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The Apollo 17 "Hand Job" - Examining Cernan & Schmitt's claims of hand injuries suffered during their mission

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The Apollo 17 "Hand Job" - Examining Cernan & Schmitt's claims of hand injuries suffered during their mission

Post  Admin on Sun May 22, 2011 3:56 pm


NASA's Apollo 17 "Hand Job" - More evidence of the Apollo lies


Uploaded by LunaCognita on Sep 4, 2011

In this presentation, we will be taking a comprehensive look at an evidence contradiction from the Apollo 17 mission. Specifically, the discrepancies in NASA's Apollo 17 mission archives highlighted here are related to the hand and finger injuries that astronauts Cernan and Schmitt suffered during their 22 hours and 4 minutes of EVAs outside on the lunar surface.

We begin here by first examining the official NASA archive evidence from Apollo 17 (evidence recorded both during and after the mission) to conclusively demonstrate that the idea of "significant hand trauma" suffered by the Apollo moonwalkers due to the design limitations of their EV pressure gloves was most definitely a very serious and recognized problem that could not be avoided. That evidence is important to appreciate because it clearly establishes both the legitimacy and severity of the declared hand and finger trauma that Apollo 17 astronauts Cernan and Schmitt both extensively admit to suffering from.

The presentation then moves on to more closely examining the discrepancies between what the official historical record tells us happened to Cernan and Schmitt's hands during the mission versus what we see (or rather, do not see) in the available mission archive image evidence. As this examination will show you, the descriptive testimony from Cernan and Schmitt regarding their hand and finger trauma simply does not appear to match the official NASA photographic public archive evidence from their mission.

This evidence does not mean that Apollo 17 astronauts Cernan, Schmitt and Evans did not journey to the Moon. I personally do not doubt at all that Cernan and Schmitt landed on the lunar surface and walked around up there, and I am also quite sure that the hand and finger trauma they so vividly describe suffering was real and most definitely did occur.

What really happened during the Apollo Program was a multi-faceted series of lies that were designed to protect the "greater truths" about those missions by hiding them from the public behind a well-built cover-story veil - the implementation of which was covertly justified by the Powers That Be under the auspices of "maintaining global security and stability".

This evidence shown here in this presentation is highlighting just one discrepancy of many that exist in the public Apollo archives, and it helps to further demonstrate that the official historical record claims of what happened (and when) during the Apollo Program is not necessarily the "complete and uncensored" truth that so many still believe it to be.

For anyone interested in checking the accuracy of the claims I make in this video, here below is a link to the official Apollo 17 Photographic Index from the NASA archives. In this document, you can see that all the 35mm imagery I show in this presentation was indeed exposed during "TEC" (Trans-Earth Coast), which was during the return journey to Earth after the moonwalks had already taken place.
http://www.hq.nasa.gov/alsj/a17/a17.photidx.pdf

Link - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iR3KeHq_tJI




LunaCognita wrote:Hi everyone,
Ok, this is one that has bugged me for a long time, so I figured I would finally put together a post and highlight it here to get your opinions on this. There are a bunch of images I am including as evidence in this post (about 20 I think), and I did not resize any of them to shrink the file size down for this thread, so I apologize in advance if it takes forever to load all the imagery up and display it correctly here. I used "Imageshack" as the image hosting site, which in retrospect was probably not the best idea. I included direct links as well to all the imagery though so you can just click and view the frames directly that way as well if you want.

-------------------------------

During the Apollo missions (specifically during the lunar surface operations), one of the primary complaints the moonwalking astronauts raised involved the abuse that their hands and fingers took because of their spacesuit gloves. This was a well-known astronaut complaint during Apollo, and essentially, the reason for this issue was because the design of the spacesuit gloves meant that whenever the astronaut had to grip something, they were forced to squeeze against the 5psi internal atmospheric pressure that was keeping the spacesuit inflated. This constant hand workout resulted in forearm fatigue and pain in the hands and fingers, as well as significant physical damage to the hands. During the last three Apollo missions (the "J"-series flights), the CDR and LMP were conducting three long-duration moonwalks over three days, and that constant abuse to their hands evidently took it's toll.

