Apollo Conspiracy Theories Debunked In Coming Video Series

by Elizabeth Howell on December 3, 2013

Want to stay on top of all the space news? Follow @universetoday on Twitter

Decades after the last man walked on the moon, Apollo astronauts still get a lot of respect. Some of them have been portrayed in Hollywood movies. Many of them willingly, even in their advanced ages, give public lectures and sign autographs. And already, some observers are wondering about the loss to humanity when the last moonwalker dies.

But there is a still a percentage of the population that believes that the astronauts didn’t land on the moon at all. To address this, a couple of experienced hands in filmmaking started a new video series examining and debunking the common conspiracies.

Helming the project is Chris Riley, who produced and directed ‘First Orbit’ as well as two BBC biographies of Neil Armstrong and Richard Feynman, and animator Antony Buonomo, who won an Emmy for his work.

Al Shepard raises the American flag during Apollo 14 in February 1971. Below is the shadow of his crewmate, Ed Mitchell. Credit: NASA

Flapping flags are among the problems that conspiracy theorists raise when talking about the Apollo missions. Credit: NASA

“This Christmas it will be 45 years since the first astronauts reached lunar orbit, and yet conspiracy theories continue to question if the Moonshots ever really happened,” a press release stated.

“The first episode of their Apollo Fact Files has recently been released and Riley is now launching a Kickstarter campaign to raise £5000, which he will use to fund eleven more episodes.”

We’d also be remiss if we didn’t point out Bad Astronomy/Phil Plait’s classic rebuffing of the Apollo conspiracy theories, which he wrote after Fox aired a controversial documentary in 2001.

“Of course, I am trying to debunk the conspiracy theorists, but unlike them, I want people to look at their evidence rationally and critically, and not swallow it whole. It’ll choke you if you do,” Plait wrote at the time.


Elizabeth Howell is the senior writer at Universe Today. She also works for Space.com, Space Exploration Network, the NASA Lunar Science Institute, NASA Astrobiology Magazine and LiveScience, among others. Career highlights include watching three shuttle launches, and going on a two-week simulated Mars expedition in rural Utah. You can follow her on Twitter @howellspace or contact her at her website.

Bill McLaughlin December 3, 2013 at 11:34 AM

Best and most humorous debunking of the moon hoax ever:


Nicholas Theodorakis December 3, 2013 at 11:43 AM

Another great web resource for Apollo hoax debunking is the Clavius Moon Base:

DarkGnat December 3, 2013 at 12:24 PM

Sadly the people who believe the hoax will probably not be convinced. They will think this is just more of the cover-up.

Even if you flew them to the moon and let them see the footprints, flags, and leftover equipment, they would only fabricate another hoax. These people are like flat-earth believers who are either not intelligent enough to think rationally, or have some type of agenda behind their beliefs.

Also, all of the hard work, dedication and sacrifice that went into the Moon program (and all space exploration really) is insulted by these conspiracy theorists. Writing off all of that in a whim is simply ignorant.

drew December 3, 2013 at 12:30 PM

It still tires me to know that there are people that think conspiracies are cooler than actual reality, and we need to keep explaining.

Anyway, good debunking.

This is actually my favorite: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sGXTF6bs1IU

It’s how the technology of the day was able to *actually go to the moon but was not advanced enough to fake filming it.

Olaf2 December 3, 2013 at 4:00 PM

Check out Fran. She has really cool real Saturn V electronics she can reverse engineer.


JusMoney December 3, 2013 at 8:40 PM

great, now they can concentrate on obama’s birth certificate and moaning about the affordable care act.

jameskrug December 4, 2013 at 8:04 AM

Hopefully the documentary will tackle some of the harder-to-dispute claims, rather than just disproving the obvious conspiracy softballs like the fluttering flag. Despite skeptics saying the landings have been “proven”, I have yet to see good debate on any of the following:

1. conflicting reports from NASA engineers on both sides, regarding the ability of humans to travel through the Van Allen Belts safely

2. conflicting reports that some engineers believed at least a few MB of RAM would be needed to conduct a successful moon landing, whereas the lunar module computer only had 2 KB of RAM at the time

3. confusing testimonies from some Apollo astronauts that said THEY couldn’t see stars in the sky, where obviously they would be able to see them quite brilliantly

Nicholas Theodorakis December 4, 2013 at 10:06 AM

1. See:

2. See:

Note in an age of cheap computer power we tend to forget what can be done with simpler systems. In WWII, sophisticated targeting calculations for things like aiming torpedos and artillery were done by mechanical analog computers. In any case, the specs and programs used in the Apollo guidance computers are publicly available to peruse for your own satisfaction.

3. See:

I’m not sure why you are so adamant that they should see them clearly in bright sunlight.

Olaf2 December 4, 2013 at 4:57 PM

1. They go really really really fast. Also the astronauts were in the CM module whit a giant lunar module in top, a giant massive SM strapped to their asses. Not to mention that they were surrounded by a heat shield, an outer cage, the isolation, the inner cage and the electronics equipment. Oh yes they went over the belt not through it.

2. The apollo computer was strapped to a giant bad-ass computer on Earth through telemetry. Tracking stations could pinpoint the apollo at 10 meres at lunar distance and at 0.5 m/s speed accuracy. The apollo computer is what we now call an industrial PLC. The real time calculations of that computer was nothing more than to read the angle it pointed to, read the acceleration, multiply and add 2 vectors and feed that back to the engine gimbals and engine.

3. Do you actually believe that crappy statement? This mother of all stupid questions. This is basic photography 101 called dynamic range. If I shine a powerful light in your eyes at night where there are stars out there then you will also not see any stars.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: