Moon Landing Conspiracy Theories: Fact or Fake?

In 1977 a Hare Krishna magazine claimed the moon landings were faked. They cited Hindu mythology which claims the Moon is 800,000 miles (1,300,000 km) further away from Earth than the Sun. The magazine also said that the Apollo missions were faked because NASA did not have enough money to accomplish such a task.

The idea that the Moon landings were staged has been promoted by many different groups over time, but it’s always been dismissed as nonsense.

One of the earliest people to suggest that the landings were faked was Bill Kaysing, an American publishing executive. He had worked as a technical writer for Rocketdyne, on the same floor as North American Aviation, the contractor which built the Apollo Spacecraft and in July 1968 he attended a dinner party where one of the guests claimed that no human would ever set foot on the Moon. When Kaysing asked how he could be so sure, the man replied that it was too expensive and dangerous.

David S. F. Portree, NASA’s program historian, has written that Kaysing had already formed this opinion by the spring of 1969, when he was looking for a way out of his job at Rocketdyne and approached North American Aviation with a proposal to publish a book that would expose the Apollo Program as a hoax.

He was unsuccessful in this proposal, but after he left Rocketdyne and moved back to New Jersey, he wrote a manuscript entitled “Who Moved the Moon?” and sent it to several newspapers, including the “New York Times”, which refused to publish it. Kenneth wereld van onzekerheid ( Dutch Edition).

In 1970, Van Hoeydonck declared that “the lack of stars in the photographs taken on the moon is a big give-away that something is wrong.” The following year he said that “if NASA had gone to the moon, they would have taken color film, not black-and-white. The absence of stars proves that what we see on TV is a fake.”

In late 1975, a senior scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Harold G. Liimatta, submitted a report to the journal Nature which claimed it was physically impossible for the Lunar Module to leave the lip of Crater Rimite’s ledge as it was depicted in the Apollo photographs. He claimed that “the lifting capacity of the rotor and the thrust from the rockets were insufficient to overcome the weight of the machine.”

Noting that the lander weighed 5,500 pounds (2,500 kg), he said it was im Possible for it to hover in place as shown in one of the photographs. This led him to conclude that “the picture is a fraud.”

After West Germany’s ARD television network aired a documentary in April 1976 which presented evidence that the Apollo landings were faked, Bart S. Collins, a lecturer at the University of Pittsburgh, said that there was “no evidence whatever” that anyone from NASA had been to the Moon.

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He said, “No one has yet come up with a single piece of anything even vaguely Moonlike.” He believed that since no one at the space agency could be certain of the legal ramifications of sending humans to the Moon, a decision was made to fake the landings.

He suggested that the Soviets would be stupid to actually send cosmonauts to the Moon because they would have all the risk and expense without any scientific advantages.

David Shayler, a former operative for Britain’s MI5 domestic security service, claimed that he had seen documents by both the United States National Security Agency (NSA) and the British Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ).

He alleged that these confirmed that the CIA and NSA had intercepted radio transmissions from the Soviet Union which showed that it had not sent anybody toward the Moon but instead was investigating conditions in Earth’s orbit.

By February 2001, James Oberg, a former NASA employee who worked on the Apollo Space Program, wrote an article for the Houston Chronicle which said that all evidence is “leaves no doubt” that manned landings occurred. He blamed the conspiracy theories on pseudoscience and errors made in the highly-technical field of interpreting photographs.

David S. F. Portree, a scientist at the United Nations’ National Space Science and Technology Centre, in 2010 wrote that conspiracy theories about the Moon landings are “misguided” and stem from people who refuse to accept the facts which have been presented to them.

He claimed that stars are not visible in most of the photographs because of the way the cameras were set; since they were not designed for use in outer space where there is no air, they did not adjust the settings to compensate. He also said that it is obvious when looking at footprints in the Moon dust that there was no gravitational pull to make them crooked.

He also scorned people who claim the landers were too heavy to have left craters, saying they forget that the landers were floating and so did not hit the Moon’s surface at speeds of over 1000 miles per hour as they would on Earth.

He also states that the Moon’s surface is more like thick dust or sand, which would be thrown into the air and then fall back over a long period of time. The astronauts’ footprints blended into the surface after they walked some distance, making the landings seem “faked”.

Theorists claim that the Van Allen radiation belts, which surround the Earth and are full of charged particles, would have killed any astronauts who tried to pass through them.

However, Portree says this is not true and that the belts were passed through successfully several times during the Space Race. He also claims that there is no evidence that the Soviet Union even tried to send people past the Van Allen Belts. In the opinion of Portree, the conspiracy theories are excuses for people to disbelieve a great achievement which has been accomplished by humans.

He says it is more likely that the United States faked the Moon landings than NASA having done so. He says that conspiracy theorists ignore that the American government has lied to its people many times in the past and would have no trouble doing so again. He also says that if they really believe the Moon landers were fake then they are calling hundreds of scientists, engineers, astronauts and others liars.

Other moon-landing conspiracies are concerned with the validity of Nasa’s photography.

The shadows in photographs taken on the Moon fall in different directions than they should. Shadows do not fall perpendicular to the objects that cause them on Earth, but are parallel to each other. On Earth, this is because the planet is round and objects project shadows perpendicular to their sides.

On the Moon, however, all shadows fall in the same direction: toward the center of the Moon. This is because all objects project shadows toward the center of the Moon due to its lack of an atmosphere. What the conspiracy theorists do not count on is perspective. Because the Moon is so much smaller than the Earth, objects on its surface appear smaller and closer to each other than they actually are.

In particular, specially placed etchings on portraitures of every Apollo astronaut and Soviet cosmonaut seem to be (and, in fact, are) many miles apart. Photographs of these objects in the same frame can only be taken at the same time every couple of weeks — at the same time that the Earth is in exactly the same position relative to the Sun.

When photographs are developed, therefore, an eerie artificial shadow is cast onto the surface of the Moon under each astronaut or cosmonaut by the invisible etching of a portrait of the person on mission control’s floor. When the sunlight is at a certain angle, these etchings are just visible. Other photographs show the astronauts and cosmonauts in stark outline, their faces blank white ovals against a sky filled with stars.

According to NASA, these pictures were taken at a time when the Moon was between the Earth and the Sun, meaning that you should be able to see nothing but blackness. Still others show the American flag standing straight out from its halyard, even though there is no wind on the Moon.
NASA explains that this is a result of the slow spin of the flagpole..