A Debunking of the Moon Hoax Theory
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On February 15, 2001 the FOX television network aired a program titled Conspiracy Theory: Did We Land On The Moon? This program showed alleged evidence that NASA faked the moon landings. This hoax theory has been around for several years, but this is the first time it has been presented to such a wide audience. Since this Website, Rocket and Space Technology, is dedicated to the men and women who brought the moon landings to fruition, I feel the time is right for me to speak out on this topic.
This TV program capitalizes on America's fixation with government conspiracies by sensationalizing the notion that NASA perpetrated a multi-billion dollar hoax on the world. In my opinion, the FOX network acted irresponsibly by airing this program. What they produced is a TV show filled with sloppy research, scientific inaccuracies and erroneous conclusions. To support such a absurd theory and to cast doubt in the minds of the American public is an insult to the courage of the astronauts and the brilliance of the engineers who worked to achieve mankind's greatest technological feat. FOX is apparently only concerned with ratings while exhibiting total disregard for the integrity of America's true heroes.
Some of the most prominent advocates of the hoax theory are Bill Kaysing, author of We Never Went To The Moon, Ralph Rene, author of NASA Mooned America, and David Percy, co-author of Dark Moon: Apollo and the Whistle Blowers. These men, and other hoax advocates, usually point to alleged anomalies in the Apollo photo and video record as evidence of their claims. The FOX program featured many of these claims while providing very little refuting evidence or testimony. Below are my comments refuting both the evidence presented in the TV program and other common hoax allegations. I invite you to draw your own conclusions, but I suspect you will find the facts speak for themselves.
The likelihood of success was calculated to be so small that it is inconceivable the moon landings could have actually taken place.
Bill Kaysing has claimed that the chance of a successful landing on the moon was calculated to be 0.017 percent (1 in 6000). The source of this information is a mystery; however, it would not surprise me if some engineer, in the early days of the program, came up with these numbers. Unfortunately for that poor engineer, saying something doesn't make it true. Consider that in 1901 Orville Wright was quoted as saying "man will not fly for 50 years". Two years later he would make the first successful airplane flight at Kitty Hawk, NC. Surely, had NASA believed the odds of success were so slim, they never would have proposed a moon landing in the first place. According to my calculations, I put the odds of success at 86 percent, but I have the advantage of hindsight (6 of 7 moon landing missions were completed successfully).
Every Apollo mission before number 11 was plagued by about 20,000 defects apiece. Yet, with the exception of Apollo 13, NASA claims there wasn't one major technical problem on any of their Moon missions.
This is the claim of hoax advocate Ralph Rene. I have no clue as to the source of Mr. Rene's information; however, his assertion is clear; the early missions had so many insurmountable problems that NASA decided to abandon the moon landings and fake it. Even if the data is accurate, there is a big difference between a "defect" and a "major technical problem". None of the Apollo missions, with the exception of number 13, experienced a major technical problem that prohibited the crews from successfully completing their missions. Also, the early Apollo flights were test missions designed specifically to shake out bugs in the hardware and procedures. Finally, the moon landings were far from flawless. There were numerous technical problems but, thanks to the skill of the flight controllers, engineers and astronauts, the problems were either corrected or circumvented such that the crews were able to complete their missions with amazing success.
The poor video quality of the first moon landings was a deliberate ploy so nobody could properly examine it.
The Apollo 11 television camera was a black-and-white, slow-scan TV with a scan rate of 10 frames-per-second at 320 lines-per-frame. In order to broadcast the images to the world, the pictures had to first be converted to the commercial TV standards. In the US, this was the EIA standard of 60 frames-per-second at 525 lines-per-frame. The pictures were displayed on a 10-inch black-and-white monitor and a vidicon camera was pointed at the screen and the pictures were scanned at the EIA standard. A number of peculiar image artifacts were seen on the images. One set of artifacts was produced by sunlight reflecting off the astronauts and the LM onto the TV camera's lens. These reflections produced the ghostly effects perceived by the public. Other prominent artifacts were the result of spots burnt into the monitor screens from which the optical conversions were produced.
There can't be any pictures taken on the Moon because the film would melt in the 250° temperatures.
