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NASA still trying to sell that story about U.S. astronauts walking on the moon

September 12, 2011 |  7:38 am

NASA says this is Earth's Moon Not the Death Star photographed on 11-24-69 by an inbound Apollo space crew

NASA is apparently still trying to sell the story line that all those 1969-1970s grainy photos of Americans appearing to walk on the moon were genuine and not faked on a sandy sound stage in Burbank.

The space agency has just released a whole new batch of photos it claims were recently taken by a science satellite low-orbiting the moon. And, get this, NASA says these new grainy photos actually show the footprints and tire marks of long ago American visits by crews of Apollo 11, 14 and 17.

Finally, "proof."

NASA, for instance, says the photo above is not a CGI frame of the Death Star, a figment of some wine-soaked imagination north of San Francisco. It says the photo was taken Nov. 24, 1969, by an inbound Apollo space crew.

Flight controllers altered the orbit of the Lunar Reconnaisance Orbiter, which has been studying the moon's complete surface, so that its closest point to the surface was 13 miles instead of....

...the usual 31. Such proximity with improved photography, NASA says, produced proof of the ancient U.S. moon missions back in the elementary school days of Barack Obama, who would grow up to preside over the curtailing of such lunar space forays.

See if you buy this photo below from Apollo 17's visit:

NASA Moon Apollo 17 Landing site

It's labeled to show the leftover rocket descent stage that landed the crew from lunar orbit, the footpath of a wandering astronaut in the thin lunar soil, the buggy tracks of the Lunar Rover Vehicle used to explore and its final parking spot.

NASA has posted a bunch more interactive photos here, allowing viewers to see the difference in photo quality between the satellite's high and low orbits. (The place actually looks remarkably like much of Harry Reid's home state to be honest.)

Sadly, as we've noted here previously (see links below), the U.S. space shuttles were retired in July, limiting American astronauts to expensive rides aboard Russian rockets and capsules to reach Earth orbits.

But back when the U.S. was pioneering space exploration, in response to President Kennedy's 1961 order to reach the Moon in the 1960s, it was an exciting time of exploration. NASA's creative website teams have posted a collection of the 45 best photNASA Moon Apollo 11 1969 Buzz Aldrin at Tranquility Baseos from that era.

You can view them here.

Here's a shot purporting to show astronaut Buzz Aldrin setting up scientific instruments during the very first Moon landing in July 1969. (Note the black curtain backdrop, designed to simulate the darkness of deep space.)

They want us to believe that two grown men actually descended in that dinky little capsule in the background, dubbed Eagle. And then having gathered a whole bunch of soil samples, the pair blasted off to rejoin Michael Collins in orbit and return to Earth.

Speaking of moon rocks, being the first earthlings to walk on another celestial body is one thing, but government rules are government rules.

NASA has also posted online the official government Customs declaration form that the Apollo 11 crew had to complete upon their return to Earth and parachute landing in the Pacific. They didn't declare having acquired any personal gifts during their half-million mile trip. Just moon rocks and dust samples, they claimed.

The declaration is not a birth certificate. But you'll notice that the form (click on it to enlarge) was stamped by officials -- in Hawaii. Government forms? Honolulu? Hawaii?

Where has Donald Trump heard that before?

NASA Moon Apollo 11 Cargo customs declaration

RELATED:

NASA ponders space station evacuation

What's it really like for American astronauts to live in space?

Failed Russian rocket was replacement for retired U.S. space shuttles

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photos: NASA (the space agency claims this is Earth's Moon photographed on Nov. 24, 1969, by an inbound Apollo space crew); NASA / Goddard / Arizona State University (Apollo 17 landing site and trails); NASA (Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin at the famous Tranquility Base, first lunar landing site for humans); NASA (Apollo 11 Customs declaration form for goods acquired during their space journey and moon landing).

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