|DID WE LAND ON THE MOON?
A Debunking of the Moon Hoax Theory
On February 15, 2001 the FOX television network aired a program titled Conspiracy Theory: Did We Land On The Moon? This program showed alleged evidence that NASA faked the moon landings. This hoax theory has been around for several years, but this is the first time it has been presented to such a wide audience. Since this Website, Rocket and Space Technology, is dedicated to the men and women who brought the moon landings to fruition, I feel the time is right for me to speak out on this topic.
This TV program capitalizes on America's fixation with government conspiracies by sensationalizing the notion that NASA perpetrated a multi-billion dollar hoax on the world. In my opinion, the FOX network acted irresponsibly by airing this program. What they produced is a TV show filled with sloppy research, scientific inaccuracies and erroneous conclusions. To support such an absurd theory and to cast doubt in the minds of the American public is an insult to the courage of the astronauts and the brilliance of the engineers who worked to achieve mankind's greatest technological feat. FOX is apparently only concerned with ratings while exhibiting total disregard for the integrity of America's true heroes.
Some of the most prominent advocates of the hoax theory are Bill Kaysing, author of We Never Went To The Moon, Ralph Rene, author of NASA Mooned America, David Percy and Mary Bennett, co-authors of Dark Moon: Apollo and the Whistle Blowers and, more recently, Bart Sibrel, producer of A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Moon. These people, and other hoax advocates, usually point to alleged anomalies in the Apollo photo and video record as evidence of their claims. The FOX program featured many of these claims while providing very little refuting evidence or testimony. Below are my comments refuting both the evidence presented in the TV program and many other common hoax allegations. I invite you to draw your own conclusions, but I suspect you will find the facts speak for themselves.
The likelihood of success was calculated to be so small that it is inconceivable the moon landings could have actually taken place.
Bill Kaysing has claimed that the chance of a successful landing on the moon was calculated to be 0.0017% (1 in 60,000). The source of this information appears to be a report prepared by the Rocketdyne company in the late 1950s. This assessment was, of course, based on understanding and technology existing at the time of the report. As tremendous resources were poured into the problem over the next decade, the reliability studies improved dramatically.
During the mid-1960s the Apollo Support Department of the General Electric Company in Florida conducted extensive mission reliability studies for NASA. These studies were based on very elaborate reliability models of all of the systems. A reliability profile over the course of a mission was generated by computer simulation, and a large number of such simulations were carried out for different scenarios. Based on those studies, the probability of landing on the moon and returning safely to earth never dropped below 90%.
Every Apollo mission before number 11 was plagued by about 20,000 defects apiece. Yet, with the exception of Apollo 13, NASA claims there wasn't one major technical problem on any of their Moon missions.
This is the claim of hoax advocate Ralph Rene. Although I am unfamiliar with the source of this information, Mr. Rene's assertion is clear; the early missions had so many insurmountable problems that NASA decided to abandon the moon landings and fake it. Even if the data is accurate, there is a big difference between a "defect" and a "major technical problem". None of the Apollo missions, with the exception of number 13, experienced a major technical problem that prohibited the crews from successfully completing their missions. Also, the early Apollo flights were test missions designed specifically to shake out bugs in the hardware and procedures. Finally, the moon landings were far from flawless. There were numerous technical problems but, thanks to the skill of the flight controllers, engineers and astronauts, the problems were either corrected or circumvented such that the crews were able to complete their missions with amazing success.
The poor video quality of the first moon landings was a deliberate ploy so nobody could properly examine it.
Television pictures of the Apollo 11 landing were sent directly to Earth from the surface of the Moon using the Lunar Module's antenna and power supply. This placed a restriction on the amount of bandwidth that could be transmitted. Apollo 11 was thereby limited to using a black-and-white, slow-scan TV camera with a scan rate of 10 frames-per-second at 320 lines-per-frame. In order to broadcast the images to the world, the pictures had to first be converted to the commercial TV standards. In the US, this was the EIA standard of 30 frames-per-second at 525 lines-per-frame. The pictures transmitted from the Moon were displayed on a 10-inch black-and-white monitor and a vidicon camera was pointed at the screen and the pictures were scanned at the EIA standard. A number of peculiar image artifacts were seen on the images. One set of artifacts was produced by sunlight reflecting off the astronauts and the LM onto the TV camera's lens. These reflections produced the ghostly effects perceived by the public. Other prominent artifacts were the result of spots burnt into the monitor screens from which the optical conversions were produced.
Apollo 11 was only a first step in what was to be increasingly ambitious missions, thus it was lacking in some capabilities. Among these was the ability to transmit high-quality TV pictures. Later missions, starting with Apollo 12, had enough time in the schedule to permit the astronauts to erect large freestanding dish antennas. This increased the amount of bandwidth that could be transmitted, thus allowing complex color TV pictures to be sent directly to Earth.
There can't be any pictures taken on the Moon because the film would melt in the 250° temperatures.
The Apollo astronauts used what was, at the time, a special transparency film produced by Eastman Kodak under a NASA contract. The photosensitive emulsions layers where placed on an ESTAR polyester film base, which had previously been used primarily for motion picture film. The melting point of Estar is 490° F, although some shrinkage and distortion can occur at around 200° F. Fortunately the film was never exposed to this kind of temperature. The cameras were protected inside a special case designed to keep them cool. The situation on the airless Moon is much different than in your oven, for instance. Without convection or conduction, the only method of heat transfer is radiation. Radiative heat can be effectively directed away from an object by wrapping it in a material with a reflective surface, usually simply a white material. The camera casings, as well as most of the astronauts' clothing, were indeed white.
Every Apollo photograph appears to be perfectly composed, focused and exposed, despite the fact the astronauts used cameras without viewfinders and light meters.
The implication is that the astronauts could not have achieved this apparent level of perfection. The obvious answer is that they did not, as is evident by this badly underexposed example [see photo]. The photos to which the hoax advocates refer are publicity photos released by NASA. Surely, NASA isn't going to release the foul-ups and blunders. Also, what appears to be perfect composition is, in many cases, the result of cropping. If all the photographs were uncropped, the number, size and pattern of crosshairs would be identical in every photo, which clearly is not the case. I don't mean to take anything away from the astronauts because they performed a remarkable job, which can be explained in three words: practice, practice, and practice. Perhaps no humans have ever been better prepared for a job than the Apollo astronauts.
The black sky should be full of stars, yet none are visible in any of the Apollo photographs.
This claim is one I hear frequently, and is one of the easiest to refute. The answer is very simple: they are too faint. The Apollo photos are of brightly lit objects on the surface of the Moon, for which fast exposure settings were required. The fast exposures simply did not allow enough starlight into the camera to record an image on the film. For the same reason, images of Earth taken from orbit also lack stars. The stars are there; they just don't appear in the pictures. The hoax advocates often argue that stars should be visible, and some of their claims are valid, however they fail to recognize the difference between "seeing" stars and "photographing" stars. The astronauts could have recorded star images in their photos by increasing exposures, but they were not there to take star pictures. The purpose of the photos was to record the astronauts' activities on the surface of the Moon.
Bill Kaysing claims that NASA has perpetrated the lie that stars cannot be seen in space to validate the lack of stars in the Apollo photos. This assertion is utterly ridiculous; in fact, NASA has released many photos in which stars are visible. Common among these are long-exposure nighttime photographs of aurora taken by space shuttle astronauts. This example [see photo] is a four-second exposure taken from the flight deck of the shuttle Endeavour.
The astronauts should have seen a beautiful star-filled sky above them, yet they never mention it.
Even though there was a black sky above them, the astronauts still had to contend with the glare of a brightly lit lunar surface. The bright landscape prevented the astronauts' eyes from becoming dark adapted, thus making it nearly impossible to see faint stars. It would be like trying to see stars at night on Earth while someone is shining a flashlight directly into your eyes. Some astronauts reported that, while inside the LM, they could see stars through the upper rendezvous window. Also, astronaut Gene Cernan said that, while standing in the shadow of the Apollo 17 LM, he could see some stars while he was outside.
There are several photographs of objects that are in shadows, yet they appear lighted and with surprising detail. Objects located in shadows should appear totally black.
The problem with this statement is that it fails to consider reflected sunlight. Next to the Sun, the largest source of light on the Moon is the lunar surface itself, which reflects large amounts of sunlight. At the Earth-Sun distance, maximum solar illumination is about 10,000 lumens per square foot; however, if the Sun is not directly overhead its rays will strike the surface obliquely. This decreases the intensity of sunlight per unit area. A typical Sun elevation during the Apollo landings was about 20 degrees, thus the illumination per square foot was about 3,400 lumens. Since the Moon's surface reflects about 10% of the light it receives, each square foot of surface reflected about 340 lumens. This is equivalent to the luminosity of a 35-watt light bulb. This amount of light easily explains the illumination observed in the Apollo photographs.
In many photographs the shadow side of the astronauts appear illuminated, while the shadow side of rocks appear totally black.
