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Apollo program

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Apollo 4.jpg

The Apollo Program was a series of space explorations conducted by the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration with the objective of reaching the moon and collecting data that could test theories regarding its origin. The program was first conceived with President John F. Kennedy's address to the nation on May 25, 1961 when he announced the goal of the American people would be to put Americans on the moon before the end of the decade. This address came only weeks after astronaut Alan Shepard of the Mercury Program became the first American to venture into space. This marked the beginning of leaps and bounds that America would make in the great space race of the Cold War.

John F. Kennedy's goal was achieved when on July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong, commander of the Apollo 11 mission, took the first steps of any human on the moon. A total of six missions landed on the moon. Apollo Missions 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, and 17 all landed on the moon and retrieved samples from the moon for scientific research. The director of the Marshall Space Flight Center and the chief architect of the Saturn V launch vehicle that propelled the Apollo spacecraft to the Moon was Wernher von Braun.[1] Von Braun was a creation scientist who viewed science as the means though which we learn about God's creation. In a lecture at Taylor University on February 12 1972, he said:

Science and religion are not antagonists. On the contrary, they are sisters. While science tries to learn more about the creation, religion tries to better understand the Creator. While through science man tries to harness the forces of nature around him, through religion he tries to harness the force of nature within him.[2]

Lunar Origin

The earth-rise as seen from Apollo 8

One of the primary purposes of the Apollo program was to discover the origin of the moon. At the time there were three prevailing theories as to how the moon came about through natural processes; the Intact Capture Theory, the Coaccretion Theory, and the Fission Theory[3]

The Intact Capture Theory is no longer as popular as it once was in the 1960's. The theory is that the moon was captured by the gravitational pull of the Earth but has been largely discredited due to the fact the moon would have been traveling at to great of a speed to capture the moon. The Fission Theory postulates that a mass approximately equal to the mass of the moon spinning off from the rapidly rotating earth mass. The Coaccretion Theory states that the Earth and moon were created by the same particles. Some evolutionist believe that when the Earth was formed there was still dust and other particles in orbit around the Earth that later came together to form the moon. This theory comes with several problems when trying to explain it. The cannot account for the angular momentum between the Earth and the moon. According to the theory, if the moon and Earth are created by the same materials the Earth and moon should have the same composition, but it does not.[3]

After the Apollo missions the previous theories about the origins of the moon had all but been disproved. Evolutionist now needed a new theory to explain how the moon came to be, and from this need arose the Collision-Ejection Theory. This theory postulates that a planetesimal struck the Earth causing debris was launched into the Earth's orbit and over time formed the moon.[3] To explain the lack of iron on the moon, the impact could not have been a direct hit, rather it the object would have had to of grazed the Earth. In order for this to produce the moon as now known the object would need to be two to three times larger than Mars. The theory comes with a few problems. An impact of this magnitude would have so much energy that it is theorized that all the debris left over would vaporize. Another problem is that the impact would cause a much higher angular momentum than there currently is between the Earth and moon.[4]


Apollo 1

Crew of Apollo 1 praying (Gus Grissom, Roger Chaffee, and Ed White) January 1967.

On Jan. 27, 1967, during a preflight test at Cape Kennedy, a terrible accident happened in which a fire erupted and spread through the command module. The entire crew, consisting of Virgil Grissom, Edward White and Roger Chaffee all lost their lives that day in the fire. The mission was scheduled for Feb. 21, 1967, but because of the accident, NASA launched an incident investigation and did not launch another mission until November of 1967.[5]

Apollo 2&3

No missions with the designation of Apollo 2 or 3 were ever launched by NASA.[5]

Apollo 4

The mission designated Apollo 4 launched November 9, 1967. The Apollo 4 mission was unmanned launched with the purpose of testing the Saturn V three stage rocket and take pictures of Earth from an Apollo Command and service module that the rocket was carrying as it's payload. NASA wanted to make sure that all aspects of the Saturn V rocket and the Apollo Command and service module were in perfect working order. NASA considered Apollo 4 a successful mission. [6]

Apollo 5

The mission designated Apollo 5 was an unmanned mission and the first test of NASA's Lunar Module. The mission was designed to test various systems and operations, structural integrity, as well as ascent and descent operations. Despite minor problems NASA considered the mission a success. [7]

Apollo 6

The mission designated Apollo 6 was the last unmanned Apollo mission. The Saturn V rocket carried up both an Apollo Command and service module and a boilerplate Lunar Module. The mission was launched with the purpose of identifying any remaining problems that may occur during a manned mission. Three severe problems occurred on the mission; just after takeoff Apollo 5's Saturn V rocket went through a major pogo oscillation, structural panels fell off the lunar module adapter, and the second stage J-2 engines shut off prematurely. Despite these problems the Command Module splashed down in the Pacific Ocean in good condition. [8]