Not that I want to overload you with evidence about this, but before getting into the conspiratorial aspects here, I think it is important to first properly establish the officially declared storyline about the type and extent of hand damage that the moonwalking astronauts claimed they had to deal with during Apollo, so here are a few quotes from the two Apollo 17 moonwalkers - LMP Harrison "Jack" Schmitt and CDR Eugene Cernan. These quotes from these two men emphasize the beating that their hands and fingers were subjected to over the course of the 22 hours worth of lunar surface EVA ops they conducted during their 3-day exploration of the valley at Taurus Littrow.

Apollo 17 Post-Mission Debriefing Comments
LMP Harrison "Jack" Schmitt
Schmitt - "I had been aware from the experience of previous crews that you could get rough or damaged finger tips and that your fingernails could lift right off the quick as a result of constantly reaching in the suit and getting a little bit of grabbing from the rubber bladder. Knowing that, I wore some nylon liners and also kept my fingernails clipped down as far as possible to delay the process. But, ultimately, all my nails were lifted off the quick and I can remember seeing blood under Gene's fingernails. There was nothing much else you could do about it; it was just a continuous, traumatic soreness which faded into the background."

Schmitt - "I can remember that, by the time I finished trying to dust Gene, that was it for my hands. My fingers and forearms were so fatigued that it was really hard to do anything useful in the dusting operation, because you just couldn't stroke without losing your grip on the brush. There was some pain under your nails because they had lifted off the quick, but mainly you were just fatigued and holding that brush was just the last straw. Gene didn't talk about it as much as I did; but sometimes, in listening to this, you get the impression that his hands were just as sore."

Apollo 17 CDR Gene Cernan
Cernan - "By the time the mission was all over, my hands were nothing but blisters. The skin on my knuckles was gone. Inside the glove, all the knuckle points were constantly scrapping and, although they hurt, I guess I didn't let it bother me when we were on the surface. You're hands are so vital to everything you do that the gloves were custom fit; but we still ran into these problems.

Cernan - "The dust was very difficult to work in and was a big hindrance...it got in the suits, and when we got out of our suits in the spacecraft in between EVAs, it got in the pores of our skin and got under our fingernails. And it didn't just get on the outside parts of our nails and get them dirty but, literally, it got down between the skin and the nail. It took three months for lunar dust to grow out from under my nails. It infiltrates."

Cernan - "I've got a short, stubby hand, but I've also got a lot of strength in it. When you're grabbing that hammer, you're really grabbing it with your forearm muscles. That's where you get tired. The hammer, I didn't have any trouble with. (To Jack) If you remember, your hands were really hurting. Do you remember the blisters we had on our knuckles and it felt like our fingernails were driven back into the joints?"

Here are some more assorted transcript discussions/comments related specifically to the condition of their hands and fingers that took place between Cernan and Schmitt while they were on the Moon.

DURING DEEP CORE DRILLING
119:51:54 Cernan: Oh, boy! The old fingers really suffer on these.
119:52:00 Schmitt: Take it easy.
[Cernan - "I remember that, at the end of the day, my fingers and forearms were very tired. You were always moving your fingers against the pressure in the gloves."]

DURING POST EVA-1 ACTIVITIES INSIDE THE LM
124:14:23 Cernan: Okay. Give me a chance to turn around and look. Okay. White dots are out; all the white dots. Okay, they're all out here. Boy, does this feel good to get soft suits. Oh, my hands.
[Cernan - "Your hands just get so tired and sore, both from the work of squeezing your gloves around things all day and from the constant chafing. I wound up with blisters all over my hands, particularly between the thumb and the forefinger."

124:16:24 Cernan: Ohh! You don't have a tub of hot water I can soak my hands in, do you? (Pause)

APOLLO 17 - GCTA-TV Lunar Surface Video/Audio Quotes About Hand and Finger Conditions
http://www.hq.nasa.gov/alsj/a17/a17v.1473348.mpg - EVA2 - at exactly the 2 min mark of this clip (147:35:50), Schmitt says Schmitt: "Man, I got the sorest hands in the world, right now."
http://www.hq.nasa.gov/alsj/a17/a17v.1454022.mpg - EVA2 - first 10 seconds, Schmitt talks about how tired his hands are.
http://www.hq.nasa.gov/alsj/a17/a17v.1432634.mpg - EVA2 - at the 22 second mark, Schmitt complains about his hands.
http://www.hq.nasa.gov/alsj/a17/a17v.1655018.mpg - EVA3 - about 20 seconds in, Schmitt talks about how his hands "have had it".

