Moon landing conspiracy theories: Wikis

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Astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong in the NASA's training mockup of the Moon and lander module. Hoax proponents say that the film of the missions was made using similar sets to this training mockup.

Various Moon landing conspiracy theories claim that some or all elements of the Apollo Project and the associated Moon landings were falsifications staged by NASA and members of other involved organizations. Since the conclusion of the Apollo program, a number of related accounts espousing a belief that the landings were faked in some fashion have been advanced by various groups and individuals. Some of the more notable of these various claims include allegations that the Apollo astronauts did not set foot on the Moon; instead NASA and others intentionally deceived the public into believing the landings did occur by manufacturing, destroying, or tampering with evidence, including photos, telemetry tapes, transmissions, and rock samples. Such claims are common to most of the conspiracy theories.

There is abundant third-party evidence for Apollo Moon landings, and commentators have published detailed rebuttals to the hoax claims.[1] Various polls have shown that 6% to 28% of the people surveyed do not think the Moon landing happened.

Contents

Origins and history

The first book dedicated to 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 ceased. 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 occurred during the post-Watergate era, when segments of the American public 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."[2] 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.

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Public opinion

There are subcultures worldwide which advocate the belief that the Moon landings were faked. James Oberg of ABC News stated that claims made that the moon landings were faked are actively taught in Cuban schools and wherever Cuban teachers are sent.[3][4] A 1999 Gallup poll found that 6% of the American public doubted that the Moon landings had occurred and that 5% had no opinion on the subject,[5][6][7][8] which roughly matches the findings of a similar 1995 Time/CNN poll.[5] Officials of Fox television stated that such skepticism increased to about 20% after the February 15, 2001 airing of that network's TV show entitled Conspiracy Theory: Did We Land on the Moon? Seen by approximately 15 million viewers,[6] the 2001 Fox special is viewed as having promoted the hoax claims.[9][10]

A 2000 poll conducted by the Russian Public Opinion Fund found that 28% do not believe that American astronauts have been on the Moon, and this percentage is roughly equal in all social-demographic groups.[11] In 2009, a poll conducted by the British Engineering & Technology magazine found that 25% of Britons do not believe that humans have walked on the Moon.[12] Similarly, 25% of Americans between the age of 18 and 25 are not sure the landings happened.[13]

Predominant hoax claims

A number of different hoax claims have been advanced that involve conspiracy theories outlining concerted action by NASA employees, and sometimes others, to perpetuate false information about landings that never occurred, or to cover up accurate information about the landings that occurred in a different manner than have been publicized. Believers have focused on perceived gaps or inconsistencies in the historical record of the missions. The Flat Earth Society was one of the first organizations to accuse NASA of faking the landings, arguing that they were staged by Hollywood and based on a script by Arthur C. Clarke.[14]

The most predominant idea is that the entire human landing program was a complete hoax from start to finish. Some claim that the technology to send men to the Moon was insufficient or that the Van Allen radiation belts, solar flares, solar wind, coronal mass ejections, and cosmic rays made such a trip impossible.[15]

Bart Sibrel has claimed that the crew of Apollo 11 and subsequent astronauts had faked their orbit around the Moon and their walk on its surface by trick photography, and that they never got more than half way to the Moon. A subset of this proposal is advocated by those who concede the existence of retroreflectors and other observable human-made objects on the Moon. British publisher Marcus Allen represented this argument when he said "I would be the first to accept what [telescope images of the landing site] find as powerful evidence that something was placed on the Moon by man." He goes on to say that photographs of the lander would not prove that America put men on the Moon. "Getting to the Moon really isn't much of a problem – the Russians did that in 1959, the big problem is getting people there." He suggests that NASA sent robot missions because radiation levels in space would be lethal to humans. Another variant on this is the idea that NASA and its contractors did not recover quickly enough from the Apollo 1 fire, and so all the early Apollo missions were faked, with Apollo 14 or 15 being the first authentic mission.[16]

Philippe Lheureux, French author of Moon Landings: Did NASA Lie?, and Lumières sur la Lune (Lights on the Moon): La NASA a-t-elle menti?, said that astronauts did land on the Moon but, in order to prevent other nations from benefiting from scientific information in the real photos, NASA published fake images.[17]

Motives

Proponents of the view that the Moon landings were faked give several differing theories about the motivation for the U.S. government to fake the Moon landings. Cold War prestige, monetary gain, and providing a distraction are some of the more notable motives which are given.

The U.S. government considered it vital that the U.S. 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 U.S. chose to go because it was hard.[18] Proponents also claim that the U.S. government benefited from a popular distraction from the Vietnam War; and so lunar activities suddenly stopped, with planned missions canceled, around the same time that the U.S. ceased its involvement in the Vietnam War.[19]

Bill Kaysing maintains that, despite close monitoring by the Soviet Union, it would have been easier for the U.S. to fake the Moon landing, thereby guaranteeing success, than for the U.S. to actually go there. Kaysing claimed that the chance of a successful landing on the Moon was calculated to be 0.017%.[20] NASA raised approximately US$30 billion in order to go to the Moon as well, and Kaysing claims that this amount could have been used to pay off a large number of people, providing significant motivation for complicity.[21] The issue of delivering on the promise is often brought up as well. Since most proponents believe that the technical issues involved in getting people to the Moon either were insurmountable at the time or remain insurmountable, the Moon landings had to be faked in order to fulfill President Kennedy's 1961 promise "to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth."[18]

Involvement of the Soviet Union

A primary 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, could be expected to have cried foul if the United States tried to fake a Moon landing,[22] especially since their own program had failed. Successfully pointing out a hoax would have been a major propaganda coup. Bart Sibrel has 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 abruptly canceled."[23]

