This week marks the 45th anniversary for Apollo’s epic first lunar landing, which occurred on July 20, 1969 and included astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins. The backup crew consisted of James A. Lovell, William A. Anders and Fred W. Haise. However, there are many people who believe that Apollo 11 was indeed a conspiracy theory, and that the moon landing was faked by the United States government in order to assert victory in space over Russia. So the real question is did America actually land on the moon?
Conspiracy Theory #1 – The Fluttering Flag
Conspiracy theorists declared that when America first landed on the moon and it was debuted on live television, spectators could see the American flag waving as Armstrong and Aldrin positioned it into the ground. This suggested that there was a breeze causing it to do so. Since there is no air on the moon’s atmosphere, no wind could cause the flag to ripple.
NASA claimed that the flag was held up by a thin horizontal bar and that the flag moved because it was unfurled and also when the astronauts fixed it into position on the moon’s surface.
Conspiracy Theory #2 – Several Light Sources
The Sun is the only light source on the moon, suggesting that all shadows are parallel to each other. Ironically, both photographs and videos demonstrate that shadows are falling in different directions. This suggests to conspiracy theorists that multiple light sources were present and that the photos of the moon landing were captured on a movie set. Again, NASA supposedly debunked the rumor, stating that the odd shadows were caused by the uneven landscape from the surface of the moon.
Conspiracy Theory #3 – The Van Allen Radiation Belt
Astronauts had to navigate through the Van Allen radiation belt in order to reach the moon. Earth’s magnetic field holds the belt in place, remaining in the same location over an infinite period of time. The Apollo 11 mission was the first time humans were transported through the belt. Conspiracy theorists attest that the radiation levels would definitely have cooked the astronauts on their route to the moon, despite the large amount of aluminum that coated both the interior and exterior of the ship.
This argument was countered by NASA, emphasizing the short period of time it took the astronauts to pass through the belt and reinforcing that they only received very small doses of radiation.
Although NASA stated that the radiation to the astronauts was minimal, Apollo 11 conspiracy theorists continue to believe that it was physically impossible for human tissue to survive that kind of impact through the Van Allen belt.
Conspiracy Theory #4 – Absence of Stars
A compelling argument from conspiracy theorists saying that the moon landing was a hoax is that there were no stars in any of the photos or videos from the Apollo 11 expedition. Because no clouds exist on the moon, stars are much brighter then what is visible through the Earth’s atmosphere.
According to NASA, the quality of the pictures washed out the stars so they left them out of the photos. In addition, NASA stated that the Apollo 11 landing took place during a lunar morning, with the Sun shining brightly and blocking out any potentially visible stars for the pictures.
Conspiracy Theory #5 – Lack of an Impact Crater
Those who believe the moon landing was a ruse also point out that there should have been an impact crater beneath the lunar module to mark where it landed. When looking at video footage or photographs of the landings, there is no crater visible and no markings in the dust. NASA maintains that the surface of the moon is solid rock, so a crater would not be formed upon the shuttle’s destination on the moon.
Conspiracy Theory #6 – Stanley Kubrick Theory
There are also those who believe that film director Stanley Kubrick was contacted by the United States government to fabricate the first three moon landings. Allegedly, Kubrick was approached after the release of 2001: A Space Odyssey, which was released in 1968, a year before the first moon landing because NASA noticed the amazing realism of the movie’s outer space scenes at that time. Other conspiracy theorists believe that the director was coerced by the feds before the film was released and that 2001: A Space Odyssey was a “staged” practice run.
NASA has documented hundreds of photos from Apollo 11’s mission plus numerous moon rocks that geologists confirm could only have been taken from the moon itself. It seems that the evidence outweighs the so-called holes in the story that changed American history. Apollo 11’s mission has acquired numerous conspiracy theories over the years. So did America actually land on the moon? Only the astronauts know the real answer.
Opinion By Amy Nelson