The Moon Landings Were Faked!

January 8, 2021

Man on the Moon, Fact or Fiction???

When the Moon is visible for two weeks of every month on our tour, quite often we will get asked when viewing it through the telescope, “did they land on the moon”? Craig immediately jumps in with his conspiracy theories stating he thinks that they didn’t but that they probably have by now? If you find yourself in a debate questioning whether humankind first stepped on the Moon on 20 July 1969 the chances are that you are woefully under prepared. Most people take it as gospel that the US Government, NASA, the 12 astronauts in total who have walked on the Moon and the 400,000 people involved in the Apollo program would have neither the will nor the way to fake one of humanity’s greatest ever achievements.

Did we fake it??

But there are those who think the landings were a hoax. They claim the US Government faked Apollo 11 and later missions either to deal a crucial blow to the USSR in the Space Race, or to boost NASA funding or to divert attention away from the Vietnam War. The argument for any of these viewpoints rests on finding evidence that the landings were faked. Despite the extraordinary volume of evidence (including 382kg of moon rock collected across six missions; corroboration from Russia, Japan and China; and images from the Nasa Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter showing the tracks made by the astronauts in the moondust), belief in the moon-hoax conspiracy has blossomed since 1969. Among 9/11 truthers, anti-vaxxers, and flat-Earthers, the idea that the moon landings were faked is not even a source of anger anymore – it is just a given fact. That is until you compare it with the difficulty of maintaining a lie to the entire world for five decades without a single slip from any Nasa employee.

More often than not, people point out peculiarities in specific images or videos to deal the critical blow. If someone uses these oddities as evidence, what do you say? Here are the most common arguments that support this view, and why each of them is wrong.

Photographic evidence

One of the most popular conspiracy arguments is that there are never any stars in Apollo photos. Free from Earth’s light pollution and hazy atmosphere, you would expect to see thousands of stars in all the astronauts’ images. Unfortunately, this argument rests on the photos being snapped during the lunar night. All manned missions to the Moon took place in sunny daytime. This meant starlight lost the battle against the very bright surface of the Moon, too dim to show up in photos.

Another common argument is that the cross-hairs that appear in many Apollo images sometimes appear to be behind objects in the photos. If the images were real this would be impossible, suggesting someone painted them on. But testing here on Earth has shown that the brightly lit objects make the cross-hairs appear fainter. When these images are copied or scanned some of this detail is lost completely, giving the effect that the cross-hair is behind the object in certain shots.

Others point to an oddity in a photo of a Moon rock taken during the Apollo 16 mission. There appears to be a C written on it, like a lettered movie prop. Again, analysing the original photo there is no anomaly ­– the ‘C’ is not there. Most likely it was a piece of hair or thread introduced during copying.

Did we have the 2020 film thec in the late 60’S???

Craig like to tell everyone that Stanley Kubrick filmed the landing behind Teide. You would also have to imagine that 2020-era special effects were available to Nasa in 1969 and not one of the 600 million TV viewers noticed anything amiss. Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) is a decent indication of what Hollywood special effects could do at the time – and it’s extremely shonky. It genuinely was simpler to film on location.

A more subtle argument that the landings were faked is based on various misunderstandings of NASA equipment and lunar physics. A well-known example is the American flag that Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin placed on the Moon. It appears to flutter in the wind in some photos. How could this happen when the Moon has no wind?

Is it flutter or a lack of gravity???

In fact, it is not fluttering at all. A horizontal rod at the top of the pole holds the flag unfurled. This makes it look like the wind is stopping it from hanging down. And there is a fluttering effect because the weak gravity on the Moon is not strong enough to uncrumple the flag. After a little waving while the astronauts planted the flags into the Moon’s surface, they have remained still ever since.

Fried by radiation

Perhaps the most convincing argument that the landings were faked has to do with something called the Van Allen belts. These are two giant doughnut-shaped belts surrounding the Earth. They are made of highly energetic charged particles from the solar wind. A lot of people on the tour give this as evidence and they believe humans could not have passed through these belts without being exposed to lethal doses of radiation.

