they pointed out some problems with the experimental design. Guess where the MythBusters got their moon dust. Yep. NASA. It is a bit fishy to get your key ingredient from the agency you are trying to discount. Oh, and it wasn't REAL moon dust. There's not enough of that to hand out to any ol' TV show that asks for it, apparently. So NASA gave the MythBusters synthetic moon dust. The stuff they use for training astronauts. And guess what! It left a footprint just like the one the astronauts left on the moon! Who didn't see THAT coming?

Anyhoo, our book mentions the first man in space, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin. The other day I ran across THIS. Here's the fake russian. It says that Gagarin was a simple farmer's son, and did not go through all the cosmonaut training. He had only 5 successful parachute jumps when he joined the cosmonaut training, and not nearly as many flying hours as the other cosmonauts. It also questions his landing, and suggests that the REAL man launched into space died, and Gagarin was a fake to save face, that Gagarin merely parachuted from a plane. In the pictures, he has no space suit with CCCP on it, and no astronaut helmet. Pictures of his space capsule, which landed on LAND, far from the rescuers, are not consistent. Some show the capsule in a meadow, some in snow. The radio transmission is thought to have been a tape recorder. Gagarin spoke in generalities, i.e., "The Earth is blue. A certain region is covered with cumulus clouds." He also said he was over America, but at that time, his ship was over the ocean. Some think he merely parachuted from a plane at his flying club. Others think he hid in the basement of a house until time for the 'rescuers' to come get him. There was no recording of the launch. What kind of way to run a space propaganda program is that?

Then I checked a bit more, and found some stuff about two brothers who tracked radio transmissions from Soviet space missions, supposedly hearing several of them take their last breaths. If you scroll down through the comments, there's a picture of a burned-up cosmonaut who crashed on re-entry in 1967. A crispy russian critter. Not that you might want to see something like that, of course. So I kept looking, and found a bunch of pictures, some tiny pics, you might say, and some more on Soviet missions. Just for you conspiracists to browse through.

Which brings us to those tricky Chinese, taking time off from trying to take over the world by slowly poisoning every other nation, to launch some men into space to go for a walk. Or DID they? Check this out. It's a regular chinese conspiracy, by cracky!

It's really hard to get away with anything in today's techno society.

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