NASA Rocket Scientist on Real Science Radio

photo of Richter holding the low powered transmitter and subcarrier oscillators designed for Explorer III
NASA's Richter & G. Ludwig

* A Science Hero's Work Corroborates the Young Earth: Real Science Radio's Bob Enyart and Fred Williams interview the scientist, Henry Richter, who led the team building America's first satellite Explorer 1. Dr. Richter (on left in this 1957 photo with JPL's Dr. George Ludwig) also held leadership roles in the launch of a number of the spacecraft that landed on the Moon, and even after he himself left the space program, his team completed the work on the scientific instrumentation for NASA's Mariner spacecraft which enabled it to explore Mercury, Venus and Mars! Dr. Richter earned a place in the history of scientific advancement. He is a biblical creationist and his efforts helped bring about the early and important discovery of the Van Allen radiation belt; he helped relieve the fear of too much dust on the moon (see below); and his work helped provide the benchmark from which NASA has learned that Mercury's magnetic field is rapidly decreasing in strength (see just below). Pleasing young-earthers and confounding old-earth planetary scientists, Mercury's magnetic field has decayed in strength eight percent from 1974 to 2011, not unlike Earth's field, which has lost ten percent of its energy over just the previous 150 years! Dr. Richter also made a brief comment regarding the bizarre moon landing hoax claim, which has been unnecessarily but fully refuted here (see below).

* Post-show Updates: including on the 2019 RCA Lifetime Achievement Award and the 2016 Hollywood's Hidden Figures:

RCA 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award to Henry Richter

* Email Correspondence on Hidden Figures
Subject: Hello Dr. Richter! Have you seen the movie "Hidden Figures" re: NASA in the 60s?
Dr. Henry Richter, NASA pioneer------------------------
From: Bob Enyart <>
Date: Sun, Jan 15, 2017
To: "Dr. Henry L. Richter" <*****@*********.edu>

Henry, hello again! I pray you are well! If you go to the theater and see Hidden Figures, if you have any thoughts about it that you'd like to share, I'd love to talk with you about it! As I recall from the scan of the title pages of your book showed that it was published in 1966. (The movie begins at NASA's facility in Virginia in 1961, just fyi.)
- Bob Enyart
From: "Dr. Henry L. Richter" <*****@*********.edu>
Date: Mon, Jan 16, 2017 at 8:35 PM
To: Bob Enyart <>
Cc: David Coppedge <*****@*********.com>

Hello Bob. It has been a long time since we have been to a theatre, but I will watch for it. I left NASA/JPL in 1960.
From: "Dr. Henry L. Richter" <*****@*********.edu>
Date: Tue, Apr 18, 2017 at 10:35 PM
To: Bob Enyart <>
Cc: David Coppedge <*****@*********.com>

Bob – we saw Hidden Figures tonight. Well done! Though this was after my time at NASA it was very realistic and believable. I remember vividly my first trip to Huntsville, with the "colored-only drinking fountains and restrooms." I was enraged by this climate and vowed to drink from colored fountains. But I was sternly warned against this by my colleagues. It was unbelievable.

p.s. We did not have computers in my day (JPL did have one analog computer) but the computing group did everything on Marchant and Friden calculators. SLOW!
From: Bob Enyart <>
Date: Sat, Apr 29, 2017 at 12:33 PM
To: "Dr. Henry L. Richter" <*****@*********.edu>
Cc: David Coppedge <*****@*********.com>

Dr. Richter, I appreciate your opinion that it was "realistic and believable". That's so sad, but also, encouraging, that we've come so far and that NASA, as in the film, had a role in the civilizing of our race relations and mutual respect.
David, I pray that you're well. This article mentions the planned final dive of Cassini in September. Can we pencil in an RSR interview for the week before? I'd love to discuss Saturn, the Cassini mission, and your recollections from JPL.
Thanks guys!
- Bob Enyart co-host

* Thank you David Coppedge and Rob Carter: Real Science Radio thanks former JPL systems lead, David Coppedge, for arranging this historic interview for RSR. And we thank CMI's biologist Dr. Robert Carter for his great Henry Richter interview in the current issue of Creation magazine.