Any normal film would indeed melt if exposed to a temperature of 250o F; however, the film used was not ordinary film, and it was never exposed to this kind of temperature. Apollo astronauts used a special transparency film designed specifically, under a NASA contract, for hostile environments like the Moon. According to Kodak, the film would at worst begin to soften at 200o F, and would not melt until it reached at least 500o F. The cameras were also protected inside a special case designed to keep them cool. The situation on the airless Moon is much different than in your oven, for instance. Without convection or conduction, the only method of heat transfer is radiation. Radiative heat can be effectively directed away from an object by wrapping it in a material with a reflective surface, usually simply a white material. The camera casings, as well as most of the astronauts' clothing, were indeed white.
Every Apollo photograph appears to be perfectly composed, focused and exposed, despite the fact the astronauts used cameras without viewfinders and light meters.
The implication is that the astronauts could not have achieved this apparent level of perfection. The obvious answer is that they did not, as is evident by this badly underexposed example [see photo]. The photos to which the hoax advocates refer are publicity photos released by NASA. Surely, NASA isn't going to release the foul-ups and blunders. Also, what appears to be perfect composition is, in many cases, the result of cropping. If all the photographs were uncropped, the number, size and pattern of crosshairs would be identical in every photo, which clearly is not the case. I don't mean to take anything away from the astronauts because they performed a remarkable job, which can be explained in three words: practice, practice, practice. Perhaps no humans have ever been better prepared for a job than the Apollo astronauts.
The black sky should be full of stars, yet none are visible in any of the Apollo photographs.
This claim is one I hear frequently, and is one of the easiest to refute. The answer is very simple: they are too faint. The Apollo photos are of brightly lit objects on the surface of the Moon, for which fast exposure settings were required. The fast exposures simply did not allow enough starlight into the camera to record an image on the film. For the same reason, images of the Earth taken from orbit also lack stars. The stars are there; they just don't appear in the pictures. The hoax advocates often argue that stars should be visible, and some of their claims are valid; however, they fail to recognize the difference between "seeing" stars and "photographing" stars. The stars were certainly visible to the astronauts standing on the Moon, and they could have recorded their images by increasing exposures, but the astronauts were not there to take star pictures. The purpose of the photos was to record the astronauts' activities on the surface of the Moon.
Bill Kaysing claims that NASA has perpetrated the lie that stars cannot be seen in space to validate the lack of stars in the Apollo photos. This assertion is utterly ridiculous; in fact, NASA has released many photos in which stars are visible. Common among these are long-exposure nighttime photographs of aurora taken by space shuttle astronauts. This example [see photo] is a four-second exposure taken from the flight deck of the shuttle Endeavour.
There are several photographs of objects that are in shadows, yet they appear lighted and with surprising detail. Objects located in shadows should appear totally black.
The problem with this statement is that it fails to consider reflected sunlight. Next to the Sun, the largest source of light on the Moon is the lunar surface itself, which reflects large amounts of sunlight (see note below). Also, the Earth is a significant light source. If we factor in size and reflectivity, the Earth casts about 70 times as much light on the Moon as the Moon does on the Earth, and we are all familiar with how bright the Moon can be. These additional light sources provide the observed illumination.
NOTE: The luminosity of the Sun is 3.827x1026 watts. At the Sun-Moon distance of 93 million miles, each square foot of surface area receives 126 watts of solar radiation; however, if the Sun is not directly overhead, its rays will strike the surface obliquely. If we assume the Sun is 30 degrees above the horizon, the radiation per square foot is reduced by 1/2. The Moon's surface reflects about 10% of the light it receives; therefore, each square foot of surface reflects approximately 6 watts of solar energy.
In many photographs the shadow side of the astronauts appear illuminated, while the shadow side of rocks appear totally black.
