Unknown photos from China confirm NASA moon landings

Buzz Aldrin on the Moon

A surprisingly large group of people consider, in most cases without any real basis, NASA's manned lunar landings in the sixties as a farce. Under erroneous premises they disqualify the incredible feats, advances and results of one of the greatest adventures mankind has ever embarked on. However, there are numerous independent proofs from the U.S. agency that demonstrate the veracity of the missions, one of them offered by its direct contender, China.

Chang'e 5 on the Moon
Mosaic of photographs taken from China's Chang'e 5 probe in the region near Mount Rümker. Credits: CNSA.

Orbital recognition

At the dawn of the Chinese lunar program, and the first steps that would determine the quality and fate of subsequent missions, two orbital reconnaissance probes were launched around the moon. Chang'e 1 and 2 were two probes intended to demonstrate key technologies for ambitious surface exploration plans.

Render Chang'e 2
Graphical representation of the structure and instruments of China's Chang'2 probe. Credits: tttian.

In conjunction with other instruments of different types, both missions had the capability to survey the landscape. Seeking to have a new bank independent of its counterparts, China created an extensive repository of terrain observations and relief measurements of the entire lunar surface. The same would later be released to the public free-form.

Originally intended to analyze future lunar landing sites and provide national and international researchers with data for scientific research, it is also a tool to corroborate reports from other space agencies. Such is the case of NASA's manned missions under the Apollo program, where twelve men in six spacecraft successfully descended to the lunar surface.

Eyes in the sky

While there are numerous photographs from orbit by NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and India's Chandrayaan-2, as well as indirect observations by Japan's SELENE and Chandrayaan-1, there is unjustified skepticism about the veracity of the Apollo missions.

Apollo 11 as seen by Chandrayaan-2
Photograph of the wreckage of the Apollo 11 lunar module Eagle as seen by the Chandrayaan-2 probe. Credits: ISRO.

As part of a project focused on disproving the fallacies of these denialist groups, the Twitter user known as One Big Monkey has created an extensive compilation of numerous pieces of evidence from different sources.. Among them are direct observations, by the probe Chang'e 2, from the remains left by the Apollo missions. Although the resolution does not compare to that offered by LRO, the contrast between the two allows us to identify human artifacts on the lunar surface with sufficient clarity.

Apollo Missions

Apollo 11the first mission that attempted and succeeded in descending successfully on the lunar surfaceis the most famous and recognized by the general public. The LRO and Chandrayaan-2 probes captured centimeter-per-pixel resolution photographs of the experiments, footprints, and debris of the lunar module that remain motionless on the Moon.

Apollo 11 lunar landing site from space
Comparison between photograph of the Apollo 11 lunar landing area of Chang'e 2 (top left), LRO (top right) and a close-up of the lunar lander descent module in both cases (bottom). Credits: NASA, CNSA.

Due to, in contrast, the limited resolution of Chang'e 2's cameras, it is slightly difficult to identify small details representing human artifacts left on the Moon. However, when compared to LRO photographs, it is much easier to see that the observations from independent sources agree, except for changes in light conditions.

In the case of the Apollo 12 mission, we have not only the lunar module, but also the Surveyor 3 probe that was visited by the astronauts.

Apollo 12 moon landing site
Panorama of the Apollo 12 lunar landing site as seen by LRO (left) and Chang'e 2 (right).Credits: NASA, CNSA.
Apollo 12 and Surveyor 3 moon landing site
Close-up of the lunar module wreckage from the Apollo 12 mission and the Surveyor 3 probe: NASA, CNSA.

The next is Apollo 14, given that Apollo 13 encountered critical failures on its journey to the Moon and it would be impossible to land and return to Earth.

Apollo 14 drop zone
Comparison between the Apollo 14 descent region as seen by Chang'e 2 (left) and LRO (right). Credits: NASA, CNSA.
Apollo 14 drop zone
Close-up of the Apollo 14 lunar module debris seen by Chang'e 2 (left) and LRO (right). Credits: NASA, CNSA.

Likewise, in subsequent missions, an artifact stands out in the field. which coincides exactly with the location of the lunar module descent stage in those obtained by the United States and India.

Apollo 15 moon landing
Comparison of the Apollo 15 landing site as seen by Chang'e 2 (left) and LRO (right). Credits: NASA, CNSA.
Apollo 15 drop zone
Close approach to the Apollo 15 lunar module as seen by Chang'e 2 (left) and LRO (right). Credits: NASA, CNSA.
Apollo 16 Descent Region
Comparison of the Apollo 16 lunar landing site as seen by Chang'e 2 (left) and LRO (right). Credits: NASA, CNSA.
apollo16 lem
Approach to the lunar module of the Apollo 16 mission: NASA, CNSA.

A matter of perspective

It is necessary to keep in mind that natural intuition and perspective can cause confusion for some people when viewing some of the hundreds and thousands of photographs taken during the missions. This effect is the source, for the most part, of the fallacies about the veracity of the Apollo program. As well as a profound ignorance of basic physics principles.

Francisco Andrés Forero Daza

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