Apollo 7

The crew of Apollo 7

Apollo 7 was the first successful manned Apollo mission in a long string of manned missions. The primary mission of the Apollo 7 mission was to see how a crew operated in the new modules and test procedures that would be used in later Apollo missions. Apollo 7 took off on Oct. 11, 1968 and reached orbit with a stellar liftoff. The crew only experienced minor problems during the mission. They developed a cold which is extremely painful in space because the lack of gravity causes the mucus that builds up not to drain from the sinuses. The only way to get rid of the excess mucus is to blow hard which hurts the eardrums so it was extremely uncomfortable. The crew was worried that if they wore their helmets upon reentry that they would not be able to blow their noses and subsequently they could potentially burst their ear drums. Mission Control had them take decongestants before reentry and it worked, they did not experience any problems. The Apollo 7 mission was a complete success and paved the road for future manned missions. [9]

Apollo 8

Main Article: Apollo 8

Like Apollo 7, the objective of Apollo 8 was to test procedures, equipment, and improvements that had been made. The mission launched on Dec. 21, 1968 and successfully reached outer space. Apollo 8 orbited the moon and took the very famous picture of the Earthrise over the horizon of the moon. A total of six telecasts took place during the duration of the mission, the most famous of which was the Christmas Eve telecast in which the crew of Apollo 8 read from Genesis 1. Apollo 8 returned to Earth Dec. 27, 1968 when it landed in the Pacific Ocean and was retrieved by USS Yorktown. The mission was deemed a success. [10]

Apollo 9

The primary goal of Apollo 9 was to test how the lunar module handled a crew. Apollo 9 had a successful launch on March 3, 1969. Like previous Apollo missions the crew went over in flight tests and drills to make sure that everything was in working order. The crew did various flight tasks with the Command and service module to see how it operated under various conditions. The lunar module was tested to see how it handled being an autonomous spacecraft. The most important priority of the mission was to see how the Command and service module and Lunar Module handled rendezvous and docking, test were performed twice. Apollo 9 touched down March 13, 1969. The mission took a total of 241 hours, 53 seconds which was only 10 seconds longer than originally expected. [11]

Apollo 10

Apollo 10 launched May 18, 1969 with a successful takeoff. The mission of Apollo 10 was to go through all the lunar landing procedures without actually landing. This would be the final step in a long stretch of Apollo missions leading up to an actual lunar landing. Just three hours after takeoff the very first live television broadcast in color took place and was followed up by three other television broadcast as the spacecraft ventured further and further into space toward the moon. When Apollo 10 achieved a lunar orbit it sent the first color television broadcasting of the moon's surface. The landing module separated from the command and service module and flew over the landing site in the Sea of Tranquility and tested the various instruments that would make a lunar land possible. Apollo 10 returned to Earth on May 26, 1969 and was retrieved by the USS Princeton.[12]

Apollo 11

Buzz Aldrin walking on the moon

Apollo 11 is the most famous of all the Apollo missions. The primary goal of Apollo 11 was to complete the goal set by President John F. Kennedy to land on the moon and return to Earth before the end of the decade. Apollo 11 launched July 16, 1969 on a course to the moon. The crew consisted of the Commander Neil Armstrong, the Command Module Pilot Michael Collins and the Lunar Module Pilot Edwin Aldrin. On July 20, 1969 an estimated 530 million people around the world watched as the Commander Neil Armstrong took the first steps of any human on Earth and said

one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind
Niel Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin spent 21 hours, 36 minutes on the moon's surface before taking off again. Armstrong and Aldrin left several things behind on the moon to commemorate the landing and pay tribute to the fallen men of Apollo 1. July 24, 1969 Apollo 11 came back to Earth and was picked up by the USS Hornet in the Pacific Ocean.[13]

Buzz Aldrin had this to say on the mission:

I’ve been reflecting the events of the past several days. A verse from the Psalms comes to mind to me. When I consider the heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars which thou hast ordained, what is man that thou art mindful of him?[14]

Apollo 12

Apollo 12 was the second mission to land on the moon. Apollo 12 launched on Nov. 14, 1969. The main goal of Apollo 12 was to prefect landing procedures, take pictures and surveys of the lunar surface, look for potential new landing sites, and collect samples to return to Earth. After a successful mission, Apollo 12 made an uneventful reentry on Nov. 24 1969 in the Pacific Ocean and was picked up by the USS Hornet. [15]

