The short answer is simple: No, the moon landings were not a
The long answer is a little more complex. We'll need to examine
some of the leading claims that Hoax Believers put forward and
explain why those claims are false or misleading.
1. The flags
"blow in the wind" - This is simply not true and stems from a
misunderstanding of how objects that are familiar to us here on
Earth behave in an unfamiliar environment. The moon has only 1/6th
the gravity of Earth and has no atmosphere. Because of these two
properties items do not behave on the moon the same as they do on
Earth, with regular gravity and an atmosphere.
1a. Lets take gravity first: with the light gravity of
the moon, the fabric of the flag is not pulled nearly as hard
towards the lunar surface as it would the surface of the Earth.
This allows the flag to "wave" around on the moon (from even the
slightest bump) much longer than it would the Earth.
1b. Secondly, the lack atmosphere makes a huge impact on
the motion of the fabric. For comparison, think of a swimming pool.
If you take a flag into a swimming pool and submerge it, then wave
it around, it's not going to flap back and forth. It's going to
move while you are moving your hand, but as soon as you stop moving
the flag will hang limp. This is because the friction of the water
stops the flag from waving. The same principle hold true between
the Earth and the moon. The Earth, with its dense atmosphere, is
the pool. Our air stops the flag from waving around with friction.
On the moon, no such friction exists; the flag is free to wave
around for much longer (after even the slightest bump) than it
would on Earth.
1c. As a side note, one of the common claims of Hoax
Believers is that the flag waves in the "breeze" created in the
wake of a passing astronaut, thereby proving there was atmosphere,
thereby proving it was a hoax. This is, again, false. Another
property of life on the moon is that there is no magnetic field to
mitigate the trillions of charged particles thrown by sun every
second. Those particles create strike the lunar surface, and
everything on the lunar surface, giving those items a small
electric charge. On Earth we call this Static Electricity, and it
is famous for making socks stick to clothing fresh out of the
clothes drier or making balloons rubbed on hair stick to the wall.
In the video of the flag mentioned above, the astronaut passes very
near the still flag. As he passes, the static charge on the flag is
drawn toward the astronaut as he passes, causing the flag to "wave
in his wake".
2. There are no
stars in the pictures - This is true, but not for the reasons
put forth by Hoax Believers. To understand this, you need to know a
little about how cameras work. When the shutter release on a camera
is pressed, the shutter opens for a fraction of a second, allowing
the light-sensitive material behind the shutter to be exposed. The
amount of light that is allowed through is controlled both by how
wide the shutter opens (aperture) and for how long it's open
(shutter speed). The brighter the object being photographed the
less light you want to let through to the film. Too much exposure
will create an unrecognizable photograph; you will simply see a
white blob. This is critical to understand because it is at the
heart of the "missing" stars.
The surface of the moon, in direct sunlight (as it was during
the Apollo missions), is very bright. So bright, in fact, that it
can create shadows on the Earth in the middle of the night from
238,000 miles away. That fact alone means any camera used on the
moon's surface must have the settings as such to no overexpose the
film. But the astronauts weren't just taking pictures of the moon;
they also took pictures of each other. The cameras used by the crew
were set up to take pictures of the lunar surface, other astronauts
in white spacesuits, in a bright white environment, in the middle
of the lunar morning, in direct sunlight. The fact that no stars
showed up in the images is to be expected. Had there been stars
there would have been more evidence of a hoax.
You can test this theory yourself. Tonight, grab your camera and
stand inside your house near the window with all the lights on (you
can even open the window to make sure there is no obstruction
between yourself and the stars). Now position something in front of
the window yet still inside, in direct lamp light. Using your
camera (it doesn't matter if you use the auto settings or change
the settings yourself) take a bunch of pictures of the object in
front of you (remember that object is your focus, you are trying to
get pictures of your vase, not the sky!). Now look at the images
and count the number of stars in your pictures. The sky behind the
well lit object in your house is black without stars, and that was
just using lamplight not direct sunlight.
Incidentally, there are pictures taken of stars by a crew on the
moon. Apollo 16 brought a special UV camera to the lunar surface
for the specific purpose of doing some astronomy. There are
hundreds of pictures of stars, just not in the pictures of the
bright lunar surface.
3. The crew would
have been killed by radiation - This is untrue and stems,
again, from a misunderstanding. The Apollo crew did indeed take a
dose of radiation; it just wasn't enough to kill them in the short
period of time they spent inside the radiation belt. Here are the
3a. The trajectory of the spacecraft was not a straight
line between the earth and the moon. It was arced. They did this in
order to avoid the densest area of radiation in the van Allen
3b. At the speed the capsule was travelling, the crew
spent far less time inside the belts than the amount of time needed
to give them a lethal dose.
3c. There are different types of radiation, wave and
particle. Wave radiation requires the most shielding, sometimes
very thick shielding depending on the wavelength (for example, UV
radiation is wave radiation, but can be blocked by a thin sheet of
plastic like sunglasses, whereas gamma radiation requires several
inches of lead). Particle radiation, in comparison, is much easier
to shield against. Alpha particles can't even penetrate the top
layer of dead skin cells on the human body. Proton and Beta
particles can both be shielded against using a centimeter or so
High Density Polyethylene (HDPE). Plastic.
