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Let the Cognitive Dissonance Begin

NASA has released high-res pictures of the Apollo 17 landing site. These were taking by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), which has already sent back similar pictures. These are from lower orbit, and so are better resolution.

Visible in this picture are the tracks made by the lunar rover, the boot tracks made by the astronauts, and the equipment that was left behind.

These are awesome pictures and are stunning proof that, yes, we did actually send astronauts to the moon during the Apollo missions. This, of course, was never in doubt, except in the minds of various so-called moon landing hoax conspiracy theorists. They have claimed that the Apollo landings were all faked.

In fact, one of the arguments they have put forward is that we have not seen any photos of the lunar surface showing the artifacts of the landings. There was a very good reason for that – we did not have telescopes powerful enough to show sufficient detail. The LRO is really the first instrument with sufficient resolution to give unequivocal pictures of the landing site.

In science, skepticism is often appropriate. After a new theory is introduced, even if there is some compelling evidence in favor of the theory, there will typically be those who express skepticism. Good scientists, however, do not just express skepticism, they also state what kind of evidence would convince them, and perhaps what evidence would doom the theory and warrant rejection. When the requested evidence is provide, the skeptics are expected to adjust their opinions. This does not imply a false dichotomy between complete rejection and total acceptance, but if the very evidence they say should be present if the theory is correct comes to light, at the very least that should move scientists toward acceptance.

With these images coming from the LRO we could reasonably expect, therefore, the moon landing hoax conspiracy theorists to modify their position. For example, this conspiracy site writes:

 If debris from the Apollo missions was left on the Moon, then it would be visible today through a powerful telescope, however no such debris can be seen. The Clementine probe that recently mapped the Moons surface failed to show any Apollo artefacts left by Man during the missions. Where did the Moon Buggy and base of the LM go?

There is no word from them on the LRO images, which have been coming out for a couple years now.

But fear not, other hoaxers are ready with cognitive dissonance decreased rationalizations. From “Conscious Ape” we get this juicy one (although about the earlier Apollo 11 LRO pictures):

But even if NASA is correct and the images do portray what’s left of the Apollo lunar modules, evidence that they carried astronauts to the moon’s surface remains dubious.

That is like the “micro-evolution” rationalization – come up with a theory that can potentially explain the evidence, but without the element you wish to deny – people on the moon, in this case. So NASA created all the trappings of going to the moon without actually going to the moon.

Most conspiracy sites dismiss this type of evidence by simply invoking the conspiracy – the evidence was clearly faked by NASA. This approach is simple and convenient because it can be used to knee-jerk dismiss any evidence that NASA actually sent people to the moon.

Still, it’s fun to gloat over these new pictures. The pictures are beautiful too.

5 comments to Let the Cognitive Dissonance Begin

  • So let me guess this straight. We sent an empty lunar rover to the moon to drive around and leave tracks in order to trick people into thinking we had sent astronauts to the moon. That’s a lot more elaborate than using a sound stage. Does this mean they admit that we did have the technology to land equipment on the moon?

  • DLC

    You forgot to link to the LRO site.
    LMGTFY : http://lunar.gsfc.nasa.gov/

  • Evidence doesn’t make a difference when someone knows what they want to believe for emotional or ideological reasons.

  • russ

    There’s plenty of people who’ve watched some ‘documentary’ about the faked moon landing. People who don’t think about it often, but have some lingering doubt in their head. I’m a skeptic these days; but I remember an office chat where everyone pretty much decided ‘yeah, there’s somethings that don’t add up’. This imagery will at least swing a few people in this camp.

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