This Apollo 17 photograph [see photo] is a good example of the above hoax claim. The explanation is apparent from the photo itself. Look at the astronaut's feet and you will see that the shadow in this area is just as dark as that of the foreground rocks. The lunar surface acts as a reflector to illuminate the shadow side of the astronaut. At the elevation of the astronaut's feet, and the foreground rocks, this reflector surface is mostly covered by the adjacent shadows. However, at the elevation of the astronaut's head and torso, the shadows cover a much smaller percentage of the surface. For example, on a flat surface the angular distance from horizon to horizon is 180 degrees. At an elevation of five feet, a one-foot wide shadow subtends an angle of 11.4 degrees, or only 6% of the distance from horizon to horizon. At two inches above the ground, this shadow subtends an angle of 143 degrees, or nearly 80% of the surface. Furthermore, the rocks are darker and less reflective than the astronaut's white space suit.
Shadows cast on the lunar surface should be parallel. Some shadows in the Apollo photos are not parallel indicating more than one light source, thus the photos are fakes.
Again there is a sound explanation; it is a simple a matter of perspective. A photo is a two-dimensional representation of a three-dimensional world, hence parallel lines may not appear as such on film. We all know how lines on a highway appear to diverge as they approach the observer, yet we know they are parallel. Another important factor that comes into play here is the slope of the ground. Let's consider two shadows - one cast on an upward slope and the other on a downward slope. If viewed from the side, these shadows would appear to go off in different directions. However, if viewed from high above, they would be seen as parallel. In other words, looks can be deceiving. There is no evidence of NASA trickery here.
This photograph [see photo], taken on Earth, is an excellent example illustrating how perspective causes shadows to appear non-parallel when seen on film. In this example [see photo] the astronaut on the right is standing on a small rise. The sloping ground has caused his shadow to elongate and appear at a different angle than the shadow of the astronaut on the left. Also note, if two spotlights produced the shadows then each astronaut would have two shadows.
Apollo 11 footage shows the astronauts' shadows increasing and decreasing in length as they move about. This is because they are in close proximity to a large artificial light source that causes their shadows to change as they move toward or away from the light.
This claim comes from David Percy, who displays this image [see photo] on his Web site. A brief examination reveals that Percy's explanation cannot possibly account for the shadows. If the shadows were produced as described, then the closer an astronaut is to the light source, the shorter his shadow will be, which is just the opposite of what we see. Percy claims ground slope cannot explain the shadows because the terrain is essentially flat. On a large scale the Apollo 11 site was essentially flat, however there were local undulations in the ground surface. Since we are looking at a two-dimensional image we cannot see the slope of the ground, but we can infer it from the shadows. It appears the ground is sloping upward and away from left astronaut either to the top-left, the bottom-right, or a combination of both. Remember, shadows cast on a downward slope are lengthened, while those cast on an upward slope are shortened. It seems that a change in ground slope is the only feasible explanation for the shadows we see.
Many Apollo photographs show lighting "hot spots", as well as a darkening of the surface toward the horizon. Sunlight should not produce hot spots, nor should the surface fade in an airless environment.
The "hot spots" are the result of the lunar soil's tendency to reflect light back toward its source. There are many reasons for this, but it is mostly due to countless tiny glass spheres found in the lunar soil, and formed by meteorite impacts. When you see a photo taken "down sun", away from the Sun, you see what looks like a spotlight around the shadow's head. This is because the light is strongly reflected back toward the Sun, so the soil around the head of the shadow looks very bright. This phenomenon also explains why the surface fades so drastically toward the horizon. It is brightest near the foreground due to sunlight being preferentially reflected back toward the camera. Farther away, the sunlight is preferentially reflected away from the camera, making the ground look dark. This phenomenon can also be observed in wet grass on Earth, as spherical water droplets act like the glass spheres. The technical term for this phenomenon is Heiligenschein, and is the result of light refraction, reflection, and diffraction on the surface of and inside the glass spheres and/or water droplets. This Apollo 11 photo is very good example [see photo] of Heiligenschein.
Some Apollo photographs show mysterious lights in the shadowy background that appear to be studio spotlights.
The hoax advocates usually reference this photograph [see photo] because the lights bare a vague resemblance to studio spotlights, however there are many photographs, such as this one [see photo], where the same lights seem to contradict this hoax claim. There is no mystery as to the origin of these lights; they are lens flares. A lens flare is an image of the Sun reflecting back and forth between the lens elements of the camera. If you examine the photographs in which lens flares are found you will notice they all have a couple things in common. First, they are all taken with the camera pointing in the general direction of the Sun and, secondly, if you were to draw a line from the center of the photograph through the flares (they usually occur in pairs), the line will point in the direction of the Sun, which lies just outside the frame.
Only two men walked on the Moon during each Apollo mission, yet there are photos in which the astronaut reflected in the visor has no camera. Who took the shot?
The Apollo astronauts carried cameras that were attached to the front of their spacesuits. In this Apollo 12 photograph of astronaut Alan Bean [see photo], taken by Pete Conrad, one can clearly see Bean's camera mounted to his chest. The astronauts aimed and operated the cameras while they remained in this mounting. If you look closely at Conrad's reflection in Bean's visor, you can see Conrad's camera, which he is operating with his right hand.
In an Apollo 11 photograph of Buzz Aldrin the horizon is located at eye level; however, if the camera was mounted to Neil Armstrong's chest, the horizon should be at chest level.
The referenced photograph is the most reproduced image in the entire Apollo archive [see photo]. The claim of the hoax advocates assumes that Aldrin and Armstrong were standing on level ground; however, if Armstrong were standing on higher ground, the apparent elevation of the horizon would rise accordingly. If we look at Armstrong's reflection in the visor, we see the horizon is located at his chest [see enlargement]. This shows Armstrong was indeed standing on higher ground with his chest located in approximately the same horizontal plane as Aldrin's eyes. Given this camera position, we see the horizon across Aldrin's eyes as expected.
The hoax advocates also point out that the top of Aldrin's backpack should not be visible if the camera was attached to Armstrong's chest. Again, the hoax advocates fail to recognize that Armstrong is standing on higher ground. In addition, Aldrin is leaning forward, thus exposing the top of his backpack to the camera. Due to the weight of the astronauts' backpacks, a slight forward lean was required to maintain balance.
There is one photograph of an astronaut standing on the surface of the Moon in direct sunlight, yet he casts no shadow, which is impossible.
The photo to which the hoax advocates refer is one of astronaut John Young saluting the Stars and Stripes [see photo]. They often reference this photo as evidence of fraud, however they are very wrong. Young's shadow is clearly visible on the ground below him and to the right (his left). How can his shadow not be attached to his body? The answer is simple; Young was leaping off the ground and was elevated about two feet when the photo was taken. There is also some very good corroborating video of the event. This is one of the most famous of the Apollo photos and it is surprising that the hoax advocates would be unfamiliar with the story behind the photograph.
Other comments I've heard about this particular photo include (1) the flag appears to be fluttering and (2) the flag's camera facing side should be shaded from the sun. The fluttering issue I will deal with later. As for the lighting issue, it seems obvious to me that the flag is angled to the right and toward the camera. With the sun to the left, the flag's camera facing side would be sunlit at a shallow angle, which agrees with the shadows on the flag itself.
Not one still photograph matches the video footage, yet NASA claims both were shot at the same time.
This statement, made by David Percy, is entirely untrue. For evidence I submit the above-mentioned photograph of astronaut John Young [see photo]. There is some excellent corroborating video of the event captured in this still photo. In the video, the TV camera is positioned behind Young and to his right. The video shows a leaping John Young, the flag (which is not fluttering) and Charlie Duke, who took the photograph. There are other examples as well.
Mr. Percy claims that the triangular shaped piece of fabric located on the top of John Young's backpack, and seen in the still photo, does not appear in the video. This is not true - the tip of the fabric can be seen when one closely examines the video. Percy's claim fails to take into consideration the relative camera angles, the fact that Young in leaning forward, and the fact the fabric is attached at the front edge of the backpack.
If Neil Armstrong was the first man on the Moon, then who shot the video of him descending the ladder and taking his initial steps on the lunar surface?
The TV camera was stowed in an instrument pallet in the LM descent stage. When Armstrong was at the top of the ladder, he pulled a lanyard to swing open the pallet, which was hinged at the bottom. The TV camera, which was attached to it, also swung down. Buzz Aldrin then switched on the camera from the LM cabin. The camera was pointing at the ladder of the LM so that TV pictures of Armstrong's initial steps on the Moon could be relayed to the world. The camera was later removed from its mounting and placed on a tripod some 30 feet from the LM, where it was left unattended to cover the remainder of the moonwalk.
Two photographs show an identical mountain background, yet in one the Lunar Module is present while in the other the LM is absent. The mountain scene must be an artificial backdrop.
The above example, which was presented in the FOX TV program, is just one of many hoax claims about "identical backgrounds" and "artificial backdrops" [see photos]. If someone is going to claim the backgrounds are identical, they had better be IDENTICAL. In this case, as in all such claims, the backgrounds are clearly not identical. If you examine the photos with scrutiny, differences can be easily identified. For example, look closely at the hill on the right of each photo and you will notice that the angles of view are significantly different. It is obvious the photos were taken from different camera positions, thus we see different foreground terrain. In the right photo it appears the LM is off-camera to the left.
