Lunar rocks debunk moon landing conspiracy theories | 6/16/2019 | Staff
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Rocks collected from the moon 50 years ago and analyzed by an international team of scientists, including from the Australian National University (ANU), dispel any notion that the lunar landing was faked, an ANU expert says.

ANU scientist Professor Trevor Ireland, who is a space rock expert, said no conspiracy would have or could have made the moon rocks.

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"Any attempt to make moon rocks in a laboratory would be a monumental failure and likely cost more money than it took NASA to get to the moon and back," said Professor Ireland from the ANU Research School of Earth Sciences. "The lunar soil is like nothing we have seen before on Earth. It is the result of eons of bombardment on the surface of the moon. The rocks have compositions that are unique to the moon."

Professor Ireland said the scenario of an unmanned mission retrieving the moon rocks was also practically impossible. "There are 380 kg of moon rocks. Getting this amount of material back to Earth is just as difficult as getting 24 Apollo astronauts on nine missions to the moon and back to Earth. That six of the missions landed on the moon, and brought samples back to Earth, is one of the greatest achievements in history. To this day, we continue to analyze the Apollo lunar rocks and they still have surprises for us."

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Professor Ireland was not part of the team that analyzed the first samples of moon rocks in 1969, but several ANU researchers were: Ross Taylor, Bill Compston, Ted Ringwood and John Lovering. Professor Ireland has worked with these first moon rock researchers and on lunar materials, and knows the significance of their work and back stories from this exciting time.

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