APOLLO 17 - AUDIO Quotes related to hand and finger conditions
http://www.hq.nasa.gov/alsj/a17/A17A1450105.mp3 - EVA2 - at 4mins 15secs into this clip, Schmitt talks of need to "rest his old hands".
http://www.hq.nasa.gov/alsj/a17/A17A1475932.mp3 - EVA2 - climbing the ladder during EVA closeout, at the 3mins 05 second mark, the crew talks of difficulty with their hands.

In Cernan's official autobiography "The Last Man On The Moon" (published in 1999), the Apollo 17 Commander says the following about the hand and finger damage he suffered as a result of the moonwalks.

“Stripping off my gloves was a painful process, and I wasn’t surprised to discover the knuckles and backs of my hands were blistered with a fiery red rawness. My fingers felt almost broken and I had to flex them to see if they still worked. The gloves were thick, with multiple layers, and when pressurized after we suited up, had become as rigid as the cast on a broken arm. Every time we grabbed something, we fought their stiffness, scraping our knuckles and skin against the unyielding inside layer.”
Gene Cernan, from his autobiography The Last Man On The Moon

“At the end of the second day, our arms were heavy as lead, our hands were chipped, raw and BLEEDING, and all we had was a little hand lotion to sooth them.”
Gene Cernan, from his autobiography The Last Man On The Moon

“Dust and fatigue were definitely causing problems. Those insistent, fine grains of lunar dirt had worked into the moving parts of our tools, and things were breaking down. Then the makeshift fender gave way and showered us with more dust wherever we drove. And because everything had to be gripped so tightly, our entire upper bodies, particularly our hands and forearms, felt as heavy as granite. The dirt which had once only rimmed our fingers was now caked deep beneath each fingernail, as it driven in by hammers.”
Gene Cernan, from his autobiography The Last Man On The Moon
-------------------


Clearly, this above evidence establishes the apparent fact that the hands and the fingers of the Apollo moonwalkers most definitely suffered from some significant trauma during their EVA ops on the lunar surface. The descriptive testimony provided by Cernan and Schmitt is very clear about this, and the damage to their hands they mention was so bad that evidence of said damage should most definitely be visible in any images taken after the EVAs that happened to capture Cernan or Schmitt's bare hands/fingers within the camera's field of view.

The astronauts complained extensively about the abuse their hands and fingers were subjected to, graphically describing the visible damage inflicted upon their knuckles, digits, and fingernails during the EVAs, and in the NASA ALSJ archives, when they mention these complaints the astronauts had about the condition of their hands, that NASA archive even makes sure to provide the public with a bit of visual evidence supporting this claim in the form of a link to a NASA PAO archive photograph that was taken shortly after splashdown aboard the recovery ship, appearing to quite clearly show LMP Jack Schmitt's blood-blackened fingernails.

When the Apollo 17 crew splashed down after their mission, they and their capsule were immediately taken aboard the recovery carrier "USS Ticonderoga". While aboard the Ticonderoga, there were of course photographs taken by the NASA PAO of the astronauts, and more than one of these images shows moonwalkers Cernan and Schmitt with their hands/fingers/fingernails clearly visible in frame. Firstly, here below is the NASA frame that the ALSJ archive links to as supporting evidence (frame # S72-56081), showing the Apollo 17 crew inside the Ticonderoga attending a "splashdown party" that was being thrown in their honor on the night of their recovery. Here, we can see LMP Jack Schmitt's fingernails on his right hand, and they appear to show the nails to be blackened from blood due to the trauma endured during the EVAs (just as Schmitt and Cernan extensively admitted to).

S72-56081 - Post-Flight crew image aboard the USS Ticonderoga, showing Schmitt's blackened fingernails.
http://img26.imageshack.us/img26/6044/01ap17s7256081postlandi.jpg


Cropped enlargement of S72-56081
http://img135.imageshack.us/img135/6044/01ap17s7256081postlandi.jpg


So, case closed, right? I mean, the ALSJ even points us directly to an image taken just after the mission ended aboard the recovery ship apparently showing Schmitt suffering significant fingernail damage, just as he and Cernan claimed, so we should just probably move along, because there is obviously nothing more to see here, right?

Wrong.

A couple hours prior to that "splashdown party" photo I show above, the NASA PAO also shot several other frames showing Cernan and Schmitt aboard Ticonderoga. This shot below for example was taken immediately upon their arrival aboard the recovery carrier, just as Cernan, Schmitt and Evans were exiting the recovery helicopter on the carrier flight deck after being plucked from the CSM. Where are Schmitt's blackened-with-blood fingernails here? His fingernails look perfectly fine, with no blackening at all visible like we see in the photo above that was taken just a few hours later.