Another factor to consider is, due to the lack of an atmosphere, distant objects on the Moon appear clearer than they do on Earth, thus the background mountains may be more distant than they appear to be. As such, a change in camera position may, at first observation, have a nearly unperceivable affect on the appearance of the background. However, close examination will reveal otherwise.
Two video clips, claimed by NASA to have been taken at different locations many kilometers apart, show an identical hill.
There's an easy explanation for this: human error. The video clips to which the hoax advocates refer are from a documentary (not made by NASA) that accidentally used a wrong clip. This was a simple mistake, but not one made by NASA. According to NASA, the photos were actually taken about three minutes apart on the same hill.
Apollo 16 photographs show a rock with a clearly defined "C" marking on it. This "C" is probably a studio prop identification marking.
I do not deny that the rock certainly appears to have a "C" on it [see photo], however to suggest this is some sort of studio prop marking seems a bit far-fetched. Fortunately, someone else has already solved this mystery for us. An investigation by the Lunar Anomalies Web page has uncovered that the "C" is, in fact, no more than a hair or fiber that was likely on the paper when the print was made. This print was then scanned to produce the digital image seen on this, and other, Web pages. The original negatives have been found to be "clean" with no evidence of the infamous "C".
Crosshairs, etched into the cameras, are visible in the Apollo photos, however in some images there are objects that appear to be in front of the crosshairs; an indication that the photos have been faked.
In all the examples I've seen the crosshairs, called fiducials, disappear when crossing a brightly lit white object [see photo]. What's happening here is the intense light reflecting off the white surface is bleeding in around the crosshair and saturating the film, thus obliterating the crosshair. This phenomenon is commonplace and is in no way evidence of fraud.
Some of the Apollo video shows the American flag fluttering. How can the flag flutter when there is no wind on the airless Moon?
This I find to be one of the more ridiculous observations. It is readily apparent that all the video showing a fluttering flag is one in which an astronaut is grasping the flagpole. He is obviously twisting or jostling the pole, which is making the flag move. In fact, in some video the motion of the flag is unlike anything we would see on Earth. In an atmosphere the motion of the flag would quickly dampen out due to air resistance. In some of the Apollo video we see the twisting motion of the pole resulting in a violent flapping motion in the flag with little dampening effect.
I've heard many hoax advocates claim that some of the Apollo photos show a fluttering flag. (How one can see a flag flutter in a still photograph is a mystery to me!) I can only guess that ripples and wrinkles in the flags are being perceived as wave motion. The flags were attached vertically at the pole and horizontally from a rod across the top. On some flights the astronauts did not fully extend the horizontal rod, so the flags had ripples in them. There is much video footage in which these rippled flags can be seen and, in all cases, they are motionless.
When astronaut Alan Shepard hit a golf ball on the Moon, Mission Control teased him about slicing the ball to the right, yet a slice is caused by uneven airflow over the ball.
This comment by Ralph Rene is another example of inadequate research, as well as evidence of a poor sense of humor. Near the end of Apollo 14's second and final EVA, Al Shepard pulls a PR stunt by hitting a pair of golf balls. He drops the first ball and takes a one-arm swing, topping the ball and burying it. He takes a second swing and pushes the ball about 2 or 3 feet, mostly along the line toward the TV camera. In Houston CAPCOM Fred Haise jokes "That looked like a slice to me, Al". Shepard's third swing finally connects and sends the ball off-camera to the right. He drops a second ball and connects again. Shepard says "Miles and miles and miles", Haise replies "Very good, Al".
The Apollo crews were launched into space but never left Earth orbit.
Orbiting spacecraft and satellites are easily visible to the naked eye; in fact, there are many people who enjoy tracking satellites as a hobby (I have personally seen many satellites, including Mir and the Space Shuttle). The Apollo spacecraft were large vehicles, thus bright and easy to see. Had the Apollos not left orbit, they would have been observed by many people worldwide, yet there were no such sightings. Also, there are documented cases of observers following the Apollos as they left Earth orbit on their translunar trajectories - exactly when and where the spacecraft were predicted to be. Furthermore, the Soviets closely tracked the Apollos all the way to the Moon and back.
NASA used its TETR-A training satellite to transmit data to Earth to simulate transmissions from the Apollo spacecraft. This way ground controllers were fooled into believing they were receiving real data.
The flight controllers in the Mission Control Center (MCC) read only what was on their computer screens and wouldn't have known where the data came from. Thus, it can be argued the MCC flight controllers could be fooled by simulated data, but a satellite would not have been necessary to do it.
On the other hand, a satellite could not possibly fool controllers of the Manned Space Flight Network (MSFN), who collected radio signals from space and relayed them to the MCC. The Apollo spacecraft followed a trajectory to the moon that was tracked with great precision. TETR-A was an Earth orbiting satellite and followed a vastly different trajectory with no similarity to Apollo whatsoever. In addition, TETR-A reentered Earth's atmosphere on 28-Apr-68, eight months before the first lunar flight.
To reach the Moon astronauts would have to travel through the Van Allen Radiation Belts, resulting in lethal doses of radiation.
This is a claim the hoax advocates often make, but it is a gross exaggeration and simply not supported by the data. Radiation was a definite concern for NASA before the first space flights, but they invested a great deal of research into it and determined the hazard was minimal. It took Apollo only about an hour to pass through the worst part of the radiation belts - once on the outbound trip and once again on the return trip. The total radiation dose received by the astronauts was about one rem. A person will experience radiation sickness with a dose of 100-200 rem, and death with a dose of 300+ rem. Clearly the doses received fall well below anything that could be considered a significant risk. Despite claims that "lead shielding meters thick would have been needed", NASA found it unnecessary to provide any special radiation shielding.
The hoax advocates also make the mistake of limiting themselves to two-dimensional thinking. The Van Allen Radiation Belts consist of a doughnut-shaped region centered on Earth's magnetic equator. The translunar trajectories followed by the Apollo spacecraft were typically inclined about 30 degrees to Earth's equator, therefore Apollo bypassed all but the edges of the radiation belts, greatly reducing the exposure.
For more information, please see The Van Allen Belts and Travel to the Moon and Radiation Plan for the Apollo Lunar Mission.
Intense radiation from solar flares would have killed the Apollo astronauts in route to the Moon and back.
Solar flares were a NASA concern as well, but the radiation doses claimed by the hoax advocates are again greatly exaggerated and unsubstantiated. Although low-intensity solar flares are common, they posed no real threat to the astronauts. High-intensity solar flares could have endangered the astronauts' health, but these large eruptions are infrequent. Furthermore, there are statistical methods for determining the likelihood of a major flare during a given time interval. If NASA found an unacceptably high probability for a solar flare event during a scheduled flight, the mission would have been postponed. No large solar flares occurred during the Apollo missions and typical radiation doses received by the astronauts was very low.
For more information, please see Radiation Plan for the Apollo Lunar Mission
In addition to exposure to deadly radiation, the Apollo astronauts would have been pierced by thousands of micrometeoroids.
Shielding was provided to protect the Apollo astronauts from micrometeoroid bombardment. Due to their low mass, only a thin layer of material was necessary to stop these dust-sized particles. For example, the Lunar Module was protected by a thin aluminum outer shield a few thousandths of an inch thick. In addition, the astronauts' spacesuits included a micrometeoroid garment to protect them while performing activities on the lunar surface.
How could the astronauts survive in the heat of the Moon's day? Objects that are heated cannot be cooled by space.
This is true, to a point, however spacesuits can radiate heat. All objects above absolute zero radiate heat; therefore some of the heat energy received from the Sun is radiated back into space as infrared rays. Also, much of the Sun's radiant energy can be reflected away. The astronaut's spacesuits were white because this color reflects the most radiation, thereby minimizing the amount absorbed. Finally, the spacesuits were equipped with a cooling system that utilized water as a medium to carry away excess heat.
The cooling system consisted of a cooling garment worn by the astronaut, a heat exchanger, and a porous plate sublimator. Water was circulated through tubes in the cooling garment where it absorbed heat from the astronaut’s body and then carried it to the heat exchanger in the backpack. As water passed through the heat exchanger, heat was transferred to a layer of ice on the surface of the porous plate sublimator causing the ice to sublimate and the resulting gas carried away the unwanted heat. The ice was replaced by continually seeping a small amount of water through holes in the metal plate of the sublimator. When the water was exposed to the vacuum of space, the sudden drop in pressure caused it to immediately freeze onto the plate’s surface.
The Apollo guidance computer had the equivalent computing power of today's kitchen appliances, far less than that required to go to the Moon.
Unlike general-purpose computers, the Apollo guidance computer had to perform only one task - guidance. Most of the number crunching was performed at Mission Control on several mainframe computers. The results were then transmitted to the onboard computer, which acted upon them. The Apollo guidance computer was capable of computing only a small number of navigation problems itself. Since the guidance computer had to run only one program, that program could be put in ROM, thus only a small amount of RAM was required to hold the temporary results of guidance calculations.
