Why People Believe The Moon Landings Were Faked

On July 20th 1969, the Apollo 11 Lunar Module landed on the Moon It was a world-changing moment in human history

It opened the possibility for mankind to travel and explore Outer Space From that point until 1972 five other missions allowed man to walk on the Moon Still, 50 years later, there are many people who believe the landings never really happened Why? Some believe the main motive that pushed NASA to fake the landings was the USA’s determination to beat the Soviet Union, after the Sputnik missions The Sputnik Program was a series of five space missions launched by the Soviet Union from 1957 to 1960

And that's right after the Sputnik 2 mission, with the first living animal in orbit-the dog Laika, that President Eisenhower established the aerospace agency Most conspiracy theorists argue that landings were faked to fulfil John F Kennedy's 1961 promise of a man landing on the Moon by the end of the decade Others, like author Mary Bennett and film director David Percy, have claimed that NASA wouldn’t risk broadcasting the death of an astronaut on live television In fact, NASA did incur public humiliation and potential political opposition to the Apollo program on February 21st, 1967

On that occasion, they lost the entire Apollo 1 crew in a fire, during a ground test In 2009 The American Patriot Friends Network claimed that the Moon Landings were faked in order to help the US government distract public attention from the unpopular Vietnam War As a matter of fact, the war was one of several federal budget items with which NASA had to compete The Apollo missions cost, on average, $445 million each But by 1972, the Apollo Program’s budget had fallen and the space agency could not sustain Apollo missions while simultaneously developing the Space Shuttle

This is why the Apollo Program ended However, despite the $254 billion invested – approximately $153 billion today – and the number of people involved in the Program, many still claim all the Apollo missions to be a fraud How? Many of the theories are based on NASA’s official photographs taken on the Moon For example, some believe the fact that stars aren’t visible in any of the published pictures proves the landing was actually filmed in a studio

However, over the years, astronomer Phil Plait (phil play) has explained the astronauts set their cameras to short exposure times, which could not pick up the faint stars against the strength of the Sun’s lightIn contrast, deep space photographs need long time exposures It takes hours, sometimes months, to get a detailed high resolution picture The Apollo Program astronauts only had a short amount of time to complete each mission That's why they had to set their cameras to a short exposure

Plait also noted that, although the Apollo landings occurred during the Cold War with the Soviet Union, Soviet officials never complained In fact, he says, ""They had both the capability and the desire to disprove this, if it was true — you know, if we hadn't landed on the moon but were faking it, and they never said a word That's a pretty strong element to me"" Conspiracists also point at the inconsistency of the angle and colour of shadows on the photographs, which suggests to them that artificial lights were used Of course, this would be a strong point if we were talking about Earth

But, on the Moon, there are several light sources: the Sun, the sunlight reflected from the Earth, the sunlight reflected from the Moon's surface, as well as the sunlight reflected from the astronauts and the Lunar Module All the sources' light is scattered by lunar dust in many directions Therefore, shadows falling into craters and hills may appear longer, shorter or distorted It is often claimed that if NASA had really landed on the Moon, it should be pretty easy to see the evidence with the Hubble telescope However, Hubble doesn’t have the right resolution to pick up small details like the spacecraft on the Moon

But in 2009, NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter passed around the Moon and captured photographs of the Apollo landing sites Since then, other spacecraft from China, India, and Japan were also able to spot the same sites The images show the Apollo spacecraft in their exact locations along with the astronauts’ footprints But then theorists argue that due to the lack of water on the Moon, the footprints in the Moondust shouldn’t preserve so well But again, Moondust differs from Earth’s sand

It has sharp edges that allow the dust particles to hold together and hold their shape in the thin atmosphere All right, but then why did the Lunar Modules make no blast craters, and why isn’t there any sign of scattered dust? According to NASA, no crater should be expected The descent engines did scatter a lot of surface dust as seen in footage from each of the landings Moreover, photos do show scouring of the surface along the final descent path Lastly, the lunar soil is very compact below its surface dust layer, making it impossible for the descent engine to blast out a crater

Another popular theory relies on the Van Allen belts, two huge belts of radiation that surround the Earth It’s a popular belief that humans couldn’t have passed through the belts without dying from the lethal doses of radiation However, belts’ existence was known to NASA from early 1958, and they had time to examine and prepare for the problem As a result, the Apollo launches happened at set times, when the Van Allen belts were at their least intense activity Moreover, radiation sickness occurs after being exposed to around 200 to 1,000 ‘rads’ of radiation within a few hours

The Apollo crews went through the belts in less than two hours, with an estimated exposure of merely 18 rads Additionally, NASA was extra careful in making sure that the spacecraft were well-insulated so that the average dose of radiation was just 018 rads in total Other theorists have pointed out images of astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin planting the US flag on the Moon The flag seems to be flapping, but how is it possible if there’s no wind on the Moon? Well, the truth is that the flag is not actually flapping

