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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2007 > Mar > Mar 18

Re: Armstrong On The Apollo 11 UFO - Smith

From: James Smith <lunartravel.nul>
Date: Sun, 18 Mar 2007 11:13:30 -0400 (GMT-04:00)
Fwd Date: Sun, 18 Mar 2007 17:39:04 -0400
Subject: Re: Armstrong On The Apollo 11 UFO - Smith

>From: Lan Fleming <lfleming6.nul>
>To: UFOUpdates <ufoupdates.nul>
>Date: Sat, 17 Mar 2007 15:13:22 -0500
>Subject: Armstrong On The Apollo 11 UFO

>James Smith asked about the source of an assertion I made that
>Neil Armstrong had said that the object that he and the other
>Apollo 11 astronauts saw was ahead of the spacecraft.

Thanks for getting this text.

>"In Armstrong's mind today, there is still no doubt that what
>they all saw was a detached part of their own spacecraft. "We
>did watch a slow blinking light some substantial distance away
>from us. Mission Control eventually concluded - and I agree -
>that it was one of the Saturn LM adapter panels. These panels
>are enormous and would have been given a rotation in the process
>of their ejection from the S-IVB. The reflection from these
>panels would, therefore, be similar to blinking. I do not know
>why we did not see the other three panels, but I suspect that
>the one that was directly down from the Sun from us would have
>provided the brightest reflection."

The Sun would have been at an angle about 90 degrees from the
CSM flight path and assuming that the orientation of the CSM/S-
IVB at panel jettison was correct, one panel would have been
Sunward. One needs to check the attitude at jettison since we
have no reports of seeing the panels tumble away prior to
midcourse correction.

It is an excellent point about the other three panels. Although
they would have separated somewhat from each other, they surely
would have been within the field of view.

I do not buy the "brightest reflection" business. A tumbling
panel (which they all should have been) would be at some point a
good angle to reflect the sunlight significantly. These are not
specular reflections, they are only reflections of light from
"white" surfaces.

Another point that bothers me about the panel explanation is
that the CSM was in a flight mode (spinning normal to the
ecliptic) for a large part of translunar coast. Surely these
guys were looking out the windows (there was not all that much
to do at that time)and should have seen a blinking panel prior
to the incident. All they had to do was just keep looking out
the window and the flashing panels would have come into view. If
the CSM was pointing toward the Moon most of the trip, then I
could argue the panel would have been out of the field of view,
but the spinning flight mode rules this out and implies they
should have seen it earlier.

>"How the panel had kept up with the Apollo 11 spacecraft for over
>two days - and in fact, was out in front of it - was a simple
>matter of Newtonian physics. "When the SLA panels were ejected,"
>Neil explains, "they had a very slight outward relative
>velocity, but their velocity along the flight path was
>essentially identical to that of the CSM-LM combination. The
>panels, therefore, having no atmospheric drag to slow them,
>traveled at the CSM-LM speed, but developed an ever-increasing
>lateral separation from it."

Yeah, they forgot about the midcourse firing.

>As can be seen in the above text, Armstrong doesn't explicitly
>say that the object they saw was ahead of the spacecraft; he
>only implies it was down sun from the spacecraft. It is the
>author, not Armstrong, who says that the panels were "out in
>front of" the spacecraft. But since this was an authorized
>biography, presumably Armstrong was the source of Hansen's
>explanation, which is incorrect.

>As a simple matter of Newtonian physics, the combined effects of
>the panel jettison velocity and the spacecraft's midcourse
>correction makes the preferred NASA explanation virtually

>At the distance of 577 miles computed by James Smith, the object
>could have been no more than a featureless dot, even under the
>magnification of the Apollo's 28-power telescope.

The "dot" aspect I do not know for sure, I have not tried to
simulate the telescopic situation. It does seem unlikely. But
I do not know the characteristics of the telescope. When STS
camera do extreme zooms (but are not focused) on Soyuz and other
distant orbiting objects, some pretty odd shapes occur.

>It could not
>have appeared to be shaped like an "open suitcase" as Armstrong
>described it in the post-flight debriefing, or any discernible
>shape at all. And of course, contrary to what the author
>implies, Buzz Aldrin, at least, seemed to orignally have had
>plenty of doubt that the object was an SLA panel because of its
>observed shape.

I have not tried to simulate the illumination conditions,
reflectivity/paint of the panel surfaces, panel orientation to
see if it can appear to be a "open suitcase".

>Those difficulties with the panel explanation notwithstanding,
>Armstrong's authorized biography says the object was an SLA
>panel, Aldrin's own book said it was an SLA panel, and Mission
>Control said it was an SLA panel, so that makes the panel
>explanation a 'fact' carved in stone, even though it's almost
>certainly wrong.

Okay, it seems wrong, and all these guys have for whatever
reason decided its a SLA panel. I still am not clear what one
can infer from this. We already know that the
government/authorities will always choose a prosaic explanation
first. If you rub their noses into how wrong they are, they will
simply come up with another one which you can't refute
adequately (e.g. debris from the CSM/LM).

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