The hoax advocates tend to overrate the tasks performed by the onboard guidance computers of the 1960's. In fact, the Mercury spacecraft, 1961-63, flew into space without any onboard computer whatsoever, yet the trajectories were precisely controlled and the capsule was capable of fully automated control.
The computer technology did not exist in the 1960's to build the Apollo guidance computer.
Computer companies of the 1960's had to produce general-purpose computers at a cost that would attract consumers. NASA, on the other hand, required a computer capable of performing only a single task - guidance - and could easily afford a custom designed and built system using cutting edge components and techniques. Although modern microprocessors did not yet exist, microchips performing simple tasks were available in the early 1960's, and these could be built-up into computer processors. By the mid-1960's several companies were producing commercially available integrated circuits.
The hoax advocates often become trapped into a single way of thinking. Just because one technology is used to solve a particular problem today does not mean that problem was unsolvable before the technology was available. Man is much more creative than the hoax advocates are willing to acknowledge.
The astronauts' movement inside the Lunar Module would change the center of mass, throwing the LM off balance, and making it impossible to control.
This is the claim of hoax advocate and Ralph Rene who, apparently, has a poor understanding of physics and the Lunar Module's control systems. The LM had an automatic computer guidance and inertial control system. This system was designed to measure the attitude of the LM several times per second using a system of gyroscopes. If it found that the LM was out of proper attitude it would make adjustments by gimballing the main descent engine and/or throttling it back, and firing control thrusters as needed to stabilize the spacecraft. Despite claims to the contrary, the control thrusters exerted sufficient force to nudge the spacecraft around as necessary to keep it stable.
How could the untested Lunar Module land flawlessly six times on the Moon when its prototype crashed on Earth during training.
The "prototype" to which the hoax advocates refer was not a prototype at all, but two classes of training vehicles known as the Lunar Landing Research Vehicles (LLRV) and the more advanced Lunar Landing Training Vehicles (LLTV). These vehicles included a jet engine to support five-sixths of their airborne weight, a pair of rocket engines that simulated the LM's descent engine, and small jets that mimicked the LM's attitude control thrusters. The Apollo astronauts trained in the LLRV and LLTV to learn the skills necessary to maneuver the actual LM. During one test flight, Neil Armstrong was forced to eject when the LLRV's helium pressurization system for the steering jets failed, causing the LLRV to become unstable and crash. Despite this incident, the LLRV and LLTV flew hundreds of successful flights.
The LLRV and LLTV were very different from the LM and the "untested" LM was far from untested. Every component of the LM was tested over and over again during its development. Furthermore, the LM was tested in space unmanned during the Apollo 5 mission and manned during the Apollo 9 mission. Apollo 10 tested the LM in lunar orbit and performed everything but the landing itself. The next test flight, Apollo 11, performed the first lunar landing. Testing continued during Apollo 12 as the ability of the LM to make a pinpoint landing was demonstrated. The LM flew successfully to the moon because of the hard work of thousands of workers over many years during the design, development and construction of the spacecraft.
The sound of the Lunar Module descent engine should be heard in the Apollo audio, but there is no such sound.
On Earth, a rocket engine is an extremely noisy device; this comes from the shearing action between the high velocity exhaust jet and the surrounding atmosphere. The LM operated in a vacuum so the only sound would be that produced by vibrations transmitted through the spacecraft structure itself. Also, the microphones used by the astronauts were located inside their spacesuits, thus insulated from the cabin environment. Finally, the microphones were designed to pick up only the sound in their immediate vicinity, that is, the astronauts' voices.
The powerful engine of the Lunar Module should have produced a blast crater, yet there is no evidence of a blast crater in any of the Apollo photographs.
Let's consider several facts: (1) Although the Lunar Module descent engine was capable of 10,000 lbs of thrust (the usual hoax advocate's claim), it was throttled down to below 3,000 lbs as it neared the lunar surface. While still several feet above the ground, the descent engine was shut down as probes, extending 5 feet below the footpads, sensed contact with the surface. (2) The LM descended at an angle, moving laterally across the ground. When the astronauts identified a suitable landing site, the LM leveled off and dropped to the surface. The LM did not hover over its final landing site for any significant length of time. (3) The Moon's surface is covered by a rocky material called lunar regolith, which consists of fine dust particles, glass spheres and a jumble of large boulders and rocky debris. Lunar regolith has many unique properties, the most obvious being that the particles are very jagged, which causes them to interlock. When subjected to pressure, the regolith will resist, almost like solid rock. (4) In a vacuum exhaust gases expand rapidly once exiting the engine nozzle.
When one considers these facts the truth becomes obvious - The exhaust stream was not powerful enough or centralized enough to displace the regolith and blast out a crater. In this Apollo 11 photograph [see photo] one can see some discoloration and a general lack of dust, which was mostly blown away. After the dust was removed a hard surface was exposed.
A large amount of dust was generated during the landings, yet no dust can be seen on the Lunar Module footpads.
This thinking draws on our common experience from Earth but, as we all know, the Moon is not Earth. If wind picks up dust on Earth we get billowing clouds that tend to settle all over everything. This occurs because Earth has an atmosphere. The Moon has no atmosphere so any dust that was blown by engine exhaust would follow a simple ballistic trajectory and fall immediately back to the surface. The dust would be blown outward away from the LM, thus the lack of dust on the footpads is exactly what we would expect to see.
The astronauts make deep footprints around the landing site, yet the Lunar Module exhaust should have blown the area clean of dust.
The downward traveling exhaust stream would impact the ground and rebound mostly outward and away from the surface. Since there is no atmosphere to interact with, the gas molecules would simply fly off and disperse (see note below). The only dust particles that would be displaced would be those directly impacted by the exhaust gas. Since the exhaust stream was concentrated mostly in the area directly beneath the Lunar Module, this zone would experience the greatest disturbance. The area adjacent to the LM would be largely unaffected by the exhaust stream.
NOTE: On Earth, the exhaust gas would impact and displace air molecules that would, in turn, displace other air molecules and so on. This phenomenon would create a large area of disturbance. Since the Moon has no atmosphere this type of widespread disturbance would be nonexistent.
The Lunar Module weighed about 17 tons, yet the astronauts' feet seem to have made a deeper impression in the lunar dust.
The hoax advocates often quote the weight of the Lunar Module as 16 to 18 tons (weights varied mission to mission). This was the LM's Earth weight when fully fueled and included about 9 tons of descent stage propellant. By the time the LM reached the surface, its weight in lunar gravity was only about 2,700 lbs. With four 37-inch diameter footpads, the load on the surface was about 90 lbs/ft2. Neil Armstrong's fully suited weight on the Moon was 58 lbs. His boots covered an area of about one square foot, giving a load of 58 lbs/ft2. In Armstrong's own words "the LM footpads are only depressed in the surface about 1 or 2 inches". On the other hand, the footprints of the astronauts were depressed only a fraction of an inch, although people often exaggerate their depth.
Moisture must be present in soil for it to form footprints, yet the Moon is a totally dry world.
The lunar surface is predominately composed of materials that fall under the general category of silicates. Silica has a natural tendency to bond with other silica, forming large molecular chains. When a meteoroid impacts the Moon, much of the energy goes into fracturing the surrounding structure causing breaks in the molecular bonds. On Earth, these "exposed" bonds quickly fill with oxygen in a process called oxidation or weathering. On the Moon, with a total lack of oxygen, these bonds have nothing to attach to until an event occurs that aligns the molecules. When an object, such as an astronaut's boot, disturbs lunar dust new molecular bonds are created. The new bonds enable the dust to hold its shape, forming an impression of the deforming object. Thus, footprints can form despite the absence of water.
The astronauts could not pass through the tunnel connecting the Command Module and the Lunar Module with their spacesuits and backpacks on.
Finally the hoax advocates are correct about something. Fortunately, the astronauts did not have to! Their EVA suits and backpacks were stowed in the Lunar Module the whole time. The only time the astronauts donned their suits and packs were when they actually egressed the LM for surface activities on the Moon.
The astronauts could not have egressed the Lunar Module because they could not fit through the hatch and there was insufficient room to open the hatch in the LM.
The hoax advocate who came up with this claim is badly misinformed. The astronauts were positioned on either side of the cockpit panel with the main EVA hatch between them. The hatch, hinged on the right side, swung inward to open, effectively trapping the Lunar Module Pilot (LMP) momentarily on his side of the LM. (There was plenty of room to open the hatch.) Once the Commander egressed, the LMP was able to close the hatch, move over to the left side, and exit himself.
As to the issue of whether the astronauts could fit through the hatch, clearly they could. There are many photos and video, both on the Moon and while in training, showing fully suited astronauts crawling through the hatch. There are a couple possible sources for this misinformation. First, early versions of the LM had a round hatch that hampered astronaut egress, however the original round hatch was changed to a rectangular hatch while the LM was still in development. Second, as I hear the story, a hoax advocate compared the width of the LM's hatch to dimensional data on the astronauts' spacesuit, or EMU (Extravehicular Mobility Unit). It was found that the published width of the EMU exceeded the hatch width. What the hoax advocate failed to realize is the EMU dimension was the maximum width measured across the elbows. When crawling through the hatch, an astronaut would draw his arms in under his body, thus decreasing his width and allowing him to pass through the opening.
