Refuting the Most Popular Apollo Moon Landing Hoax Theories

Hoax or Not? Challenging the Moon Landing Naysayers

That didn't stop Oberg from writing about various moon hoax claims elsewhere, stating in a 2003 Skeptical Inquirer magazine article that "The popularity of this particular myth is a heaven-sent (or actually, an 'outer-space-sent') opportunity to address fundamental issues of public understanding of technological controversies."

In that vein, let's address some of the most popular claims conspiracy theorists have made about the validity of the moon landing.

The Claim: If We Had Really Visited the Moon, We Would Be Able to Return. Why Haven't We Gone Back?

Going to the moon is expensive.

Between 1961 and 1972, the Apollo program cost $25 billion, according to the NASA Web site. The benefits of landing on the moon are still being questioned to this day, and it's been suggested that another trip to the moon simply isn't necessary.

Germann says "There's no reason to go back."

In 1970, "they canceled three [missions scheduled to fly to the moon] because of budget problems. Quite frankly the moon is giant parking lot, there's just not much there. Space is dangerous place. There's a lot of radiation. And humans become ill in low gravity. It's not comfortable -- it's not someplace you want to live," he added.

The Claim: On the Tape, the Shadows Look Translucent -- That Wouldn't Happen on the Moon. Was This Taped in a Studio with a Floodlight?

The shadows you see in NASA's film footage do seem odd, but Germann says there are several reasons why: the surface of the moon is uneven, and there's "lots of light kicking back from surface of moon."

"If they were faking the thing they would arrange it so that the shadows would look right," he said. "If it was a floodlight the shadows are wrong. The astronaut closer to the [supposed] floodlight would have a longer shadow."

The Claim: There Aren't Any Stars in the Pictures: How Can They Be in Space?

"I have taken thousands of astronomical pictures and I have to work to get pictures of stars," Germann said. "If you expose for the moon or sun then you will not get any stars."

NASA's Web site makes another point about the lighting conditions on the moon: "Astronauts striding across the bright lunar soil in their sunlit spacesuits were literally dazzling. Setting a camera with the proper exposure for a glaring spacesuit would naturally render background stars too faint to see."

The Claim: There Isn't Any Wind on the Moon. The Flag Shouldn't be Rippling

Yes, it is true that there is no air or wind on the moon. Germann explained that the flag moved because the astronauts touched it, creating ripples in the fabric. The flag is attached to a metal pole. If someone were to touch the metal it would vibrate, and so would the flag.

According to the moon hoax rebuttal on the NASA Web site, "Unfurling a piece of rolled-up cloth with stored angular momentum will naturally result in waves and ripples -- no breeze required!"

The Claim: If the Apollo Landed on the Moon, Why Wasn't There a Giant Blast Crater?

Germann explained that the moon is a rock that has been compacted for millions of years. On the top it is "powdery and fluffy" but a half an inch down it's hard.

"The lower layer isn't going to blow," he said.

In addition, the moon's low gravity would have eased the impact of the shuttle.

The Claim: If the Hubble Telescope Is Up There, Why Doesn't It Take a Picture?

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