back to article An upset tummy and a sphincter-loosening blackout: Lunar spaceflight is all glamour

Fifty years ago today, Apollo 8 carried the first humans into orbit around the Moon, ushering in a short-lived period of crewed lunar exploration. The crew, consisting of veteran astronauts Frank Borman and Jim Lovell, and rookie ‘naut William Anders (making what would become his only jaunt into space) had launched at 12:51 …

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  1. ukgnome

    Awe inspiring

    Even after a sticky end they continued

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Awe inspiring

      "Even after a sticky end they continued"

      Several days in close quarters, where someone's been losing his lunch at both ends and you can't open the window to air things out.

      I bet the navy frogmen were glad they were wearing their masks when they opened that hatch.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fake news! The moon landings were a hoax!

    I have it on excellent authority (I read it on the internet) that we never made it to the moon. It was all done on a secret stage in a Hollywood warehouse. It was all done with toy props, post-shoot film trickery, & advice from our Alien Overlords.

    The moon is really the secret base for our Overlords to keep tabs on us, their favorite source of "Reality TV" entertainment. They're taking bets on what idiocy we'll get up to next. The wise bets are on inventing a cure for intelligence & marketing it as a form of deoderant.

    I disagree. I think we'll accidently fling a satelite into lunar orbit & snap pics of their base thus earning their wrath & triggering a reaction of epicly horrible proportions. That's right. They'll send down a JarJar Binks clone to run for World Leader. Mark my words.

    I'm gonna go now, I'm gonna read more True News (conspiracy theories) on Reddit!

    1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

      Re: Fake news! The moon landings were a hoax!

      Sorry all that lot appeared in "weekly world news" long before reddit was even concieved

    2. spold Silver badge

      Re: Fake news! The moon landings were a hoax!

      >>>

      they'll send down a JarJar Binks clone to run for World Leader

      <<<

      Pretty much bin-dun except slightly stranger.

      1. MNGrrrl

        Re: Fake news! The moon landings were a hoax!

        We already elected a JarJar clone. It's just that he's a little more... orange... than the original.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Fake news! The moon landings were a hoax!

      http://bit.do/mnfk

      1. Glen 1 Silver badge

        Re: Fake news! The moon landings were a hoax!

        Mitchell and Webb's secret footage

        1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

          Re: Proof! The moon landings were a hoax!

          So I found this on the Interwebz, so it must be true!

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BJppeRWSD94

          Some chaps building their own hybrid rocket and launching it. Objective was to hit 50,000+ feet. Note that to do that, they had to seek government permission. And if you skip to the end, you'll see the results.

          Note that the parachute 'failed to deploy'. Note that the top sections of the recovered rocket were forced backwards. Obviously this was due to the rocket impacting on the ceiling. The suggestion that it was due to impact with the ground is simply the standad official coverup used in such cases, as at first pass, it's entirely plausible.. But then so is the nosecone containing the parachute impacting a barrier causing the failure to deploy.

          1. Alan Brown Silver badge

            Re: Proof! The moon landings were a hoax!

            "Note that to do that, they had to seek government permission"

            It's a good idea to ensure there's a NOTAM in effect. You really don't want to be blamed for bringing down an airliner.

    4. Antron Argaiv Silver badge

      Re: Fake news! The moon landings were a hoax!

      Its true, except Kubrick was such a stickler for accuracy that he insisted on filming on location.

      1. Agamemnon

        Re: Fake news! The moon landings were a hoax!

        >.< -- All The Beers for You.

  3. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    Mushroom

    "almost ridiculous"

    rookie ‘naut William Anders (making what would become his only jaunt into space)

    I guess he'll pass on a free ride to Mars if Musk or Bezos were to offer...

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-46364179

    1. OssianScotland Silver badge

      Re: "almost ridiculous"

      "I guess he'll pass on a free ride to Mars if Musk or Bezos were to offer..."

      Someone needs to point him at Konstantin Tsiolkovsky:

      "Earth is the cradle of mankind, but one cannot live in a cradle forever"

      1. Carpet Deal 'em Bronze badge
        Stop

        Re: "almost ridiculous"

        They're both very much correct: we do need to expand off the planet, but Mars is still stupid. It has no magnetic shield and an unbreathably thin atmosphere; it'd face all the problems of a moon colony, but be months or even years away from resupply and in a deeper gravity well. There's no reason to settle there except overeager romanticism.