If you look at the video footage, the flag appears to wave back and forth because when the astronauts planted it, they rotated the pole back and forth to better dig it into the lunar soil This, of course, made the flag ripple, and, because of the lack of strong gravity on the Moon, the flag maintained a wavy shape The most creative theory of all claims filmmaker Stanley Kubrick produced much of the footage for Apollos 11 and 12, on the basis of the technological achievements of his 1968 movie 2001: A Space Odyssey The film is partly set on the Moon and featured advanced special effects and aerospace designs, created with the help of advisors from NASA According to author and filmmaker Jay Weidner, when Kubrick's film was in post-production, NASA secretly entrusted the director with directing the first Moon landings

However, no evidence was ever offered for this theory, and Kubrick's depiction of the Moon's surface is very different from its appearance in the Apollo footage But then, what about the most tangible evidence we have right here on Earth? In fact, thanks to the 382 kilograms of Moon rocks that the Apollo crew brought back, we were able to extract a glass spherule Glass spherules can form after explosive volcanic activity or a high-speed meteorite impact Both of these events can melt and vaporize rocks In both cases, the rock needs time to slowly cool and crystallise in order for glass spherules to form

On Earth, the elements quickly destroy any volcanically-produced glass In space, glass spherules survive nearly intact We’ve found them in both meteorites that have fallen to Earth and in the Moon rocks returned from the Apollo missions Samples of the rocks were shared with 135 different countries to be tested Those tests confirmed they are of genuine lunar origin

As further proof, the same rocks were shared with Soviet scientists They compared them to the rocks brought back from their 1970s Luna Program and confirmed the rocks share the same characteristics But if most of these conspiracy theories can be easily debunked, why do as many as 20 percent of Americans still believe them to be true? According to Roger Launius, who served as NASA's chief historian from 1990 to 2002, conspiracies about the Moon landings increased with the development of the internet The same isolated people, who previously had to print pamphlets and flyers in an attempt to gain supporters, were suddenly able to connect with each other quickly and get their theories out into the world more easily Launius thinks these theories have a particular impact on naive and poorly informed people

Additionally, there are people who enjoy the feeling of knowing something that others don't Then there is the wider love of intrigue, innate to our society A second hypothesis, by reporter Rebecca Jennings, focuses on money We all know money makes the world go round What's a better way to make money than to speculate about one of the biggest achievements in human history? The first printed theory dates back to 1976

Bill Kaysing, an American writer who died in 2005, claimed Rocketdyne, the company that built the engines used on the NASA Saturn V rocket, hired him as a senior technical writer even though he had no knowledge of rockets or technical writing Still, according to Kaysing, the job gave him access to documents that prove the Apollo missions were faked Kaysing said the documents reported that the chance of a successful moon landing was 00017% Kaysing thought it would have been easier for NASA to fake the Moon landings than to really go there

He claimed the money raised for the Apollo Program could have been used to bribe many people However, James Longuski, Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics Engineering at Purdue University, thinks such a secret, and any Moon Landing conspiracy in general, would be impossible to realize Longuski says that any conspiracy would have to involve more than 400,000 people, all those who worked on the Apollo project for nearly ten years, to keep the secret Longuski argues that it would have been much easier to land on the Moon for real than to simulate the landings Additionally, the documents on which Kaysing based all his theories were never found

Yet the writer spent all his life appearing on talk shows, writing books and making allegations One of the programs Kaysing appeared on was a controversial 2001 Fox TV special called Conspiracy Theory: Did We Land on the Moon? As reported by Jennings, the show earned Fox a couple of million and, after it aired, American scepticism of the moon landing increased from 6% to 20% In 2018, a team of French and Swiss scientists published the results of a research project The aim was to investigate why certain people are predisposed to think everything happens for a reason, and things are meant to be According to researcher Dr Sebastian Dieguez of the University of Fribourg, test results show “A previously unnoticed common thread between believing in creationism and believing in conspiracy theories

” In fact, “Although very different at first glance, both these belief systems are associated with a single and powerful cognitive bias, named teleological thinking” Teleological thinking affects people who believe things happen because they were meant to be Thinking in this way causes a person to believe the final result is actually the cause Things exist because of the purpose they serve, as “the sun rises in order to give us light” This way of thinking, for instance, is a key part in the first years of children’s learning process

Dr Dieguez and his colleagues believe that “The message that conspiracism is a type of creationism that deals with the social world can help clarify some of the most baffling features of our so-called ‘post-truth era” And, in order to change things, the team is using the results to assess current attempts to educate young people about conspiracy theories and misinformation Finally, there’s the “political blame theory” Political scientist Prof Larry Bartels asserts that people often blame politicians for bad events ""People will blindly reward or punish the government for good or bad times without really having any clear understanding of whether or how the government's policies have contributed to those outcomes

” The Apollo Program started when the US government was facing a difficult time The Vietnam War was still ongoing, and it didn't encounter the expected outcome And soon the Watergate scandal would break out The unpopularity of the Nixon presidency enabled people to distrust the government Is it possible that the same distrust in the authorities led some people to discredit NASA's achievements? Since December 1972, when the Apollo 17 astronauts departed for Earth, nobody has set foot on the Moon soil

However, NASA is currently planning to bring astronauts back to the Moon by 2024 The project aims to construct a small moon-orbiting space station, called the Gateway, which would serve as a jumping-off point for future missions deeper into Space And who knows? Perhaps by 2024, we will be able to shed clear light on the original Moon landings

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