The truth about the AS11-40-5863/69 photoshopped compilation
DIY images stored on the NASA website.
Are the Apollo photographs made on the moon fake? Another important question is: how difficult is it to spot the signs of fakery. This story will show you that even the Apollo historical archive has trouble sorting fact from fiction. In October 2012 we found a compilation image that was displayed in the Apollo Lunar Surface Journal (ALSJ), the historical Apollo archive that runs on the NASA website.
According the caption accompanying the picture (on the 5th of October 2012) the compilation was composed of Apollo 11 mission photos AS11-40-5863 to 69, as well as AS11-44-6576 for the top antenna. It did not take long to work out that it would be impossible to create the compilation image as it was shown in the ALSJ using these photographs. We contacted the chief editor of the ALSJ and shared our concern. We also contacted Ed Hengeveld, who created the image, and asked him how he made this compilation. The following is the email exchange we had with Ed Hengeveld.
Question AwE130: I’m investigating AS11-40-5863-69, for a project I’m doing. First I would like to tell you that I am not 100% sure about the Apollo moon landings and I am trying to find answers to the questions I have. I would like to ask you if you can tell me how you created this mosaic? I would like to ask you what image you used for the light source on the right top and how you created the left bottom corner part. According the ALSJ you used AS11-40-5863 to 5869 plus 6567.*
Answer Ed Hengeveld: “I have little to add to the explanation on the ALSJ, except that the ‘sun’ is a Photoshop effect that I placed approximately where the sun would be in the sky. I don’t remember exactly what I used for the bottom left, but I know I copied little parts of lunar surface from other areas of the photo, like a puzzle, to fill in the blanks. It was not meant to create a scientifically correct photo, but to combine the images into an artistically pleasing result. So please don’t waste your time comparing details on the lunar surface with other photos, because these may actually belong in a different spot. I hope this answers your question.”
As we had noticed that the top antenna of the image could not have been from the Apollo 11 mission (as the caption claimed) we replied with another question.
Question AwE130: I have one more question as an ALSJ contributor sent me an email. He told me that the top antenna was from an image of Apollo 14. I assumed that it was taken from AS11-44-6576. What is the correct answer?*
Answer Ed Hengeveld: “If I remember correctly the antenna was taken from a photo of another mission (could be Apollo 14), because I could not find an Apollo 11 photo that I could use for it.”
Question AwE130: Do you mind if we share this information?
Answer Ed Hengeveld: “I have no objections if you share what I have told you with others. I have seen before that my Photoshopped photo was used as an argument that the landings never happened. If I had realized that it would be used for that purpose, I would never have published it.”
What does this image show us and why is it important? If the Apollo photos from the moon were faked than this is how they did it. Fact and fiction are mixed to the point where it is hard to tell what is real and what is not.
Buzz’s feet on the moon and the sun.
We will give you another example. If you read the ALSJ caption and look at the images that should make up the compilation, you will notice that there is no image that shows the landing pad without the feet of Buzz Aldrin. Only image AS11-40-5869 shows the landing pad at all and only with Buzz’s feet on it. In the compilation the feet of Buzz mysteriously disappear. In the email from Mr Hengeveld we were told that he used bits and pieces and put them together like a puzzle. This must also have been done with the feet of Buzz Aldrin.
Even the ALSJ has problems remembering which of the historical photographs they used for this photoshopped representation. We advised the ALSJ chief editor to move the image to the artistic representation part of the archive, and they did this. However they seemed unwilling to inform viewers of our findings. The top antenna was found to be from Apollo 17, and not from Apollo 11 as the ALSJ originally stated, or Apollo 14 as was later suggested. This was corrected sometime in early 2013. However, still today the viewer is not informed about the photoshopped “sun” or where Buzz’s feet went. We found this Apollo 12 mission image of the sun that looks quite similar. Did Ed Hengeveld copy the Apollo 12 “sun” into the Apollo 11 compilation and called it a photoshop effect? You are the judge!
The saddest part of this story is the childish behavior of the ALSJ chief editor Eric Jones. Here is how he continued to defend his mistake about the antenna at the top of the compilation photo. This later even resulted in the removal of the AwE130 credit from the ALSJ, the historical Apollo archive that runs on the NASA website. Shame on you NASA!
Subject: Re: AS11-40-5863-69 the real story
Date: Fri, 26 Oct 2012 13:37:12 +1100
Hi Adrian, I didn’t actually mean you. So far, you’re the most rational hoax believer I’ve encountered. Moving the image to the artistic section is a good idea and will be done, with proper credit to you. I gather from Ed that at least some hoax believers use his assembly as evidence that the missions have been faked. They can believe what they like; and I can choose to ignore them. I do think it is time to end this correspondence. I do appreciate the questions that have made me think. However, I realize now that our correspondence has the potential of dragging me into the debate, despite your best intentions. Wishing you all the best,
P.S. The antenna portion of the image is not from another mission. As we clearly state in the caption, Ed used “a portion of AS11-44-6576, which was taken in orbit after undocking.” So it is Eagle, but not on the lunar surface. Ed has portrayed Buzz’s egress using a little artistic license. It doesn’t need defending.
The PS from Eric Jones completely contradiction the information we had received from Ed two days earlier, and that we had forwarded to Eric Jones. Under pressure from other journal contributors Eric Jones did eventually change the information on the website. As thanks for our hard work Eric Jones is now deleting our credits from the ALSJ. Shame on you Dr Eric Jones, you are not a reliable historian in our opinion. Proper credit given, as long as you agree with the chief editor!
Cached version from 2013 of our credit, as Eric Jones refers to in his email.
1 November 2012 In early 2008, Ed Hengeveld used portions of AS11-40-5863 to 69 to create a view of Buzz on the porch (4.0 Mb or 0.4 Mb). Neil did not capture the top rear of the LM with these pictures. Journal Contributor GoneToPlaid points out that Ed filled the gap with a portion of AS17-149-22860, which was taken in orbit after undocking. Late in 2012, AwE130 suggested that Ed’s creation more properly belongs on the page with other creative works, rather than in the Apollo 11 Image Library.
However, if you go to the archive today this credit has been removed by the ALSJ. What kind of historical archive would do that?
1 November 2012 In early 2008, Ed Hengeveld used portions of AS11-40-5863 to 69 to create a view of Buzz on the porch (4.0 Mb or 0.4 Mb). Neil did not capture the top rear of the LM with these pictures. Journal Contributor GoneToPlaid points out that Ed filled the gap with a portion of AS17-149-22860, which was taken in orbit after undocking.
* Small grammatical corrections made.