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There are plenty of Moon conspiracy theories, especially since the advent of the internet. Most simply try to refute astronauts landing on the Moon. For every conspiracy theory there is a piece of scientific proof for the Moon landing. Reasons for the conspiracies vary, but most center on America’s desire to beat the Soviet Union to the Moon. Some of the allegations include: the Apollo astronauts did not set foot on the Moon; that NASA and others intentionally deceived the public into believing the landings did occur by manufacturing, destroying, or tampering with evidence, including photos, telemetry tapes, transmissions, and rock samples; and that the deception continues to this day.
One of the first contentions of any Moon conspiracy is that no one ever landed on the Moon and NASA faked the whole thing. Over the life of the Apollo program, more than 400,000 people were involved from its start to finish. Seriously, how can 400,000 be made to keep the same secret? Another point conspiracy theorist bring up is that there aren’t stars in images showing the astronauts walking on the Moon. Shouldn’t they be visible since the Moon doesn’t have clouds? Professional photographers point out that you can’t see lights in the background if the foreground object is very bright. The astronauts suits served as very good reflectors of light coming from the Sun. Since the landings were shot in daylight, it would be difficult for the unaided eye to spot the stars.
According to Moon conspiracy theorists, the American flag moved as it was being planted, since there is no wind on the Moon, they wonder how that happened. The answer goes all the way back to Sir Issac Newton’s theory that an object set in motion will stay in motion until another force acts on it. The astronauts themselves set the flag in motion as they were putting it in place.
Another issue that Moon conspiracy proponents have is that the telemetry tapes of the mission are said to be missing. Therefore, according to conspiracy theorists, this means they never existed and the mission was a fake. What is actually missing is the telemetry tapes from NASA, but the slow scan television(SSTV) tapes made by the Parkes Observatory in Australia do exist as proof that the mission was real.
Conspiracy theories abound. Whether they involve a grassy knoll or a Moon conspiracy, there will always be doubters.
We’ve also recorded an entire episode of Astronomy Cast all about the Explorations on the Moon. Listen here, Episode 114: The Moon, Part 2: Exploration of the Moon.
NASA: The Great Moon Hoax