* Planet Mercury Leaves NASA Jaw-Dropping Shocked: Mercury's density is far beyond what evolutionary accretion could produce. From its pull on NASA's 1974 Mariner space probe, we learned of Mercury's great density, unachievable by the now falsified nebular hypothesis. So as they do with most of the planets, Big Bang proponents including theoretical physicists (with the emphasis on the theoretical, as in the RSR interview with Lawrence Krauss), appeal to catastrophism, whereby first Mercury formed in the traditional way claimed through the condensing swirling nebula (which Isaac Newton evaluated as impossible via gravity), but then a planet-level collision ejected all the light matter off of Mercury and left just the heavy stuff. Really.

* Magnetism: The claim that Mercury is four billion years old led BB proponents to predict that it would be a dead (so to speak), inert rock having no magnetic field. But in 1974, by the scientific leadership of American hero and scientist Dr. Henry Richter, NASA's Mariner 10 spacecraft measured Mercury's magnetic field and provided hard data contradicting that fundamental evolutionary assumption. Then in 2008, NASA's Messenger craft measured the field's strength as significantly decreased, in only those few decades, which again contradicted their theory. Then in 2011, Messenger orbited the planet, and confirmed a startling (to old-earthers) 8% decrease since 1974. So, as with the Earth's rapidly decaying magnetic field, if Mercury were billions of years old, planet-wide features like it's magnetism would have reached stasis and not demonstrate such rapid change. See for more!

Space Measurements Survey: Instruments and Spacecraft by Henry Richter, NASA SP 3028* Weakening Magnetic Field and Carbon-14 Dating: As reported on, the University of Maryland geophysicist Daniel Lathrop stated that, "over the last 150 years or so, the Earth’s magnetic field has declined in strength about ten percent..." And as Dr. Richter stated on today's program, a stronger magnetic field thousands of years ago would result in production of fewer 14c atoms, which would in turn result in older-than-actual 14c dates, and that analysis from, again, the NASA scientist who launched America's first satellite, who oversaw development of the scientific equipment used on the first lunar missions, and who played an important role in the early discovery of the Van Allen radiation belt. By the way, Dr. Richter also wrote the NASA publication Space Measurements Survey: Instruments and Spacecraft covering the great period in the history of science from October 1957 to March 1965.

For today's show RSR recommends
What You Aren't Being Told
 About Astronomy:
Our Created Solar System!

* Moon Dust Argument: See Dr. Walt Brown's brief summary and then his careful analysis of how much dust should be on a four-billion year old  moon. (A lot more than is there.) And see Terry Hurlbut's great article, The moon-dust argument might be valid after all. Dr. Brown's calculations are based on actual data and seriously challenges the Answers in Genesis warning that creationists should not use the moon dust argument. On February 13, 2014, Ken Ham blogged about his great debate with Bill Nye  and listed moon dust among "outdated or discredited" arguments. For years, Real Science Radio has been calling for AiG and other young-earth ministries (who have our love and respect) to either update their decades-old argument to show the public, if they can, where Dr. Brown's assembled data and mathematical calculations are in error, or they should remove moon dust from their "do not use" list. Or, preferably, they themselves should resume using this powerful argument for a young moon!

2015 AiG Update: In July we noticed that AiG has removed moon dust from their Arguments to Avoid article. As we've long said, we respect and love Ken Ham, all of AiG, their fabulous Creation Museum, and that we're praying for God's blessing on their enormously important Ark Encounter! So while we could call them and ask, like them (and like everyone), we're all so busy! :) So until we hear otherwise, we'll leave it at this: We're hoping that removing moon dust from AiG's Arguments to Avoid list was intentional.

* First an Atheist Caller Talks to NASA's Dr. Gold: Welcome to a special edition of Real Science Radio. An atheist caller, Forrest from Hawaii, had previously claimed that he had spoken to a NASA scientist Dr. Thomas Gold, who had personally told him that NASA had no concern about too much dust on the moon. Forrest wanted to use this information to discredit Bob Enyart's account of NASA designing the Lunar Module with large "feet" to prevent it from sinking into dust on the moon.

