(I wrote this two weeks ago and forgot to post
Due to lack of internet at my location this weekend, I spent some time enjoying the brain candy that is the National Geographic Channel. They were doing some marathon of specials that debunk mysteries such as Atlantis, Stonehenge, and the conspiracy theory that NASA astronauts did not actually land on the moon.
The first two were kind of stretched out to become hour-long specials. Atlantis apparently was an advanced Minoan civilization around Crete that existed a couple thousand years ago. Archeologies unearthed a pile of it and found that their architechture was very ahead of their time. Plus, they apparently had the first flushing toilets in Europe. What unfortunately killed off most of them was a volcano that then collapsed upon itself, filling with water which then exploded. A generation later (as discovered by analyzing pottery designs), there was some kind of war (people began to be buried with weapons).
Stonehenge? The usual: pagans used it to celebrate the sun and moon. At certain parts of the year, the sun and moon shine through various parts of the structure when standing at a certain point (the "healing" stone or something). Unfortunately, I didn't hear any mention of laylines or any stories of dowsing rod activity.
However, the moon-landing consipracy covered a lot of the common points brought up by theorists who claim that man never landed on the moon. This program was packed with nifty factoids and is definitely worth watching if it is aired again. The producers set up a simulated lunar surface in the desert so that they could test some of the theories. They even got a space suit, flag, and camera of the type used on the Apollo missions:
Gravity: If sped up, official moon videos look like they were originally recorded on Earth and slowed down to half-speed. The producers tried this in the desert and, well, it's just not the same.
What makes the flag wave? Theorists say Earth wind. However, the producers had a flag and alluminum poles similar to the one used on the Apollo missions. The flag poles were found to be annoyingly bouncy. Also, in the official videos, the flag never moves except when it is touched. There is no movement when the astronauts walk close to it... thus, no air.
No stars in the pictures. Theorists claim that if NASA had put the stars in the pictures then astronomers would easily be able to tell that we really didn't land on the moon. However, the stars didn't show up in the pictures taken by the producers, either. Answer: the camera couldn't adjust to the contrast.
Shadows: Theorists claim that with only one light source (the sun), shadows in the pictures don't make sense. Shadows appear to be coming from different directions and the back-facing parts of the astronauts are "too" well-lit, which implies multiple light sources. The pictures taken by the producers had the same issues, which were caused by angles of the camera, the terrain, and light reflecting off of the ground.
There are two big points that the theorists don't want to talk about. First, it would have been in the Russian's interest to say that NASA really didn't put men on the moon, but they never claimed anything of the sort.
Second, the astronauts put reflector dishes on the moon to bounce signals back in the same direction that they were sent. There is an observatory in Britain (?) that points a laser at the dishes every other day or so. The beam is bounced back to the observatory so that they can tell the exact distance of the moon. The observatory demonstrated all of this on video.
This was a cool show and I should have written all this down while I was actually watching it. There were more points brought up about the moon rocks, picture quality, "props," and the uselessness of space suit gloves in a vacuum. If I've bungled any of the details up, please correct me.