This Apollo 17 photograph [see photo] is a good example of the above hoax claim. The explanation is apparent from the photo itself. Look at the astronaut's feet and you will see that the shadow in this area is just as dark as that of the foreground rocks. The lunar surface acts as a reflector to illuminate the shadow side of the astronaut. At the elevation of the astronaut's feet, and the foreground rocks, this reflector surface is mostly covered by the adjacent shadows. However, at the elevation of the astronaut's head and torso, the shadows cover a much smaller percentage of the surface. For example, on a flat surface the angular distance from horizon to horizon is 180 degrees. At an elevation of five feet, a one-foot wide shadow subtends an angle of 11.4 degrees, or only 6% of the distance from horizon to horizon. At two inches above the ground, this shadow subtends an angle of 143 degrees, or nearly 80% of the surface.
Shadows cast on the lunar surface should be parallel. Some shadows in the Apollo photos are not parallel indicating more than one light source; thus, the photos are fakes.
Again there is a sound explanation; it is a simple a matter of perspective. A photo is a two-dimensional representation of a three-dimensional world; hence, parallel lines may not appear as such on film. We all know how lines on a highway appear to diverge as they approach the observer, yet we know they are parallel. Another important factor that comes into play here is the slope of the ground. Let's consider two shadows - one cast on an upward slope and the other on a downward slope. If viewed from the side, these shadows would appear to go off in different directions. However, if viewed from high above, they would be seen as parallel. In other words, looks can be deceiving. There is no evidence of NASA trickery here.
In this example [see photo] the astronaut on the right is standing on a small rise. The sloping ground has caused his shadow to elongate and appear at a different angle than the shadow of the astronaut on the left. Also note, if two spotlights produced the shadows then each astronaut would have two shadows.
Many Apollo photographs show lighting "hot spots", as well as a darkening of the surface toward the horizon. Sunlight should not produce hot spots, nor should the surface fade in an airless environment.
The "hot spots" are the result of the lunar soil's tendency to reflect light back toward its source. There are many reasons for this, but it is mostly due to countless tiny glass spheres found in the lunar soil, and formed by meteorite impacts. When you see a photo taken "down sun", away from the Sun, you see what looks like a spotlight around the shadow's head. This is because the light is strongly reflected back toward the Sun, so the soil around the head of the shadow looks very bright. This phenomenon also explains why the surface fades so drastically toward the horizon. It is brightest near the foreground due to sunlight being preferentially reflected back toward the camera. Farther away, the sunlight is preferentially reflected away from the camera, making the ground look dark. This phenomenon can also be observed in wet grass on Earth, as spherical water droplets act like the glass spheres. The technical term for this phenomenon is Heiligenschein, and is the result of light refraction, reflection, and diffraction on the surface of and inside the glass spheres and/or water droplets. This Apollo 11 photo is very good example [see photo] of Heiligenschein.
Only two men walked on the Moon during each Apollo mission, yet there are photos in which the astronaut reflected in the visor has no camera. Who took the shot?
The Apollo astronauts carried cameras that were attached to the front of their spacesuits. In this Apollo 12 photograph of astronaut Alan Bean [see photo], taken by Pete Conrad, one can clearly see Bean's camera mounted to his chest. The astronauts aimed and operated the cameras while they remained in this mounting. If you look closely at Conrad's reflection in Bean's visor, you can see Conrad's camera, which he is operating with his right hand.
In an Apollo 11 photograph of Buzz Aldrin the horizon is located at eye level; however, if the camera was mounted to Neil Armstrong's chest, the horizon should be at chest level.
The referenced photograph is the most reproduced image in the entire Apollo archive [see photo]. The claim of the hoax advocates assumes that Aldrin and Armstrong were standing on level ground; however, if Armstrong were standing on higher ground, the apparent elevation of the horizon would rise accordingly. If we look at Armstrong's reflection in the visor, we see the horizon is located at his chest [see enlargement]. This shows Armstrong was indeed standing on higher ground with his chest located in approximately the same horizontal plane as Aldrin's eyes. Given this camera position, we see the horizon across Aldrin's eyes as expected.
The hoax advocates also point out that the top of Aldrin's backpack should not be visible if the camera was attached to Armstrong's chest. Again, the hoax advocates fail to recognize that Armstrong is standing on higher ground. In addition, Aldrin is leaning forward; thus, exposing the top of his backpack to the camera. Due to the weight of the astronauts' backpacks, a slight forward lean was required to maintain balance.