Hoax proponents and their proposals

  • Bill Kaysing (1922-2005) an ex-employee of Rocketdyne,[24] the company which built the F-1 engines used on the Saturn V rocket. Kaysing was not technically qualified, and worked at Rocketdyne as a librarian. Kaysing's self published book, We Never Went to the Moon: America's Thirty Billion Dollar Swindle,[15][25] made many allegations, effectively beginning the discussion of the Moon landings possibly being hoaxed. NASA and others have debunked the claims made in the book.
  • Bart Sibrel, a filmmaker, produced and directed four films for his company AFTH,[26] including a film in 2001 called A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Moon,[27] examining the evidence of a hoax. Again, the arguments put forward therein have been debunked by numerous sources, including Svector's video series Lunar Legacy,[28] which disproves the documentary's primary argument that the Apollo crew faked their distance from the Earth command module, while in low orbit. Sibrel believes that the effect on the shot covered in his film was produced through the use of a transparency of the Earth. Sibrel was also famously punched in the face by Buzz Aldrin[29] while accusing the former astronaut of being "a coward, and a liar, and a thief." Sibrel attempted to press charges against Aldrin but the case was thrown out of court when the judge ruled that Aldrin was within his rights given Sibrel's invasive and aggressive behavior.[30]
  • William L. Brian, a nuclear engineer who self-published a book in 1982 called Moongate: Suppressed Findings of the U.S. Space Program, in which he disputes the Moon's surface gravity.
  • David Percy, TV producer and expert in audiovisual technologies and member of the Royal Photographic Society, is co-author, along with Mary Bennett of Dark Moon: Apollo and the Whistle-Blowers (ISBN 1-898541-10-8) and co-producer of What Happened On the Moon?. He is the main proponent of the "whistle-blower" accusation, arguing that the errors in the NASA photos in particular are so obvious that they are evidence that insiders are trying to 'blow the whistle' on the hoax by deliberately inserting errors that they know will be seen.[31]
  • Ralph Rene - An inventor and 'self taught' engineering buff. Author of NASA Mooned America (second edition OCLC 36317224).
  • Charles T. Hawkins - Author of How America Faked the Moon Landings,
  • James M. Collier (d. 1998) - American journalist and author, producer of the video Was It Only a Paper Moon? in 1997.
  • Jack White - American photo historian known for his attempt to prove forgery in photos related to the assassination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy.
  • Marcus Allen - British publisher of Nexus who said that photographs of the lander would not prove that the U.S. put men on the Moon. "Getting to the Moon really isn't much of a problem - the Russians did that in 1959 - the big problem is getting people there."[32]
  • Aron Ranen - Directed Did We Go?, co-produced with Benjamin Britton and selected for the 2000 "New Documentary Series" Museum of Modern Art, NYC, the 2000 Dallas Video Festival Awards and the 2001 Digital Video Underground Festival in San Francisco. He received a Golden Cine Eagle and two fellowships from the National Endowment for Arts. Ranen states in Did We Go? "at this point right now I'm about 75% believing we went". On July 20, 2009, Ranen appeared on Geraldo at Large to argue that no one has landed on the moon.
  • Clyde Lewis - Radio talk show host.[33]
  • David Groves - Works for Quantech Image Processing and worked on some of the NASA photos. Notably he has examined the photo of Aldrin emerging from the LM. He said he can pinpoint the exact point at which an artificial light was used. Using the focal length of the camera's lens and an actual boot, he has calculated, using ray-tracing, that the artificial light source is between 24 to 36 centimetres (9.4 to 14 in) to the right of the camera.[34] This corresponds with the sunlit part of Armstrong's spacesuit.[35]
  • Yuri Mukhin - Russian opposition politician, publicist and writer and author of the book The Moon affair of the USA (2006) in which he denies all Moon landing evidence and accuses the U.S. establishment of plundering the money paid by the American tax payers for the Moon program and the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and some Soviet scientists for helping NASA commit the hoax without being denounced.[36]
  • Alexander Popov - Russian doctor of physical-mathematical sciences and author of the book Americans on the Moon - a great breakthrough or a space affair? (Moscow, 2009, ISBN 978-5-9533-3315-3) in which he aims to prove that Saturn V was in fact a camouflaged Saturn 1B[37] and denies all Moon landing evidence.[38]
  • Stanislav Pokrovsky - Russian candidate of technical sciences and General Director of a scientific-manufacturing enterprise Project-D-MSK who calculated that the real speed of the Saturn V rocket at S-IC staging time was only half of what was declared. His analysis appears to assume that the solid rocket plumes from the ullage and retro rockets on the two stages came to an instant halt in the surrounding air so they can be used to estimate the velocity of the rocket. He ignored high altitude winds and the altitude at staging, 67 km, where air is about 1/10,000 as dense as at sea level, and claimed that only a loop around the Moon was possible, not a manned landing on the Moon with return to the Earth. He also determined the reason for this - problems with the Inconel superalloy used in the F-1 engine.[39][40][41]

Critical examination of hoax accusations

An article in the German magazine Der Spiegel places the Moon hoax in the context of other well-known 20th century conspiracy theories which it describes as "the rarified atmosphere of those myths in which Elvis is alive, John F. Kennedy fell victim to a conspiracy involving the Mafia and secret service agents, the Moon landing was staged in the Nevada desert, and Princess Diana was murdered by British intelligence."[42]

According to James Longuski, Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics Engineering at Purdue University, the size and complexity of the alleged conspiracy theory scenarios make their veracity an impossibility. More than 400,000 people worked on the Apollo project for nearly ten years, and a dozen men who walked on the Moon returned to Earth to recount their experiences. Hundreds of thousands of people, including astronauts, scientists, engineers, technicians, and skilled laborers, would have had to keep the secret. Longuski also contends that it would have been significantly easier to actually land on the Moon than to generate such a massive conspiracy to fake such a landing.[43][44]

Vince Calder and Andrew Johnson provided a detailed rebuttal to the conspiracy theorists' claims, in a question and answer format, on the Argonne National Laboratory web site.[45] They show that NASA's portrayal of the Moon landing is fundamentally accurate, allowing for such common errors as mislabeled photos and imperfect personal recollections. Through application of the scientific process, any hypothesis that is contradicted by the observable facts may be rejected. The lack of narrative consistency in the hoax hypothesis occurs because hoax accounts vary from proponent to proponent. The 'real landing' hypothesis is a single story, since it comes from a single source, but there are many hoax hypotheses, each of which addresses a specific aspect of the Moon landing, and this variation is considered a key indicator that the hoax hypothesis actually constitutes a conspiracy theory.[46]

Many astronauts of the Apollo era have observed that the "hoax" stance has never been officially taken by Russia or members of its space program.[citation needed] Given the importance of the space race during the years leading to the first moon landing, this is usually received as one of the clearest and most significant rejections of hoax theories.

Imaging the landing sites

A later LRO photo of the Apollo 14 landing site

Another component of the Moon hoax theory is based on the argument that professional observatories and the Hubble Space Telescope should be able to take pictures of the lunar landing sites. The argument runs that if telescopes can "see to the edge of the universe" then they ought to be able to take pictures of the lunar landing sites, implying that the world's major observatories (as well as the Hubble Program) are complicit in the Moon landing hoax by refusing to take pictures of the landing sites. Images of the moon have been taken by Hubble, including at least two Apollo landing sites; but the Hubble resolution limits viewing of lunar objects to sizes no smaller than 60-75 yards (55-69 meters), which is insufficient to see any landing site features.[47] In 2009 NASA released pictures from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter clearly showing the Apollo landing sites.

Leonard David published an article on space.com,[48][49] on April 27, 2001 which displayed a picture taken by the Clementine mission showing a diffuse dark spot at the location that NASA says is the Apollo 15 Lunar Module Falcon. The evidence was noticed by Misha Kreslavsky, of the Department of Geological Sciences at Brown University, and Yuri Shkuratov of the Kharkov Astronomical Observatory in Ukraine. The European Space Agency's SMART-1 unmanned probe sent back imagery of the Apollo Moon landing sites, according to Bernard Foing, Chief Scientist of the ESA Science Program.[50] "Given SMART-1’s initial high orbit, however, it may prove difficult to see artifacts", said Foing in an interview on space.com.

Apollo 17 landing site

The Daily Telegraph (London) published a story in 2002 saying that European astronomers at the Very Large Telescope would use it to view the remains of the Apollo lunar landers. According to the article, Dr Richard West said that his team would take "a high-resolution image of one of the Apollo landing sites". Marcus Allen, a Moon hoax proponent, pointed out in the story that no images of hardware on the Moon would convince him that manned landings had taken place.[51] As the VLT is capable of resolving equivalent to the distance between the headlights of a car as seen from the Moon,[52] it may be able to directly image some features of the Apollo landing site. Such photos, if and when they become available, would be the first non-NASA produced images of the site at that definition.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) launched their SELENE lunar orbiter on September 14, 2007 (JST) from Tanegashima Space Center. SELENE orbited the Moon at about 100 kilometres (62 mi) altitude. In May 2008 JAXA reported detecting the "halo" generated by the Apollo 15 lunar module engine exhaust from a Terrain Camera image.[53] A 3-D reconstructed photo also matched the terrain of an Apollo 15 photograph taken from the surface.