    2. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Re: "almost ridiculous"

      Sensible chap. Discovering cut corners (faux Apple!) or things that had been missed mid-flight, or on your way down to lithobrake in the Martian surface would not make for a good trip. At least the Moon would be a bit closer for potential rescue missions.

      I still think we should be aiming at colonisation rather than just a brief excursion, so sending enough supples and construction material to make a mostly self-sustaining colony. But of course that's a wicked problem, expensive, and would leave colonists vulnerable to budget cuts. But then technology's moved on a lot in 50 years, and unmanned probes & vehicles are busily expanding our knowledge. So landing a human could become essentially a PR stunt, then 'been there, done that!' and nothing happens for another 50 years.

      And I also found this-

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ovD0aLdRUs0

      About the Rocketdyne F1 engines that powered Saturn 5. Two things struck me. One being the comment that original engines were assembled by highly skilled engineers, and we don't have those skills any more. I rather hope that isn't true, especially with people working on current space programmes. The other was the simplicity of the design, especially given NASA's redesign got it down to around 40 parts. Seems like that could make for a more afffordable design, which would be pretty crucial for sustainable ferry flights.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: "almost ridiculous"

        "One being the comment that original engines were assembled by highly skilled engineers"

        Being the kind who turn things on lathes and do precision welding type engineering

        "and we don't have those skills any more"

        We do, but they're not in as much demand because you know, greater precision in manufacturing means they're not needed so much.

        One of the bigger problems is the loss of trade knowledge that came about because the use of them was a "trade secret" and explicitly NOT written down, so when the number of apprentices went to near zero, the skills simply weren't passed on and noone thought to write anything down.

        NASA had to scramble around retirement homes in the 1970s to find metallurgists who knew how to make the seamless tubing needed for SSME cooling nozzles - something that was routine in the 1950s - and resorted to cutting gun barrels off the ghost fleet to get some of the alloys needed for SSME internals..

  4. Keith Oborn

    That Genesis reading

    Sad that a bunch of narrow minded idiots could tarnish that. The term "infamous" is just plain wrong. And "famous" barely does it justice.

    I'm an atheist. a physicist and engineer.

    I think the combination of those majestic words and the majestic setting was a high point in human history, no matter what you believe.

    1. Hollerithevo

      Re: That Genesis reading

      @Keith Oborn

      I know that most of us in the Western world have an emotional and cultural vibration when Christian scripture is intoned, because it's everywhere around us and the English of the King James Version really is majestic, but it would be nice not to make the Bible the go-to source in exalted moments, as we have so many other choices.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: That Genesis reading

        I believe the reaction to the reading was what caused them to go with something more spontaneous when Neil stepped onto the moon for the first time. The moon landings would definitely have featured a biblical reading otherwise.

      2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: That Genesis reading

        But they only reached the moon because of YHWH's guiding hand.

        Remember if you want to achieve great technical feats in space you just have to pray harder than the commies (and capture better Nazis)

      3. Arthur the cat Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: That Genesis reading

        it would be nice not to make the Bible the go-to source in exalted moments, as we have so many other choices.

        "Oh bother", said Pooh.

      4. BillG
        Megaphone

        Atheist vs. Bigot?

        When I was in college I met my first atheist. Interesting and open discussion. I was blessed in that he gave me this wisdom so early in my life that has guided me the rest of my life:

        "If you do not believe in God, then you are an atheist. But if you attack people that do believe in God, then you are also a bigot."

        1. Francis Boyle Silver badge

          Re: Atheist vs. Bigot?

          Well, if you attack them with guns and bombs, probably. But if you say they're wrong and probably shouldn't attack one another with guns and bombs because of their beliefs, then, no.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Atheist vs. Bigot?

          if you attack people that do believe in God, then you are also a bigot

          Bigots, yes, but technically not atheists. I prefer the term anti-thesists for these.

        3. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

          Re: Atheist vs. Bigot?