There is one photograph of an astronaut standing on the surface of the Moon in direct sunlight, yet he casts no shadow, which is impossible.
The photo to which the hoax advocates refer is one of astronaut John Young saluting the Stars and Stripes [see photo]. They often reference this photo as evidence of fraud; however, they are very wrong. Young's shadow is clearly visible on the ground below him and to the right (his left). How can his shadow not be attached to his body? The answer is simple; Young was leaping off the ground and was elevated about two feet when the photo was taken. There is also some very good corroborating video of the event. This is one of the most famous of the Apollo photos and it is surprising that the hoax advocates would be unfamiliar with the story behind the photograph.
Other comments I've heard about this particular photo include (1) the flag appears to be fluttering and (2) the flag's camera facing side should be shaded from the sun. The fluttering issue I will deal with later. As for the lighting issue, it seems obvious to me that the flag is angled to the right and toward the camera. With the sun to the right, the flag's camera facing side would be sunlit at a shallow angle, which agrees with the shadows on the flag itself.
Not one still photograph matches the video footage, yet NASA claims both were shot at the same time.
This statement, made by David Percy, is entirely untrue. For evidence I submit the above-mentioned photograph of astronaut John Young [see photo]. There is some excellent corroborating video of the event captured in this still photo. In the video, the TV camera is positioned behind Young and to his right. The video shows a leaping John Young, the flag (which is not fluttering) and Charlie Duke, who took the photograph. There are other examples as well.
Mr. Percey claims that the triangular shaped piece of fabric located on the top of John Young's backpack, and seen in the still photo, does not appear in the video. This is not true - the tip of the fabric can be seen when one closely examines the video. Percey's claim fails to take into consideration the relative camera angles, the fact that Young in leaning forward, and the fact the fabric is attached at the front edge of the backpack.
If Neil Armstrong was the first man on the Moon, then who shot the video of him descending the ladder and taking his initial steps on the lunar surface?
The TV camera was stowed in an instrument pallet in the LM descent stage. When Armstrong was at the top of the ladder, he pulled a lanyard to swing open the pallet, which was hinged at the bottom. The TV camera, which was attached to it, also swung down. Buzz Aldrin then switched on the camera from the LM cabin. The camera was pointing at the ladder of the LM so that TV pictures of Armstrong's initial steps on the Moon could be relayed to the world. The camera was later removed from its mounting and placed on a tripod some 30 feet from the LM, where it was left unattended to cover the remainder of the moonwalk.
Two photographs show an identical mountain background, yet in one the Lunar Module is present while in the other the LM is absent. The mountain scene must be an artificial backdrop.
Clearly the photos were taken from different camera positions [see photos]. In one the LM is in the view, while in the other the LM is to the left of the camera. Due to the lack of an atmosphere, distant objects on the Moon appear clearer than they do on Earth; thus, the background mountains are more distant than they appear to be. As such, the change in camera position has an unperceivable affect on the appearance of the background. The argument of different camera positions is substantiated by (1) different foreground terrain and (2) parallax effects that become evident at close examination of the photographs.
Two video clips, claimed by NASA to have been taken at different locations many kilometers apart, show an identical hill.
There's an easy explanation for this: human error. The video clips to which the hoax advocates refer are from a documentary (not made by NASA) that accidentally used a wrong clip. This was a simple mistake, but not one made by NASA. According to NASA, the photos were actually taken about three minutes apart on the same hill.
Apollo 16 photographs show a rock with a clearly defined "C" marking on it. This "C" is probably a studio prop identification marking.
I do not deny that the rock certainly appears to have a "C" on it [see photo]; however, to suggest this is some sort of studio prop marking seems a bit far-fetched. Fortunately, someone else has already solved this mystery for us. An investigation by the Lunar Anomalies Web page has uncovered that the "C" is, in fact, no more than a hair or fiber that was likely on the paper when the print was made. This print was then scanned to produce the digital image seen on this, and other, Web pages. The original negatives have been found to be "clean" with no evidence of the infamous "C".
Crosshairs, etched into the cameras, are visible in the Apollo photos; however, in some images there are objects that appear to be in front of the crosshairs; an indication that the photos have been faked.
