Apollo 14 Astronauts Suiting Up

After separating from the command module in lunar orbit, the LM Antares had two serious problems. First, the LM computer began getting an ABORT signal from a faulty switch. NASA believed the computer might be getting erroneous readings like this if a tiny ball of solder had shaken loose and was floating between the switch and the contact, closing the circuit. The immediate solution – tapping on the panel next to the switch – did work briefly, but the circuit soon closed again. If the problem recurred after the descent engine fired, the computer would think the signal was real and would initiate an auto-abort, causing the ascent stage to separate from the descent stage and climb back into orbit. NASA and the software teams at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology scrambled to find a solution. The software was hard-wired, preventing it from being updated directly. The fix involved indicating that abort mode was already active, so that if the signal were to arise again, it would be ignored rather than initiating what would have appeared to the software to be a second abort. The software modifications were transmitted to the crew via voice communication, and Mitchell manually entered the changes (amounting to over 80 keystrokes on the LM computer pad) just in time.

The conspiracy that Fox missed (well, they do miss a lot) is called by its adherents "Alternative 3". Its promoters are shadowy individuals like Bill Cooper, a formal US Naval Briefing Team member with access to state secrets, who claims that an advanced American space presence is a reality. In Behold a Pale Horse, he reports that "A moon base, Luna, was photographed by the Lunar Orbiter and filmed by Apollo astronauts... I can say that 'Alternative 003' (a British TV documentary on this subject) is at least 70% true from my own knowledge and the knowledge of my sources." The precise chemical composition of these very alien lakes and seas remained unknown until 2014, when Cassini's radar instrument detected Ligeia Mare, now known to be Titan's second-largest hydrocarbon-filled lake. Ligeia Mare is brimming with an abundance of sloshing methane, and this enormous liquid reservoir is approximately the same size as two of Earth's Great Lakes combined--Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. Many planetary scientists think that the seabed of Ligeia Mare may be blanketed with a thick layer of sludge that is composed of organic-rich compounds. "We are just beginning to try and figure out quantitatively how all this might smooth a surface," Dr. Thomas said in the May 17, 2013 New Scientist.