Pioneer and Apollo Astronaut Autographs

The Moon Hoax; Did we really go?

A ridiculous question?

Some are convinced that it didn't happen. Skeptics include the young generation, who never saw it themselves, and think it was a computer generated movie! Sadly, most of these folks are Americans. Fortunately, many American youth know the truth and staunchly follow the space program like fervent baseball fans. They can name every Gemini and Apollo crew and more. Polls show 94% believe the moon landings are indisputable. Still, it's frustrating, because the "moon hoaxers" get all the attention and their numbers will undoubtedly grow over the years.

It's a legitimate question:

If we actually went to the moon, why aren't we still there? The sad fact is, we can't go anymore. Not without starting from scratch and spending a lot more money. The infrastructure and tooling is gone, destroyed or decayed, all the brilliant young engineers now retired or dead. The 'can-do' attitude has been replaced with caution, bureaucracy, and bean-counters. If we can go to the moon, why can't we go to the moon? ask many space activists.

The major argument is: We COULDN'T have had the technology to land on the moon in the 1960s. But we DID, and still do; is a matter of money and commitment. We have neither now. In the 1960s our national pride and very existence depended on showing our rivals what we could accomplish. $20 billion (in 1960 dollars) and the cold war fears in the 1960s got us there. Those born later can't fully appreciate the tension. Computer and FX technology to fake it would probably have cost more. That was less mature than rocket science.

Hoaxers Arguments

Most of the hoaxers' arguments concern the photos taken on the moon. Why are there no stars? Why are the shadows sometimes askew? Where is the mysterious back lighting coming from? These questions show an incomplete knowledge of science, physics, astronomy and photography; not surprising coming from those with little technical background.

Debunkers Answers

No stars? It's daytime! Yes, the sky is black, but there's a blazing sun, and the landscape is lit up in all directions. Earth is four times as large as the moon and many times brighter. Photographing astronauts in white spacesuits is an impossible exposure problem for any camera to see dim starlight. Try snapping a picture of Earth's sky, even on a moonless night. Unless you leave the shutter open for awhile, your film will be black. No stars.

Non-parallel shadows? Uneven terrain. Back lighting? Surface reflection and Earthlight. Every single argument has a logical, sometimes elementary explanation. Many are explained by the truly alien physics of a hard vacuum, proving that we were there. Even the Russians know we went to the moon. They tracked us. They even had an unmanned "me too" unmanned lander in lunar orbit at the same time, and saw for themselves.

Computer graphics? In the 1960's? The Star Wars generation may believe it was always so, but in fact, the Apollo astronauts navigated to the moon with star measurements, like Columbus and Magellan, and verified the results on state-of-the-art computers much less powerful than a cell phone.

The hoaxers will be proven wrong.

The hoaxers will inevitably be proven wrong. Someday, mankind will return to the moon. New lunar voyagers will see the decades-old hardware left behind by 12 brave Americans. Footprints, rover tracks, flags and surroundings exactly matching the photos, undisturbed in the vacuum of space. The hoax talk will cease.

By then the dozen men who walked on another world for the first time will be gone, along with the cast of thousands who worked to put them there. The faithless will be alone to ponder the dishonor and doubt they cast on their country, family, and species. There'll be no one left to apologize to.

Lost High-Technology

History is full of examples of lost high-technology, from the pyramids to the Concorde. It's time we realize what amazing feats mankind is capable of if given the proper motivation and funding. Apollo was a unique event, a high point in human history. To dishonor the hard-working men and women who made it possible -- for 15 minutes of fame, some tabloid headlines or to sell a movie or book, seems to show the lowest point of humanity.

Phil Plait's BAD ASTRONOMY website elegantly dismisses all the questions brought up by hoaxers.

Here are a few links to more debunking: