When Neil Armstrong pressed the first bootprint into the Sea of Tranquility, most of humanity watched the televised low-res blob and felt pride welling up in their chests. But a few watchers felt something entirely different—an unconfirmed, squinty-eyed skepticism that something about the whole deal smelled fishy. How could the United States, which could barely put a chimp into space in 1961, get two full-grown men on the surface of the moon eight years later? How could anyone confirm that men actually made it to the moon? And, how, exactly, had that $25 billion Apollo budget been spent?
Five years, and five lunar landings later, the nebulous idea that the government faked the whole moon shot on a soundstage somewhere in the Southwest finally coalesced when, in 1974, Bill Kaysing, a former technical writer for Rocketdyne, a company that worked on the Atlas V launch vehicle, self published a book We Never Went to the Moon: America's $30 Billon Swindle. Kaysing claimed that the Apollo program was faked to allow the U.S. to secretly militarize space, and that the astronauts, who were put through sessions of "guilt therapy" to help deal with the deception, were actually at a strip club in Nevada the night of the moon landing.
Far from being the work of an exhaustive investigative journalist, its notable lack of evidence, sources, and logical reasoning kept the tome from hitting the bestseller list (or any list). But mistrust of the government—1974 was the height of frustration with Vietnam and the Watergate scandal—gave Kaysing's semi-formed ideas enough to nudge the Apollo Hoax out of the ether and into the near fringe of pseudo-science. The seed was slow to germinate, but Capricorn 1—a popular 1978 film starring OJ Simpson (who later theorists have implicated in the Apollo coverup) in which the government fakes a manned Mars landing—kept Kaysing's ideas alive and helped spawn a cottage industry of Moon hoaxers who gathered and presented evidence to one another throughout the 1980s and 1990s.
Despite this, the Apollo Hoax remained fringe, and was on the verge of likely evaporation when the nexus of the Internet and a February 2001 special on the Fox network called Conspiracy Theory: Did We Ever Land on the Moon? put the theory on the public display for the first time. In Fox's shockumentary era (see When Animals Attack and Temptation Idol), the Moon Hoax documentary and a replay a month later were ratings successes, and became water cooler fodder across the country with people asking "why weren't there stars in the photos?" And "How could the astronauts have survived the radiation of the Van Allen Belts?" Aided with a blossoming of Internet conspiracy sites, the Apollo Hoax made its first true toehold in the mainstream press.
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"In ten years I think this conspiracy theory will be gone," says Plait, who points out that in 2009 NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter will give us clear photos of the moon landing sites, and says the U.S. goal of returning to the moon by 2020 will refocus us on the triumph of the Apollo mission. "These guys are not professional journalists, they have no credentials, and their arguments are tissue thin. They have a track record of 100 percent errors."
Though the hoaxers claims usually disappear when held up to the light, there is one question that sticks in one's craw: what happened to the official videotapes of the Apollo 11 landing? To save space in the broadcast spectrum so they could transmit telemetry and other data, cameras on the lunar lander transmitted images in a special slow-scan format. That data was received by stations in Australia and the Mojave, formatted for television broadcast and sent to Houston. The images seen on television were fuzzy and indistinct. The actual slow-scan footage before conversion was crisp and full of detail.
But those priceless historical images weren't put in a vault at the Smithsonian like they should have been. According to NASA records, the official video images of the moon landing were stored in 2,612 boxes at a government warehouse. Between 1975 and 1979, the Goddard Space Center requested all but two boxes of tapes and never returned them to the National Archives. Now, the 13,000 reels of data are nowhere to be found. In 2006, NASA began a dedicated agency-wide hunt, but to date, the images haven't shown up. "Despite the challenges of the search," a NASA release states, "NASA does not consider the tapes to be lost." But the hoaxers and moon doubters do. And it's unlikely their questions will be put to rest till we put another footprint on the moon.
View the scant remnants here.
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Where's the flag's shadow?
The shadow question is valid...Also, the moon has no atmosphere. No atmosphere means no air molecules (Nitrogen Oxygen, etc.) also means no wind. So why does the flag in the picture appear to be flapping in the wind?
they artificially stiffened the flag to make it look like it's flapping.
Obviously the flag has to have a shadow. The shadow is covered up by the topography of the moon.
The flag appears to flap precisely because there is no atmosphere and very little gravity to provide resistance to the flapping. No air means no air resistance.