In all the examples I've seen, the crosshairs disappeared when crossing a brightly lit white object [see photo]. What's happening here is the intense light reflecting off the white surface is bleeding in around the crosshair and saturating the film; thus, obliterating the crosshair. This phenomenon is commonplace and is in no way evidence of fraud.
Some of the Apollo video shows the American flag fluttering. How can the flag flutter when there is no wind on the airless Moon?
This I find to be one of the more ridiculous observations. It is readily apparent that all the video showing a fluttering flag is one in which an astronaut is grasping the flagpole. He is obviously twisting or jostling the pole, which is making the flag move. In fact, in some video the motion of the flag is unlike anything we would see on Earth. In an atmosphere the motion of the flag would quickly dampen out due to air resistance. In some of the Apollo video we see the twisting motion of the pole resulting in a violent flapping motion in the flag with little dampening effect.
I've heard many hoax advocates claim that some of the Apollo photos show a fluttering flag. (How one can see a flag flutter in a still photograph is a mystery to me!) I can only guess that ripples and wrinkles in the flags are being perceived as wave motion. The flags where attached vertically at the pole and horizontally from a rod across the top. On some flights the astronauts did not fully extend the horizontal rod, so the flags had ripples in them. There is much video footage in which these rippled flags can be seen and, in all cases, they are motionless.
When astronaut Alan Shepard hit a golf ball on the Moon, Mission Control teased him about slicing the ball to the right, yet a slice is caused by uneven airflow over the ball.
This comment by Ralph Rene is another example of inadequate research, as well as evidence of a poor sense of humor. Near the end of Apollo 14's second and final EVA, Al Shepard pulls a PR stunt by hitting a pair of golf balls. He drops the first ball and takes a one-arm swing, topping the ball and burying it. He takes a second swing and pushes the ball about 2 or 3 feet, mostly along the line toward the TV camera. In Houston CAPCOM Fred Haise jokes "That looked like a slice to me, Al". Shepard's third swing finally connects and sends the ball off-camera to the right. He drops a second ball and connects again. Shepard says "Miles and miles and miles", Haise replies "Very good, Al".
To reach the Moon astronauts would have to travel through the Van Allen Radiation Belts, resulting in lethal doses of radiation.
This is a claim the hoax advocates often make, but it is a gross exaggeration and simply not supported by the data. Radiation was a definite concern for NASA before the first space flights, but they invested a great deal of research into it and determined the hazard was minimal. It took Apollo about an hour to pass through the radiation belts - once on the outbound trip and once again on the return trip. The total radiation dose received by the astronauts was about 2 rem. A person will experience radiation sickness with a dose of 100-200 rem, and death with a dose of 300+ rem. Clearly the doses received fall well below anything that could be considered a significant risk. Despite claims that "shielding meters thick would have been needed", NASA found it unnecessary to provide any special radiation shielding.
For more information, please refer to the following documents:
The Van Allen Belts and Travel to the Moon and Radiation Plan for the Apollo Lunar Mission.
Intense radiation from solar flares would have killed the Apollo astronauts in route to the Moon and back.
Solar flares were a NASA concern as well, but typical radiation doses received by the Apollo astronauts due to exposure to solar flares amounted to only a few rem. The radiation doses claimed by the hoax advocates are again greatly exaggerated and unsubstantiated. For more information, see Radiation Plan for the Apollo Lunar Mission
In addition to exposure to deadly radiation, the Apollo astronauts would have been pierced by thousands of micrometeoroids.
Shielding was provided to protect the Apollo astronauts from micrometeoroid bombardment. Due to their low mass, only a thin layer of material was necessary to stop these dust-sized particles. For example, the Lunar Module was protected by a thin aluminum outer shield a few thousandths of an inch thick. In addition, the astronauts' spacesuits included a micrometeoroid garment to protect them while performing activities on the lunar surface.
How could the astronauts survive in the heat of the Moon's day? Objects that are heated cannot be cooled by space.
