Debunking popular US moon landing myths
Ever since NASA succeeded in their mission to put man on the moon in 1969, doubters have pointed out inconsistencies and developed conspiracy theories, claiming it never really happened. The chances are you will have heard of at least some of these already, but we’re going to delve into some of the most popular theories, and explain why they don’t stand up against the facts.
Before we get into that, though, we have to ask what the USA might have stood to gain from faking a moon landing. The most obvious reason relates to the Cold War with Russia, which was at something of a fever pitch in the ‘60s. The “Space Race”, as it came to be known, was a key part of this; whoever managed to put man on the moon first would have gained a boost in the war. NASA’s finances also needed a boost following the fire which grounded the Apollo 1 mission and killed all three crew members. There are legitimate motivations to fake it, then.
There are countless individual theories, but here are some of the most popular (and believable) ones:
People think there are inconsistencies in the photographic and video evidence, including claims that the photo quality is implausibly high, the shadows suggest artificial lighting and there are no visible stars in the sky.
Others claim the radiation levels both on the moon’s surface and on the journey to get there would have been too hostile to support human life, and would have corrupted the video film too.
45 films are missing from the NASA archives, and have long since been presumed lost. These include the original, higher-quality moon walk recordings, leaving us with the lower-resolution version as it was broadcast live around the world.
Twelve deaths related to NASA occurred around the time of the launch, suggesting a coverup to some.
Of course, the following facts aren’t unknown to the conspiracists, and it is possible to contest them, but they have been suggested by experts in the field:
The shadows and lighting in the footage and photographs are in fact in line with what we
would expect during lunar daytime, given the positioning of the moon and the craters on its surface. Stars would not be visible due to the exposure settings on the camera.
The film was protected from radiation by being kept in metal containers, while extensive planning and advanced technologies minimised the astronauts’ exposure to radiation.
The loss of the tapes is definitely a huge oversight, but tapes regularly had to be reused at the time due to the cost of technological resources. It was, in all likelihood, a genuine accident.
An estimated 400,000 people were involved in the planning, preparation, and execution of the Apollo missions. Not only would there have been far more than twelve potential whistleblowers identified by NASA if there had actually been a hoax, but someone involved would have succeeded in sharing the truth by now.
Of course, the only people who can really know whether the moon landing in 1969 and subsequent missions in the twentieth century, were real or not are those intimately involved. But, as we hope we’ve demonstrated, it was in all likelihood a legitimate feat of aeronautical engineering by NASA.