Different Moon landing conspiracy theories claim that some or all elements of the Apollo program and the associated Moon landings were hoaxes staged by NASA and members of other organizations. Various groups and individuals have made such conspiracy claims since the end of the Apollo program in 1975. The most notable claim is that the six manned landings (1969–1972) were faked and that the Apollo astronauts did not walk on the Moon. The conspiracy theorists (henceforth conspiracists) argue that NASA and others knowingly misled the public into believing the landings happened by manufacturing, destroying, or tampering with evidence; including photos, telemetry tapes, transmissions, rock samples, and even some key witnesses.
There is much third-party evidence for Apollo Moon landings and detailed rebuttals to the hoax claims,including photos taken by more recent spacecraft of the moon landing sites.However, polls taken in various locations have shown that between 6% and 20% of Americans surveyed believe that the manned landings were faked, rising to 28% in Russia.
Note: All Images on this page: Curtsey of NASA. Copyright NASA
The first book about the subject, Bill Kaysing’s self-published We Never Went to the Moon: America’s Thirty Billion Dollar Swindle, was released in 1974, two years after the Apollo Moon flights had ended. The Flat Earth Society was one of the first organizations to accuse NASA of faking the landings, arguing that they were staged by Hollywood with Walt Disney sponsorship, based on a script by Arthur C. Clarke and directed by Stanley Kubrick. Folklorist Linda Degh suggests that writer-director Peter Hyams’s 1978 film Capricorn One, which depicts a hoaxed journey to Mars in a spacecraft that looks identical to the Apollo craft, may have given a boost to the hoax theory’s popularity in the post-Vietnam War era. She notes that this happened during the post-Watergate era, when American citizens were inclined to distrust official accounts. Degh writes: “The mass media catapult these half-truths into a kind of twilight zone where people can make their guesses sound as truths. Mass media have a terrible impact on people who lack guidance”. In A Man on the Moon, published in 1994, Andrew Chaikin mentions that at the time of Apollo 8’s lunar-orbit mission in December 1968, similar conspiracy ideas were already in circulation.
Claimed motives of the United States and NASA
Those who believe the landings were faked give several theories about the motives of NASA and the United States government. The three main theories are below.
The Space Race
The US government deemed it vital that it win the Space Race against the Soviet Union. Going to the Moon would be risky and expensive, as exemplified by John F. Kennedy famously stating that the United States chose to go because it was hard.
A main reason for the race to the Moon was the Cold War. Philip Plait states in Bad Astronomy that the Soviets—with their own competing Moon program and a formidable scientific community able to analyze NASA data—would have cried foul if the United States tried to fake a Moon landing, especially since their own program had failed. Proving a hoax would have been a huge propaganda win for the Soviets. Bart Sibrel responded, “the Soviets did not have the capability to track deep spacecraft until late in 1972, immediately after which, the last three Apollo missions were suddenly canceled.”
However, the Soviets had been sending unmanned spacecraft to the Moon since 1959, and “during 1962, deep space tracking facilities were introduced at IP-15 in Ussuriisk and IP-16 in Evpatoria, while Saturn communication stations were added to IP-3, 4 and 14”, the latter having a 100 million km range. The Soviet Union tracked the Apollo missions at the Space Transmissions Corps, which was “fully equipped with the latest intelligence-gathering and surveillance equipment”. Vasily Mishin, in an interview for the article “The Moon Programme That Faltered” (Spaceflight, March 1991, vol. 33, 2-3), describes how the Soviet Moon program dwindled after the Apollo landings.
It is claimed that NASA faked the landings to forgo humiliation and to ensure that it continued to get funding. NASA raised about US$30 billion to go to the Moon, and Bill Kaysing claims that this could have been used to “pay off” many people. Since most conspiracists believe that sending men to the Moon was impossible at the time, they argue that landings had to be faked to fulfill President Kennedy’s 1961 promise: “achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth”. Others have claimed that, with all the known and unknown hazards, NASA would not have risked the public humiliation of astronauts crashing to their deaths on the lunar surface, broadcast on live TV.
It is claimed that the landings helped the US government because they were a popular distraction from the Vietnam War; and so manned landings suddenly ended about the same time that the US ended its role in the Vietnam War.
Moon Landing Hoax Claims
Main Categories of the Moon Landing Hoax claims
- Number of people involved
- Photograph and film oddities
- Mechanical issues
- Missing data:
- Deaths of NASA personnel
- Stanley Kubrick involvement
Primary source of this post: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
All Images Curtsey of NASA
A Small Selection of the Apollo Program Photos…
Can you spot any oddities?
Conspiracists devote much of their efforts to examining NASA photos. They point to oddities in photographs and films taken on the Moon. Photography experts (even those unrelated to NASA) answer that the oddities are what one would expect from a real Moon landing, and not what would happen with tweaked or studio imagery.
It seems the moving Rover does not leave any tracks behind (see close-ups below)…
No tracks before and after the wheel?