The Moon Landings: Were They a Hoax?

Without a doubt, space travel is an incredible feat for man kind. The launching of satellites, for example, have allowed us to improve our communications, navigation, and weather tracking. Not to mention it makes great Hollywood film material (Interstellar and Gravity were out of this world, am I right?!). While our presence in space is largely undisputed, our travel to and successful landing on the Moon hasn’t been able to escape such scrutiny. There exists numerous conspiracy theories surrounding the Apollo missions and the Moon landings, many of which claim it was all staged by NASA and other supporting organizations. I won’t be spewing any new revelations here or solving the case, just venturing on the surface of these theories (pun definitely intended) and their rebuttals.

Flickr (Apollo 11)
Purple Slog / Flickr (Apollo 11)

The first of the six manned Moon landings was on July 20, 1969 as part of the Apollo 11 mission. The last was on December 11, 1972 as part of the Apollo 17 mission. Just two years after the last of the Apollo Moon flights, the first conspiracy book, We Never Went to the Moon: America’s Thirty Billion Dollar Swindle, was written, effectively kick starting the hoax conversation. As many of the conspiracy stories go, the book claims NASA faked all the Moon landings rather than actually making any of the journeys. Either due to solar flares, solar wind, radiation belts, cosmic rays, or doubt technology was even capable, conspirators believe it was just too unlikely man could have successfully made it to the Moon. Soon after, the Flat Earth Society (yes you read that right – I encourage you to explore that little nugget of curiosity as well) accused NASA of their fraudulent claims, convinced they were Hollywood staged and scripted with Walt Disney sponsorship. Since the mid-1970s, dozens of individuals and organizations have supported these conspiracy claims, believing NASA purposefully duped the public and conveniently tampered with or destroyed evidence related to the Moon landings. For over 40 years, these conspirators have remained consistent in their accusations, despite the rebuttals and abundance of third-party evidence.

Since 2009, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) has been returning data about the Moon, including high resolution color imagining photos of the Apollo landing sites, capturing images of erected American flags and astronaut tracks. According to NASA’s website, the data collected by the LRO is meant to “support the extension of human presence in the solar system.” NASA’s way of saying “We see you haters, and we raise you a really fancy satellite to say we told you so.” Using more imaging to support the validity of the Apollo mission, Nvidia, a leader in high-end graphics processing for computer gaming, has debunked specific claims the Apollo 11 landing photos were faked.

The first brave souls to journey into the unknown space beyond were one-of-a-kind human beings and they are largely celebrated as such. The first souls to have, or have not, landed on the moon were equally as brave and I only hope for their sake one day we either put the kibosh on this conspiracy and give them the same celebration they deserve, or prove the minority was right all along and the astronauts were all dirty liars. Potential solution: we send all the haters to the Moon. Maybe then they’ll believe it happened. One-way ticket anybody?


What do you believe? Did we or did we not go the Moon? Tell us your thoughts below!

Additional Images: NASA Goddard Space Flight’s Center photostream / Flickr



Eli Stewart
Eli Stewart
When she's not writing, she's baking...or traveling the world with a pack on her back and a camera 'round her neck. She's got a wild imagination and an insatiable fernweh. Try to keep up. Follow her on the Tweeter at @TheWritingBaker.