Lunar Lander with pod feet* Secondly Retired Engineer Bob Ball Reports His Research & Personal Recollection: Long-time friend of BEL and retired computer engineer Bob Ball from Indiana confirmed through his own research and independent recollection, NASA's serious, though unwarranted, concern in the 1960s that the moon would hold a tremendous amount of dust (because they believed it would have been collecting dust for billions of years, an age, and therefore, a concern, that young-earth creationists would dispute). Ball further recounted that this concern was promoted by NASA's own Dr. Thomas Gold himself, the very man our caller Forrest says that he had spoken to, who allegedly claimed that NASA had no such concern, and especially not when they designed the Lunar Lander.

* Atheist Forrest Calls Back: Forrest states that he did not accept Bob Ball's report that Dr. Thomas Gold was the very astronomer who most promoted the unnecessary concern over moon dust.

* Next Listener Darrell Birkey Quotes NASA: Birkey, of Goshen, Indiana called in to quote from NASA's own website, which states, "astronomer Thomas Gold asserted, however, that the apparently smooth areas on the moon were likely to be covered with a layer of fine dust several meters thick, raising the prospect that the lunar module might sink out of sight..."

So NASA's own historical account (it's own revisionist footnote notwithstanding) agrees with what Bob Enyart surmised on the air, refuting Forrest's first specific criticism of BEL. For NASA itself states, "Spacecraft engineers at Houston's Manned Spacecraft Center, meanwhile, in spite of their real need for this information [how much dust] in designing the lunar landing module, had to go ahead without it [without that data]." That is, NASA was designing the Lunar Module prior to its Ranger and Surveyor missions discovering that the depth of dust on the moon was negligible. So NASA gave the lunar lander large "feet" because they were pressed for time (to fulfill John Kennedy's dream of reaching the moon by the end of the decade) and so they designed the landing features so as to prevent the craft from sinking in dust.

* NASA's Burke & Richter Discuss Moon Dust: The Smithsonian Channel and Real Science Radio have aired interviews with leading NASA scientists documenting the moon dust concern.  Henry Richer corrected BEL's mistaken atheist caller (see above) who had been insisting that NASA never feared that the moon might be covered with meters of dust. However, Dr.Richter recalled for RSR the invalid but great concern, arising out of the old-earth worldview, that the Lunar Lander might sink out of site into dust that would have accumulated on the surface of the moon over its alleged billions of years. Additionally, this 3-minute audio excerpt, courtesy of the Smithsonian Channel's Space Voyages: Into the Unknown, presents another NASA scientist, James Burke, explaining that the Surveyor Mission proved that a vehicle could land on the Moon without sinking deep into the dust that evolutionary scientists feared may have been there. Dr. Burke was project manager for the Ranger missions (which preceded Surveyor), and Roger Launius, also heard on this audio clip, is the curator for the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum. Determining how much dust had accumulated on the lunar surface was one of the primary goals of the Surveyor program which eventually landed seven robotic craft on the moon. As Burke said, "If Surveyor had sunk in out of sight, then of course there would have been a different course of events." For, contrary to biblical creationism, the evolutionary old-earth mindset had led NASA to fear that the moon may be covered in dust even perhaps dozens of feet deep. See more at

* Dishonorable Mention of Werner von Braun: Tragically, the creationist father of rocket science never apologized nor even acknowledged wrongdoing for making weapons for the NAZIs. (Source: Google.) It's easy to say and harder to do yet von Braun should have prefered death. Instead, he pursued his scientific dreams with the resources provided by Hitler. Dr. Richter in 2017 or so being interviewed on a small radio station was asked and answered that von Braun, NASA's founder, had apologized for collaborating with the NAZIs. After a private conversation with Henry, in his next radio interview somewhere in the U.S. northwest (which Bob phoned into as a caller after Henry had invited him to listen in), the RSR crew was thankful that when again asked about von Braun, Dr. Richter went out of his way to state that he knew of no public record of a von Braun apology.  