Apollo 13

Apollo 13 safely landed

Apollo 13 launched on April 11, 1970 on a mission to land on the Fra Mauro area of the moon. Five and a half minutes into the flight the crew felt some turbulence before one of the engines shut off two minutes prematurely. This caused the remaining engines to burn longer than expected in order to keep Apollo 13's trajectory. The No. 2 oxygen tank on board Apollo 13 had originally been installed in Apollo 10 but had been removed and in the process been damaged. The oxygen tank was repaired and tested and was then installed aboard Apollo 13. When they were approximately 200,000 miles from Earth the No. 2 oxygen tank ruptured and cause the No. 1 oxygen tank to fail as well. Along with the oxygen tanks the water, lights and electricity failed too. The mission to land on the moon was aborted, the new priority was to get the crew back to Earth safely. Ground control had to come up with several new procedures and run them through a simulator to make sure they were safe so that they could get Apollo 13 back. With very little back up power, it was a concern if they would have enough power to make it back to Earth. The crew had to conserve their energy and use it only for essentials. The amount of water they had left was a concern, they had to cut their water intake to six ounces a day. This lack of water caused the crew to become extremely dehydrated and they lost more weight than any other Apollo crew. The carbon dioxide levels had to be maintained so that they would not reach a dangerous level. In order to do this the crew had to Jerry-rig several lithium hydroxide canisters to remove the excess carbon dioxide. With precise calculations, predictions, and unceasing work, the crew of Apollo 13 made it back safely to Earth. Apollo 13 has been classified as a "successful failure" by NASA. [16]

Apollo 14

Apollo 14 was launched on Jan. 31, 1971. Apollo 14 was to land in the original landing spot of Apollo 13, the Fra Mauro area, after Apollo 13 failed to land on the moon. Apollo 14 was deployed an Apollo Lunar Surface Scientific Experiments Package to the moon. The ALSEP preformed many geological experiments on the moon. The mission was considered a success and landed safely back on Earth on Feb. 9, 1971. [17]

Apollo 15

An Apollo 15 astronaut

Apollo 15 was the first Apollo "J" mission. The Apollo "J" missions were able to stay in space and on the moon for longer periods of time than previous missions allowing them to collect more scientific data and samples. Apollo 15 launched on July 26, 1971. Apollo 15 brought a Lunar Rover with them which enabled them to cover a greater distance with their time on the moon. The combination of the Lunar Rover and the ALSEP made performing experiments and collecting scientific data much faster and more efficient. Apollo 15 deployed a satellite to take various readings of forces on the moon. Apollo 15 broke many records including the longest time spent on the moon, the most distance covered on the moon, the longest Apollo mission, and the longest time spent in lunar orbit. After an extremely long and successful mission Apollo 15 returned to Earth Aug. 7, 1971. [18]

Apollo 16

Apollo 16 was sent to explore the lunar highlands know as the Descartes region of the moon. Apollo 16 was launched on route to the moon on April 16, 1972. For the first time on an Apollo mission the crew took pictures with an ultraviolet camera which allowed images in the spectral bands that cannot be seen from Earth. Just as on the previous mission, Apollo 16 launched a satellite in orbit around the moon. Apollo 16 returned to Earth on April 27, 1972 after completing a successful mission. [19]

Apollo 17

An Apollo 17 prior to takeoff

Apollo 17 was the final Apollo mission to the moon and the last time man ever set foot on the moon. The mission had the objective of bringing back scientific samples of rocks and other scientific data from the Taurus-Littrow highlands and valley area. The Apollo 17 crew covered over 30 kilometers in the lunar rover and brought back to Earth 243 pounds of material from the moon. After a successful mission Apollo 17 returned to Earth on Dec. 19, 1972. [20]



  1. Wernher von Braun by Wikipedia, Accessed March 22, 2011.
  2. Wernher von Braun "The Religious Implications of Space Exploration" Dr. Von Braun's lecture at Taylor University on February 12 1972.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 The Moon Creation and Composition: The Apollo Missions by Duane Gish, Institute for Creation Research.
  4. The moon’s recession and age by Jonathan Henry, Creation 20(2):65–70, August 2006
  5. 5.0 5.1 Apollo 1 by NASA Official: Brian Dunbar, National Aeronatics and Space Administration. Last Updated: July 8, 2009.
  6. Apollo 4 NASA
  7. Apollo 5 NASA
  8. Apollo 6NASA
  9. Apollo 7 NASA
  10. Apollo 8 NASA
  11. Apollo 9 NASA
  12. Apollo 10NASA
  13. Apollo 11NASA
  14. Apollo Program Bible Quotations4th Day Alliance
  15. Apollo 12NASA
  16. Apollo 13NASA
  17. Apollo 14NASA
  18. Apollo 15NASA
  19. Apollo 16NASA
  20. Apollo 17NASA

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