The Lunar Rover was too large to fit in the Lunar Module.
If one takes the measurements of the Lunar Rover Vehicle (LRV) when it was fully deployed and assembled, then yes, it would not fit in the Lunar Module, however the Rover folded for stowage in the descent stage of the LM in a quadrant to the right of the ladder. The chassis was hinged in three places and the four wheels were pivoted nearly flat against the folded chassis occupying only 30 ft3. When the astronauts deployed the Lunar Rover, all they had to do was pull on two cords and the Rover popped right out of its berth and down to the lunar surface. As it did so, the wheels deployed outward and were then locked into position.
Some photographs show the Lunar Rover on the Moon with pneumatic tires while other show it with wire mesh wheels. Pneumatic tires will explode in a vacuum.
There are two problems with this statement. Firstly, there are no photos of the LRV on the Moon with pneumatic tires. NASA produced a training version of the LRV with pneumatic tires but it was only used on Earth. The only pictures of the LRV with pneumatic tires are of this training vehicle. Secondly, a tire will not automatically explode in a vacuum. A pressure vessel will fail when the tensile stress in the skin exceeds the tensile capacity of the material. This tensile stress is a function of the pressure differential between the inside and the outside of the vessel. Moving a tire from sea level on Earth to a vacuum will increase this pressure differential by only 14.7 PSI. This is a minor engineering problem that can be easily accounted for. Note that the tires of the Space Shuttle are exposed to a vacuum while in space, yet they do not explode.
The pressure inside a spacesuit was greater than inside a football. The astronauts should have been puffed out like the Michelin Man, but were seen freely bending their joints.
While on the surface of the Moon, the Apollo astronauts wore a spacesuit known as the Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU). The EMU was a closed-circuit pressure vessel that enveloped the astronaut. The environment inside the suit consisted of 100% oxygen at 3.7 PSI (about 1/3 that of a football). The complete article included a liquid cooling garment, pressure garment assembly, and integrated thermal micrometeoroid garment. The pressure garment was an airtight bladder with accordion joints at the knees and elbows, and swivel joints at the shoulders to allow mobility. When pressurized, the suit was allowed to expand slightly, but was kept from ballooning outward too far by a restraint layer of nonstretch netting. The fabric of the EMU's outer garment covered the pressure garment assembly. To suggest the EMU should puff out like the "Michelin Man" is a clear case of the hoax advocates making claims that are based on woefully inadequate research.
Video footage of the Lunar Module's ascent from the Moon should show an exhaust plume from the engine, yet there is no visible plume.
The hoax advocates' claim that an exhaust plume should be visible is due to their experience seeing launches of such rockets as the Saturn V and the Space Shuttle, where large columns of smoke and flame are seen trailing the vehicle. Whether an exhaust plume is visible or not is mostly due to the type of propellant used. The Saturn V's first stage burned liquid oxygen (LOX) and kerosene, which produces an opaque yellow flame. The plume we see trailing the Space Shuttle comes from the solid-propellant boosters; however, if you look closely at the three main engines at the stern of the Shuttle orbiter, which burn LOX and liquid hydrogen, you will see very little flame. The Lunar Module used a propellant mixture consisting of nitrogen tetroxide and Aerozine 50 (a 50-50 mixture of hydrazine and unsymmetrical dimethyl hydrazine), which produces exhaust gases that are nearly invisible. This photograph [see photo] shows a close-up view of the engines of a Titan 2 missile during the launch of Gemini 11. This missile uses the same propellant as the LM - note the near invisibility of the flame. In space, the flame is even less visible as the plume expands and cools very rapidly in a vacuum.
The FOX program points out NASA illustrations showing an exhaust plume coming from the LM's ascent engine. This is a simple case of NASA taking artistic license. The illustrations are a dramatization of a LM launch and are not meant to be scientifically accurate.
Photos from the Space Shuttle show a glow coming from the engines and thrusters, thus proving an exhaust plume should be seen coming from the Lunar Module's engine.
Let us first note that the Space Shuttle orbiters use a different propellant than the Lunar Module. Nonetheless, the nitrogen tetroxide and monomethyl hydrazine (MMH) propellant used by the Shuttle's OMS engines and thrusters also produces a nearly invisible flame. What the Shuttle photographs show is a split-second burst of light that accompanies an engine ignition. This is a transient phenomenon that occurs when the propellant mixture ratio is slightly mismatched, typically at engine start-up and again at shutdown. If one of the propellants is in excess of the proper mixture ratio it does not combust, is expelled from the engine, and is briefly visible. Once the propellant mixture has stabilized, the exhaust gases cannot be seen. Please note that the video of the LM launches show a brief flash of light just as the ascent stages separate and begin to rise.
The fuel tanks of the Lunar Module were nowhere near one-sixth the size of those on the space shuttle, as one would expect to achieve lunar orbit.
This comment, by Bart Sibrel, fails to take into account propellant density. It is not the "volume" of the propellant that matters; it is the "mass". The main engines of the Space Shuttle consume liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen. Since liquid hydrogen has an extremely low density, a very large tank is required to store it. The LM, on the other hand, used propellants of much higher density. On average, the LM propellants were 3.3 times denser than the propellants stored in the large external tank of the Space Shuttle. With an average specific gravity of 1.19, the 5200 pounds of propellant stored in the LM's ascent stage would displace a volume of only 70 ft3 (2 m3). This volume is consistent with the size of the tanks we see in photographs of the LM.
Also note that Mr. Sibrel assumes that since lunar gravity is 1/6th Earth gravity, 1/6th as much propellant is required to achieve lunar orbit. Unfortunately it is not nearly that simple, however it is possible to calculate the amount of propellant required. The 5200 pounds of propellant in the LM's ascent stage comprised about 52% of the total launch mass. I have performed some rough calculations and have determined that, for the type of propellant used, this is just the right percentage needed to overcome the Moon's gravity and achieve lunar orbit.
When Apollo 17's Lunar Module lifted-off the Moon the video camera followed the ascent, yet no one was left on the surface to operate the camera.
Apparently the hoax advocates have never heard of a remotely operated camera. The video camera that shot the LM launch footage was mounted on the Lunar Rover and was controlled remotely from Mission Control in Houston. The signal commanding the camera to tilt upward was sent early to account for the 1.3-second time delay.
The video showing the Lunar Module's rise from the surface of the Moon was created by lifting the ascent stage on wires.
The hoax advocates substantiate this claim by citing how the video abruptly ends when the Lunar Module ascent stage reaches the 'ceiling' of the movie stage. The video to which they refer is an edited version that is often seen in Apollo documentaries and on television. The unedited footage [see video] clearly shows the LM rising far into the sky, pitching over, and then traveling far downrange before moving out of the range of the camera.
The Apollo video is strikingly similar to scenes in the movie Capricorn One. NASA, with a much larger budget, could have produced the Apollo video in a studio.
Capricorn One (released 1978) is a movie about how NASA faked a manned mission to Mars. The scenes look similar to the Apollo video because the movie was filmed to look like the real thing, however the similarities are only superficial. A close examination of the Apollo video reveals numerous examples of phenomena that simply cannot exist on Earth. No matter how big their budget, NASA cannot change the laws of physics. The comparison to Capricorn One is nothing but an attempt by the FOX producers to sensationalize their program.
There are many pictures of spacesuited astronauts inside buildings with artificial moonscapes, presumably the studio where the moon landings were faked.
The hoax advocates often cite such photographs as evidence for the hoax. These photos are common and were obtained during crew training for the actual moon landings. NASA has made no attempt to hide the photos, nor have they ever claimed them to be taken on the Moon. The Lunar Module, Rover, experiments, etc. seen in the training photos are generally training replicas or flight spares, rarely actual flight hardware.
Recently discovered video shows NASA staging part of the Apollo 11 mission. The astronauts, who never left low Earth orbit, used a camera trick to make viewers think that they were seeing a round Earth on their TV screens.
This claim can be credited to Bart Sibrel, who is more than happy to sell you (for a profit) this "never before seen footage" in his so-called documentary A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Moon. I have recently viewed this video and find it to be a horrible example of journalism. Sibrel simply beats us over the head with his own interpretation and conclusions while not providing any evidence or data that would permit the viewer to evaluate Sibrel's claims or formulate an independent opinion. The purpose of the video is not to inform the viewer, but rather to manipulate. The NASA video to which he refers is neither "never before seen" nor evidence of fraud. Despite Sibrel's billing that this footage is the "smoking gun", very little of it is actually shown and that which is shown is highly edited and voiced over with commentary. The alleged "camera trick" is simply a figment of Bart Sibrel's imagination as there is nothing seen to suggest the slightest foul play on the part of NASA. This Web page, Apollo 11 TV Broadcasts, provides an excellent debunking of Bart Sibrel's claims; I invite you to give it a read.
If the video footage of the Apollo astronauts is played at double normal speed, their motion appears quite normal, thus the images were faked by playing normal motion at half speed.