AP17-72-HC-907 - Jack Schmitt exiting the recovery helicopter right after splashdown aboard the recovery ship USS Ticonderoga


Closeup of Schmitt's hands from frame AP17-72-HC-907
http://img72.imageshack.us/img72/8582/ap1772hc907splashdownca.jpg


Just a few minutes after the above photograph was snapped, another shot was taken showing CDR Cernan as he was speaking at a microphone on the flight deck of Ticonderoga, and his hands are visible here as well. Do you see any evidence of brutalized hands with thick dust under the nails that took "three months to grow out", or red blisters and raw knuckles, or blood-blackened fingernails lifted off the quick? No, me neither!

AP17-72-H-1561 - Cernan at the microphone on the deck of Ticonderoga
http://img402.imageshack.us/img402/2787/ap1772h1561hr.jpg


AP17-72-H-1561 - Cernan's hands, cropped enlargement
http://img638.imageshack.us/img638/6596/ap1772h1561hrcropcernan.jpg


Just seconds after the Apollo 17 capsule splashed down in the Pacific, the recovery teams moved in via helicopter and air-dropped a three-man Navy para-rescue unit to attach a flotation collar around the capsule and extract the astronauts so they could be hoisted aboard the recovery helicopter and flown to the carrier. One of these para-rescue men actually carried a camera with him during the Apollo 17 capsule/crew recovery, and he happened to snap this close photo of CDR Gene Cernan emerging from the capsule and shaking the hand of one of the Navy divers. Cernan's fingernails do not appear to suffer from any discernible blackening, and his fingers look totally undamaged here - certainly nothing like Cernan's official historical record comments he expressed about the condition of his hands after the mission.

AP17-72-H-1570 - taken just after splashdown during capsule recovery and astronaut extraction
http://img197.imageshack.us/img197/3562/ap1772h1570hrcernanspla.jpg


AP17-72-H-1570 - Cropped enlargement of Cernan's left hand
http://img248.imageshack.us/img248/2990/ap1772h1570hrcrophandce.jpg


AP17-72-H-1570 - Cropped enlargement of Cernan's right hand
http://img708.imageshack.us/img708/339/ap1772h1570hrcrophandri.jpg


So, we can see in these first post-flight images of Cernan and Schmitt that were taken shortly after splashdown that there appears to be a direct contradiction between the photographic evidence and the claims the CDR and LMP made about the extensive and visible damage that their hands and fingers/fingernails suffered during their lunar surface EVA ops. The post-flight imagery, with the exception of the first frame I showed during the cake-cutting ceremony (S72-56081), does not appear to support the claims about hand damage. Frankly, I think the supposed blackened fingernail "evidence" we see on Schmitt's hand in frame S72-56081 (shown below again) was possibly painted in on the raw negative after the fact in order to appear to offer supporting evidence for the claims Cernan and Schmitt made about their hands. Remember that the NASA ALSJ archives specifically points to frame S72-56081 in an attempt to offer the image as supposed evidence of the fingernail damage. Of course, they did not point out the fact that the fingernail blackening is not visible in the other post-flight frames I referenced above, because after all, they only want to highlight the evidence apparently supporting the official historical record, and the ALSJ is not going to go out of it's way to point out the discrepancies.

Cropped enlargement of S72-56081
http://img135.imageshack.us/img135/6044/01ap17s7256081postlandi.jpg


Now, what about any imagery that was shot after the astronauts left the Moon but before they returned to Earth? Is there any 70mm Hasselblad still imagery for example that was taken inside the CSM during the trans-Earth coast phase that happens to show Cernan or Schmitt's exposed hands and fingernails - showing them after the damage caused during the EVA surface ops had been inflicted? No, unfortunately, an examination of the Apollo 17 70mm Hasselblad archives reveals that no such internal imagery exists from that camera system where we can see Cernan or Schmitt's hands and/or fingers. Luckily for us however, the 70mm Hasselblad was not the only still camera inside the CSM during Apollo 17!

