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Man on the moon. Really?

Quest 15/7/17 NASA`s unexplained files.

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Geoff Sleath17/07/2017 11:19:56
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I actually saw colour a colour TV receiver in the early 1950s in the labs at Murphy Radio but there were no broadcasts until much later. I worked in the service department at MR when I was a teenager as a so-called dealer's son in training on a minimal wage that just about covered my digs rent. Colour didn't become properly available until after I decided there was zero future in running a small TV retail business in 1961 and bailed out.

Fortunately we avoided NTSC (Never Twice The Same Color) and used PAL (Perfection At Last) whilst the French went for SECAM (System Essentially Different from the American Method) as you'd expect from our Gallic friends

In many ways it was a miracle that the Apollo missions succeeded. I worked as an electronics hardware engineer involved in instrumentation and when micro processors became available we taught ourselves how to use them as logic replacement devices. None of us had the first idea how to write software properly and we had a local college lecturer come in to give us some idea of structured programming techniques. He opined that had the s/w reviews that were then coming in and are now mandatory been applied the project would never have got off the ground. The s/w was probably full of bugs that, fortunately, didn't cause any problems.

The whole Apollo programme was amazingly successful and they even managed to overcome the Apollo 13 disaster without loss of life. The only sad thing is that it didn't herald further exploration as those of us brought up on a diet of Dan Dare fondly imagined

Geoff

Nigel R17/07/2017 11:25:03
492 forum posts
127 photos

"They are clearly more capable than we thought.........."

Of course they are. They're actually lizards who are the royal family who arrived here in the pyramids which are actually alien spacecraft. They can do anything. Including assassinating JFK, abducting Elvis and suppressing free energy technology amongst other things.

Nigel R17/07/2017 11:30:30
492 forum posts
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"The s/w was probably full of bugs that, fortunately, didn't cause any problems."

It probably was. Fortunately, it was also quite simple. Imagine if they had had to rely on a Microsoft application to get them there.

Andy4817/07/2017 12:00:02
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Funnily enough I've just finished reading a book by Gene Kranz who was a NASA Flight Director for many of the early missions. Actually the software did have lots of bugs in it and caused a number of problems. However, other problems were caused by not fully understanding the mechanics and mathematics of space flight itself.

Peter Miller17/07/2017 12:11:08
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I am not sure how true it is but I have heard that the average modern digital watch has more computing power that Apollo 13.

I look forward to being corrected.

The Wright Stuff17/07/2017 12:19:43
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Posted by Andy48 on 17/07/2017 12:00:02:

Funnily enough I've just finished reading a book by Gene Kranz who was a NASA Flight Director for many of the early missions. Actually the software did have lots of bugs in it and caused a number of problems. However, other problems were caused by not fully understanding the mechanics and mathematics of space flight itself.

Yes, I've read the same one. He breathed a sigh of relief when Apollo 18,19 and 20 were cancelled: he felt they were pushing their luck, and that a fatal disaster in space was inevitable at some point.

the fact that they did it with such limited technology only heightens the achievement, for me.

Peter, it probably depends on the watch (and how you define computing power), but pocket calculator, cellphone, certainly!!!

Tony Bennett17/07/2017 12:19:56
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i believe the Russians used punched tape readers to run their early space craft.

but i could be wrong.

Tony B

Peter Christy17/07/2017 12:29:57
760 forum posts
Posted by Tony Bennett on 17/07/2017 12:19:56:

i believe the Russians used punched tape readers to run their early space craft.

Well I remember reading that the Soyuz uses something akin to the mechanical timer on a washing machine to control re-entry! And someone spoke earlier about "Moon Machines". There was a fascinating programme in that series showing how NASA did it.

Bear in mind that at the time, a disk drive was the same size as a washing machine, and not very reliable! RAM was mostly built around ferrite cores on a matrix of wires. Apparently the firmware was "written" on so-called "rope memory" - a bunch of wires bundled together into a rope, some containing ferrite beads (1) and some not (0)!

Simple, reliable and robust - and it worked!

If ever they repeat "Moon Machines" (usually on one of the more obscure channels), its well worth a watch!

--

Pete

Martin Harris17/07/2017 12:51:14
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Posted by DCW on 17/07/2017 11:14:47:

I used to believe that most modellers were intelligent life forms... Now I'm not so sure....

May I remind you that this is an model aircraft forum and NOT for ridicuolus theorists!

Thanks

DW

Apart from the OP and one other, the consensus seems to be that the conspiracy theorists are "somewhat misguided". Surely this reflects your previous impression and I don't think you need to worry about the majority of modellers...

This was, however, posted in the chit-chat section and is therefore a valid (if far removed from model flying) topic. I've particularly enjoyed some of the descriptions of technologies used at the time - most informative!

The Wright Stuff17/07/2017 12:54:02
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908 forum posts
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I wonder if the camera remote operator had to do a range check!

Tony Harrison 217/07/2017 12:55:14
148 forum posts
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Odd how these conspiracy theories - or eccentric whims - persist. It reminds me of the belief in Argentina among many otherwise intelligent people that Invincible was successfully bombed and/or hit by an Exocet on 30th May 1982, and the same refutation applies: even if it had occurred, it would have been impossible to cover up. I too was among those who watched the moon landing on TV - in the window of a TV rental shop on Armada Way in Plymouth. There was quite a crowd of people, all riveted. A couple of years later I met an ancient Welshman, the father of my girlfriend, who swore blind it was all a fake concocted in Hollywood. He was mad as a hatter.