And why would anyone trying to fake a moon landing leave such obvious flaws in the pictures as a missing shadow or a waving flag?
We landed on the moon. End of story.
the USA was not the only superpower heading for the moon. The Soviet Union was as well. If it was faked, the USSR would know, and they sure as hell wouldn't keep it a secret. Russia is in a bad way now partially because of the amount of money poured into the project. they would not be outdone by a disguised soundstage in nevada.
get over it already, we landed on the moon.
Hoaxers do a diservice to the sicentific community.
If 8 years was too short a time to go from toy satelite to manned launch, then we could debate that we are still in caves pretending to live in large complex cities!
Guess where China is going in about the same time?
What a ridiculous claim to say that the actual astronauts where at a strip club!? If it really was the worlds most famous and elaborate hoax, Do you really think they would risk letting their star performers out on the night in question? These guys are rocket scientists, Gimme a break!
Can’t they see the flag with high powered telescopes anyway?
njdevil is exactly right, it is the same rock solid argument I have posed to any of these people who disbelieve the landing. There is no way the USSR would have not called them on it.
One Question, isn't it obvious that the flag would have a shadow no matter where you are? It's not like they.... dunh dunh dunh photoshopped in the flapping flag.
nerdface it would depend on where the moon was in accordance to the earth and what side they landed on. dunh dunh dunh
Sheesh... doesn't anyone watch Mythbusters? They've already confirmed the landing happened, and shown evidence contrary to the shadows, the footprints, etc. New article please.
Here is what I think:
The Moon-landing happened. However, for some reason, they did not show the real videos of what heppened EVER! Much rather, probebly due to something classified, they chose to make a fake video so then they had something to prove it.
One very, very simple thing is this: go to the first page. Then, look above the shadow. There is a straight line going all the way across the image [on the left, it is slanted abit, but that is because theres a pile of sand]. Some of the other images are also like that.
On other thing; moon dust. When they landed, wouldn't that of sent up a giant cloud of dust? There isn't any of it shown at all; its so light/no gravity, even the Footsteps would have had made some fly up farther.
I agree with jlan13...before any of you ask any more questions about the moon landing, you need to watch the Mythbusters special.
HarbingerXIII: What do you mean "what side?" Is it not obvious they are on the 'facing' side? There are only 2 to pick from and I see sunlight in the pictures. Duh.
RoughneckLeader: The phrase "Moon dust" is misleading. People tend to relate that to a substance similar to flour, and moon dust is anything but. It is very "sticky" in the sense that it tends to clump to itself due to its microscopic sharp edges (from being bombarded repeatedly) Thus, also sticking to astronauts suits as well. Therefore it is NO stretch to believe that only a fine layer on top of the moons surface would be blown away. This is VERY evident in the real footage of the landing from the camera pointed on the ground before touchdown. Take a look at some close up pictures of moon dust (unless you believe those are fake as well.)
To ANY Disbeliever: I think EVERYONE can agree that the motivation for this moon landing was initiated by politics. With the entire world watching us land on the moon multiple times, why in the hell would we donate a majority of our rocks brought back to other nations around the world? Did we make fake rocks too? How far are you willing to take this 'conspiracy?' With Russia on our butts at the time, I doubt they would have said "thank you for the rock samples, we trust you enough to not test them." People face it, we landed there, get over yourselves.
I also recommend the Mythbusters special on this subject, it was the best!
The biggest problem facing any conspiracy theory is that, a bigger conspiracy requires more people to be in on the conspiracy, thus more opportunities for a leak. Especially many years later on deathbed conscious clearing statements.
what i wanna know...where the heck are the stars in this picture....or many of the NASA photos of the apollo missions...most have no stars in space..
I think that that there are no stars in the pics is to do with the brightness of the moons surface. even on a starry night on earth it is difficult to get a picture of stars nowadays, i imagine it would have been a lot harder in 1969 with a chest mounted camera.
njdevil got it. There are no stars in the pics because the brightness of the moon was overwhelming for the film. The fact that there is no atmosphere does NOT mean it should be easier to see stars in photos, it actually means the exact opposite. No atmosphere means a lot more light from the sun will be reflected off the surface of the moon, thereby drowning out any stars present in the distance. I bet it's hard to find a professional photographer who believes the photos were fake. Try me! It's not impossible to take pictures of stars from the moon, you would have to open the apature so much though that the moon would look white hot and no astronauts would be visible! But trust me siddhartha12, your stars ARE there, just not at that f-stop!