During Apollo, several flight crews (including Apollo 17) carried another still camera aboard the CSM that was used as a supplement to the 70mm Hasselblad and was specifically designated for interior and "special purpose" photographic assignments. This camera was a 35mm Nikon Photomic FTN F-Body SLR, customized for NASA's Apollo Program and capable of shooting black&white, color, or "special" filmstock. Although they do not get much public attention, over 400 frames of 35mm film were exposed with the Nikon camera during the Apollo 17 mission, with the vast majority of those frames showing internal scenes taken within the confines of the CSM. More than one of those frames of 35mm film shot with the Nikon show us at least partial views of Cernan and Schmitt's hands/fingers.

These following 35mm frames I show below were all taken through the Nikon camera after Cernan and Schmitt had left the Moon while the crew was on their way back home during the trans-Earth coast phase - after the declared brutal damage to Cernan and Schmitt's hands and fingers had already apparently been inflicted during their moonwalks. As you look at these images, keep in mind the clear descriptions I posted above coming straight from Cernan and Schmitt that describe in detail the damage that SHOULD BE visible on their battered hands. Where are the blisters and raw knuckles? Where is the deep, penetrating dust beneath the fingernails that took three months to grow out? Where are the blood-blackened fingernails that were lifted off the quick that were so blatantly visible in the NASA PAO shot of Schmitt cutting the cake aboard the Ticonderoga after the mission?

AS17-163-24115 - 35mm during TEC - showing clear view of Schmitt's right thumb
http://img254.imageshack.us/img254/3706/24115duringtecschmittrg.jpg



AS17-163-24117 - 35mm during TEC - showing Cernan's right thumb
http://img163.imageshack.us/img163/3241/24117teccernanpartialth.jpg



AS17-163-24122 - 35mm during TEC - showing Cernan's left pinkie finger and right knuckles
http://img821.imageshack.us/img821/8982/24122teccernanleftpinky.jpg


AS17-163-24155 - 35mm during TEC - showing Cernan's left and right hands (partial). Remember, to quote Cernan directly - "I wound up with blisters all over my hands, particularly between the thumb and the forefinger."
http://img522.imageshack.us/img522/6630/24155teccernanthumbnail.jpg


AS17-163-24156 - 35mm during TEC - showing all four fingers and knuckles on Cernan's left hand
http://img526.imageshack.us/img526/9947/24156.jpg


AS17-163-24156 - Close crop enlargement showing fingers and knuckles on Cernan's left hand
http://img441.imageshack.us/img441/676/24156cropofcernanslefth.jpg


AS17-163-24173 - 35mm during TEC - Schmitt shaving with right thumb visible
http://img190.imageshack.us/img190/4580/24173tecschmittthumbnob.jpg


AS17-163-24178 - 35mm during TEC - Schmitt behind CMP Ron Evans with digits of his left hand visible (poor focus)
http://img18.imageshack.us/img18/6782/24178tecschmittfingersn.jpg


AS17-163-24129 - 35mm during TEC - Cernan's right hand with thumb clearly visible
http://img89.imageshack.us/img89/7321/as1716324129hrteccernan.jpg


AS17-163-24130 - 35mm during TEC - Schmitt's right fingers
http://img138.imageshack.us/img138/4809/as1716324130hrschmittte.jpg


AS17-163-24131 - 35mm during TEC - Schmitt's right fingers
http://img218.imageshack.us/img218/6056/as1716324131hrtecschmit.jpg


Look at all those images above, and now try to reconcile what you see (or "do not see") in those frames with the graphic descriptions Cernan and Schmitt gave after the mission about the apparent damaged state of their hands.

Jack Schmitt:"...ultimately, all my nails were lifted off the quick and I can remember seeing blood under Gene's fingernails."

Gene Cernan:"...my hands were nothing but blisters. The skin on my knuckles was gone. Inside the glove, all the knuckle points were constantly scrapping...I wound up with blisters all over my hands, particularly between the thumb and the forefinger...I wasn’t surprised to discover the knuckles and backs of my hands were blistered with a fiery red rawness...our hands were chipped, raw and BLEEDING...[the dust] didn't just get on the outside parts of our nails and get them dirty but, literally, it got down between the skin and the nail. It took three months for lunar dust to grow out from under my nails. It infiltrates."

So, why the discrepancies between what we were told and what we see? For the record, I have no doubt that Cernan, Schmitt and Evans did journey to the Moon, and I also do not doubt that Cernan and Schmitt landed on the lunar surface and walked around up there either. It is also rather apparent to me however that the hand damage clearly described by Cernan and Schmitt is not supported by the photographic archive evidence. Why does this contradiction exist? What happened to the blisters and bloody dirt-encrusted fingernails and knuckles rubbed raw? Why has the public been lied to about this?

