In response to Gary's post. "The story I always heard was they left on July 16, 1969 in 1st Quarter phase of the moon, and splashed down some eight days later. Forgetting the radiation show-stopper for this essay, the other facts I heard as a kid when they would invariably and irritatingly interrupt my cartoons (I'm 44 now) were that the craft travelled at 20,000 mph and they took 84 hours to get to the moon and another 84 hours to get back. " Not quite. The Apollo Spacecraft didn't travel at a continuous speed the whole time, as it left the Earth at the beginning of the translunar coast, the speed was about 24,300 mph, but the Earth's gravity worked on it after that to slow it down even as it travelled outwards. By the time it got to 210,000 miles out from the Earth, Apollo has slowed to 2,000mph, but then the Moon's gravity started to make it's presence felt and the spacecraft began to accelerate towards the Moon. By the time it was ready to go into Lunar orbit, the speed had reached 5600mph relative to the Moon, the burn into Lunar Orbit then slowed it again to a 3600 mph lunar orbit. "BUT HOW? 1st Quarter phase means (in the h-people world) that the moon is exactly trailing the earth in the earth's orbit around the sun and therefore travelling through space at the same or similar 66,000 mph as the earth does around the sun. This means that as Apollo 11 left the earth for the moon at 20,000 mph, the moon was simultaneously coming to them at 66,000 mph." No it wasn't. You haven't understood the relative velocities here. The Moon is orbiting the Earth at a tangential velocity of 2300 mph, and the combined system is orbiting the Sun at 66,000 mph relative to the Sun. The Moon does have a slight variation in it's orbit round the Earth, so it does approach and recede from the Earth as it orbits, but it approaches and recedes at quite slow speeds, nothing like 66,000 mph. That is the speed that the combined system is going round the Sun. (Strictly speaking, the Moon is not orbiting the Earth. The Moon is quite a big body, and in fact the Earth and Moon jointly rotate round a point in between called the Barycenter. However this is only a couple of thousand miles from the centre of the Earth.) "This combined speed was 86,000 mph. And the distance separating the moon and the earth is taught to us at about 250,000 miles. So I ask again: How did it take 84 hours to get to the moon? It should have only taken 4 hours. What were the astronauts doing all these extra 80 hours? This is a puzzle, is it not?" No, for the reasons given above. The Moon was never approaching the Apollo spacecraft at anything like that speed. "Still, a bigger puzzle occurs for the return trip. The moon is moving between 1st Quarter and Full Phases now, and the major factual change is that the destination object, the earth, is no longer coming at the astronauts as the moon was originally. It is in fact moving away from them. At the very most generous, one might say the earth and moon were moving parallel to each other at this time, as they would during Full Phase. But the earth is clearly not heading toward the returning astronauts. (Keep in mind I am using a simple circular path of the moon around the earth as my basis for this hypothesis.) " For the same reasons given above, the Moon was not 'coming at' the spacecraft origininally in the sense you meant, i.e. at 66,000 mph. I think you have the idea that when the Moon is waxing, it is coming nearer the Earth, and when it's waning,it is receding from the Earth. It isn't. If it was, you'd see it getting bigger in the sky! "So, the question is thus: How does it take the same amount of time for the return trip as it did to reach the moon? There are very different factors to take into account if you are a heliocentrist." No they are not. The factors you speak of are a result of your not understanding relative speeds. "It is almost laughable to think that the astronauts could have left the surface of the moon travelling at a puny 20,000 mph and trying to catch an earth moving at 66,000 away from them. Wouldn't this be akin to a fast runner trying to catch a faster moving car, that is already going highway speed and is already twelve hours' distant from the runner when the runner takes off? How does this runner catch the car? Likewise, how did the astronauts catch the earth? Was it the "Slingshot Method"?" The Apollo spacecraft did not leave the Moon at 20,000 mph. The Transearth injection maneuver increased the spacecraft speed to 5,500 mph approaching the Earth. As it drew nearer the Earth, the Earth's gravity pulled on it to increase the speed of Apollo until by th time it hit the top of the atmosphere, it was travelling at 25,000 mph. I strongly recommend you get a basic book about space exploration, your understanding of how Apollo got to the Moon and back is very flawed. "I believe the simple truth is that we never went to the moon with Apollo. " If this is your only reason, it is a false one. Try another. Regards, Rob. This e-mail and any attachment is for authorised use by the intended recipient(s) only. It may contain proprietary material, confidential information and/or be subject to legal privilege. It should not be copied, disclosed to, retained or used by, any other party. If you are not an intended recipient then please promptly delete this e-mail and any attachment and all copies and inform the sender. Thank you.