There's an easy explanation for this phenomenon. An object in free flight will follow a ballistic trajectory in accordance with Newton's laws of motion. The only force acting on the object is gravity, which on Earth has an acceleration of 32.2 ft/s2. On the Moon gravity is much less, 5.33 ft/s2. If the ballistic flight of an object on the Moon is sped up by a factor of 2.46 it will mimic exactly ballistic motion on Earth, and vice versa. The 2X speed the hoax advocates claim is close to this 2.46 ratio, hence free flight motion looks "normal" because it is what our eyes and brains are accustomed to seeing. Other motion however, such as the movements of the astronauts' arms, looks very unnatural when speeded up. The hoax advocates deceivingly apply this explanation very selectively. If the Apollo footage is viewed in its entirety it becomes clear the 2X speed explanation cannot account for the observed motion.
The Apollo video is exactly what it appears to be, that is, man on the Moon. The convincing evidence is in the dust, which is particularly apparent in the video of the Lunar Rover. If this video were shot on Earth there would be clouds of dust thrown into the atmosphere by the Rover's wheels, however there is no evidence of this. The dust falls immediately back to the surface as it would in an airless environment.
Earth based telescopes should be able to see the Apollo hardware on the Moon, yet none is visible.
The theoretical resolving power of a telescope, measured in arc seconds, is calculated by dividing the aperture of the telescope (in inches) into 4.56. The largest telescope on Earth is the 10-meter Keck telescope in Hawaii. The theoretical resolving power of this telescope is 0.012", however Earth's atmosphere limits the resolving power of any ground-based telescope to about 0.5"-1.0". The Hubble Space Telescope does not suffer from this limitation; thus, with an aperture of 94 inches, HST's resolving power is 0.05". At the Earth-Moon distance of 239,000 miles, the smallest object that can be resolved by HST is about 300 feet. The largest dimension of any hardware left behind on the Moon is 31 feet, which is the diagonal distance across the LM's footpads. No telescope, presently in existence, can see the Apollo hardware from Earth.
The only sure way to prove the moon landings really happened is to return to the Moon and see if the Apollo hardware is there.
Direct visual verification would certainly put an end to the issue, however there are at least three pieces of hardware on the Moon that are not in dispute. Apollos 11, 14 and 15 erected laser reflectors on the lunar surface. Laser beams are routinely fired at these reflectors through telescopes at McDonald Observatory in Texas and near Grasse in southern France. Timings of these reflected beams are used to measure the Earth-Moon distance to an accuracy of one inch. To explain the existence of these reflectors the hoax advocates have no choice but to claim they were placed on the Moon by robotic landers; a huge undertaking for which there is no supporting evidence. The simple answer: the Apollo astronauts placed them there. (More on robotic missions later.)
The moon rocks allegedly collected and returned to Earth by Apollo astronauts were actually manufactured by NASA in a laboratory on Earth.
It has been suggested that researchers could not to tell the difference between fake and authentic rocks since no one had ever examined a moon rock before. This claim is utter nonsense. In addition to the rocks returned by Apollo, we have samples of lunar rocks that have fallen to Earth as meteorites. (Lunar meteorites are very rare with only 25 known samples.) Tests have shown the Apollo moon rocks and the meteorites are of identical origin, however the Apollo samples lack other features that would distinguish them as meteorites. Also, the moon rocks have characteristics that are not found in terrestrial or artificial rocks, such as evidence of meteoroid bombardment and exposure to cosmic rays. Likewise, terrestrial rocks have unique characteristics not found in the moon rocks, such as weathering and exposure to water. Finally, the moon rocks returned by Apollo have been determined to be between 3.1 and 4.4 billion years old. The Apollo samples are without doubt of authentic lunar origin.
NOTE: The Apollo missions returned rock and soil samples totaling 842 pounds, comprising 2,196 individual specimens. These specimens have been processed into greater than 97,000 individually cataloged samples. More than 60 laboratories worldwide actively pursue sample studies; some 1,100 samples are sent out to researchers annually.
The moon rocks allegedly collected by Apollo astronauts were actually collected and returned to Earth by robotic spacecraft.
Any mission capable of returning over 800 pounds of rock and soil samples would be a massive, complex and difficult undertaking. If NASA could pull this off, then surely they had the technical know-how to land a manned vehicle. In fact, with an astronaut at the controls, a manned mission would likely have greater odds of success than a robotic mission. Perhaps the greatest case for the Apollo landings exists in the variety of rock samples collected. A robotic mission would be limited to a random collection of samples in the lander's immediate vicinity. However, the Apollo astronauts visited vastly different geological sites and were able to roam about the surface looking for particularly interesting and valuable specimens. For example, it is very unlikely that a robot would have been lucky enough to scoop up the "genesis rock" found by Apollo 15 astronauts. Only trained human explorers could collect the diversity of samples credited to the Apollo astronauts.
NOTE: During the 1970s the USSR successfully completed three lunar sample return missions - Luna 16 (1970), Luna 20 (1972) and Luna 24 (1976) - however these missions returned a grand total of only 301 grams (10.6 ounces) of soil.
NASA was able to perpetrate and maintain the hoax because the conspiracy required a relatively small number of people within the NASA "inner circle".
The hoax advocates make this claim yet, if all their assertions were true, the conspiracy they describe would be one of stupendous proportion involving literally thousands of individuals. I could cite numerous examples, but nothing illustrates this point better than the Moon rocks. Had the rock samples been collected by robotic landers, as some hoax advocates assert, then a program of huge scope would have been necessary. The design, manufacture, testing and launch of these spacecraft would have involved numerous subcontractors and suppliers, as well as thousands of workers. Since there is no supporting evidence for such a program, then the multitude of people involved in the project would have to be willing participants in the cover-up. (The same is true of the robotic landers that supposedly placed the laser reflectors on the Moon.) Other hoax advocates claim that the rock samples are manufactured fakes. I strenuously maintain the world's geologists could not possibly be deceived by fake moon rocks, thus the rocks are either authentic, or the geologists are lying. If they are lying, then the hoax must be a worldwide conspiracy involving thousands of people in the scientific community.
The anomalies seen in the Apollo photographs were placed there by "whistle blowers", who secretly passed on hoax evidence in order to expose NASA.
David Percy is the main proponent of the "whistle blower" theory. It is astonishing that do-gooders inside NASA would have produced these anomalies, yet after 30+ years not one of the hundreds of thousands of people who worked on Apollo has come forward to openly admit they were part of a conspiracy. Not a single deathbed confession. Personally, I think Percy is deluding himself by believing he has decoded these subtle messages. The truth is, there are no whistle blowers because the supposed photographic anomalies are the result of misunderstood phenomenon and mistaken conclusions, not hidden messages.
The fire that killed the Apollo 1 astronauts was a deliberate act by NASA in order to silence Gus Grissom, who was about to expose the hoax.
There's not much I can say here other than the accusation is a complete fabrication with no corroborating evidence whatsoever. Some hoax advocates claim there have been many "suspicious" deaths among those associated with the Apollo program, alleging that NASA murdered these people. These accusations are both ludicrous and libelous. Bill Kaysing particularly has made many slanderous allegations against NASA yet, when former astronaut Jim Lovell called him "wacky", Kaysing had the gall to file suit against Lovell. Wisely, the suit was dismissed.
By the way, one of Mr. Kaysing accusations is that Christa McAuliffe, the school teacher who was to fly aboard Challenger in 1986, would not go along with NASA's lie that stars cannot be seen in space. When she refused, NASA murdered the unfortunate Ms. McAuliffe, along with six others, by destroying Challenger in one of the most spectacular, expensive, and embarrassing failures in U.S. history. What proof does Mr. Kaysing give in support of this claim? None of course.
Also consider that if NASA has been silencing these people, why haven't they killed any of the hoax conspiracy theorists?
NASA faked the moon landings in order to beat the Soviets and to assure that America achieved John Kennedy's goal of landing a man on the Moon before the end of the decade.
To me, the idea of a hoax makes absolutely no sense. It is true the Americans we were in competition with the USSR, but the risks involved in trying to perpetrate a hoax would be tremendous. The devastating effect the exposure of a hoax would have on the reputation of the United States would be many times more severe than simply failing to reach the moon. I find it inconceivable that NASA would be willing to take that risk. Also, why six landings? After Apollo 11 the goal had been met, so why fake five more landings? In fact, NASA continued to send men to the Moon long after the public had lost interest. Continuing to perpetrate a hoax would only increase the possibility of making a mistake and being exposed. Furthermore, the Soviets would have never been fooled by a hoax. The USSR fully understood the difficulties of a Moon landing and tracked American progress closely, yet they have always acknowledged that the Apollo moon landings were real.
NASA faked the moon landings as a diversion to distract Americans from the Vietnam War.
