Apollo 12 and Surveyor III

Seeing as we’ve been looking at  landing site where images did actually exist on the ground from a probe that was there earlier, we might as well have a closer look at what that probe photographed and see if we can also find them in Apollo images. I wont bother repeating any that have been done already on the Apollo 12 page.

I’ll choose the images simply by working through the Surveyor III Preliminary report and the final Mission Report covering the TV images picking out things of interest. The first one that appears in the Preliminary Report is figure 3.13, which shows an angular rock described as being on the crater’s north-east wall. There are a several images looking in roughly that direction, but the most useful ones are AS12-48-7102 and 7103, which were taken from behind the Surveyor with the scoop arm in shot. This is a very similar alignment to that of Surveyor’s own camera.  Here’s the Surveyor 3 photo (top) compared with a section of 7103 showing the same rocks.

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Even though it is lit differently, and from a slightly different angle, that rock is very distinctive and it allows the other rocks to be picked out once you have it. We can also identify where it is using the LRO image of the site. I’ve cropped the Apollo image again, but this time showing key features that allows the triangular rock’s location to be determined

The main feature here is the pair of larger rocks (green arrow) at the top of the photographs, which then leads you down to the large crater on the centre left surrounded by a few smaller craters (cyan and blue arrows).

Next up we have the first really substantial rock featured in the final mission report (image number 19, on page 60). It has a few others around it and is described as being close to the probe. This makes it nice and easy to find in Apollo photographs, and we can point to AS12-48-7103 again, and also AS12-48-7104 (amongst others).

We can continue to explore Surveyor III using AS12-48-7103 by looking at the next interesting image in the final report, which looks further upslope.  Image 22 is shown below with a section of 7103 that I’ve rotated to match.

The similarity is so exact I haven’t even bothered with arrows - it’s very obvious: the view photographed by Apollo 12 and Surveyor is the same. The large rock is one of those identified by the green arrows in the preceding image. Likewise the next photograph in the report, which moves further up the slope again:

Again, Surveyor and Apollo provide an exact match for each other.

Now, your average conspiracy lover will argue that the Apollo images match exactly  those of Surveyor because the Surveyor images were used to construct the Apollo sound stage blah blah etc etc.

The problem with this argument is that Surveyor did not have a 100% field of view - it could not capture a 360 degree panorama of the crater. LRO images confirm that the validity if other Apollo photographs of areas that were not captured by Surveyor. Nor do they explain how Apollo 12 was able to photograph the Earth with time and date specific features.

The contention of sane people is that the reason Surveyor and Apollo match is because Alan Bean and Pete Conrad were in the same place: on the moon at Surveyor crater.