On July 17, 2009 NASA released low-resolution engineering test photographs of the Apollo 11, Apollo 14, Apollo 15, Apollo 16 and Apollo 17 landing sites that have been imaged by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter as part of the process of starting its primary mission.[54] The photographs show the descent stage of the lunar module from each mission on the surface of the Moon. The picture of the Apollo 14 landing site also shows tracks created by an astronaut between a science experiment (ALSEP) and the lunar lander.[55] Photographs of the Apollo 12 landing site were released by NASA on September 3, 2009.[56] The Intrepid lunar module descent stage, experiment package (ALSEP), Surveyor 3 spacecraft, and astronaut footpaths are all visible.

While the LRO images have been enjoyed by the scientific community as a whole, they have not done anything to convince conspiracy theorists that the landings took place.[57] The main reason for this doubt is because the LRO is a NASA project, and is therefore assumed to be biased.

Academic work

In 2004, Martin Hendry and Ken Skeldon of the University of Glasgow were awarded a grant by the UK based Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council in order to investigate 'Moon Hoax' proposals.[58] In November 2004, they gave a lecture at the Glasgow Science Centre where the top ten lines of evidence advanced by hoax proponents were individually addressed and refuted.[59]

Alex R. Blackwell, of the University of Hawaii has pointed out that photos taken by Apollo astronauts[48] are currently the best available images of the landing sites; they show shadows of the lander, but not the lander itself.

MythBusters special

An episode of MythBusters in August 2008 was dedicated to NASA, and each myth addressed during the show was related to the Moon landings, such as the pictures and video footage. A few members of the MythBusters crew were allowed into a NASA training facility to test some of the myths. All of the hoax-related myths examined on the show were labeled as having been "Busted".

Missing data

Blueprints and design and development drawings of the machines involved are missing.[60][61] Apollo 11 data tapes containing telemetry and the high quality video (before scan conversion) of the first moonwalk are missing.

Tapes

Photo of the high-quality SSTV image before the scan conversion
Photo of the degraded image after the SSTV scan conversion

Dr. David Williams (NASA archivist at Goddard Space Flight Center) and Apollo 11 flight director Eugene F. Kranz both acknowledged that the Apollo 11 telemetry data tapes are missing. Hoax proponents interpret this as support for the case that they never existed.[62] The Apollo 11 telemetry tapes were different from the telemetry tapes of the other Moon landings because they contained the raw television broadcast. For technical reasons, the Apollo 11 Lunar Module (LM) carried a slow-scan television (SSTV) camera (see Apollo TV camera). In order to be broadcast to regular television, a scan conversion has to be done. The radio telescope at Parkes Observatory in Australia was in position to receive the telemetry from the Moon at the time of the Apollo 11 Moonwalk.[63] Parkes had a larger antenna than NASA's antenna in Australia at the Honeysuckle Creek Tracking Station, so it received a better picture. It also received a better picture than NASA's antenna at Goldstone Deep Space Communications Complex. This direct TV signal, along with telemetry data, was recorded onto one-inch fourteen-track analog tape there. A crude, real-time scan conversion of the SSTV signal was done in Australia before it was broadcast around the world. The original SSTV transmission had better detail and contrast than the scan-converted pictures.[64] It is this tape, that was recorded in Australia, before the scan conversion, which is missing. Tapes or films of the scan-converted pictures exist and are available. Still photographs of the original SSTV image are available (see photos). About fifteen minutes of the SSTV images of the Apollo 11 moonwalk were filmed by an amateur 8 mm film camera, and these are also available. Later Apollo missions did not use SSTV, and their video is also available. At least some of the telemetry tapes from the ALSEP scientific experiments left on the Moon (which ran until 1977) still exist, according to Dr. Williams. Copies of those tapes have been found.[65]

Others are looking for the missing telemetry tapes, but for different reasons. The tapes contain the original and highest quality video feed from the Apollo 11 lunar landing which a number of former Apollo personnel want to recover for posterity, while NASA engineers looking towards future moon missions believe the Apollo telemetry data may be useful for their design studies. Their investigations have determined that the Apollo 11 tapes were sent for storage at the U.S. National Archives in 1970, but by 1984 all the Apollo 11 tapes had been returned to the Goddard Space Flight Center at their request. The tapes are believed to have been stored rather than re-used, and efforts to determine where they were stored are ongoing.[66] Goddard was storing 35,000 new tapes per year in 1967,[67] even before the lunar landings.

Apollo 16 Lunar Module

On November 1, 2006 Cosmos Magazine reported that some one-hundred data tapes recorded in Australia during the Apollo 11 mission had been discovered in a small marine science laboratory in the main physics building at the Curtin University of Technology in Perth, Australia. One of the old tapes has been sent to NASA for analysis. The slow-scan television images were not on the tape.[68] Britain's Sunday Express reported in late June 2009 that the missing tapes were found in storage facility in the basement of a building on a university campus in Perth, Australia.

On July 16, 2009, NASA indicated that it must have erased the original Apollo 11 Moon footage years ago so that it could reuse the tape. On December 22, 2009 NASA issued a final report on the Apollo 11 telemetry tapes [69] Senior engineer Dick Nafzger, who was in charge of the live TV recordings back during the Apollo missions, is now in charge of the restoration project. After an extensive three-year search, an "inescapable conclusion" was that approximately 45 tapes (estimated 15 tapes recorded at each of the three tracking stations) of Apollo 11 video were erased and reused, said Nafzger.[70] In time for the 40th anniversary of the Apollo moon landing, Lowry Digital of Burbank, California has been tasked with restoring the surviving footage. President of Lowry Digital Mike Inchalik stated that, "this is by far and away the lowest quality" video the company has previously dealt with. Nafzger praised Lowry for restoring "crispness" to the Apollo video, which will remain in black and white and contain conservative digital enhancements. The $230,000 restoration project that will take months to complete will not include sound quality improvements. Some selections of restored footage in high definition have been made available on the NASA website.[71]

Blueprints

Apollo 15 Lunar Rover

The website Xenophilia.com documents a hoax claim that blueprints for the Apollo Lunar Module, Lunar rover, and associated equipment are missing.[72] There are some diagrams of the Lunar Module and Lunar rover on the NASA web site as well as on Xenophilia.com.[72] Grumman appears to have destroyed most of their documentation,[73][74] but copies of the blueprints for the Saturn V exist on microfilm.[75]

An unused LM is on exhibit at the Cradle of Aviation Museum.[76][77] The Lunar Module designated LM-13 would have landed on the Moon during the Apollo 18 mission, but was instead put into storage when the mission was canceled: it has since been restored and put on display. Other unused Lunar Modules are on display: LM-2 at the National Air and Space Museum and LM-9 at Kennedy Space Center.[78]

Four mission-worthy Lunar Rovers were built. Three of them were carried to the Moon on Apollo 15, 16, and 17, and left there. After Apollo 18 was canceled (see Canceled Apollo missions), the other lunar rover was used for spare parts for the Apollo 15 to 17 missions. The only lunar rovers on display are test vehicles, trainers, and models.[79] The "Moon buggies" were built by Boeing.[80] The 221-page operation manual for the Lunar Rover contains some detailed drawings,[81] although not the design blueprints.

An original Saturn V rocket is currently on display at the USA Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama.[82] The rockets components as are on public display as well, as is much of the original equipment used in the Apollo missions.