The hoax advocates like to point out that the timing of the Apollo missions almost exactly corresponded with the war in Vietnam. Let us take a closer look at this argument. It is important that we not look at when the Apollo missions actually occurred, but rather, when the planning for those missions took place. Although work on Apollo began years earlier, the start of the moon race is widely considered to be John F. Kennedy's speech to congress in May 1961, while the first U.S. ground combat forces did not enter Vietnam until March 1965. Apollo 18, the last Apollo mission to be scrapped, was cancelled during the summer of 1970, while the last U.S. ground forces did not leave Vietnam until March 1973. That's 1961-70 for Apollo and 1965-73 for Vietnam. It is obvious that NASA plans were made years in advance of events in Vietnam. Planners could not have possibly anticipated the timing of future events, yet the hoax advocates would have us believe so.
The Apollo 13 accident was staged by NASA to revive waning interest in the Apollo program.
Besides being pure conjecture, I find several problems with this claim. If NASA were faking the landings, why would they encourage greater interest and unwanted scrutiny of their actions? Some hoax advocates have suggested that a renewed interest in Apollo was necessary to keep the dollars flowing so subcontractors could continue to profit from the hoax. However, the interest generated by Apollo 13 was short lived and the accident proved to be a contributing factor in the cancellation of latter flights, thus shortening the program. Furthermore, the majority of the profits were made during hardware development, which was by now mostly complete. This explanation also contradicts previously given reasons for why the Apollo missions were faked. First the hoax advocates said it was to achieve John Kennedy's goal, then it was to distract Americans from the Vietnam War, now it is to generate corporate profits and line pockets. Which is it?
The Soviets had a five-to-one superiority to the U.S. in manned hours in space and were first in achieving many important space milestones. Yet, despite the Soviet lead, the Americans claimed to have won the Moon race.
The hoax advocates often mention the early lead the Soviets held in manned space flight, implying that American technology was inferior. The Soviets accomplished may "firsts" because their program was designed to do so, often at great risk. The Americans, on the other hand, were more methodical and took their time to develop better technology. With its Gemini program the United States pushed far ahead of the Soviets, completing many space milestones of their own. Among these: the first use of an onboard computer, first use of fuel cells for power, first piloted spacecraft to change its trajectory, the first space rendezvous, and the first space docking. By the end of 1966 the United States held a 4-to-1 superiority in manned hours in space and a 30-to-1 superiority in EVA experience. The U.S. would not relinquish its lead in space man-hours until 1978, which was due to the Soviet emphasis on space stations.
Also do not forget that some hoax advocates claim the supposed technologically inferior Americans were able to robotically collect and return to Earth over 800 pounds of diverse lunar rock and soil samples, while the technologically superior Soviets could manage only less than a pound.
The Soviet Union never attempted a moon landing because they knew it was impossible.
The failure of the Soviet Union to land a man on the moon was due to the failure of their N1 moon rocket, which was the USSR equivalent of the USA Saturn V. The Soviets attempted two test launches of the N1 in 1969, the first on 21-February and the second on 3-July. The July test, which occurred just two weeks before the launch of Apollo 11, was a catastrophic failure as the rocket exploded on the launch pad and destroyed much of the launch complex. After the failure of the first two N1 rockets, and the success of Apollo 11, Russian engineering efforts were diverted into crash development of the Salyut space station in order to beat the American Skylab. Cosmonauts, however, continued to train for lunar landing missions until October 1973, when the last training group was dissolved. By that time, manned flight of the original single-launch spacecraft to the moon had been abandoned. Instead work was underway on a twin launch scenario that would put a lander on the surface in 1978 for extended operations, and eventually, a lunar base. This in turn was cancelled with the entire N1 program in 1974.
Clearly the Soviets believed a moon landing was a technological possibility as they continued with their plans until well after the last Apollo mission. They failed to beat the Americans to the Moon because they could not make their N1 rocket work before time ran out on them.
The Soviet Union did not contest NASA's claim about the Moon landings because the USSR was faking their own space program and would have likely exposed themselves.
Surely the Soviets possessed the knowledge and experience necessary to debunk NASA's claim of a moon landing. Since they declined to do so, they, according to the hoax advocates, must have had something to hide as well. Not only is there no evidence whatsoever of fraud on the part of the USSR but, if they were faking it, why didn't they just hoax a landing before the USA did? It was awfully generous of the Soviets to allow the Americans to fake it first. There appears to be no accusation the hoax advocates are unwilling to make, despite the lack of evidence, if it supports the hoax storyline.
Another idea that's been proposed by the hoax advocates is that NASA paid-off the Soviets to keep them quiet, which, like most hoax claims, is pure speculation. This accusation is just another desperate attempt by the hoax advocates to overcome an obstacle for which they have no valid explanation.
If NASA was able to land men on the Moon with such great success, why are there no plans to return and why haven't the Russians sent anyone?
Despite the apparent ease with which NASA landed six crews on the lunar surface between 1969 and 1972, traveling to the Moon was difficult, dangerous and very expensive. The advanced planning and preparation of the spacecraft and astronauts resulted in spectacularly successful missions that succeeded despite the inherent difficulties and dangers. The United States landed men on the Moon while the Soviet Union failed in its attempt to do the same. Once the U.S. succeeded, the Soviets' reason for going to the Moon was eliminated. To fly to the moon today would be nearly as difficult and likely more expensive than it was three decades ago. Until there is sufficient motivation to do so, it is unlikely man will return to the moon any time in the near future.
Neil Armstrong refuses to give interviews, thus indicating he has something to hide.
Neil Armstrong is, by nature, a very shy and private man who shuns the spotlight. It is true he infrequently gives interviews or makes public appearances, but to say that he refuses to is simply not true. Armstrong was interview by Andrew Chaikin for the book A Man On the Moon, he participated in a televised press conference for the 30th anniversary of Apollo 11, he was interviewed by Stephen Ambrose and Douglas Brinkley in Sep-2001 [read transcript], and in Nov-2003 he gave an interview to an audience of about 1,000 at Dublin's National Concert Hall. I personally saw him make a public appearance in Dayton, Ohio for the Centennial of Flight celebration in 2003. What Neil Armstrong apparently does refuse to do (and with good reason) is grant interviews to those who call him a liar and a fraud.
The blueprints for the Saturn V rocket has been lost or destroyed.
I am not sure why this claim is supposed to imply a hoax, but we will look at it anyway. If the hoax advocates mean that there is no complete set of blueprints, then yes, this does not exist, nor has it ever. The millions of documents relating to the Saturn V and its components were spread out across the country among a dozen NASA centers and hundreds of contractors. Certainly many copies of these documents have been discarded, but much of it still exists. Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama has much Saturn documentation on microfilm and the Federal Archives in East Point, Georgia has 2,900 cubic feet of Saturn documents. Rocketdyne, who built the F-1 and J-2 engines, has in its archives dozens of volumes from its Knowledge Retention Program.
Plans for the Lunar Module and Lunar Rover have been destroyed and no longer exist.
Much paperwork relating to the Lunar Module and Rover has been discarded, however this is to be expected. No company is going to keep in storage millions of documents for an obsolete project that has no chance of being resurrected. But it is not true to say the documents no longer exist. The National Archives microfilmed everything they thought was historically significant and those films are currently in storage. It is not uncommon for space enthusiasts and modelers to find many obscure facts and details about the LM, Rover, and other Apollo hardware.
Why do people believe this stuff?
I am no psychologist, however I have seen and heard enough over the past years to recognize certain reoccurring personality traits in those professing to be hoax believers. Although there are varying degrees of each, I have come to categorize the hoax believers into two generalized types: the Confused and the Hardcore.
The Confused are average people who have seen or heard the claims of the hoax advocates on TV, the Internet, or from friends and associates. They usually lack the scientific knowledge or experience necessary to dispute the claims, so they begin to doubt the authenticity of the moon landings. Despite their doubts, these people tend to be open-minded and willing to listen to varying points of view. When giving the opportunity to study both sides of the argument, they usually agree the moon landings were real.
The Hardcore, on the other hand, are a completely different type of personality. They almost always exhibit strong paranoid tendencies with an extreme distrust and hatred of the U.S. government. Rather than allowing the evidence to speak for itself, they will often begin by assuming a hoax and then search for evidence to support that preconception. When they see something that looks suspicious they immediately accept it as proof of their belief. When someone attempts to offer an alternate explanation they dismiss it as a NASA lie. Any evidence that contradicts their belief is described as an attempt by the government to deceive us. They will say that anyone who believes in the moon landings has been brainwashed or is in denial. They are usually argumentative and often hostile.
The Hardcore also tend to be completely close-minded, refusing to consider alternate possibilities. I have often debated with hardcore individuals over various hoax topics and, to date, I have always been able to completely discredit their claims with arguments that would more than satisfy any open-minded individual. However, they routinely refuse to acknowledge the possibility they could be in error. They will stubbornly cling to their belief in the hoax even when they have no creditable evidence to fall back on. The debate is clearly not just about evidence and physics; there are those who believe in the hoax merely because they want to believe it.
Why do some people choose to believe in the moon-landing hoax? I wish I could provide a definitive answer to that question, however I suspect it is a combination of paranoia and, perhaps more importantly, feelings of inadequacy. The hoax believers create a delusional fantasy in which they are the heroes. Their ability to decipher the subtle clues and uncover the hoax is seen as a demonstration of their intellectual superiority. To the hoax believers the more complex and convoluted the theory, the smarter they feel for having figured it all out. To the rest of us the theory just doesn't make any sense.
