Science; myths and hoaxes

Thanks to my free trial of Amazon Prime I watched the movie Interstellar yesterday. I almost thought I’d watched it before but then I recalled that what I had actually watched was (no not 2001 A Space Odyssey) a Youtube Video about “Everything wrong with…” the movie. Thankfully that was some months ago, so not really spoiled, although I watched that video again after and couldn’t agree with all of the points made, believing instead the speaker had failed to follow certain aspects of the film.

Aside from having similarities with the film 2001 A Space Odyssey (which I haven’t seen), I found a strong resemblance to Farscape. In the opening episode of that Sci-fi TV series the astronaut, rather than intentionally, accidentally gets “shot” through a wormhole in his little space craft (not too dissimilar from the one in the film). As the many series progress though, the ability to travel through wormholes comes down to his knowledge of them, and in Interstellar it too boils down to the lead character’s understanding of such things, and thus the whole movie is intertwined together with his (Cooper’s) ability to intertwine time and space.

But before all the wormhole travelling begins in Interstellar though, Cooper goes into his daughter’s school to talk to the teachers about his son’s and daughter’s progress. Here he finds out that the schools have replaced the science textbook he is familiar with, about the Moon landings, with one about how they were a hoax, set up as propaganda. This, along with flat earthers, 9-11 and Holocaust deniers is a popular topic online and in the realms of Youtube.

Then the morning after watching Interstellar, with it being a fresh new month and all, I turned to my current volume (5) of the 70+ year old Children’s Encyclopedia by Arthur Mee to continue my progress there, and found myself on a topic called “Earth’s Only Child”, all about the Moon. Or rather, the moon as scientists understood it back then.70 years ago doesn’t seem all that long ago in the realms of human knowledge about the universe, but then I guess things can progress rapidly in fields such as astronomy.

On p.3486 the author, after explaining how the “craters” on the Moon are likely the remnants of extinct volcanoes, goes on to explain:

The only rival explanation of the Moon’s craters is that they may have been produced by the bombardment of the Moon’s molten surface by enormous meteors which struck it, and indeed the craters do look something like the shell-broken area of a battlefield… But the Earth shows no such signs of meteoric bombardment except a doubtful one in Arizona, so the idea must be regarded as rather fanciful.

Hmmm. Well I have come to learn that, while the earth is quite well protected from meteoric bombardment, there is a lot more evidence of such than “a doubtful one in Arizona”. I thought it was common knowledge (unless you’re a denier of such things of course).

National Geographic (which of course conspiracy theorists can discredit) list their top ten:

  1. Vredefort Crater
  2. Sudbury Basin
  3. Acraman Crater
  4. Woodleigh Crater
  5. Manicouagan Crater
  6. Morokweng Crater
  7. Kara Crater
  8. Chicxulub Crater
  9. Popigai Crater
  10. Chesapeake Bay Crater

Arthur Mee may not have had access to Google Earth all those years ago, but National Geographic has been publishing its magazine since 1888.

Incidentally, I also read in earlier sections of the Encyclopedia, about the inner and outer regions on the solar system, and further amusement there was to be gleaned from the topic of “canals on Mars”.

The next topic is “The First Astronomers”, including Copernicus, Thales, and Ptolemy. This should interesting…

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