Technology

At the time that the Apollo Program occurred, Bart Sibrel claims that the Soviet Union had five times more manned hours in space than the United States, and that they had put the first man-made satellite in orbit (October 1957, Sputnik 1);[Note 1] the first living creature to enter orbit, a female dog named Laika, (November 1957, Sputnik 2), the first to safely return living creature from orbit, two dogs Belka and Strelka, 40 mice, 2 rats (August 1960, Sputnik 5); the first man in space, Yuri Gagarin, also the first man to orbit the Earth (April 1961, Vostok 1); the first to have two spacecraft in orbit at the same time (though it was not a space rendezvous, as frequently described) (August 1962, Vostok 3 and Vostok 4); the first woman in space, Valentina Tereshkova (June 1963, Vostok 6, as part of a second dual-spacecraft flight including Vostok 5); the first crew of three cosmonauts on board one spacecraft (October 1964, Voskhod 1); and the first spacewalk (EVA) (March 1965, Voskhod 2).

On January 27, 1967, the three astronauts aboard Apollo 1 died in a fire on the launch pad during training. The fire was triggered by a spark in the oxygen-rich atmosphere used in the spacecraft test, and fueled by a significant quantity of combustible material within the spacecraft. Two years later all of the problems were declared fixed. Bart Sibrel believes that the accident led NASA to conclude that the only way to win the Moon race was to fake the landings.[citation needed] In any case, the first manned Apollo flight, Apollo 7, occurred in October 1968, 21 months after the fire.

Before the first manned Earth-orbiting Apollo flight (Apollo 7), the USSR had made nine spaceflights (seven with one cosmonaut, one with two, one with three). The U.S. had made sixteen flights (six with one astronaut, ten with two). The USSR and U.S. each had six spaceflights in 1961-63, each with one astronaut or cosmonaut. The USSR had only three spaceflights in 1964-67 (each only a little longer than one day) whereas the U.S. had ten in this period (averaging over four days each). In terms of spacecraft hours, the USSR had 460 hours of space flight; the U.S. had 1,024 hours. In terms of astronaut/cosmonaut time, the USSR had accumulated 534 hours of manned spaceflight whereas the U.S. had accumulated 1,992 hours. By the time of Apollo 11, the United States's lead was much wider than that. (See List of human spaceflights, 1960s.)

NASA and others say that these achievements by the Soviets are not as impressive as the simple list implies; that a number of these firsts were mere stunts that did not advance the technology significantly, or at all (e.g. the first woman in space).[83]

A close examination of the many flight missions reveal many problems, risks, and near-catastrophes for both the Soviet and American programs. A negative first for the Soviets was the first in-flight fatality, in April 1967, three months after the Apollo I fire, as Soyuz 1 crash-landed. Despite that disaster, the Soyuz program continued, after a lengthy interval to solve design problems, as with the Apollo program.

Most of the Soviet accomplishments listed above were matched by the U.S. within a year, and occasionally within weeks. In 1965 the U.S. started to achieve many firsts which were important steps in a mission to the Moon. See List of space exploration milestones, 1957-1969 for a more complete list of achievements by both the U.S. and USSR. The USSR never developed a successful rocket capable of a Moon landing mission — their N1 rocket failed on all four launch attempts. They never tested a lunar lander on a manned mission.[84]

Photographs and films

Moon hoax proponents devote a substantial portion of their efforts to examining NASA photos. They point to various oddities of photographs and films purportedly taken on the Moon. Experts in photography (even those unrelated to NASA) respond that the anomalies, while sometimes counter-intuitive, are in fact precisely what one would expect from a real Moon landing, and contrary to what would occur with manipulated or studio imagery. Hoax proponents also state that whistleblowers may have deliberately manipulated the NASA photos in hope of exposing NASA.

1. Crosshairs appear to be behind objects.

  • Overexposure causes white objects to bleed into the black areas on the film.

2. Crosshairs are sometimes misplaced or rotated.

  • Popular versions of photos are sometimes cropped or rotated for aesthetic impact.

3. The quality of the photographs is implausibly high.

  • There are many poor quality photographs taken by the Apollo astronauts. NASA chose to publish only the best examples.[85][86]
  • The Apollo astronauts used high resolution Hasselblad 500 EL Data cameras with Carl Zeiss optics and a 70-mm film magazine.[87]

4. There are no stars in any of the photos. The Apollo 11 astronauts also claimed in a press conference after the event to have not remembered seeing any of the stars.

  • The astronauts were talking specifically about naked-eye observations of stars during the daytime. They regularly sighted stars through the spacecraft navigation optics while aligning their inertial reference platforms.
  • The sun was shining. Cameras were set for daylight exposure, and could not detect the faint points of light.[88] Even the brightest stars are dim and difficult to see in the daytime on the Moon. Neil Armstrong said that he could not see stars on the daylight side of the Moon with his naked eyes.[89] Edwin Aldrin saw no stars from the Moon [90] Harrison Schmitt saw no stars from the Moon.[91] The astronauts' eyes were adapted to the brightly sunlit landscape around them so that they could not see the relatively faint stars. Camera settings can turn a well-lit background into ink-black when the foreground object is brightly lit, forcing the camera to increase shutter speed in order not to have the foreground light completely wash out the image. A demonstration of this effect is here. The effect is similar to not being able to see stars outside when in a brightly-lit room - the stars only become visible when the light is turned off. The astronauts could see stars with the naked eye only when they were in the shadow of the Moon. All of the landings were in daylight.[92]
  • An ultraviolet telescope was taken to the lunar surface on Apollo 16 and operated in the shadow of the lunar module. (It is seen in the background of the pictures showing JohnYoung's jump salutes of the US flag.) It captured pictures of the earth and of many stars, some of which are dim in visible light but bright in the ultraviolet. These observations were later matched up with observations taken by orbiting ultraviolet telescopes. Furthermore, the positions of those stars with respect to the earth are correct for the time and location of the Apollo 16 photographs. Third-party_evidence_for_Apollo_Moon_landings
  • Pictures of the solar corona that included the planet Mercury and some background stars, were taken from lunar orbit by Apollo 15 Command Module Pilot Al Worden shortly before lunar sunrise and after lunar sunset. [93]

5. The color and angle of shadows and light are inconsistent.

  • Shadows on the Moon are complicated by uneven ground, wide angle lens distortion, light reflected from the Earth, and lunar dust.[94] Shadows also display the properties of vanishing point perspective leading them to converge to a point on the horizon.
  • This theory was demonstrated to be unsubstantiated on the MythBusters episode "NASA Moon Landing".

6. Identical backgrounds in photos which, according to their captions, were taken miles apart.

  • Shots were not identical, just similar. Background objects were mountains many miles away. Without an atmosphere to obscure distant objects, it can be difficult to tell the relative distance and scale of lunar features.[95] One specific case is debunked in Who Mourns For Apollo? by Mike Bara.[96]

7. The number of photographs taken is implausibly high. Up to one photo per 50 seconds.[97]

  • Simplified gear with fixed settings permitted two photographs a second. Many were taken immediately after each other as stereo pairs or panorama sequences. This calculation was based on a single astronaut on the surface, and does not take into account that there were two persons sharing the workload during the EVA.

