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CONSPIRACY THEORIES: WAS NEIL ARMSTRONG’S MOON LANDING FAKE?

Updated: Dec 1, 2020

By K.M.Barathkumar, III year B.B.A., LL.B. (Hons.), SASTRA University


On 20th July 1969, NASA launched the Apollo-11 with three members, Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Edwin E. Aldrin Jr. landed on the Moon. Their commander, Neil Armstrong, became the first man on the Moon and Aldrin became the second. But still, some people claimed that the Apollo-11’s Moon landing was faked! The conspiracy theories held that the Moon landing was faked and also said that NASA just arranged a Moon-like studio and took all the photos there!

In 1971, just after two years of the Moon landing, the James Bond movie ‘Diamonds are forever’ had a joke about fake moon landings. In 1976, Bill Kaysing self-published a pamphlet ‘We never went to the Moon’. In 1978 a film named ‘Capricorn One’ which portrays a faked human landing on Mars. Still, there are many debates regarding Apollo-11's Moon landing. The former NASA Chief Historian, Roger Launius, said that around 5% (16 Million) of Americans believe that the Apollo-11 Moon landings were faked. Recently NBA superstar Stephen Curry said that he didn’t believe in Moon landings. Then NASA offered him to view Moon rocks at the NASA Johnson Space Centre. Afterwards, Curry said he made the comments in jest.

Conspiracy theorists claims:

1. The waving flag:

Since there is no atmosphere on the Moon there is no way to blow the flag in the air. But in NASA’s footage, the American flag looks like its blow in the wind. That would be impossible because there is no air upon the Moon.

2. No stars in the photo:

No stars can be seen in the background of any footage by NASA. Hence the photo shoot was taken in a studio.

3. Photos were too perfect:

Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin carried a Hasselblad camera with them. It didn’t have a viewfinder. Then how could the astronauts take so many perfect photos?

4. The shadows run diagonally:

As the Sun is the only light source to the Moon all shadows should run in parallel. But in some photos, the shadows do not run parallel to each other. In that studio, spotlights have been used that’s why the shadows of some photos do not run parallel to each other.

5. Didn't scatter dust:

The lunar module didn’t scatter any dust. So they were created in a studio.

NASA’s answer:

1. As there was no air in the Moon, it is impossible to blow the flag in the wind. Thus NASA had decided to use a right-angled rod to keep the flag spread out. Accidently Armstrong and Aldrin bent the rod a bid and when the flagpole twisted into the ground it would fall. So, they took the photo quickly, which made the flag in motion.

2. NASA said that the astronauts were on the Moon during the daytime. That’s why the weak light of the stars was not to be seen.

3. Not all the footage by NASA was perfect. There were numerous blurred images in NASA’s archives. Only the most beautiful images have been published. The astronauts were well trained with the Hasselblad camera. Hence they can take some perfect photos.

4. Parallelism is always a matter of perspective. Parallel lines on a three-dimensional surface always appear as if they are converging if they are imaged two-dimensionally.

5. As the Lander was travelling horizontally, it would not kick up the dust. However, when the Lander did finally touch the surface of the Moon everyone could see dust being thrown-up.

However the conspiracy theorists claimed that the Moon landing was fake, there is no clear evidence to prove that the Apollo-11’s Moon landing was fake. NASA had clear evidence about the Moon landings. Also, nearly 4,00,000 people had worked on the Apollo mission, so there were enough witnesses.