"Did we really land on the Moon?" - Part 3 - Dr Martin Hendry - Science Week 2010 lecture


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Transcript:
Science Week 2010 Lecture Series from Discover Science & Engineering, Ireland 2010
"Did we really land on the Moon?" Dr Martin Hendry, School of Physics and Astronomy,
University of Glasgow.
Part 3 of 3
Questions and Answers:
Dr Martin Hendry: So I believe we have some time for questions and I'd be very happy to
answer any questions people have. I think there's some roving microphones that will
go round to make sure everyone can hear you.
Question from the audience: When was the last time like a man supposedly landed on the Moon?
Dr Martin Hendry: I like your use of the word supposedly there. 1972 as I recall. I was
about four years old and in fact it is about one of the earliest things I remember. I am
not quite sure what I made of it watching hours of television as these astronauts bounded
across the Moon's surface, but nonetheless, although I don't remember the first landing,
I do remember the last one. It was Apollo 17, there were several more missions planned
but due budget cuts they didn't take place. So it's getting on for 39 years sine the last
person set foot on the Moon.
Question from the audience: Where do you get your materials and how do you do your research
like is it now publicly available all the information about the mission, is it available?
Dr Martin Hendry: Absolutely I can certainly point you towards the NASA website but what
I've recognised is that frankly these days there is so much information available. It's
hard for people to sort out what's useful and what isn't. So what I have set out to
do with this webpage here is to collect together some useful resources and staring points,
it's not to say that that's definitive information and you need to look nowhere else. It's just
to be a good launch off point for you to find other things. So from this webpage, designed
to be a launch off point for all the schools that have undertaken this as a science project,
what it takes you to is some NASA webpage's , some other webpage's which have looked
at all these conspiracy theories and systematically tried to address them and develop projects
to study them.
You know this one web page I would contend should give you plenty of further launch points
for you to then explore it more thoroughly. All the video clips that I have showed including
the ones that I didn't have time to show, they are all there on this webpage too. Have
a look, see what you think and make up your own minds.
Any more questions? It's hard for me to see so it rather proves the point about the bright
light sources you see. Think we have a question down here.
Question from the audience: Hi, I was just wondering given that everything pretty useful
to humanity is mined. Do they know much about what's going on underneath the surface of
the Moon?
Dr Martin Hendry: Oh certainly and indeed in the longer term I think that by far the
strongest economic case for a return to the Moon would be to mine the mineral resources
present there. But basically most of the cost and most of the effort in getting the Apollo
astronauts to the Moon, was getting them off the ground in the first place. The Saturn
5 Moon rocket, by far the most powerful Moon rocket that we have ever launched, most of
the fuel was just to go those first few dozen miles above the Earth's surface. So the chief
challenge for the successful exploitation of the resources the Moon has is how you can
cheaply get back.
Now my part of the world, growing up in the 70s what we saw was huge investment in North
Sea oil. That also was extremely costly and very difficult and challenging, but there
came a point where we needed the oil so much it was worthwhile making that investment to
extract it from an inaccessible location. I think eventually that will happen with the
Moon. But we are maybe a few decades off that point because there are still plenty of places
on Earth where you can access those material resources as well.
I am an amateur economist when it comes to these matters but as far as I can see if there
is a demand for something at an efficient level, then we will do it.
Well if there are no more questions, maybe I can leave you with one of my own which is
to see whether we still have anyone who thinks maybe we didn't land on the Moon or have I
managed to change any minds. Ok mission accomplished I think as somebody said from a podium a few
years ago.
Thanks you very much again , and I do encourage you to have a look at some of the resources,
think about it for yourselves and by all means keep in touch, let me know what you discover.
I look forward to maybe meeting you again some point in the future
Thank you, bye bye.
[Applause]