8. The photos contain artifacts like the two seemingly matching 'C's on a rock and on the ground.

  • The "C"-shaped image was from printing imperfections, not in the original film from the camera.[98][99]

9. A resident of Perth, Australia, with the pseudonym "Una Ronald", said she saw a soft drink bottle in the frame.

  • No such newspaper reports or recordings have been verified. "Una Ronald"'s existence is authenticated by only one source. There are also flaws in the story, i.e. the emphatic statement that she had to "stay up late" is easily discounted by numerous witnesses in Australia who observed the event to occur in the middle of their daytime, since this event was an unusual compulsory viewing for school children in Australia.[100]

10. The book Moon Shot contains an obvious composite photograph of Alan Shepard hitting a golf ball on the Moon with another astronaut.

  • It was used in lieu of the only existing real images, from the TV monitor, which the editors of the book apparently felt were too grainy to present in a book's picture section. The book publishers did not work for NASA.

11. There appear to be "hot spots" in some photographs that look like a huge spotlight was used at a close distance.

  • Pits in Moon dust focus and reflect light in a manner similar to minuscule glass spheres used in the coating of street signs, or dew-drops on wet grass. This creates a glow around the photographer's own shadow when it appears in a photograph. (see Heiligenschein)
  • If the photographer is standing in sunlight while photographing into shade, light reflected off his white spacesuit produces a similar effect to a spotlight.[101]
  • Some widely-published Apollo photos were high contrast copies. Scans of the original transparencies are in general much more uniformly illuminated.

12. Footprints in the extraordinarily fine lunar dust, with no moisture or atmosphere or strong gravity, are unexpectedly well preserved, in the minds of some observers – as if made in wet sand.

  • The dust is silicate, and this has a special property in a vacuum of sticking together like that. The astronauts described it as being like "talcum powder or wet sand".[96]
  • This theory was demonstrated to be unsubstantiated on the MythBusters episode "NASA Moon Landing".

Ionizing radiation and heat

1. The astronauts could not have survived the trip because of exposure to radiation from the Van Allen radiation belt and galactic ambient radiation (see radiation poisoning). Some hoax theorists have suggested that Starfish Prime (high altitude nuclear testing in 1962) was a failed attempt to disrupt the Van Allen belts.

  • The spacecraft moved through the belts in about four hours, and the astronauts were protected from the ionizing radiation by the aluminium hulls of the spacecraft. In addition, the orbital transfer trajectory from the Earth to the Moon through the belts was selected to minimize radiation exposure. Even Dr. James Van Allen, the discoverer of the Van Allen radiation belts, rebutted the claims that radiation levels were too dangerous for the Apollo missions.[102] Plait cited an average dose of less than 1 rem, which is equivalent to the ambient radiation received by living at sea level for three years.[103] The spacecraft passed through the intense inner belt and the low-energy outer belt. The astronauts were mostly shielded from the radiation by the spacecraft. The total radiation received on the trip was about the same as allowed for workers in the nuclear energy field for a year.[104]
  • The radiation is actually evidence that the astronauts went to the Moon. Irene Schneider reports that thirty-three of the thirty-six Apollo astronauts involved in the nine Apollo missions to leave Earth orbit have developed early stage cataracts that have been shown to be caused by radiation exposure to cosmic rays during their trip.[105] However, only twenty-seven astronauts left Earth orbit. At least thirty-nine former astronauts have developed cataracts. Thirty-six of those were involved in high-radiation missions such as the Apollo lunar missions.[106]

2. Film in the cameras would have been fogged by this radiation.

  • The film was kept in metal containers that prevented radiation from fogging the film's emulsion.[107] In addition, film carried by unmanned lunar probes such as the Lunar Orbiter and Luna 3 (which used on-board film development processes) was not fogged.

3. The Moon's surface during the daytime is so hot that camera film would have melted.

  • There is no atmosphere to efficiently couple lunar surface heat to devices such as cameras not in direct contact with it. In a vacuum, only radiation remains as a heat transfer mechanism. The physics of radiative heat transfer are thoroughly understood, and the proper use of passive optical coatings and paints was adequate to control the temperature of the film within the cameras; lunar module temperatures were controlled with similar coatings that gave it its gold color. Also, while the Moon's surface does get very hot at lunar noon, every Apollo landing was made shortly after lunar sunrise at the landing site. During the longer stays, the astronauts did notice increased cooling loads on their spacesuits as the sun continued to rise and the surface temperature increased, but the effect was easily countered by the passive and active cooling systems.[108] The film was not in direct sunlight, so it wasn't overheated.[109]
  • Note: all of the lunar landings occurred during the lunar daytime. The Moon's day is approximately 29½ days long, and as a consequence a single lunar day (dawn to dusk) lasts nearly fifteen days. As such there was no sunrise or sunset while the astronauts were on the surface. Most lunar missions occurred during the first few Earth days of the lunar day.

4. The Apollo 16 crew should not have survived a big solar flare firing out when they were on their way to the Moon. "They should have been fried."

  • No large solar flare occurred during the flight of Apollo 16. There were large solar flares in August 1972, after Apollo 16 returned to Earth and before the flight of Apollo 17.[110][111]

Transmissions

1. The lack of a more than two-second delay in two-way communications at a distance of a 400,000 km (250,000 miles).

  • The round trip light travel time of more than two seconds is apparent in all the real-time recordings of the lunar audio, but this does not always appear as expected. There may also be some documentary films where the delay has been edited out. Principal motivations for editing the audio would likely come in response to time constraints or in the interest of clarity.[112]
The relative sizes of, and distance between, Earth and Moon, to scale, with a beam of light traveling between them at the speed of light.

2. Typical delays in communication were on the order of half a second.

  • Claims that the delays were only on the order of half a second are unsubstantiated by an examination of the actual recordings. It should also be borne in mind that there should not be a straightforward, consistent time delay between every response, as the conversation is being recorded at one end - Mission Control. Responses from Mission Control could be heard without any delay, as the recording is being made at the same time that Houston receives the transmission from the Moon.

3. The Parkes Observatory in Australia was billed to the world for weeks as the site that would be relaying communications from the Moon, then five hours before transmission they were told to stand down.

  • The timing of the first Moonwalk was moved up after landing. In fact, delays in getting the Moonwalk started meant that Parkes did cover almost the entire Apollo 11 Moonwalk.[113]

4. Parkes supposedly provided the clearest video feed from the Moon, but Australian media and all other known sources ran a live feed from the United States.

  • While that was the original plan, and, according to some sources, the official policy, the Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC) did take the transmission direct from the Parkes and Honeysuckle Creek radio telescopes. These were converted to NTSC television at Paddington, in Sydney. This meant that Australian viewers saw the Moonwalk several seconds before the rest of the world.[114] See also The Parkes Observatory's Support of the Apollo 11 Mission, from "Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia" The events surrounding the Parkes Observatory's role in relaying the live television of man's first steps on the Moon were portrayed in a slightly fictionalized 2000 Australian film comedy The Dish.