Cheers gang,
LC


LunaCognita wrote:Hey gang,
In reference to what I mentioned in my last post about possible evidence of a lunar atmosphere - let's for sake of argument here hypothetically assume for a moment that there is indeed a thin atmosphere hugging the lunar surface that is not detectable from Earth-based observations. Obviously, this would be a problem for the Dead Moon Dictum to cope with, and it would have to be concealed from the public. Assuming this cover up was properly implemented, the sanitization protocols that would be employed would make it very difficult to directly prove from the publicly available Apollo evidence that there definitely was some % of atmospheric pressure at lunar surface level. We would be forced to also look for circumstantial evidence that might support this idea.

There is GCTA-TV footage that exists which could be used to support the idea of a potential lunar atmosphere. The "Fluttering Flag" television footage from Apollo 15 shot at the LM by the LRV-mounted camera is one such example of this. In the 16mm DAC archives, there is also some rather damning footage from Apollo 16 that has been given the nickname of the "Grand Prix" sequence, showing CDR John Young doing a performance test of the LRV while LMP Charlie Duke filmed it from several feet away, and that footage seems to show atmospheric effects on the rooster tails of dust being thrown up by the LRV wheels. I question whether that footage is as real as NASA claims it is though - in other words, I don't think that "grand prix" footage was shot on the Moon. I think it was shot on Earth.

I think there is one other interesting piece of circumstantial evidence from Apollo that bears consideration when considering this idea of a thin lunar atmosphere though. According to NASA, the Apollo lunar modules were pressurized to 4.6 psi internal atmospheric pressure when they were occupied on the lunar surface by the CDR and LMP. The Apollo LMs did not have "airlocks" remember, they had "hatches", so in order to conduct EVAs out of the LM, the entire internal volume of the crew compartment had to be depressurized from the nominal 4.6psi internal atmospheric pressure first in order to match the external lower-pressure lunar environment. Only then could the hatch be cracked open.

Prior to lunar surface (or S-EVA) ops, the LM was first depressurized from the nominal 4.6psi internal atmospheric pressure using what was called the Cabin Relief Dump Valve. There were two such valves in the LM - the forward (+Z) and the overhead (+X) valves. These Cabin Relief Dump Valves offered a pretty simplistic, manually operated method of bleeding the internal atmosphere from the LM, and they did the job they were designed to do easily and effectively.

Obviously, during the design and testing phases of the LM development prior to the missions, there was significant testing done to see how the LM would behave in a simulated lunar environment, and one of these tests was to find out just how quickly these Cabin Relief Dump Valves could fully evacuate the LM of all internal atmospheric pressure in an environment with essentially zero external atmospheric pressure. These tests were conducted in a large-scale vacuum chamber, with the LM being placed and sealed inside the chamber before all atmosphere was evacuated to simulate the hard vacuum of space. The LM was then internally pressurized to 4.6psi, timing how long it took for the ECS (Environmental Control System) to repressurize the crew compartment to restore a survivable internal atmospheric pressure. They also timed how long it took to evacuate the 4.6psi pressure from the LM when venting it into a hard vacuum external environment.

Here is a link dealing with some relevant information about these Cabin Relief Dump Valves
http://www.hq.nasa.gov/alsj/DumpValve.html

From the above link:
"Setting the internal handle to the dump position unseated the poppet. With a bacterial filter installed, the forward hatch valve could dump pressure from 5.0 to 0.08 psia in 310 seconds without cabin oxygen inflow; without a filter in place, either valve could dump cabin pressure to 0.08 psia in 180 seconds; and, with both open and no filter in use, the time was 90 seconds."
(There are other documents out there as well dealing with the Apollo LM ECS that also give this same figure of 180 seconds for a single valve dump - 90 seconds if both valves were employed).

Now, what if there was evidence that showed that the LM, when it was on the lunar surface, was actually capable of evacuating the 4.6psi internal atmospheric pressure from the crew compartment so that it could match the external lunar environment far faster than NASA claims this process should take? That would mean one of two things - NASA is either lying about how quickly the pressure inside the LM could be evacuated into a declared lunar near-vacuum environment, OR, it would alternatively have to mean that the true external lunar environment they were evacuating the internal LM pressure out into was actually not a near-vacuum environment, and that there was some degree of external atmospheric pressure present at lunar surface level. If there was/is an appreciable lunar atmosphere up there - say, 2psi or so - then the LM would take less time to vent and equalize to the lunar external atmospheric pressure than it would had it been venting to a hard or near-vacuum environment, because the astronauts in the LM would not be evacuating 4.6psi out of the crew compartment. They would only need to vent 2.6psi to equalize with the lower external pressure.