This was a genuine concern before the Apollo missions. And it is the reason scientists behind Apollo 11 made sure they protected the astronauts as best they could. They insulated the spacecraft from radiation with an aluminium shell. And they chose a trajectory from the Earth to the Moon which minimised the amount of time spent in the Van Allen belts. Radiation is one of the reasons we have yet to send man to Mars. The extreme radiation caused by solar flares could be lethal. It would be uneconomical and not at all viable to shield and entire space craft. The mission to Mars would take a lot longer than to the Moon so the radiation exposure would be for a more prolonged time. We now are looking into being able to convert storage spaces as shielded zones for the astronauts to go.

Could we survive the radiation??

Readings from the nine Apollo missions that reached the Moon showed the astronauts’ average radiation exposure was 0.46 rads. This proved NASA was right to shield the astronauts from radiation. Though it is less than that experienced by some nuclear energy workers, 0.46 rads is around 10 times more than the radiation exposure of medical professionals who routinely work with x-ray and radiotherapy machines.

Proof we walked on the Moon

Of course, until we return to the Moon there will always be anomalies and oddities in the records that can spark new claims that the Moon landings were faked. But it is the sheer size and variety of this record that proves every one of these claims to be false.

From the Apollo Moon missions, there are 8,400 publicly available photos, thousands of hours of video footage, a mountain of scientific data, and full transcripts and audio recordings of all air-to-ground conversations. We even have 382 kilograms of Moon rock that Apollo astronauts brought back to Earth. These rocks have been independently verified as lunar by laboratories around the world, ruling out a US conspiracy.

If this is not enough to convince the most-hardened sceptic, NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) might sway them. Today, LRO takes high resolution pictures of the lunar surface from a low orbit. During its mission, it has captured the landing sites and the abandoned descent modules and rovers from the Apollo missions. And its resolution is so good it has picked up the dark squiggly paths that the astronaut’s footprints made. Spacecraft from China, India and Japan have also spotted these landing sites, providing further independent verification of the landings.

A final nail in the coffin of the Moon hoax theories is a simple instrument installed 50 years ago by Apollo 11. During their day on the Moon, Armstrong and Aldrin planted a lunar laser ranging retroreflector array on the surface. It is still operational today and allows us to reflect lasers off it and measure the distance to the Moon down to the centimetre. We simply could not do this if we had not visited the Moon.

The growing strength of the hoax theory is one of the things that happens as time recedes and these events are lost. We’ve seen it with the second world war and the Holocaust. A lot of the witnesses are passing from the scene and it’s easy for people to deny that it took place. Who is left to counteract things that are untrue? Mythologies develop and become the dominant theme.

Perhaps the hardest thing to believe in is the idea that humans might have accomplished something transcendent – something that even brought out the best in Nixon. “Because of what you have done, the heavens have become part of man’s world,” he said in his telephone call to Aldrin and Armstrong on the moon. “And as you talk to us from the Sea of Tranquillity, it inspires us to redouble our efforts to bring peace and tranquillity to Earth.”

We have less faith in ourselves these days. Most moon conspiracists treat the whole thing as a joke, a rabbit hole to go down from time to time. Perhaps if Nasa returns to the moon – possibly as early as 2024, depending on the government – it will be replaced in time by Mars conspiracies.

Still, you could see the persistence of the moon conspiracy as a compliment to the Apollo scientists. In a way, the moon hoaxers are taking the Apollo missions far more seriously than most people do. It’s a sign that they really care. They think that Apollo really mattered. The truth is that the moon landings did not really change life on Earth. Not yet anyway!

Fact or Fake??

For me personally I like to live in the real world safe in the knowledge that the Moon landings did actually take place. But for those who believe different, you no matter what evidence can produce, will NEVER convince them. So, you have a choice, join the skeptics and conspiracy theorists, or like me, choose to live in the real world!

 

Stay Safe and look upwards to the stars in wonder. For now this is Kieran Mynott signing off!

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