5. Better signal was supposedly received at Parkes Observatory when the Moon was on the opposite side of the planet.

  • This is not supported by the detailed evidence and logs from the missions.[115]

Mechanical issues

Under the Apollo 11 LM

1. No blast crater or any sign of dust scatter as was seen in the 16 mm movies of each landing.[116]

  • No crater should be expected. The Descent Propulsion System was throttled very far down during the final landing. The Lunar Module was no longer rapidly decelerating, so the descent engine only had to support the module's own weight, diminished by the 1/6 g lunar gravity and by the near exhaustion of the descent propellants. At landing, the engine thrust divided by the nozzle exit area is only about 10 kilopascals (1.5 PSI).[117] Beyond the engine nozzle, the plume spreads and the pressure drops very rapidly. (In comparison the Saturn V F-1 first stage engines produced 3.2 MPa (459 PSI) at the mouth of the nozzle.) Rocket exhaust gases expand much more rapidly after leaving the engine nozzle in a vacuum than in an atmosphere. The effect of an atmosphere on rocket plumes can be easily seen in launches from Earth; as the rocket rises through the thinning atmosphere, the exhaust plumes broaden very noticeably. To reduce this, rocket engines designed for vacuum operation have longer bells than those designed for use at the Earth's surface, but they still cannot prevent this spreading. The Lunar Module's exhaust gases therefore expanded rapidly well beyond the landing site. However, the descent engines did scatter a lot of very fine surface dust as seen in 16mm movies of each landing, and many mission commanders commented on its effect on visibility. The landers were generally moving horizontally as well as vertically, and photographs do show scouring of the surface along the final descent path. Finally, the lunar regolith is very compact below its surface dust layer, further making it impossible for the descent engine to blast out a "crater".[118] In fact, a blast crater was measured under the Apollo 11 Lunar Module using shadow lengths of the descent engine bell and estimates of the amount that the landing gear had compressed and how deep the lander footpads had pressed into the lunar surface and it was found that the engine had eroded between 4 and 6 inches of regolith out from underneath the engine bell during the final descent and landing.[119],pp. 97-98

2. The second stage of the launch rocket and / or the Lunar Module ascent stage produced no visible flame.

  • The Lunar Module used Aerozine 50 (fuel) and dinitrogen tetroxide (oxidizer) propellants, chosen for simplicity and reliability; they ignite hypergolically –upon contact– without the need for a spark. These propellants produce a nearly transparent exhaust.[120] The same fuel was used by the core of the American Titan rocket. The transparency of their plumes is apparent in many launch photos. The plumes of rocket engines fired in a vacuum spread out very rapidly as they leave the engine nozzle (see above), further reducing their visibility. Finally, rocket engines often run "rich" to slow internal corrosion. On Earth, the excess fuel burns in contact with atmospheric oxygen. This cannot happen in a vacuum.

3. The rocks brought back from the Moon are identical to rocks collected by scientific expeditions to Antarctica.

See the #Moon rocks section below

4. The presence of deep dust around the module; given the blast from the landing engine, this should not be present.

  • The dust is created by a continuous rain of micro-meteoroid impacts and is typically several inches thick. It forms the top of the lunar regolith, a layer of impact rubble several meters thick and highly compacted with depth. On the Earth, an exhaust plume might stir up the atmosphere over a wide area. On the Moon, only the exhaust gas itself can disturb the dust. Some areas around descent engines were scoured clean.[118]
Note: In addition, moving footage of astronauts and the lunar rover kicking up lunar dust clearly show the dust particles kicking up quite high due to the low gravity, but settling immediately without air to stop them. Had these landings been faked on the Earth, dust clouds would have formed. (They can be seen as a 'goof' in the movie Apollo 13 when Jim Lovell (played by Tom Hanks) imagines walking on the Moon). This clearly shows the astronauts to be (a) in low gravity and (b) in a vacuum.

5. The flag placed on the surface by the astronauts flapped despite there being no wind on the Moon.[citation needed] Sibrel said "The wind was probably caused by intense air-conditioning used to cool the astronauts in their lightened, uncirculated space suits. The cooling systems in the backpacks would have been removed to lighten the load not designed for Earth’s six times heavier gravity, otherwise they might have fallen over".

  • The astronauts were moving the flag into position. Without air drag, these movements caused the free corner of the flag to swing like a pendulum for some time. A horizontal rod, visible in many photographs, extended from the top of the flagpole to hold the flag out for proper display. The flag's rippled appearance was from folding during storage, and it could be mistaken for motion in a still photograph. The top support rod telescoped and the crew of Apollo 11 could not fully extend it. Later crews preferred to only partially extend the rod. Videotapes show that when the flag stops after the astronauts let it go, it remains motionless. At one point the flag remains completely motionless for well over thirty minutes. (See inertia.) See the photographs below.
Cropped photo of Buzz Aldrin saluting the flag (note the fingers of Aldrin's right hand can be seen behind his helmet).
Cropped photo taken a few seconds later, Buzz Aldrin's hand is down, head turned toward the camera, the flag is unchanged.
Animation of the two photos, showing that though Armstrong's camera moved between exposures, the flag is not waving.
The flag is not waving, but is swinging as a pendulum after being touched by the astronauts. Here[121] is a three-minute video from Apollo 15 showing that the flag does not move except when the astronauts move it. Here[122] is a thirty-minute Apollo 11 video showing that the flag does not move.

6. The Lander weighed 17 tons and sat on top of the sand making no impression but directly next to it footprints can be seen in the sand.

  • The lander weighed less than three tons on the Moon. The astronauts were much lighter than the lander, but their boots were much smaller than the 1-meter landing pads. Pressure, or force per unit area, rather than force, determines the extent of regolith compression. In some photos the landing pads did press into the regolith, especially when they moved sideways at touchdown. (The bearing pressure under the lander feet, with the lander being more than 100 times the weight of the astronauts would in fact have been of similar magnitude to the bearing pressure exerted by the astronauts' boots.)

7. The air conditioning units that were part of the astronauts' spacesuits could not have worked in an environment of no atmosphere.

  • The cooling units could only work in a vacuum. Water from a tank in the backpack flowed out through tiny pores in a metal sublimator plate where it quickly vaporized into space. The loss of the heat of vaporization froze the remaining water, forming a layer of ice on the outside of the plate that also sublimated into space (turning from a solid directly into a gas). A separate water loop flowed through the LCG (Liquid Cooling Garment) worn by the astronaut, carrying his metabolic waste heat through the sublimator plate where it was cooled and returned to the LCG. Twelve pounds [5.4 kg] of feedwater provided some eight hours of cooling; because of its bulk, it was often the limiting consumable on the length of an EVA. Because this system could not work in an atmosphere, the astronauts required large external chillers to keep them comfortable during Earth training.
  • Radiative cooling would have avoided the need to consume water, but it could not operate below body temperature in such a small volume. The radioisotope thermoelectric generators, could use radiative cooling fins to permit indefinite operation because they operated at much higher temperatures.
Surveyor 3 with Apollo 12 LM in background.

8. Although Apollo 11 had made an almost embarrassingly imprecise landing well outside the designated target area, Apollo 12 succeeded, on November 19, 1969, in making a pin-point landing, within walking distance (less than 200 meters) of the Surveyor 3 probe, which had landed on the Moon in April 1967.

  • The Apollo 11 landing was several kilometers to the southeast of the center of their intended landing ellipse, but still within it. Armstrong took semi-automatic control[123] of the lander and directed it further down range when it was noted that the intended landing site was strewn with boulders near a moderate sized crater. By the time Apollo 12 flew, the cause of the large error in the landing location was determined and improved procedures were developed and were demonstrated by the pin-point landing next to Surveyor III made by Apollo 12. Apollo 11 fulfilled its purpose by simply landing safely on the lunar surface and a pin-point landing was not a requirement on that mission.
  • The Apollo astronauts were highly skilled pilots, and the LM was a maneuverable craft that could be accurately flown to a specific landing point. During the powered descent phase the astronauts used the PNGS (Primary Navigation Guidance System) and LPD (Landing Point Designator) to predict where the LM was going to land, and then they would manually pilot the LM to a selected point with great accuracy.

