RE: moon dust info - please help

Vandergraaf, Chuck (
Mon, 2 Nov 1998 22:48:22 -0500


I don't remember much about the landing of the first astronauts on the moon
and I don't want to add to the confusion, but I happen to have a pretty
complete inventory of National Geographics in my room. I hauled out the
1964 March issue, just out of curiosity.

In this issue there is an article "How we plan to put a man on the moon."
On page 382 it states that

"Perhaps the greatest hazards will be found on the moon itself. For
example, we know little about the composition of the lunar surface. Some
authorities believe it may be covered by a dust layer from four inches to
three feet in depth. Others think the dust in some areas may be far deeper,
enough to engulf any spaceship. A third group holds to the theory that
porous rock covers much of the surface."

"Obviously, we cannot risk landing men until these uncertainties are
resolved by unmanned lunar probes, such as our forthcoming Ranger and
Surveyors. Their intelligence will determine the final design of the LEM's
landing gear."

Apparently, in 1964, there was still some uncertainty about the amount of
dust, even though the drawings in the NGM indicate that the artists thought
that the layers would not be very thick.

Don't have the time now to delve any further into this.

Hope this helps.

Chuck Vandergraaf
Pinawa, MB

> ----------
> From: Joel Duff[]
> Sent: Monday, November 02, 1998 10:35 PM
> To:
> Subject: Re: moon dust info - please help
> At 01:29 PM 11/3/98 +1100, Jonathan Clarke wrote
> Glenn R. Morton wrote:
> This is one of the most frustrating arguments by YECs.  It
> shows that they
> ignore history, are unable to do independent research and in
> general don't
> test what they teach.  My encyclopedia Britannica says:
> "The first soft landing on the Moon was made by Lunik 9 on
> February 3,
> 1966; this craft carried cameras which transmitted the first
> photographs
> taken ont he surface of the Moon.  By this time, however,
> excellent
> close-range photographs had been secured by the United
> States Ranger 7,8,
> and 9, which crashed into the Moon in the second half of
> 1964 and the first
> part of 1965;  and between 1966 and 1967 the series of five
> lunar orbitors
> photographed almost the entire surface of the Moon from a
> low orbit in
> search for suitable landing places.  The United States
> Surveyor 1
> soft-landed on the Moon June 2, 1966, and this and following
> Surveyors
> acquired much useful information aboutthe lunar surface."
> Technology,
> History of, Encyclopedia Britannica 1982, vol 18 p. 53.
> They knew that the moon was not made of dust before they
> sent the men up
> there.  Why YECs distort history, I  don't know!
> glenn
> I heartily concur.  Prior to the Russian probe Luna 2  in 1959 very
> little was known about the lunar surface.  The best ground based optical
> telescopes had a resolution of 500 m.  Speculations about the surface
> raised from dust seas to hard rock, and included some exotic theories
> about "fairy castles".  Of course the most likely surface was some sort of
> soil or rubble cover and I believe there was some polarimetry and
> scatterometric data at both optical and radio wavelengths to support this.
> The Ranger impact probes (Ranger 7-9) of 1964-65 resolved the lunar
> surface down to 40 cm showing small rocks and craters.  Their presence
> demonstrated that the lunar surface was not blanketed by thick dust
> blanket.  Rounding of the small craters suggested that the surface
> material was a loose soil.  These results were confirmed by the by the
> Russian landers Luna 9 and 13 of 1966 and the US Surveyor 1, 3, 5, 6 & 7
> in 1966-68.  These landers demonstrated that the lunar surface was firm
> enough to support a landing spacecraft and resolved the soil-like surface
> at a scale of millimetres.  These results were widely published in
> magazines like Time Newsweek, National Geographic, and Life, as well as
> major newspapers and on radio and TV.  I remember them and even have some
> on file. So a great deal was known of the lunar surface properties by
> Apollo 11.
> The persistence of this story of the lunar surface in the face of
> information easily refuted by the general public though almost any library
> points to it having descended to the level of urban myth.  Even some YECs
> have rejected it.  Tell a lie often enough and it will believed, even when
> the some of the perpetrators own up.
> Jonathan,
> I totally agree but this guy in his response to me is saying that he sat
> in front of his TV watching the the first men land on the moon and says
> that the announcers were interviewing NASA engineers who talked about the
> moon dust problem and he says there was a real public perception that it
> was a serious problem at that time.   Before I accuse this guy of having a
> bad memory I need to hear someone say that there wasn't this public
> perception and that he must be remembering wrong.  I suspect this guy has
> been duped by YEC writing and just accepts this situation and thinks he
> remembers lots of talk during those days of a very specific moon dust
> concern and that those big pads were there specifically because they
> thought they might sink into the moon.   I still would like to hear some
> personal personal recollections.
> Joel Duff