R2-D2 On The Moon? Why Not!

"R2, where are you?" On the moon... Credit: NASA/Corbis/Ian O'Neill/Discovery News

“R2, where are you?” On the moon… Credit: NASA/Corbis/Ian O’Neill/Discovery News

Sometimes, all it takes is the slightest of hints before I start Photoshopping stuff on the Moon that shouldn’t be there.

We’ve seen the Banff crasher squirrel steal Buzz Aldrin’s thunder.

We’ve seen the Sarlacc monster gobble up the LCROSS booster.

(Meanwhile, on Mars, something odd happened to rover Spirit.)

And now! We have R2-D2 trundling across the lunar surface as the perfect Moon rover design for dodging levitating Moon dust. Don’t ask me, it’s SCIENCE!

(Note: The inspiration for R2-D2 was not my idea, blame Astronomy Now’s Keith Cooper for that stroke of genius. But the ‘shopping is totally my doing. I have a lot of time on my hands, apparently.)

Read more: Why R2-D2 Would be the PERFECT Moon Rover

Neil Armstrong (1930-2012)

Apollo 11 Commander Neil Armstrong inside the lunar module "Eagle" after his first moonwalk. Credit: NASA

Apollo 11 Commander Neil Armstrong inside the lunar module “Eagle” after his first moonwalk. Credit: NASA

“The important achievement of Apollo was demonstrating that humanity is not forever chained to this planet and our visions go rather further than that and our opportunities are unlimited.”Neil Armstrong

Discovery News:
BIG PIC: Neil Armstrong, Apollo Legend, Has Died
PHOTOS: Remembering Neil Armstrong: Humanity’s Hero

Whoopi Goldberg, Lunar Hoaxes and Stupidity

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I never thought Hollywood celebs were particularly bright when it comes to promoting science (look at the mess that is Jenny McCarthy), but a rather unlikely voice has emerged as a prominent moon hoax believer… Whoopi Goldberg. Yep, Whoopi went live on the air, today (you know, the day of the 40th anniversary of the historic Apollo 11 lunar landing) on The View, saying, “I am a fan of the movie Capricorn One…”

You know what’s coming.

There are a couple of questions I have from time to time. Who shot the footage? ‘Cuz you see the two astronauts, you never see the [third astronaut behind the camera] […] you’d think he would have turned around [in front of the camera] and gone like this so we’d know it was him,” she said while pretending to wave at the camera. The audience laughed.

Yes, very funny. It’s funny because there is an astonishing amount of stupidity in the debate that followed. Barbara Walters does her best to even the playing field, saying in astonishment, “You don’t really doubt men landed on the moon?

To which Whoopi drones on (hands flying around) about the moon conspiracy is one of the better conspiracy theories because of questions like, “…why is the flag rippling when there’s no air?

Please. How can anyone have any doubt about these hoax claims after the continuing debunking battles of scientists, skeptics and people with a brain? The hoax has even been publicly humiliated by the Mythbusters team. Personally, I can’t believe anyone would support such a crazed conspiracy (even in jest), considering all the evidence to the contrary.

Now, I’d like to point out that to Whoopi’s credit, she did state that she likes conspiracies (who doesn’t?) and she was just pointing out the parallels with the 1978 sci-fi romp starring OJ Simpson where a futuristic Mars landing is faked by the US space agency. Unfortunately her airing of her moon hoax opinion has just made her the most prominent celebrity to go on record, supporting the ludicrous claims of a few vocal conspiracy nuts. (And by nuts, I mean these guys.) Not only that, she’s used a very popular TV show to air her flawed opinions.

Yes, The View is an opinion talk show, where the hosts have had their fair share of criticism for saying idiotic stuff (especially during the US Presidential election), but to attempt to plant a seed of doubt in anyone’s mind that the most heroic event in human history was faked on the day of the 40th anniversary of Apollo 11 is not only irresponsible, it is totally disrespectful.

Fortunately, Walters had the last word by saying that there will always be conspiracy theories, but today, she’d much rather give the Apollo astronauts the credit they deserve.

Source: Associated Content

Celebrating Apollo 11

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We’re currently having loads of fun over at Discovery Space, celebrating mankind’s biggest space achievement: when Apollo 11 landed on the moon 40 years ago. On July 20th 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin made history while Michael Collins orbited overhead. This was a key moment in space exploration that was followed by another 5 lunar landings until 1972. Unfortunately, that was it and the Apollo Program was gradually wound down…

However, the current plan is to get astronauts back to the moon by 2020, but how are we going to do it? Actually, the answer is far from clear-cut, and although NASA is pushing ahead with the development of Constellation, outspoken space advocates, such as Buzz Aldrin, are presenting some alternatives.

But in an interesting twist, after carrying out a two-week poll on Space Disco, I found that general opinion is stacked firmly in favour of a NASA return mission to the moon…

To find out more, dive right into the Discovery Space Wide Angle: The Moon Landings:

  • Interview with Buzz Aldrin: Should We Return To The Moon?
    Irene Klotz discusses the Apollo 11 landing with the second man on the moon. What are his opinions about NASA’s plans for a return trip?
  • Opinion: One Small Step: Why Step Back?
    We did it 40 years ago, what’s the point in retracing our steps when we could just mount a manned mission to Mars? Ian O’Neill discusses the pros and cons about NASA’s future exploration plans. Including results from the Discovery Space reader poll.

  • NEWS

  • Celebrating the 40th Anniversary of Apollo 11
    On July 20, it’s the 40th anniversary of first manned moon landing.
  • NASA Has Plan B to Launch U.S. to Moon
    NASA has a backup plan to launch crew and cargo to the moon, reduce the gap between shuttle retirement and a replacement ship’s debut, and save taxpayers billions of dollars.
  • Flying to the Moon: A Dead End?
    NASA will offer reporters an unprecedented chance to conduct interviews with scientists inside the lab that stores moon rocks Apollo astronauts collected during their six missions on July 2.
  • SLIDE SHOWS

  • Things You Didn’t Know About Apollo (HowStuffWorks)
    Did you know the Apollo 17 astronauts had to fix their lunar buggy with duct tape? Or that the Saturn V carrying Apollo 12 was struck by lightning 37 seconds after lift off? We investigate the little-known facts about the Apollo missions.
  • Top Ten Moon Mysteries (HowStuffWorks)
    It may be our natural satellite, easily observable in the night sky, but the moon still hides many secrets. Explore the lunar surface with us as we investigate some of the moon’s best kept secrets.

  • VIDEOS

  • Moon Missions 40th Anniversary
    The highlights from Apollo 11 archive footage and some of our favorite moments of astronauts exploring the moon.

  • FEATURE ARTICLES

  • Mining the Moon (IEEE Spectrum)
    We are told that one of the key reasons to set up a lunar base is to mine the moon for its abundance of natural resources, but is this realistic? In some ways yes, but there’s a lot of economics and politics to wade through first.

  • The End Of The Cult Of The Astronaut (IEEE Spectrum)
    Many in-space activities could be automated, negating the need for a human presence. However, taking astronauts out of the space exploration loop is as attractive as it is unpalatable. Is the astronaut surplus to requirements?