          @BillG "But if you attack people that do believe in God, then you are also a bigot."

          Calling BS on that. have you read the Old Testament? It's full of the followers of YHWH smiting people. Believers in God are worse than bigots, they're all out murderers. Someone saying something like that is asking for special privilege, all opinions and views can be challenged, nobody gets a pass.

          1. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

            Re: Atheist vs. Bigot?

            I see I got a downvote, some snowflake doesn't like the truth. Meanwhile, for clarity, I wasn't just talking about the followers of YHWH in a historical context either:

            "state Rep. Matt Shea ... who’s vying for a sixth term in the state House, has been under fire since he acknowledged last week he had distributed a four-page document titled “Biblical Basis for War.” The document condemns abortion and same-sex marriage and describes how a “Holy Army” should punish those who flout “biblical law.” At one point, the document states: “If they do not yield – kill all males.”

            (http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2018/nov/01/att-washington-realtors-seek-shea-campaign-refunds/)

            That's an opinion from 2018 folks.

        4. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: Atheist vs. Bigot?

          "If you do not believe in God, then you are an atheist. But if you attack people that do believe in God, then you are also a bigot."

          I see a lot more attacking of those who don't believe in a god - or worse still, don't believe in _your_ god.

          There are 5000 religions in the world, but don't worry, only YOURS is the right one.

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: Atheist vs. Bigot?

            Nobody has mentioned the obvious ... poo-pooing a belief system is not "attacking" the believers of that system, no matter how much they want to be victims.

        5. Monty Cantsin

          Re: Atheist vs. Bigot?

          "When I was in college I met my first atheist."

          Since literally everyone is born an atheist (those that don't remain so only learn theism/polytheism/pantheism/whatever later in life), I doubt that was the case.

          1. EarthCitizen

            Re: Atheist vs. Bigot?

            New born babies, whatever their "theist" beliefs, rarely have an intelligent conversation with college students. So your point is rather inaccurate. Maybe the OP lead a very sheltered life and didn't go out much beyond the monastery walls prior to going to college? ;-)

      5. ridley

        Re: That Genesis reading

        Let's not forget that it was the Old Testament and as such not a purely Christian text.

      6. tfb Silver badge

        Re: That Genesis reading

        I think that's a hard problem to solve. I'd like to get away from the default-christian thing, but I think you can't get away from the english that some people wrote in that period being just amazingly evocative. And there's little enough of it that you end up cycling around the usual suspects: KJV, Shakespeare &c.

    2. A. Coatsworth
      Paris Hilton

      Re: That Genesis reading

      Was there any contemporary backlash because of the Genesis reading, or is the use of the word "infamous" an example of modern and trendy outrage-at-everything-ism?

      A quick internet search retrieves on single case of one single person who launched a (failed) lawsuit because of it... so, any ideas?

      1. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: That Genesis reading

        I suspect that these are different times than back then. What was acceptable and even revered is now in the trash bin. I'm more of an agnostic but those words being read back then did and still do send a shiver up my spine if nothing else than for the language of the KJV. There was a certain awe to the tone of their voices as they read it. Who wouldn't be awed at what they were seeing and where they were?

      2. Gene Cash Silver badge

        Re: That Genesis reading

        > Was there any contemporary backlash because of the Genesis reading

        No. The lawsuit was mostly second or third page of the paper material.

    3. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: That Genesis reading

      I'm an atheist too... mainly because all the christians here in the US "bible belt" that I grew up with are serious intolerant assholes.

      All the Southern Baptists are lacking are suicide vests. Not nice people at all.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: That Genesis reading

        I am not a southern baptist but I grew up a lot of them. If your house where to burn down or get flooded out they would be the first people to help you. If you need medical care and don't have money they will help you because that is their ministry. Your are the bigot here.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: That Genesis reading

          I am not a southern baptist but I grew up a lot of them. If your house where to burn down or get flooded out they would be the first people to help you. If you need medical care and don't have money they will help you because that is their ministry. Your are the bigot here.

          What about schooling?

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: That Genesis reading

          Ah yes, the southern baptists: good people, all of them. The same southern baptists who only exist at all because they didn't want a little thing like owning slaves getting in the way of their religion: I mean, really, why should keeping black people as slaves prevent you being a minister, really, there's nothing unchristian about that, is there? They're only black people, after all, not really humans.

