Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Nobody loves NASA, apparently

James Concannon writes...

        In an extraordinary display of mass media ignoring history, the last few days have seen quite a flap over the Apollo 10 "Music Behind the Moon." Never mind that the story was fairly well-known to journos on the NASA beat at the time (may 1969.) The fact that it happened behind the Moon meant that the transcripts came, not from the normal air-to-ground chit-chat but from the DSEA tapes that recorded conversation (and data) in the LM while the spacecraft was out of radio contact with Houston. Those are the ones that Robert Morningstar foolishly insists the astronauts didn't know about, despite the fact that switches on Panel 12 of the LM instrument panel are clearly labeled RECORDER ON/OFF.

        The fact that the DSEA transcripts were classified for a while (until 1976note 1) was enough to arouse suspicion among the conspirati that something was being hidden, and the music was "unexplained." Actually, it was quite well explained -- by, among others,  Michael Collins, CMP of Apollo 11, in his book Carrying the Fire.

"There is a strange noise in my headset now, an eerie woo-woo sound. Had I not been warned about it, it would have scared the hell out of me (...) fortunately the radio technicians had a ready explanation for it: it was interference between the LM's and Command Module's VHF radios."

        The transcripts were well discussed in Above Top Secret seven years ago. The story only popped up strongly in the last few days because of hype for a new TV series, NASA's Unexplained Files. The show's producers claim that they are releasing the actual audio for the very first time.

        It got extensive play on the Book of Farces, and what annoyed me was the general reaction. The Coast to Coast AM page downplayed the story.
"The clarification on the story from the space agency will likely do little to dissuade conspiracy theorists who insist that NASA is covering up information on ETs. Nonetheless, it's probably safe to say that the fat lady has sung on the moon 'music' mystery."
        However, the 65 comments from faithful listeners were overwhelmingly scornful of NASA. Some samples:

* "Radio interference" NASA could make something up better than that.
* Sure NASA this isn't the 20th century anymore we aren't that stupid
* Theres never a mystery its always explained away im tired of the cover ups from nasa
* Never a straight answer are full of shite as usual take there orders from the cia.
* In NASA we trust...right
* lol why would I believe a word NASA say
* NASA is a BS agency.
* Of course NASA was quick to disprove it, they can't unravel the lies they've been building for 60 years       

        This is a sad state of affairs. I blame Richard Hoagland, Mike Bara and Robert Morningstar.

[1] See this cover for the date classification was changed to "U." It's a bit of a mystery why these texts were not released immediately. The general theory is that the chit-chat was undisciplined and even included some -- gasp! -- expletives.


Trekker said...

Metabunk covers the story quite well, too:


Chris Lopes said...

The comments are straight out of the Book of Hoagland. You are looking at the results of decades worth of "harmless" entertainment guys like Hougie have provided that has robbed some people of their sense of wonder for the real world. They now live in a never-ending X-Files role playing game.

Trekker said...

He's also robbed them of their ability to think critically, Chris, which is probably more alarming. There's a generation growing up now who totally distrust mainstream science, to the point where they believe their ignorance is as good or better than the years and decades of study, hard work and space exploration that has gone before them.

Chris Lopes said...

Losing critical thinking skills is pretty much a requirement of being a fan of such people. Hoagland's b.s. doesn't stand up to even the slightest scrutiny. So you really have to take the whole thing on faith to stick with it.

Dee said...

It's that Chris but I also have known a lot of people with at least some critical thinking skills being simply side-tracked by some of the more seductive elements of the woo-woo story lines. All the elements which many religious stories possessed at some point in time,can often be seen returning: hints at bigger events, personal inspiration and involvement, an evil oppressor roaming the world trying to ensnare us with lies, some collection of books or ideas all referring to each other and so on. For some, the attraction then just starts to overrule, to subvert ones own natural critical thinking and suspicions. Actually, any talent for analysis or critique is now often purely used to defend ones own theories and criticize with great effort the smallest anomaly or glitch elsewhere.

This is why I think it's often hard to argue rationally with the "believer" in pseudoscience because the real driver of the belief system in place is not caused as much by any specific faulty reasoning. It's just that reason is being overshadowed by a need, a will to believe something like it.

Of course this is not counting the "wolves", the ones preying on this phenomenon or benefiting from it materially. My stated view is only addressing the possible tension between faith and critical thought.A desire to be inspired and wowed but preferably by something alien or cosmic, something far enough from the perceived "mainstream". Here I suspect a social-cultural phenomenon, something to compensate for a modern world hell bend on constantly supplying explanations and explicit descriptions. Here's of course the task for "defenders of science" to show how one can be seduced and inspired by it, so allow for many discoveries and mysteries, without subscribing to second-hand spectacle from the woo circus artists. This however is shown to be a tough task!

Unknown said...

I have a view of NASA that is NOT inspired by Hoagland and the lot. Maybe they should concentrate on the exploration of space instead of "reaching out to the Muslim world" or preaching the "gospel" of climate change. Man I hate politics.

Anonymous said...

...as a radioman (USN) in the early 70's interference (heterodyning) sounds about right. People forget the coal and steam powered tech back then. Everybody has a $600.00 smartphone in their pocket nowadays and is pissed they can't stream a movie while driving to East Dumptruck, RI.
Unthinkable 40 years ago.
That silly portable headset you're stylin' runs around 2.4GHz.
7th graders...
I guess we should have left TV black and white like the Good Lord intended.

Unknown said...

N.A.S.A has been fleecing the American people for over 50 years. Why was space militarized. Private companies bought up and absorbed into the Nasshat's kingdom of dirt.

The reason people don't trust science any longer is because of all the pseudo science and people like Neil deGrasse Tyson who is just another masonic thug and elitist jerk.

Unknown said...

Yes everyone is sick of the lies pouring out of N.A.S.A, that last so called photo of Pluto was the final straw, never mind that we can't get a real picture of the earth and N.A.S.A even admits they are all CGI, yet we can get a picture of Pluto and Mars no problem, oh wait those are CGI too. How about the Van Allen Radiation belts and the tin can we sent through them in 1969, that should have finished those astronauts and yet Neil Armstrong looked like someone shot his dog at the press conference. I mean that was suppose to be the biggest achievement of mankind and Neil acted so strange, anyone that knows a jot or a tittle about body language would say he was lying and felt horrible about it.

James Concannon said...

Dear Enoch:
I strongly suspect that you're just playing games here. But just in case you're serious or semi-serious, here are a few points:

The NASA budget, at its peak in 1965, was 4.5% of the total US budget. It has now declined to 0.5%. You might argue whether that's good value in terms of international prestige and scientific knowledge, but "fleecing" is hyperbole.

Space was SEMI-militarized because the USAF and its Russian equivalent saw advantage in it. Surveillance, comms, anti-satellite attack. All that is pretty well known.

Please cite a few examples of NASA lies.

Earth resources imagery is not CGI. Where did you read that?

The Apollo CSM was not merely a tin can. Please read up on the technology.

I see no connection between the Van Allen belts and Armstrong's demeanor at a press conf. I have personally attended one of his press confs, and I can attest that that's just Neil. He was a very serious person.