If it was real, how come they haven't used hubble to photograph the lander? You can see a galaxy a kazillion light years away but you can't get a high-res shot of the landing site?
smthy, take out your camera and put a telephoto lens on it. Now take a picture of a period on a piece of paper up close and send it to me. Please do research, Hubble cannot image anything on the moon smaller than 100 meters across. Why? Physics.
"---On other thing; moon dust. When they landed, wouldn't that of sent up a giant cloud of dust? There isn't any of it shown at all; its so light/no gravity, even the Footsteps would have had made some fly up farther.---"
No air, no wind. No wind, no dust cloud. Stomp your foot and you will only move the dust that your foot comes in contact with. Same with the thrust from the landers propulsion system. No touch-y, no move-y.
Popsci - please make your sight compatible with the 'chrome' browser.
Actually, it is your 'site' that should be made compatible with chrome... Your sight is most likely able to see chrome just fine.
HELLO HopefullyPessimistic OK... YOU WROTE:
The shadow question is valid...Also, the moon has no atmosphere. No atmosphere means no air molecules (Nitrogen Oxygen, etc.) also means no wind. So why does the flag in the picture appear to be flapping in the wind? I TOTALLY AGREE WITH YOU. HOWEVER WHEN I WAS 10 YRS OLD, THE FLAG STANDING OUT WAS EXPLAINED BY A MISSION CONTROLS NARATOR, THAT THE FLAG WAS CONSTRUCTED WITH VERY STIFF WIRES TO BETTER SHOW OUR PRIDE FOR THE FLAG. I FIND THE FIRST LAUNCH AS MAKE BELIEVE, EXTREMELY POSSIBLE. HOWEVER FUTURE FLIGHTS I BELIEVE MAY HAVE BEEN GENUINE. I LOVE THIS FORUM!!
ROD THE AIRPLANE DOCTOR
OMG you guys come on! Sooo sad especially if you will believe half the truth, and not the rest. Why bother at all? Sounds like you only believe the rest of the landings were real because you didn't see any flags "flapping" from later landings. My question the flag flappers- If this was all filmed in a studio WHY PUT A FAN ON THE SET!!!! Are you now going to change your minds again and claim that it was filmed outside, not inside? Give me and all the rest of us a break, give up. You're dead wrong, I can't wait till they encase the landing sites for museum attractions in the future and put a rest to (now) "half" skeptics for good.
As Neil Armstrong has already said, the only thing harder to do than send humans to the moon is to fake the whole thing! The truth will always come out.
There are laser reflectors placed on the moon by three Apollo missions at their landing sites, and these have been very helpful in a variety of scientific disciplines over the four decades since. Observatories have been beaming lasers at those reflectors all those years, and still do so. Try faking that!
Also, dust clouds do not get thrown up on the moon because there is no atmosphere to carry them aloft. They just shoot off in individual ballistic trajectories and land, as what happened when the Lunar Module touched down.
There will always be lunatics (now there's an apt description) out there, ever eager to add 2 and 2 to make 5.
i thought that when you are the moon there is no air. so it should be easy to see stars right? i dont see any in this picture
There is a very interesting read and answers to many of your questions at: http://www.badastronomy.com/bad/tv/foxapollo.html
I wrote a comment, waaaay back in October, which was removed?, asking why, despite Hubble's inability to resolve details smaller than certain size, haven't any of the lunar orbiting surveyors' photographs of the purported landing sites been released?
So far I've seen none, not a single image. Those devices orbiting the moon are occasionally at a lower altitude than the spy sats we constantly have pictures from of earth features, such as Inauguration Day, and the newest one, the image of the cherry blossoms along the tidal way near the Mall... Why don't we have high-rez images from the moon comparable to those we get every day here?
One other thing, images of craft on the moon are not proof we rode there inside them, they're only proof we can land craft on foreign bodies... we already know that. Not even images of footprints would be proof, I can imagine boots attached to wheels on remote controlled vehicles... LOL, seriously...
Should it come down to belief?
Watch the Mythbusters moon landing episode. It not only answers many of the questions it demonstrates how and why many of the things are how they are.
As far as why they dont show pictures from current telescopes and so on... There was a reflector left on the moon for scientific purposes and is still used to this day. We dont take pictures because our gear is not set up for that nor is it positioned correct, they do however do "mapping" which is basically just like using radar or sonar to map the surface. Of course this is a waist of my time because the people that dont believe it never will.