9. The alleged Moon landings used either a sound stage, or were put outside in a remote desert location with the astronauts either using harnesses or slow-motion photography to make it look like they were on the Moon and acting in lunar gravity.

  • While the HBO Mini-series "From the Earth to the Moon", and a scene from "Apollo 13" used the sound-stage and harness setup, it is clearly seen from those films that dust kicked up did not quickly settle (some dust briefly formed clouds). In the film footage from the Apollo missions, dust kicked up by the astronauts' boots and the wheels of the lunar rovers shot up quite high (due to the lunar gravity), and settled immediately to the surface in an uninterrupted parabolic arc (due to there being no air to support the dust). Even if there had been a sound stage for hoax Moon landings that had had the air pumped out, the dust would have reached nowhere near the height and trajectory as the dust shown in the Apollo film footage because of terrestrial gravity.
  • This video from Apollo 15 shows that they were in low gravity and in a vacuum:
Hammer and Feather Drop - Scott demonstrates that Galileo was right. (1.38 MB, ogg/Theora format).

10. All six lunar landings occurred during the first presidential administration of Richard Nixon and no other national leader of any country has even claimed to have landed astronauts on the Moon, even though the mechanical means of doing so should have become progressively much easier after almost 40 years of steady or even rapid technological development.

  • Other nations and later presidential administrations were evidently less interested in spending large sums to be merely the second nation to land on the Moon or to explore the barren Moon further. Had Nixon faked the Moon landings, the Soviets would have been happy to argue for a hoax as a propaganda victory, but the Soviets never did. Further exploration by the U.S. or U.S.S.R., such as establishing a Moon base, would have been much more expensive and perhaps too provocative to be in any nation's self-interest during the Cold War arms race.[citation needed]
  • Furthermore, the development of the Saturn V rocket, the Apollo CSM and LM and the flights up to Apollo 8 (which orbited the moon) were completed before Richard Nixon became president on January 20, 1969. Additionally, Nixon did not personally care much for the program started by the man who defeated him in the 1960 Presidential Election, and his administration pushed for NASA to cancel Apollo 18, 19, and 20 in favor of development of the space shuttle.[citation needed]

Moon rocks

Genesis Rock brought back by Apollo 15 - older than any rocks on Earth

The Apollo Program collected a total of 382 kilograms (840 lb) of Moon rocks during the Apollo 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, and 17 missions. Analyses by scientists worldwide all agree that these rocks came from the Moon — no published accounts in peer-reviewed scientific journals exist that dispute this claim. The Apollo samples are easily distinguishable from both meteorites and terrestrial rocks[124] in that they show a complete lack of hydrous alteration products, they show evidence for having been subjected to impact events on an airless body, and they have unique geochemical characteristics. Furthermore, most are significantly older than the oldest rocks found on Earth. The Moon rocks are more than 600,000,000 years older than the oldest Earth rocks known at the time. In 2008 older Earth rocks were found but the Moon rocks are still more than 200,000,000 years older than them. The Moon rocks also share the same characteristics as the Soviet lunar samples that were obtained at a later date.[125]

Hoax proponents argue that Wernher von Braun's trip to Antarctica in 1967 (approximately two years before the July 16, 1969 Apollo 11 launch) was in order to study and/or collect lunar meteorites to be used as fake Moon rocks. Because von Braun was a former SS officer (though one who had been detained by the Gestapo),[126] the documentary film Did We Go? suggests[62] that he could have been susceptible to pressure to agree to the conspiracy in order to protect himself from recriminations over the past. While NASA does not provide much information about why von Braun, the Marshall Space Flight Center Director, and three others were in Antarctica at that time; NASA has said that the purpose was "to look into environmental and logistic factors that might relate to the planning of future space missions, and hardware".[127] An article by Sankar Chatterjee at Texas Tech University states that von Braun sent a letter to F. Alton Wade, Chatterjee's predecessor, and that "Von Braun was searching for a secretive locale to help train the United States’ earliest astronauts. Wade pointed von Braun to Antarctica."[citation needed] NASA continues to send teams to work in McMurdo Dry Valleys, and to mimic the conditions on other planets such as Mars and the Moon.

It is now accepted by the scientific community that rocks have been ejected from both the Martian and lunar surface during impact events, and that some of these have landed on the Earth in the form of Martian and lunar meteorites.[128][129] However, the first Antarctic lunar meteorite was collected in 1979, and its lunar origin was not recognized until 1982.[130] Furthermore, lunar meteorites are so rare that it is very improbable that they could account for the 382 kilograms of Moon rocks that NASA obtained between 1969 and 1972. Currently, there are only about 30 kilograms of lunar meteorites discovered thus far, despite private collectors and governmental agencies worldwide searching for these for more than 20 years.[130]

The large combined mass of the Apollo samples makes this scenario implausible. While the Apollo missions obtained 382 kilograms of Moon rocks, the Soviet Luna 16, Luna 20, and Luna 24 robotic sample return missions only obtained 326 grams combined (that is, less than one-thousandth as much). Indeed, current plans for a Martian sample return would only obtain about 500 grams of soil,[131] and a recently proposed South Pole-Aitken basin sample return mission would only obtain about 1 kilogram of Moon rock.[132] If a similar technology to collect the Apollo Moon rocks was used as with the Soviet missions or modern sample return proposals, then between 300 and 2000 robotic sample return missions would be required to obtain the current mass of Moon rocks that is curated by NASA.

Concerning the composition of the Moon rocks, Kaysing asked: "Why was there no mention of gold, silver, diamonds, or other precious metals on the Moon? It was never discussed by the press or astronauts."[133] Geologists realize that gold and silver deposits on Earth are the result of the action of hydrothermal fluids concentrating the precious metals into veins of ore. Since in 1969 water was believed to be absent on the Moon, no geologist would bother discussing the possibility of finding these on the Moon in any significant quantity.

Deaths of key Apollo personnel

In a television program about the hoax allegations, Fox Entertainment Group listed the deaths of ten astronauts and of two civilians related to the manned spaceflight program as having possibly been killed as part of a cover-up.

All but one of the astronaut deaths (Irwin's) were directly related to their job with NASA or the Air Force. Two of the astronauts, Mike Adams and Robert Lawrence, had no connection with the civilian manned space program. Astronaut James Irwin had suffered several heart attacks in the years prior to his death. There is no independent confirmation of Gelvani's claim that Irwin was about to come forward. All except two of the deaths occurred at least one or two years before Apollo 11 and the subsequent flights. Brian Welch's death would had been a blow against the alleged Hoax Conspirators since he was a debunker of hoax claims.

As of July 20, 2009 nine of the twelve astronauts who landed on the moon still survive, including Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin.[136]

Individuals allegedly involved in the hoax

  • Deke Slayton, NASA Chief Astronaut in 1968. Clyde Lewis[137] claims on his website that Slayton was one of the primary leaders of the hoax.
  • Stanley Kubrick is accused of having produced much of the footage for Apollo 11 and 12, presumably because he had just directed 2001: A Space Odyssey which is partly set on the moon and featured advanced special effects.[33] It has been claimed that when 2001 was in post-production in early 1968, NASA secretly approached Kubrick to direct the first three Moon landings. The launch and splashdown would be real but the spacecraft would remain in Earth orbit and fake footage broadcast as "live" from the lunar journey. No evidence was presented for this theory, which ignores many facts. For example, 2001 was released before the first Apollo landing and Kubrick's depiction of the lunar surface is vastly different from its actual appearance in Apollo video, film and photography. Kubrick did hire Frederick Ordway and Harry Lange, both of whom had worked for NASA and major aerospace contractors, to work with him on 2001. Kubrick also used some 50 mm f/0.7 lenses that were left over from a batch made by Zeiss for NASA. However, Kubrick only acquired this lens for Barry Lyndon (1975). The lens was originally a still-photo lens and required modifications to be used for motion filming.