Who should you trust?
If you have a toothache you go to a dentist; if you have legal problems you consult a lawyer. Throughout our daily lives it is commonplace to defer to trained professionals when we require specialized treatment or consultation. If you want to know about the functionality of the Apollo spacecraft, the nature of space radiation, or lunar geology you should seek the expert opinion of the engineers, physicists, geologists, and other specialists who dedicate their careers to knowing such things. These specialists unanimously agree that the Apollo moon landings were real, yet the hoax advocates discount their opinions and characterize these professionals as NASA disinformationists.
The hoax advocates like to paint the picture that they are soldiers in a war against government corruption and stand for truth and justice. However it is they who commonly employ the deceptive and manipulative tactics they accuse others of. They will typically show only the information and evidence that, on the surface, appears to substantiate their claims while suppressing any information that contradicts them. They try to conjure up feelings of distrust and antagonism toward the government. In most cases the hoax advocate's goal is to manipulate the reader, by whatever means, into agreeing with their interpretation of the facts. Encouraging a reader to study all the facts and formulate a scientifically based and unbiased opinion is generally not on their agenda.
NASA is one of the more open and cooperative of all government agencies. They are typically happy to answer questions and assist in locating information. On the other hand, if you contest the findings of a hoax advocate you are likely to be greeted with evasion and, in some cases, hostility. Now which of these descriptions sound like someone with something to hide? I have seen no indication that NASA has anything to hide, but I've seen much to suggest the hoax advocates do. They have often been dishonest with us about their credentials, the availability of evidence, and their interpretation of the evidence. But why would they lie? There are some who truly believe what they say but are simply wrong due to ignorance; however, there are others who are nothing more than snake oil salesmen who's only goal is to convince the public to buy their books and videos. They disparage the reputations of dozens of astronauts and thousands of engineers and scientists for profit. These people can certainly not be trusted.
Where can I find more information?
The responses provided above give only the briefest answers to the various hoax claims. There is much more that can be said regarding each topic. If you have questions or require additional information you can either email this site, or you can visit the many links provided at the bottom of this page. I especially recommend Moon Base Clavius, which is an on-line encyclopedia dedicated to debunking the moon-landing hoax claims. Clavius is probably the most complete and authoritative site of its kind on the Internet.
If you wish to examine the photographic and written evidence for yourself, I recommend the Apollo Lunar Surface Journal, by Eric M. Jones. This site is an enormous collection of mission summaries, photographs, video clips, audio clips, mission reports, science reports, technical debriefings, etc. compiled over a period of many years. Much of it is the very same information the hoax advocates try to tell us either does not exist or is unavailable. I also recommend the Apollo Image Gallery and the Apollo Image Atlas.
Many hoax believers are well meaning people who have been duped into believing the hoax theories by what they perceive to be compelling evidence. Although I may not agree with their views, I mean these people no malice. There are other hoax advocates, often representing themselves as experts, who publicly make claims based on erroneous conclusions resulting from a lack of proper research, scientific ignorance, or extreme prejudice. I find these people to be very dangerous because they possess the power to sway people into accepting their assertions as fact. A third possibility is that there are those who may believe the moon landings were real, but intentionally try to persuade people otherwise for some sort of attention, fame or profit. These people I believe are especially loathsome.
The thing I find most bothersome about the hoax advocates is their repeated failure to apply the scientific method, that is, the principles of discovery and demonstration considered necessary for scientific investigation, generally involving the observation of phenomena, the formulation of a hypothesis concerning the phenomena, experimentation to demonstrate the truth or falseness of the hypothesis, and a conclusion that validates or modifies the hypothesis. The hoax advocates routinely observe a phenomenon; they usually call it an anomaly, dream up one possible explanation for the anomaly, and then jump straight to the conclusion that their explanation is the correct one. They universally fail to put their claims through the rigorous testing necessary to validate them. It is this failing that irreparably damages the credibility of the hoax advocates.
The problem the hoax advocates face is that there is a mountain of evidence supporting the authenticity of the moon landings. In order to substantiate their story, this evidence must be refuted. In some cases, the hoax advocates propose arguments that, on the surface, appear to have some merit, but as they try to dismiss other evidence it becomes more difficult. Usually their claims become more and more outlandish, often times foolish. In many cases they resort to making assertions that are seriously flawed in both science and logic. On the other hand, the claims of the moon landing supporters are always based on scientific fact. (It's easy when you have truth on your side.)
If one looks at the hoax "theory" in total, it becomes apparent it is little more than a fairy tale based on a handful of mistaken observations and assumptions. You may see a hundred examples of so-called hoax evidence, but it is mostly just repeated samples of the same misinterpreted phenomena. For those who have convinced themselves Apollo was nothing more than a hoax, it becomes necessary to create a story that fits the remaining evidence and is consistent with the hoax plot. For example, one must explain the existence of the Moon rocks, so the hoax advocates claim the rocks are fakes even though there is overwhelming evidence to the contrary. They make this claim only because it is crucial to the storyline. Another example is the claim the Soviet Union was faking its space program. Again, the hoax advocates have no proof, however they must invent an explanation for the Soviets' failure to challenge the moon landings. If you look critically at the hoax story you will see it is no more than an illusion.
I have often been accused of "providing no more proof than the hoax advocates", which is correct - I have not proven anything, nor do I assert otherwise. The purpose of this Web page is to point out the myriad flaws and omissions in the claims of the hoax advocates, and to show that there is a sound and scientifically based defense to their repeated attacks. Only those directly involved can know with absolute certainty what the truth is. The rest of us must decide whether the evidence is strong enough to accept the historical account as fact. But isn't this true of all history? For example, few people alive today experienced the First World War, yet we accept as fact that the war happened because the accounts of the war and the evidence are so strong that all doubt is removed. I am confident the same is true of Apollo but, due to a general lack of understanding, the truthfulness of the moon missions has been called into question by a small but vocal minority. I ask that you not be persuaded by incomplete or inaccurate information. Study all the facts and use your sound judgment. I'm sure you will, like me, come to the conclusion that
My name is Robert A. Braeunig and I earned a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Cincinnati in 1981. In addition, I have been an avid amateur astronomer since 1989, having served as both president and vice-president of the Birmingham (Alabama) Astronomical Society. In additional to my formal training, I am self-taught in the basic principles of Orbital Mechanics and Rocket Propulsion. I am in no way affiliated with NASA or any of its subcontractors.
If you are interested in further information regarding this topic, I recommend the following Web pages. All do a very fine job of debunking the alleged hoax evidence, often delving into the various topics with great detail. Many of these sites have been valuable sources in the writing of this Web page.
Moon Base Clavius -- The best and most complete anti-hoax site on the Internet!
Bad Astronomy - Fox TV and the Apollo Moon Hoax
Are Apollo Moon Photos Fake?
Were Apollo Pictures Faked?
Non-Faked Moon Landings!
Comments on the FOX Moonlanding Hoax special
Moon landing conpiracy theories (Wikipedia)
Did we land on the moon?
Conspiracy Theory: Did We Go to the Moon?
FOX Goes to the Moon, but NASA Never Did - The No-Moonies Cult Strikes
The Great Moon Hoax
NASA Facts - Did U.S. Astronauts Really Land On The Moon? (PDF)
Was the Apollo Moon Landing a Hoax?
Telescopic Tracking of the Apollo Lunar Missions
The Van Allen Belts and Travel to the Moon
Mondlandungsflüge? (In German, Moon-landing flights?)
(In Russian, Did Americans fly to the Moon?)
For Apollo images and other archived data, please visit the following:
Apollo Lunar Surface Journal
Apollo Image Gallery, Project Apollo Archive
Apollo Image Atlas, Lunar & Planetary Institute
The following Web pages are by persons who actually believe in the Moon hoax theory. As you view these pages I would like you to take note of something: not one of them, that I have noticed, provide links to any hoax-debunking Websites. Why do you suppose that is? Could it be they are trying to manipulate you into believing their version of history rather than allowing you to study all the facts and draw your own unbiased conclusions?
Was The Apollo Moon Landing Fake?
Ground Zero: Faked Moon Landings?
The 'Faked' Apollo Landings!!!
The following is an interview with Bill Kaysing, who is one of the hoax advocates featured in the FOX television program and author of We Never Went To The Moon. Mr. Kaysing's opinions are unconventional to say the least. Read his comments and judge for yourself if they hold merit.
Interview with Bill Kaysing by Nardwuar
Bill Kaysing, considered by many the father of the Moon hoax theory, portrays himself as some sort of expert, but is he? The following Web page outlines his qualifications.
Clavius / Bibliography, Bill Kaysing
If you wish to engage in a discussion about the alleged Moon landing hoax, I recommend the following forums. Very knowledgeable and helpful persons in the fields of Apollo history, astronomy, physics, and engineering are frequent visitors to both.
If you wish to discuss the moon landing conspiracy theories with me directly, I recommend the following:
The Space Race Forum
Last Updated: November-2006