* RSR Answers Specific Moon Landing Hoax Claims (collected from the Conspiracy Theory program and elsewhere)
- Can't see stars in various photos: The bright foreground and dark background composition of such photos results in a photographic effect whereby dimmer objects, such as stars in the sky, do not appear.
- Craters on moon may actually be from Area 51: "Conspiracy Theory" aired prior to Google Earth displaying Area 51. Conspiracy theorists have not since not linked to, nor otherwise documented there, the alleged terrestrial moon landscapes.
- No engine noise: On Star Trek TV shows, there is a quiet hum from the engines during typical scenes that take place on the ship. However, the audio from the Lunar Lander is very quiet and an astronaut even mentioned how quiet it was. Sound waves don't propagate in space, so while on earth engine noise will bounce back off the air surrounding a car on the highway, that effect doesn't exist in space. The only engine noise would have been transferred through the craft's structure, which could certainly be audible, but NASA explains that the all important insulation on the craft would significantly dampen that sound.
- No crater in the dust from Lunar Module landings: Photos and videos don't show landing craters below modules, even though NASA artwork previously predicted such craters would result from blown away dust. Of course, the depth of any expected crater would originally be influenced by NASA's fear of deep dust. (See above and NASA feared deep dust on the moon.)
- Missing Lunar Module in photo: A photograph exists of a distinctive moonscape without the lunar module, and then another with the same moonscape that includes the lunar module in the photo. When the module blasts off, it leaves its base, so the first photo seems to have been taken prior to the astronauts landing on the moon. The answer lies in the hills of the moonscape being very far away and because there is no atmosphere on the moon, the image has great clarity giving the impression that the hills are nearby. Then, when the camera is moved just a hundred yards or so to one side and snaps a photo in the same direction, the Lander is no longer in the frame, but the background is hardly changed, because of its distance. Careful examination of the famous photos does show the parallax however. A YouTube video has a great example and actual photos showing that parallax.
- No exhaust plume on leaving moon: The Conspiracy Theory "documentary" claims that there was no exhaust and that the Lunar Module appears to have been lifted off its base by a cable. However the A11-FSOTM documentary shows the blast off with debris flying and the flag being thrown.
- Apparent moon walk motion created by playing film at half speed: As with so many of the hoax claims, scores of professionals would have to be "in" on this, including the film crew, camera men, gaffers, lighting, editors, technical consultants, director, producers, actors/astronauts, chain of command, and all that just for this on aspect of the hoax. The MythBusters crew demonstrated that playing video at half-speed does not produced the visual effects of being in the moon's gravity which is one-sixth of that of the Earth, and neither does fitting a bungee-cord-like harness to make the astronaut lighter. MythBusters did, however, film in an air force plane diving to match the moon's gravity and that did allow them to recreate the astronaut's movement. NASA could not put an entire sound stage or moonscape in a diving airplane. Also, as per Phil Plait, images of the lunar rover kicking up dust show the dust moving in a parabola and not in a distorted trajectory as occurs in earth's atmosphere because of friction from air molecules. That would have been quiet a special effects accomplishment way back then, before digital animation and image processing.
photo of lunar landing module with astronaut- Apollo 11 astronauts whereabouts: They (and the other five missions to the moon) either circled the earth for eight days or landed and waited out the time on a ship or an island.
Orbiting: During the 1960s and 70s there was great concern for incoming ICBMs by both Russia and the U.S. and others. And this was the height of the space race. Radar installations would have discovered an orbiting ship. The scores of U.S. military engineers manning our radar installations would have been told (and by whom? and through what chain of command) not to report what they would have seen. And who would have instructed the Russians to not report the orbiting craft?
On Earth: The astronauts would have had to be recovered from the sea, and then taken up again into the atmosphere in an Apollo capsule, to be dropped and recovered again from the sea eight days later. The ships, planes, and helicopters involved had a combined hundreds if not more than a thousand crew members. Who knew what was happening and how many were kept in the dark? Or, were the astronauts not originally in the capsule that blasted off into space? If not, how many officials and technicians would have been aware of that part of the hoax in order to pull that off? For more, see

* Fake Interview of Director Stanley Kubric's Faked Moon Landing: Like those vulnerable to the absurd falsehoods of flat-earth proponents, those seduced by the moon landing conspiracy make themselves vulnerable to all kinds of hoaxes. For example, various versions of the fake interview of filmmaker Stanley Kubric confessing to faking the moon landing have deceived many. Eventually however, an uncut version, embedded here, was published. If you're interested, you'll especially want to see the section beginning at 12:19 into the video. Enjoy! :)