To date, nobody from the United States government or NASA who would have had a connection to the space program has come forward claiming the moon landings were staged. Penn Jillette made note of this in the "Conspiracy Theories" episode of his contrarian television show Penn & Teller: Bullshit! in 2005. He stated that, with the number of people that would have been required to be "in the know" of the staging, somebody would have outed the hoax by now. With the government's track record of keeping secrets (especially the Nixon administration, noting Watergate as an example), Jillette said there's no way the U.S. government could have silenced everybody if the landings were faked.

NASA book incident

In 2002, NASA granted US$15,000 to James Oberg for a commission to write a point-by-point rebuttal of the hoax claims. NASA subsequently canceled the commission later in the year, in the face of complaints that the book would dignify the accusations.[4] Oberg stated that he intended to finish the project.[138][139] In November 2002 Peter Jennings said "[NASA] is going to spend a few thousand dollars trying to prove to some people that the United States did indeed land men on the Moon." and "[NASA] had been so rattled, [they] hired [somebody] to write a book refuting the conspiracy theorists." Oberg says that belief in the hoax theories is not the fault of the hoax proponents or believers, and that he puts the blame on educators and people (including NASA) who should provide information to the public.[4]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ According to the 2007 NOVA episode "Sputnik Declassified", the United States could have launched the Explorer 1 probe before Sputnik, but the Eisenhower administration hesitated, first because they were not sure if international law meant that national borders kept going all the way into orbit (and, thus, their orbiting satellite could cause an international uproar by violating the borders of dozens of nations), and second because there was a desire to see the not yet ready Vanguard satellite program, designed by American citizens, become America's first satellite rather than the Explorer program, that was mostly designed by former rocket designers from Nazi Germany. A transcript of the appropriate section from the show is available at "A Blow to the Nation".

Footnotes

  1. ^ Plait 2002, pp. 154-73.
  2. ^ van Bakel, Rogier (September 1994). "The Wrong Stuff". Wired (Condé Nast Publications). http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/2.09/moon.land.html?pg=5&topic=. Retrieved August 13, 2009. "Millions of Americans believe the Moon landings may have been a US$25 billion swindle, perpetrated by NASA with the latest in communications technology and the best in special effects." 
  3. ^ Oberg, James (July 1999). "Getting Apollo 11 right". ABC News. http://web.archive.org/web/20030402094521/http://abcnews.go.com/ABC2000/abc2000science/oberg2000.html. Retrieved August 13, 2009. "I'm told that this is official dogma still taught in schools in Cuba, plus wherever else Cuban teachers have been sent (such as Sandinista Nicaragua and Angola)." 
  4. ^ a b c d Oberg, James. "Lessons of the 'Fake Moon Flight' Myth," Skeptical Inquirer, March/April 2003, pp. 23, 30. Reprinted in Frazier, Kendrick (ed.) (2009). Science Under Siege. Prometheus Books. ISBN 978-1-59102-715-7
  5. ^ a b Plait 2002, p. 156.
  6. ^ a b Borenstein, Seth (November 2, 2002). "Book to confirm Moon landings". Deseret News (Salt Lake City). http://archive.deseretnews.com/archive/946348/Book-to-confirm-moon-landings.html. Retrieved August 13, 2009. 
  7. ^ Gallup (February 15, 2001). "Did Men Really Land on the Moon?". Press release. http://www.gallup.com/poll/1993/Did-Men-Really-Land-Moon.aspx. Retrieved August 14, 2009. 
  8. ^ Gallup (July 20, 1999). "Landing a Man on the Moon: The Public's View". Press release. http://www.gallup.com/poll/3712/Landing-Man-Moon-Publics-View.aspx. Retrieved August 14, 2009. 
  9. ^ "One giant leap of imagination". The Age. Associated Press (Melbourne, Australia). December 24, 2002. http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2002/12/24/1040511043172.html. Retrieved August 13, 2009. 
  10. ^ "American Beat: Moon Stalker". Newsweek Web Exclusive (New York). September 16, 2002. http://www.newsweek.com/id/65087/output/print. Retrieved August 13, 2009. 
  11. ^ Public Opinion Fund (April 19, 2000). "БЫЛИ ЛИ АМЕРИКАНЦЫ НА ЛУНЕ?" (in Russian). Press release. http://bd.fom.ru/report/cat/sci_sci/kosmos/of001605. Retrieved August 13, 2009. 
  12. ^ "Britons question Apollo 11 Moon landings, survey reveals". Engineering & Technology (London: The Institution of Engineering and Technology). July 8, 2009. http://kn.theiet.org/news/jul09/moon-landing-survey.cfm. Retrieved August 13, 2009. 
  13. ^ "The Cosmic Grid", by Liz Kruesi, Astronomy Magazine, Dec. 2009, p. 62.
  14. ^ Schadewald, Robert J. (July 1980). "The Flat-out Truth: Earth Orbits? Moon Landings? A Fraud! Says This Prophet". Science Digest (New York).
  15. ^ a b Kaysing 2002, p. 7.
  16. ^ "Irrefutable proof [Archive] - Bad Astronomy and Universe Today Forum". Bad Astronomy online forum post. May 3, 2002. http://www.bautforum.com/archive/index.php/t-1180.html. Retrieved November 25, 2008. 
  17. ^ Lheureux 2000 (page needed).
  18. ^ a b Chaikin 2007, p. 2.
  19. ^ "Was The Apollo Moon Landing Fake?". APFN.org. July 21, 2009. http://www.apfn.org/apfn/moon.htm. Retrieved November 25, 2008. 
  20. ^ Kaysing 2002, pp. 26–40.
  21. ^ Kaysing 2002, p. 71.
  22. ^ Plait 2002, p. 173
  23. ^ "Moon Hoax MOONMOVIE.COM Frequently Asked Questions". Moonmovie.com. 2007. http://www.moonmovie.com/faq.htm. Retrieved August 26, 2009. 
  24. ^ "Clavius: Bibliography - bill kaysing". Clavius.org. http://www.clavius.org/kaysing.html. Retrieved November 25, 2008. 
  25. ^ Plait 2002, p. 157
  26. ^ AFTH, LLC website
  27. ^ "Moon Hoax - A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Moon DVD - Front Cover & Bart Sibrel". Moonmovie.com. http://moonmovie.com/afthft.htm. Retrieved November 25, 2008. 
  28. ^ "Lunar Legacy", YouTube.
  29. ^ "Buzz Aldrin Punches Bart Sibrel". YouTube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FUI36tPKDg4. 
  30. ^ Bancroft, Colette (September 29, 2002). "Lunar Lunacy". http://www.sptimes.com/2002/09/29/Floridian/Lunar_lunacy.shtml. Retrieved February 13, 2007. 
  31. ^ "Bibliography - dramatis personae". Clavius.org. http://www.clavius.org/bibcast.html. Retrieved November 25, 2008. 
  32. ^ Matthews, Robert (November 25, 2002). "Telescope to challenge moon doubters". Sydney Morning Herald. http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2002/11/24/1037697982142.html. Retrieved August 5, 2009. 
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References

External links

Television specials


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