          Fuck them all.

    4. JeffyPoooh
      Pint

      Re: That Genesis reading

      K.O. "...I'm an atheist. a physicist and engineer. I think the combination of those majestic words and the majestic setting was a high point in human history, no matter what you believe."

      Ditto. Precisely.

    5. FuzzyWuzzys

      Re: That Genesis reading

      Outrage for outrage sake sometimes. I've no interest in taking up a religion myself, others seem to enjoy it so good luck to them. However I find the bible is a nice collection of moral stories ( I grew up reading David Kossof bible stories ) and as such the christian bible stories are still part of our Western literary culture. I'd hate to be so narrow minded I couldn't consider any form of literature and simply dismiss it out of hand. Yes, the bible was written to basically be a tool for indoctrination but in the modern age, an enlightened age, I can now appreciate the bible as a nice book of fun stories, even the ones in Revelations that must have been written by a skag smoking junkie! As an ardent fan of extreme heavy metal ( death, black, grind, etc ) the bible has provided some great source material for the bands I like! Ha ha!

    6. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

      Re: That Genesis reading

      "Sad that a bunch of narrow minded idiots could tarnish that."

      So, at the demonstration of the pinnacle of science, and engineering, a flawed creation myth was read out,....

      The people that called that out weren't 'idiots', I presume they were just peeved taxpayers who saw it as an erosion of the constitutional guarantee of separation of church and state. you know, those 'idiots' that want everyone to abide the by the rules.

    7. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: That Genesis reading

      "Sad that a bunch of narrow minded idiots could tarnish that."

      It certainly wasn't approved and had NASA known ahead of time what was planned they would have outright forbidden it being read. They (unlike Borman and co) were fully aware of the ramifications of reading a religious text of _any_ kind from space, given the plethora of non-abrahamic ones in the USA alone - and with the eyes of the world on them they were even more touchy about such things.

      Lovell, Anders and Borman were extremely lucky not to have found themselves drummed out of NASA the day after their landing - and the reason they weren't has a lot to do with the fact that the Cold War was "God's America" against "Godless Communists" (Something that's been continued long after the Cold War ended and those pesky ruskies turned out to be mostly Orthodox christians after all).

      1. Antron Argaiv Silver badge

        Re: That Genesis reading

        Or, maybe NASA thought, "you volunteer to get into a tin can and let us fire you around the moon, we will let you read pretty much whatever you want as a personal message on Christmas Eve."

  5. Carstairs

    It doesn't have to be a quote from your religion to have power and meaning

    Some religious writings are great literature - and so can be appropriate in some circumstances even if they're not from your religion.

    So, in my (atheist) opinion, that Genesis reading was very appropriate for the situation - and very powerful.

    To give a different example: the well-known example after the Trinity nuclear test:

    Oppenheimer:

    "We knew the world would not be the same. A few people laughed, a few people cried. Most people were silent. I remembered the line from the Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad Gita; Vishnu is trying to persuade the Prince that he should do his duty and, to impress him, takes on his multi-armed form and says, 'Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.' I suppose we all thought that, one way or another."

    [Wikipedia's words - but I read that in various places long before Wikipedia existed]

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: It doesn't have to be a quote from your religion to have power and meaning

      Then there's Morse's first message via telegraph: "What hath God wrought",

      1. Gene Cash Silver badge

        Re: It doesn't have to be a quote from your religion to have power and meaning

        And then there was Bell's first telephone message: "Get yer ass over here, Watson... I've spilt battery acid all over myself!"

        I may be misremembering it... had a wee dram of the eggnog so far.

        1. IceC0ld Silver badge

          Re: It doesn't have to be a quote from your religion to have power and meaning

          And then there was Bell's first telephone message:

          ===

          I thought it was a message to ask if he had ever had PPI ? ............................

  6. G Mac
    Facepalm

    As time goes on the space program gets more amazing to me

    From a time When America Got Shit Done(TM). Not to dismiss the Ruskies, but in this case...

    Now, the aspiration of the US is build a &@%!#$ Wall.

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