Not to bring the subject off topic in any way, but I had read a press release from 2002 about the VLT (very large telescope) in the andes mountains in
chile that was supposed to focus on the lunar landing site and prove once and for all we landed on te moon. I emailed ESO and got a reply back from
Dr.Oliver Hainaut. this is the sum of the contact I had with them and the result:
Subject: Apollo Landing Stie
Date: Thu, 21 May 2009 15:23:43 -0500
From: Phil Shamrock
To Whom it may Concern
In 2002 you announced that you were planning on focusing the VLT on the Apollo lunar landing sites, to prove once and for all that the Moon landing
were not a hoax. Try as I might, I have yet to find the results of your findings on the internet. Please direct me to your research findings.
From: Olivier Hainaut
Sent: Friday, May 22, 2009 7:12 AM
To: Phil Shamrock
Cc: Britt Sjoeberg
Subject: Re: [Fwd: Apollo Landing Stie]
The original claim was that with the VLTI (see below), we would be able to resolve details as small as the size of an astronaut on the Moon.
VLTI is the interferometer combining several telescopes of the VLT, which gives a resolution similar to that of a telescope whose diameter would be
equal to the distance between the actual telescopes involved with the interferometer.
That claim is true, and VLTI routinely resolve details as small as that. See, for instance these results showing details on the surface of a star:
The problem is that VLTI works only with "coherent sources" - in short, the light must come from very sharp objects (like a very distant star), and
does not work with extended sources (like a patch of lunar soil). So, when we now refer to the Moon as an example for VLTI, we say "we would be able
to distinguish the 2 headlights on a lunar rover" (as these are 2 sharp sources).
So, VLTI is not going to be able to prove the Apollo landings were not a hoax. In any case, for many people that do believe these were a hoax, it is
more an act of faith than a scientific conclusion. Indeed, there are already so many direct and indirect evidences that one more would not change
their mind. The fact that there are so many web pages making outrageously wrong claim does not help. For instance, if the whole Apollo campaign were a
hoax, it would be very simple to fake the VLTI observations to show what it should show. Obviously, as I am an astronomer, and as I am a former NASA
employee, I would also be part of the hoax, and a die hard hoax believer would not believe me anyway.
The original claim was not that you would be able to resolve details as small as the size of an astronaut on the moon, I quote the Sunday Telegraph
from the UK as my source of the story:
Now astronomers hope to kill off the conspiracy theory once and for all by using the Very Large Telescope (VLT) - by far the most powerful telescope
in the world - to spot the Apollo lunar landers.
Operated by European astronomers in the Chilean Andes, the VLT consists of four mirrors 27ft across linked by optical fibres. It can see a single
human hair at a distance of 10 miles.
Trained on the Moon, such astonishing resolution should enable it to see the base of one or more of the six lunar modules which Nasa insists landed on
the Moon between 1969 and 1972. Any images of the modules would be the first not to have been taken from space by Nasa.
Dr Richard West, an astronomer at the VLT, confirmed that his team was aiming to achieve "a high-resolution image of one of the Apollo landing
The first attempt to spot the spacecraft will be made using only one of the VLT's four telescope mirrors, which are fitted with special "adaptive
optics" to cancel the distorting effect of the Earth's atmosphere. A trial run