3d. The Van Allen belts consist primarily of Proton
Particle radiation, which as noted in point 3c above, can be
effectively shielded against using HDPE plastic.
3e. The Command Module was built using materials that
could shield particle radiation
3f. Summary: The mission was planned to go through the
weakest, least dense section of radiation, in the shortest amount
of time, with shielding built into the module. NASA spent a lot of
time and money mitigating the problems presented by the radiation
belts. The money was well spent.
4. The crew was
sometimes lit from the front even when the sun was behind them
proving it was shot in a
studio - The shadow-side of objects often were lit, but not for
the reasons put forth by Hoax Believers. As discussed in bullet
point 1, the moon, and the suit the astronauts wore, was very
bright. In professional photography shoots, the photographer's
assistant uses a reflective fabric screen to cast light on the
model's face when s/he is not directly lit. On the moon, this same
effect is provided, inadvertently, by both the moon's surface and
in some cases by the astronaut taking the picture. The sun's light,
coming from behind the astronaut or item being photographed,
reflects off of the surface between the photographer and the
object, casting light on the shadowed side of the item of
5. All the pictures were perfectly framed, proving the shots
were not from cameras mounted to the chest of the spacesuit -
This is only partially true; many pictures were perfectly framed.
However, anybody claiming all the pictures were perfect has
not looked through the Apollo photo catalog. There are also
pictures one would expect from chest-mounted cameras, such as
pictures taken at odd angles, or pictures of the crew members boot,
or pictures that are simply unrecognizable. Secondly, the pictures
that are perfect weren't created by accident. The crew spent many
hours training to use a chest-mounted camera. They learned how to
position their bodies in order to perfectly capture what they
trying to capture. The training was successful.
6. Astronauts' replies to questions
asked over the radio were immediate. - This is not true and one
of the easiest claims to debunk; all anybody needs to do is listen
to the audio themselves on the Apollo Lunar Surface Journal. Due to
the distance of the moon radio waves take ~1.5 seconds to reach the
lunar crew, and then another ~1.5 seconds to return. The actual
time is slightly less than 3 seconds. The audio of these missions
were recorded back on Earth in Houston, which means the recordings
are made from the Mission Controllers point of view. Here is an
example from the Apollo 11 transcript which shows the delay
affecting Buzz Aldrin:
102:26:55 Aldrin: And, Houston, we got a 500 alarm (code)
early in the program. Went to Descent 1, proceeded on it, and we're
back at Auto again. Over.
102:27:06 Duke: Roger. We saw that, Buzz. Thank you much.
102:27:09 Aldrin: Rog. I say again...(Listens) Okay. That
wasn't an alarm; that was a code. Okay.
Charlie Duke (CapCom for the first Lunar landing) obviously
started speaking before Buzz Aldrin started to repeat himself, but
because of the time delay Buzz didn't hear him until the signal
reached the moon wherein Buzz heard the answer, paused, and
affirmed he had heard. The actual mission transcripts and audio are
full of this type of
overspeak and delay. Don't listen to cherry-picked audio by Hoax
Believers; don't even take my word for it. Go the Apollo Lunar
Surface Journal and listen/read for yourself.
8. Shadows diverge on
the moon proving there were two light sources - This is not
true, well the two light sources part anyway. There are many
examples of this around the web and it was also shown to be a
natural phenomenon by the Mythbusters. Essentially when the ground
is uneven and objects are casting shadows are on different sections
of the uneven ground the shadows do not lie in parallel lines.
Again, you can test this yourself. Find a parking lot or a park (in
daylight where the sun is the only light source) with a sloped
ground that changes between lamp posts. Note the shadows on the
ground. They will not be parallel.
9. The flag shines bright on both sides
as if in a spotlight - Nylon is a thin material. When the sun
is behind the flag in photographs the light is able to go through
the nylon and make the flag visible. This has the appearance of a
glowing flag, or a flag that is lit from both sides when in fact it
is either lit from the front or the sunlight is passing through the
nylon material backlighting the flag.
10. In the 60's and 70's
we didn't have the technology to go to the moon - First we must
remember that NASA was on the cutting edge of technology in the
1950s and 1960s. They had an enormous budget and attracted the top
scientists in the country. At the height of the Apollo project
there were half a million scientists and engineers working on
different aspects of the missions.
In a larger sense, it's easy to lose touch with technology. That
is, it's easy to look back to the past and wonder how we ever got
along without the miracles we enjoy today. We sit at our gigahertz
computers and forget that there was a time when an eight megahertz
computer was pretty cool.
Just because we rely today on one particular technology or
another in order to do some hard thing, doesn't mean it was
impossible to do that thing before our modern technology was
invented. For example, nearly all modern clocks use a real-time
clock integrated circuit. It does all the timekeeping. In the 1970s
we had analog clocks that used synchronous electric motors to
precisely drive mechanical gears. Would it be correct to say that
accurate timekeeping was impossible before that integrated chip? Of
course not. Similarly, old mechanical action clocks used pendulums
and springs to keep surprisingly accurate time.
