Encyclopedia > Apollo moon landing conspiracy theory

  Article Content

Apollo moon landing conspiracy theory

According to a conspiracy theory the Apollo moon landing was a hoax. The theorists believe that the moon landings of Apollo 11 on July 20, 1969 and subsequent missions never happened, but were faked on Earth. This idea is rejected by nearly all interested scientists and historians.

The theory has significantly grown in popularity since the release of the movie Capricorn One (1978), in which NASA attempt to fake a landing on Mars. It is possible that a brief sequence in the James Bond movie Diamonds Are Forever (1971) which appears to show a moon landing being simulated may coincide with some of the first suggestions of the landings being faked.

The stated reason for the hoax is that the political investment in the program was such that the U.S. government could not allow it to fail and that the available technology at the time was such that it could only fail if genuinely attempted.

Regarding Apollo 11 there are many claims and counter-claims. Theorists protest that most rebuttals address statements they never made, or else ignore the relevant facts.

  • the lack of a blast crater from the landing;
    • Rebuttal: Exhaust from the propulsion system was throttled low during the final stages of low gravity descent and the lack of air-pressure on the moon causes those exhaust gases to rapidly expand well beyond the landing site. Thus there in fact was little pressure right below the landing site.
  • that the launch rocket produced no visible flame;
  • the rocks brought back from the Moon are identical to rocks collected by scientific expeditions to Antartica
    • Rebuttal: This is false. Chemical analysis of the rocks confirms a different oxygen isotopic composition and a surprising lack of volatile elements.
  • the presence of deep dust around the module;
    • Rebuttal: This is called regolith and is created by ejecta from asteroid and meteoroid impacts. This dust was several inches thick at the Apollo 11 landing site.
  • in moon photographs
    • the quality,
      • Rebuttal: Early photos were poor and later ones better as better equipment was sent. There were also many hundreds of photos taken. NASA selected only the best for release to the public and the popular press selected only the best from these.
    • the lack of stars,
      • Rebuttal: There are also no stars seen in Space Shuttle, Mir, Space Station and earth observation photos. Cameras used for imaging these things are set for quick shutter speeds in order not to over-expose the film for white and light gray objects. The dim light of the stars simply doesn't have a chance to expose the film. (Science fiction movies and television shows confuse this issue by inaccurately depicting the stars as visible in space under all lighting conditions.)
    • the color and angle of shadows and light,
      • Rebuttal: Shadows on the moon are complicated because there are several light sources; the sun, the earth and the moon itself. Light from these sources is scattered by lunar dust in many different directions, including shadows.
    • identical backgrounds in photos listed as taken miles apart,
      • Rebuttal: Distance and scale are perceived very differently on the moon than on earth due to its much smaller size and lack of lensing and other effects that are caused by light passing through air, mist and atmospheric particulates. The topography on the mares is also very redundant.
    • the flapping flag;
      • The astronauts were moving the flag into position causing motion. Since there is no air on the moon to act as friction these movements caused a long-lasting undulating movement seen in the flag.
  • and the dangerous radiation of the van Allen radiation belt.
    • Rebuttal: The moon is well beyond the van Allen radiation belts and the astronauts were protected by very sophisticated spacesuits. The spacecraft did quickly move through the belts but the astronauts were protected from the ionizing radiation by the metal hulls of the spacecraft.
      • Theorists argue here that James van Allen[?] wrote a paper arguing against the possibility of travelling through the belts and also note that the Russians were never able to figure out how to do it. They then ask for more detailed information than, "sophisticated spacesuits".
  • astronauts reports of not seeing any stars from the capsule windows. in a vacuum, facing away from the sun, the stars should be gloriously brilliant.
    • Rebuttal: This is false. Stars were easily seen by every Apollo mission crew except for the ill-fated Apollo 13 (they couldn't see the stars due to the fact that oxygen and water vapor created a haze around the spacecraft). Stars were used for navigation purposes.

Refutations of the theory generally focus on the following topics:

  • telemetry,
  • prior missions,
  • the rocks brought to Earth from the moon
  • the presence of retroreflectors left on the moon

Some proponents of the moon hoax theory have claimed that famed director Stanley Kubrick was somehow a part of the conspiracy, usually casting him as the director of the moon landing sequence. These proponents hypothesize that the superb "realistic" outer space effects of the movie were developed and perfected in special CIA film sets while preparing the faked moon landings, and that Kubrick later made use of the same special effects technology to make his movie "2001, a Space Odyssey".

Opposers of the theory point to the Russian space program, and say the Russians would have cried foul if the USA tried to fake a moon landing. Theorist Ralph Rene responds that shortly after the alleged moon landings, the USA silently started shipping hundreds of thousands of tons of grain as "aid" to the starving USSR. He views this as prima facie evidence of a coverup, the grain being the price of silence.

In September, 2002, astronaut Buzz Aldrin assaulted a man who had repeatedly, over several years, demanded that Aldrin swear an oath that he had walked on the moon, or admit that it was all a hoax.

In early November 2002 NASA announced that it was cancelling publication of a book by Jim Oberg[?] that was intended to challenge the claims that the Moon landings were a hoax. Their decision was apparently prompted by the outcry raised by people who felt such a book would legitimize the claims of hoax theorists.

European scientists have announced in 2002 that they intend to use the Very Large Telescope to obtain images of the moon landing sites, which are expected to show the moon lander bases still in place. No firm date has been given when the telescope will be used for this purpose, or when the results will be released.

External links

All Wikipedia text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License

  Search Encyclopedia

Search over one million articles, find something about almost anything!
  Featured Article

... first to have the title of "Tyrant" was Pisistratus in 560 BC. In modern times Tyrant has come to mean a dictator who rules with cruelty. Bullying ...

This page was created in 30.9 ms