As you probably guessed, what I am getting at here is that there is indeed evidence of a LM depress during Apollo that took significantly less time than the 180 seconds that the document I linked to above says it should take for the LM to vent its 4.6psi internal pressure into a supposed/declared lunar near-vacuum environment.

During Apollo 15, astronauts Dave Scott and Jim Irwin conducted a declared Standup-EVA shortly after landing at Hadley, prior to conducting lunar surface EVA ops. This S-EVA during Apollo 15 was part of their publicized mission flightplan, and was done in the public eye, so there is evidence (in the form of the mission audio recordings) that allows us to determine just how long it took the LM to go from 4.6psi internal so that it matched the lower external lunar surface pressure.

When looking at this specific evidence, I think it is important to appreciate a bit about the steps that were involved in a LM depress, so let me quickly cover that now. During Apollo 15, at the start of their declared S-EVA, astronauts Jim Irwin and Dave Scott had to bring the LM internal cabin pressure down from the nominal 4.6psi to match lunar external atmospheric, and to do this, the official public record for the mission claims they used just the forward +Z Cabin Relief Dump Valve. It is also important to note that there was no biological filter pack installed on the Apollo 15 LM's forward +Z hatch during that mission. That biological filter was used ONLY on the Apollo 11 LM while on the lunar surface, so the filter plays no part in this Apollo 15 depressurization evidence here.

Now, during a LM depress, the astronauts did not merely use the Cabin Relief Dump Valve to evacuate all the atmosphere from the LM in one shot. They actually did the depress in two steps - because after all, their lives were on the line if their spacesuits failed or if something else went wrong during this critical phase, so there was a built-in safety pause that was part of the LM depress checklist to make things as safe as possible.

Firstly, Scott and Irwin, who were fully geared up in their pressurized A7-LB spacesuits and hooked up to internal O2 (rather than wearing their PLSS backpacks), partially depressurized the LM cabin from 4.6psi down to 3.5psi. They then paused to monitor and ensure that their internal spacesuit pressures were each holding above this the new 3.5psi cabin ambient pressure they had just established. Scott and Irwin paused and held the cabin at 3.5psi for about 45 seconds, conducting what was called a "suit integrity" test. This integrity test was done before every EVA on every mission as part of the final check to ensure that the spacesuits did not have any leaks and were sealed correctly prior to exposing them (and their occupants) to the lunar environment.

After 45 seconds of waiting with the cabin at 3.5psi internal pressure, Scott and Irwin then continued with the depress, bleeding all the remaining internal pressure from the LM until it matched and equalized with the lunar external pressure (should any pressure exist externally). At that point, they were "equalized", and could crack open the +X overhead hatch. Once that hatch was cracked, there can be no doubt that the LM was equalized with the lunar environment, because the LM hatches were designed to seal against the internal pressure, and could not be opened if there was still positive pressure inside versus outside the LM. When they cracked the hatch that confirmed proper internal equalization with the external lunar environment had been achieved. Finally, Scott and Irwin swung the hatch all the way open on it's hinges and locked/latched it back so they could begin their S-EVA.

Now, again, NASA claims that the use of one of the Cabin Relief Dump Valves to fully evacuate essentially all the atmosphere from the LM into a hard or near-vacuum environment would take 180 seconds. That does not include opening any hatches or anything - it simply means NASA claims it took three minutes to fully bleed the LM of all it's atmospheric pressure by way of using one of the two dump valves. The official historical record for Apollo 15 indicates that the crew were only using one Dump Valve (the +Z forward valve) during their declared SEVA depress, and that official historical record also tells us that starting at 4.6psi ambient internal cabin pressure, from the time the Apollo 15 crew first began bleeding pressure from the LM to the time where they actually had the +X overhead hatch FULLY open AND latched so they could climb up through it - took only 165 seconds in total!