What's the lesson? Just because we choose to use some particular
technology today to solve a problem doesn't mean that problem was
unsolvable before we had today's technology. Apollo engineers
didn't have high-speed portable computers to make self-contained
guidance systems, so they just built guidance systems differently.
The computer was only one part of the guidance system. When John
Glenn orbited the earth in his Mercury capsule, there were
no computers with him.
Yet his capsule was fully automated.
The moral of the story is that people can be very ingenious
working with limited tools.
11. NASA has said we
can't go to the moon today because the technology does not
exist - This is partially true, but not for the reasons Hoax
Believers claim. At this point it's been over 40 years since the
first moon landing and nearly 40 years since the last Apollo
mission flew. The scientists and engineers that designed and built
the Apollo spacecraft have long since retired or died and the plans
and documentation that were created to build the Apollo have been
destroyed or lost (keep in mind that the spacecraft were built by
aircraft companies; once the missions were over there was no need
to keep the blueprints, for them it was back to business as usual).
The specialized tools and the materials infrastructure that was
built specifically for Apollo were all dismantled at the end of the
program. As such, were NASA asked to build another Apollo capsule
tomorrow they could not do it. This does not mean that NASA
engineers could not build a new spacecraft. They can, and likely
will, but things will be different.
During the Apollo days the entire nation was behind the program.
NASA had a huge budget and some of the best and brightest
scientists and engineers. This is not true today. NASA's budget is
less than 1% of the Department of Defense budget and, with space
travel no longer being the height of technology, the best and
brightest often go elsewhere. All this will make it difficult to
return to the moon, but it in no way proves we didn't go the first
12. A in a photograph taken on the moon
has the letter "C" on it just like prop masters do in Hollywood
-In 2001 Steve Troy of Lunaranomalies.com undertook a lengthy
investigation. After obtaining transparencies from different
sources connected with NASA, he failed to see the mark either on
the masters used prior to 1997 or on the new masters. Yet the
photos on official NASA web sites clearly show it. Following up
with the Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI) in Houston, they
discovered that one of the prints in their collection was the
source of the mark. At some point that print had been scanned and
has since been widely distributed on the Internet. Troy and LPI
officials studied the print under a microscope and discovered that
it was indeed far more likely to be a hair or other fiber on the
photographic paper onto which AS16-107-17446 had been printed. A
secondary mark that appears to be a shadow is clearly visible under
the top portion of the mark.
14. The thrust from the
LM descent engine would have dug a crater under the LM proving the
landing was faked - This is not true, and quite simple. The LM
Descent engine had a throttle control similar to your car. You
wouldn't pull your car into your garage with the gas pedal pressed
to the floor and the Apollo astronauts didn't land with their
engine on full throttle. In order to keep the LM on a slow descent
the amount of thrust coming from the engine had to be nearly equal
to the weight of the spacecraft being tugged on by the moon's
gravity. At the time of the actual touchdown, the LM "weighed"
~2600 pounds. In order the keep from crashing the LM engine only
had to produce ~2600 lbs of thrust. Hardly enough to cause a crater
(keep in mind that, on Earth, helicopters and Harrier jets produce
tens of thousands of pounds of thrust, enough to lift multiple tons
of machinery off the ground. None of them seem to create craters
even in the loosely packed sand of the desert).
15. Finally, some things to keep in mind: the U.S.S.R.
was our enemy during the Apollo era. We were embroiled in the Cold
War, we were each heavily invested in the Space Race to the tune of
billions of dollars, and we each had the world watching us intently
to see who would "win". The U.S.S.R. watched our moon-shot with
intense interest. For them, failure on our part would prove they
were the best/strongest/most advanced nation. They were desperate
for our failure. Had the US faked going to the moon it would have
been incredibly easy to spot by a nation whose scientists and
engineers were every bit as good as their US equivalents. They
tracked the command module to and from the Earth, they listened to
the broadcasts of the crew walking on the surface, they have
examined the samples returned by those astronauts. At every step,
the U.S.S.R., the country most invested in the US's failure, has
congratulated us for a job well done. To think we could have
somehow bought their silence with so much at stake is, quite
There are many, many more theories put forward than those
presented here. Each of them has an answer, each of them can be,
and is, proven to be false. When trying to determine whether or not
something is true, it is important to look at who is saying it.
People that are trying to prove NASA did go to the moon are often
authors trying to sell books. It is important for them to entice
you, to make you want more information; because the more you want
to know the more books they sell. They don't want to just one book,
though, they want to keep writing. They need you to get sucked in
so they can continue to dish out their "discoveries" over the
years, selling more and more books. They have no interest in the
NASA doesn't try to convince you they went to the moon. They're
not interested in trying to prove something because they don't have
to. The people making the extraordinary claim are burdened with
proving it. NASA has provided all the documentation, all the
pictures, all the plans, everything you could want, to research
this yourself. The people writing books don't want you to do the
research; they want you to believe they had already done it. It's
fine to be skeptical of NASA. Question everything they tell you.
Just make sure you question the Hoax proponents as thoroughly.