NASA Plum Brook hopes to help bust Moon myth

Adam and Jamie are what you call professionals -- and their crew is paying a visit to our own NASA station PERKINS TWP.
Tom Jackson
May 24, 2010

 

Adam and Jamie are what you call professionals -- and their crew is paying a visit to our own NASA station

PERKINS TWP.

The Discovery Channel's Mythbusters TV show plans to film an episode at NASA Plum Brook Station, hoping to smash the myth that men didn't actually walk on the Moon.

The crew is expected to film the segment in December, using the vacuum chamber at the Space Power Facility, said Jerry Carek, Space Power Facility Manager.

The TV show features two movie special effects experts, Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage, who run experiments to prove or disprove popular myths and urban legends.

A recent segment focused upon superhero myths, such as whether Batman would be able to scale a building using just a grappling hook. (It's likely he would not.)

Another episode demonstrated it is indeed difficult to get out of a car submerged underwater -- until the water pressure equalizes between the inside and the outside, at which point it's easy to open the door. A passenger caught in such a car should take a deep breath as the rest of the water fills the vehicle and then try to escape.

The Space Power Facility's main feature is the world's largest thermal vacuum chamber that can replicate the airlessness and temperature extremes of outer space.

It's typically used to see how spacecraft will behave in space. It's currently being used to test nose cone segments of the latest version of the Ariane rocket, which the European Space Agency uses to boost satellites into space.

Mythbusters, however, wants to use the Space Power Facility for something else.

"We're going to simulate a small area of the moon," Carek said.

Beginning in July 1969, NASA carried out a series of Apollo missions that put astronauts on the moon. Rumors have persisted for years, however, that the space agency perpetrated a hoax.

Carek said the show will carry out an experiment, but said he won't "scoop" the show by describing it.

"They want to wait until the show goes out," he said.

"I can confirm we are interested in doing a story with NASA," a spokeswoman for the show said Friday. "We are still working out the details at this point."

The show's request to use the Space Power Facility was approved by NASA bureaucrats, who had to assess whether the show would depict NASA in a good light, Carek said.