Just to clarify, I am not saying that it took Scott and Irwin 165 seconds of "valve open" time to depressurize the LM. Here below is a brief breakdown of what the official historical record shows the astronauts did in that 165 second period of time. Not only did the Apollo 15 crew empty the 4.6psi atmosphere from the spacecraft in less than 180 seconds using just one dump valve, but they actually
- dropped the atmosphere from 4.6psi to 3.5psi for the suit integrity check
- waited 45 seconds for that suit integrity check to complete
- continued with the depress until matching the external near-vacuum environment
- cracked the +X overhead hatch open to fully equalize
- swung the +X overhead hatch fully down and open on it's hinges
- latched/locked the hatch back to hold it in the full open position

Again, prior to the start of their declared S-EVA during Apollo 15, Scott and Irwin took a total of only 165 seconds to do all that - including a 45 seconds pause where they were doing the suit integrity check and were not depressurizing! NASA says that if you open up one of the dump valves, it should take 180 seconds to empty the atmosphere from the LM, but as you can hear for yourself below, that claim doesn't hold up to the stopwatch.

Here, have a listen. I attached a mission audio file below cropped from the Apollo 15 mission so you can listen to Scott and Irwin depressurizing the LM before their S-EVA. This clip includes the full opening and latching of the overhead +X hatch as well. The clip begins right at MET 106:41:51 with the words "going open", said just as Jim Irwin cracked the +Z forward Cabin Relief Dump Valve to start bleeding atmosphere from the LM.

Here is the audio of this Apollo 15 S-EVA depress, uploaded to Youtube, so you can listen to it for yourself. (Big thanks to Skywalker for uploading this clip to Youtube for me!)
Apollo 15 - Audio of depress/repress
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5J7PEikRjdI


Again, the words "going open" at the very beginning of this audio file were said just as Irwin cracked the forward Cabin Relief Dump Valve to start evacuating the atmosphere from the crew compartment. We hear Commander Dave Scott saying to Jim Irwin that "I'll call you at 3.5", meaning that Scott will tell Irwin when the internal LM pressure gauge hits 3.5psi so that Irwin can close the Cabin Relief Dump Valve to stop the depress in order to allow them to conduct the required "suit integrity check" prior to exposing themselves to hard vacuum. A second later, you hear Scott begin calling out the initial falling pressure readings, saying "4.5...4.0...Mark 3.5" The cadence of Scott's voice during that call-out really does let us hear how quickly these cabin dump valves were capable of evacuating positive LM atmospheric pressure out of the spacecraft and into the lower pressure lunar environment. Listen as it takes just less than 10 seconds to depress the LM from 4.6psi to 3.5psi, where they then pause for 45 seconds for the suit integrity check before continuing to bleed out the internal atmosphere completely. After the integrity check, you hear Irwin again say "Okay, I'm going Open", and then a short time later, Dave Scott says "Okay, coming off the peg", signifying the cabin pressure is matching the external lunar environment. Then, Scott opens the overhead hatch and latches it to the wall so it is locked open and the SEVA can start. This clip, which is 165 seconds long, ends just as Dave Scott latches the overhead +X hatch wide open inside the now fully depressurized LM.

If we take a stopwatch to the Apollo 15 S-EVA depress and time only the periods when the dump valve is open and the LM cabin is actually in the process of being evacuated of it's atmosphere, we see that the LM cabin was actually depressed from 4.6psi to match the external lunar atmospheric pressure in somewhere between only 55 to 70 seconds - a FAR cry from the 180 seconds that NASA claims it should take in their Dump Valve and LM-ECS documentation dealing with the subject of depressurizing the LM! I said "somewhere between 55 to 70 seconds" because as you hear in the mission audio recording, Scott and Irwin do not really verbalize the exact moment the LM internal pressure gauge matched up with the external pressure reading. Obviously though, the LM pressure had to be equalized with the external lunar atmospheric pressure for the overhead hatch to cracked open.

So, how is this possible? How is it that this LM depress during Apollo 15 took only one minute (give or take a few seconds) when by NASA's own admission it was supposed to take three full minutes to depress the LM with one dump valve being employed (as was the case during this Apollo 15 depress)? Were they really bringing the LM from 4.6psi down to hard-vacuum? That is essentially what NASA officially claims was the pressure condition at the lunar surface (or "lack of pressure conditions" to be more accurate), so what is going on here? Were they perhaps actually dumping the 4.6psi LM atmosphere into an external lunar atmospheric environment that, while still "lower pressure", was in fact well above the hard or near-vacuum level that NASA claims? That could be one possibility to account for the incredibly rapid depress the Apollo 15 crew pulled off here.

Cheers gang,
LC



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