An amazing 20% of the American population don’t believe that Apollo astronauts landed on the moon fifty years ago. Instead, they agree with Moon Hoax adherents who argue the whole thing was faked in the Nevada desert at Area 51. So, who is telling the truth – the Moon Hoax theorists or NASA?
Moon hoax or NASA telling the truth?
Let’s go back to an era defining event that I remember from my childhood. Apollo 11 was the mission that first landed two astronauts on the moon in 1969. However, ever since that momentous event, there has been a steady flow of doubt and disbelief from conspiracy theorists and cynics.
The late Bill Kaysing was one such doubter who powered the so-called Moon Hoax movement. He was a curious figure having actually been involved in the manufacture of rocket engines for American spacecraft before resigning his post in 1963.
When he saw the moon landings in 1969, in his own words: “What was being shown was not real.”
So – what problems did he have with the footage? Let’s list some:
- No stars in the black lunar sky
- The US flag was waving even in the absence of gravity
- No blast crater beneath the lunar lander where its powerful rocket had fired
It’s actually the third point that Kaysing was most agitated about. Not only was there no blast crater but equally suspicious in his view was the absence of any dust on the feet of the lander after it came to rest on the lunar surface. Then when the craft took off again, there was no exhaust plume and he contended it was simply being lifted by wires on a film set.
Kaysing believed that NASA, desperate to keep up with the rival Soviet space program, took the view: if you can’t make it, fake it. So what did he think actually happened. Kaysing argued that the Apollo rocket was launched but the astronauts simply orbited the Earth a few times while false footage of a lunar landing was shown on TV to millions of people.
After eight days, the command capsule separated from the rocket and plunged back to Earth. This contention formed the basis for the plot of the 1978 hit movie Capricorn One (starring Elliot Gould, James Brolin and O J Simpson). In that film, we see the moon landings being faked in a TV studio. The movie’s producer Paul Lazarus has argued that this could have happened in real life.
In essence, Kaysing didn’t believe that NASA had the technical capability to effect a moon landing. And where did he think the lunar lies were filmed? Area 51 of course! Conspiracy theorists point to similarities between craters on the moon and similar geological formations around Area 51 that show up in satellite footage.
Astonishingly, a former NASA astronaut – Brian O’Leary (1940-2011) also questioned the Apollo landings. The former government energy adviser became a doubter after a near death experience that he inferred might have been a murder attempt against him. It also seems that O’Leary became estranged from the space establishment after refusing to work on President Ronald Reagan’s Star Wars program in the 1980s.
Is there a problem with the moon films and photos?
Probably the most compelling argument from the Moon Hoaxers is the quality of the photography and film work on the moon. They argue that the absence of viewfinders on the astronauts’ cameras meant they couldn’t see what they were filming let alone focus. Yet the clarity of the images is pristine. And whereas there should have only been one light source – the sun – shadows suggest multiple light sources.
Now, if I was to give some credence to the Moon Hoaxers, I might wonder why the United States hasn’t sent astronauts to the moon for decades – not since the 1970s. The most often cited reason is that the space race was a bi-product of the Cold War with the Soviet Union. Once the USSR collapsed, the space race largely went with it.
There was also a weak economic argument to back NASA space missions with some dissenting voices even at the time of the Apollo 11 mission. Some people felt that the money would be better spent alleviating global poverty. They argued that problems on Earth should be sorted out first before we shot off into outer space.
Apollo did fizzle out with no more manned landings. Was that less to do with the ending of the Cold War and objections of political activists and actually a desire to wind down a programme based on lies?
NASA is fed up with the Moon Hoax movement
Needless to say – NASA is fed up with the conspiracy theories. In 2018, when a top basketball player doubted the veracity of the moon landings, an exasperated NASA invited him to come and see their hundreds of moon rocks at their laboratories. But NASA is stuck on the horns of a dilemma. The more it denies, the more it feeds the growing anti-intellectual view that all “experts” are part of an elite plot.
Moon hoaxers have come up with a slurry of pseudo-scientific arguments to how moon landings were impossible such as radiation from the Van Allen belt making travel between here and the moon impossible. Or stating that astronauts would have been fried alive on the lunar surface. Scientists have rebutted these arguments but worse than not being believed is that they’re not trusted.
Emotion or hunch is what drives the Moon Hoaxers combined with a deep loathing for big government and its agencies, ie NASA. The belief that nobody has ever got to the moon has got way more to do with anti-government and anti-elite views than the science. Hence the startling and unfounded allegations that NASA has even been complicit in the deaths of its own astronauts when in fact they were killed in tragic accidents.