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Moon Hoax Debate
Events: Apollo Moon Landings
Created 12/13/2001 - Updated 8/3/2005

Were the Apollo Moon landings faked? Some think so. (see this video) A reasonable person's guide to strange ideas would be incomplete without this debate. Below are the best hoax claims and counter claims collected over several years.

INDEX

Summary

It is widely held (and hotly debated by some) that humans first set foot on the moon July 20, 1969 and returned to earth on July 24, 1969. There is faulty logic and name calling from both sides. Here we will look at the meat of the arguments. We draw no final conclusion but are surprised to find questions for which no official answer (except ridicule) is available. This does not mean that the Apollo moon landings were faked, but it is certainly odd and unfortunate. Send me answers since this is a work in progress!

Theories

The debate may seem simple: We went or we didn't, right? A reasonable person will always consider more than two sides to a debate. Possibilities: 1. Everything is as claimed by NASA and there is no conspiracy. 2. In addition to the real Apollo mission there was a sound stage simulation. 3. Remotely controlled craft landed on the moon planted equipment and returned moon rocks. 4. Men really sent to the moon died of radiation and a fake team consisting of the known astronauts took credit on Earth. 5. No humans were sent to the moon but they were launched into low earth orbit and returned later. On the fringe, you'll also hear: 6. Humans went to the moon but using anti-gravity UFO technology. 7. Humans tried to go to the moon but were warned off by the aliens living there.

( Anything involving aliens and UFO's sounds unreasonable but there is no reason not to lay out such popular speculations and then to address them based on the evidence. See our article on UFOs.)

NASA's Puzzling (Lack of) Response

NASA planned to hire a respected popular science writer, Jim Oberg, to write a lengthy pamphlet dismantling arguments one by one but later canceled Oberg's contract stating that the idea is "so preposterous as to be unworthy of a response" 1. Such a statement is elitist, saying in effect that NASA has no responsibility to educate people. This is odd given the other education NASA does. It also is disappointing because it uses a logical fallacy (appeal to ridicule): attack the question to avoid answering it. According to one study, US high school seniors have some of the lowest science scores in the world. Let's stop making kids (and adults) feel stupid for asking questions.

We-did-go Web Sites
NASA won't answer Apollo conspiracy claims directly, but try these web sites: clavius.org, nasa.gov, badastronomy.com, redzero, arizona.edu. Still, there are questions below which none of the sites address. This may simply mean that there are more curious people asking questions than there are qualified scientists available to provide answers.

Conclusion

Despite several science based web sites intent on countering the conspiracy theorists, it is still possible to find what seem to be significant unanswered questions on the web. A reasonable person may conclude that 1. There are too few scientists willing to answer questions from the public about this historic experience, 2. It is disappointing and curious that NASA does not have an official open question and answer forum as a means of teaching science and generating interest in the US space program, 3. Some unanswered questions cast reasonable doubt on the official story.

 


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