In 1969, NASA astronaut Neil Armstrong was the first man to step out on to the moon’s surface in the groundbreaking Apollo 11 mission. Mr Armstrong was joined 22 minutes later by Buzz Aldrin by giving his infamous ‘one small step for man’ speech. But some conspiracy theorists believe the event was faked because stars aren’t visible in the photos. Astronomer, Keith Cooper, explained the understanding of this when he was asked if you would see stars when standing on the moon.
Speaking to talkRADIO, Mr Cooper said: “You should do. This is one of the arguments conspiracy theorists have about why we didn’t really go the moon.
“They look at the pictures and say, ‘there’s no stars in the sky’.
“But you have to remember that the astronauts landed on the day side of the moon so you had the glare of the sun.
“The stars didn’t really show up on the pictures.
“If you went to the far side of the moon that is in nighttime, you would see so many stars because there would be no light pollution at all.”
His comments come as US astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, who flew to the International Space Station in SpaceX’s new Crew Dragon, splashed down in the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday after a two-month voyage that was NASA’s first crewed mission from home soil in nine years.
Behnken and Hurley, tallying 64 days in space, undocked from the station on Saturday and returned home to land their capsule in calm waters off Florida’s Pensacola coast on schedule at 2:48 pm ET following a 21-hour overnight journey aboard Crew Dragon “Endeavor.”
Mr Hurley said: “This has been quite an odyssey. To be where we are now, the first crewed flight of Dragon, is just unbelievable.”
The successful splash-down, the first of its kind by NASA in 45 years, was a final test of whether SpaceX Chief Executive Elon Musk’s spacecraft can transport astronauts to and from orbit a feat no private company has accomplished before.
“This day heralds a new age of space exploration,” Musk said. “I’m not very religious, but I prayed for this one.”
NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said the successful mission marked “a new era of human spaceflight where NASA is no longer the purchaser, owner and operator of all the hardware” but one of many future customers of space travel.
“Today we really made history,” Bridenstine told an earlier press conference.
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Despite Coast Guard restrictions and safety risks, spectators in private boats surrounded the splash-down site dozens of miles from shore as SpaceX and NASA recovery teams used a crane to hoist the spacecraft out of the water and onto a boat.
The crew’s retrieval from Crew Dragon was delayed slightly as the teams worked to flush its fuel tanks after sensing traces of nitrogen tetroxide fumes outside the capsule, a toxic gas from one the spacecraft’s flammable fuels.
Hurley, giving a thumbs up as he was wheeled out of the spacecraft on a stretcher, a normal procedure as astronauts adjust to Earth’s gravity, said, “I’m just proud to be a small part of this whole effort to get a company and people to and from the space station.”
“Thanks for doing the most difficult parts and the most important parts of human spaceflight – getting us into orbit and bringing us home,” Behnken told SpaceX mission control in Hawthorne, California, as the hatch door was opened.
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