Nigel R17/07/2017 12:58:08
492 forum posts
127 photos

"the average modern digital watch has more computing power that Apollo 13"

Not sure about watches. Commodore Vic 20, Sinclair ZX81 etc, were approximately the same power. That was 1980 or thereabouts. Apollo computers had an amazing amount of memory for the time - about 4k of RAM. The CPU ran at just 43kHz. It weighed 70 pounds.

I would guess your average mobile phone could easily have run mission control as well as the lander...

http://www.computerweekly.com/feature/Apollo-11-The-computers-that-put-man-on-the-moon

Martin Harris17/07/2017 13:15:03
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6996 forum posts
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These systems were specifically designed to run the software being used and their performance was reflected in this integration. I recall being told how modern computers need to use an astounding amount of their processing power to replicate the work done by the Colossus computer at Bletchley Park - although I don't have anything other than the museum staff's opinion to back this up...

The simplest PC program these days uses an incredible amount of memory - look at the average download size for even a mobile phone app! Not many of even the simplest of these come in below 1 MB - compare that with colour graphics rich Spectrum games running on 48 KB in the 70s...

Edited By Martin Harris on 17/07/2017 13:29:03

Geoff Sleath17/07/2017 14:35:56
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1895 forum posts
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Posted by Martin Harris on 17/07/2017 13:15:03:

The simplest PC program these days uses an incredible amount of memory - look at the average download size for even a mobile phone app! Not many of even the simplest of these come in below 1 MB - compare that with colour graphics rich Spectrum games running on 48 KB in the 70s...

Edited By Martin Harris on 17/07/2017 13:29:03

That's certainly true. When we frst started playing with Motorola MC6800 8 bit processors the development systems had 32Kb of RAM and we used cassette tapes to save the data and programs (using Kansas City Standard NOT the awful TRS80 system) so quite reliable. In that 32k I would have an editor (Wordstar? IIRC), an assembler and an emulator so we had control of the hardware fpr testing. Later, when we started using 'C' the editor and compiler were easily accommodated on a 5.25" FDD. The processor ran with a clock speed of 1Mhz! We built all our own hardware and it was all fun.

Now? I wouldn't have clue and I doubt if I could write a line of C but I've been retired since 1995!

Geoff

Nigel R17/07/2017 15:21:01
492 forum posts
127 photos

1) There's a phenomenal amount of bloat in modern systems; programmers untrained / unused to restrictive environments coupled with massively capable devices = resource wasteful applications.

2) That's either very (30 years) outdated info, or "somewhat" talking up the capabilities of the Bletchley Park Colossus; wiki states it had 2400 valves, which ran around 2.5 million logic operations per second. That's about mid 80s general purpose PC CPU (e.g a 386) level. By mid 90s PCs where 100 times quicker. A current PC CPU can do about 300 billion, so I guess a "Colossus program" would use about 1/1000th of a percent of its capacity.

Wikis is a great source for early computing info, and also for this one see http://www.virtualcolossus.co.uk/

Martin Harris17/07/2017 16:17:26
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6996 forum posts
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As it was put to me (@5 years ago) it was the fact that the hardware architecture was designed for the application that meant that a reasonable PC was needed to emulate it. But as you say, they may have been a little blinkered...

Martin McIntosh17/07/2017 21:41:23
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I was expecting a response but not quite this much! You really need to be old enough to have watched it live as it supposedly happened.

Think about the huge Titan three stage rocket to get it into space, then the tiny lunar lander which had to get the thing down with retro rockets, no quadcopter style stabilisation available at that time and no practice possible. It then supposedly carried enough fuel to take off, get it into moon orbit then rendezvous with the command module.

I find the physics hard to believe even with 1/10th gravity.

There was no rocket blast that you would expect apart from a few sparks and no dust blown up.

Public interest waned after Apollo 12 so was it just coincidence that bad luck No. 13 came next?

And why did they simulate one of the Titan launches with a full crew and fuel? Were they about to blow the whole thing wide open and were eliminated?

They have photographed the failed Mars lander recently so why are there no pics of the much closer moon vehicles? Cos there are none.

Peter Christy17/07/2017 22:10:01
760 forum posts

Martin: I learned long ago never to question the beliefs of others - however misguided they may appear to me! However, why stop at the moon landings? Why not go the whole hog? May I recommend this link for further reading:

**LINK**

wink 2

--

Pete

Trevor Crook17/07/2017 22:12:12
499 forum posts
40 photos

Well, the rocket was a Saturn 5, not a Titan, and lunar gravity is about 1/6 Earth's, not 1/10th. Apart from those fairly basic bits of misinformation, I'm sure everything in conspiracy theories are true. Good night!

buster prop17/07/2017 22:26:52
404 forum posts
9 photos

Getting back to the OP, presumably the conspiracy theory is that the moon mission Saturn 5’s launched into low earth orbit for a few days instead of flying to the moon while the descent, landing, moonwalks and take-offs were being faked in a studio by actors. Then TV showed the capsules splashing down into the Pacific and the real astronauts emerging. Each Apollo launch was seen by millions of people live on TV and those who were at Cape Canaveral. Remember that the Russians were desperately trying to get to the moon first and their scientists knew that Saturn 5 was a viable moon rocket. Why would the Americans go to all the trouble and expense of building and launching several moon-capable Saturn 5’s and take the risk of being discovered faking moon landings? Easier to just go there, I've seen the Saturn 5 and watched the landing on TV, I'm convinced it happened.

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