This is true, to a point; however, spacesuits can radiate heat. All objects above absolute zero radiate heat; therefore, some of the heat energy received from the Sun is radiated back into space as infrared rays. Also, much of the Sun's radiant energy can be reflected away. The astronaut's spacesuits were white because this color reflects the most radiation, thereby minimizing the amount absorbed. Finally, the spacesuits where equipped with a cooling system that utilized water as a medium to carry away access heat. Water sprayed into a vacuum experiences a very rapid drop in pressure and, consequently, temperature. Hence, when a small amount of water was sprayed onto a cooling element on the rear of the spacesuit, its temperature dropped so much that it would immediately freeze onto the element. The cooling water of the spacesuit was then pumped through this element. The heat of the cooling water melted the ice, which then rapidly boiled off and carry into space the unwanted heat.
The Apollo guidance computer had the equivalent computing power of today's kitchen appliances, far less than that required to go to the Moon.
Unlike general-purpose computers, the Apollo guidance computer had to perform only one task - guidance. Most of the number crunching was performed at Mission Control on several mainframe computers. The results were then transmitted to the onboard computer, which acted upon them. The Apollo guidance computer was capable of computing only a small number of navigation problems itself. Since the guidance computer had to run only one program, that program could be put in ROM; thus, only a small amount of RAM was required to hold the temporary results of guidance calculations.
The hoax advocates tend to overrate the tasks performed by the onboard guidance computers of the 1960's. In fact, the Mercury spacecraft, 1961-63, flew into space without any onboard computer whatsoever, yet the trajectories were precisely controlled and the capsule was capable of fully automated control.
The computer technology did not exist in the 1960's to build the Apollo guidance computer.
Computer companies of the 1960's had to produce general-purpose computers at a cost that would attract consumers. NASA, on the other hand, required a computer capable of performing only a single task - guidance - and could easily afford a custom designed and built system using cutting edge components and techniques. Although modern microprocessors did not yet exist, microchips performing simple tasks were available in the early 1960's, and these could be built-up into computer processors. By the mid-1960's several companies were producing commercially available integrated circuits.
The hoax advocates often become trapped into a single way of thinking. Just because one technology is used to solve a particular problem today does not mean that problem was unsolvable before the technology was available. Man is much more creative than the hoax advocates are willing to acknowledge.
The astronauts' movement inside the Lunar Module would change the center of mass, throwing the LM off balance, and making it impossible to control.
This is the claim of hoax advocate and Ralph Rene who, apparently, has a poor understanding of physics and the Lunar Module's control systems. The LM had an automatic computer guidance and inertial control system. This system was designed to measure the attitude of the LM several times per second using a system of gyroscopes. If it found that the LM was out of proper attitude it would make adjustments by gimballing the main descent engine and/or throttling it back, and firing control thrusters as needed to stabilize the spacecraft. Despite claims to the contrary, the control thrusters exerted sufficient force to nudge the spacecraft around as necessary to keep it stable.
How could the untested Lunar Module land flawlessly six times on the Moon when its prototype crashed on Earth during training.
The "prototype" to which the hoax advocates refer was not a prototype at all, but a training vehicle known as the Lunar Landing Training Vehicle (LLTV). The LLTV included a jet engine to support five-sixths of its airborne weight, a pair of rocket engines that simulated the LM's descent engine, and small jets that mimicked the LM's attitude control thrusters. The Apollo astronauts trained in the LLTV to learn the skills necessary to maneuver the actual LM. During one test flight, Neil Armstrong was forced to eject when the LLTV ran out of attitude control fuel and became unstable.
The LLTV was very different from the LM and the "untested" LM was far from untested. Every component of the LM was tested over and over again during its development. The LM flew flawlessly to the moon because of the hard work of thousands of workers over many years during the design, development and construction of the spacecraft.
The sound of the Lunar Module descent engine should be heard in the Apollo audio, but there is no such sound.
On Earth, a rocket engine is an extremely noisy device; this comes from the shearing action between the high velocity exhaust jet and the surrounding atmosphere. The LM operated in a vacuum so the only sound would be that produced by vibrations transmitted through the spacecraft structure itself. Also, the microphones used by the astronauts were located inside their spacesuits; thus, insulated from the cabin environment. Finally, the microphones were designed to pick up only the sound in their immediate vicinity, that is, the astronauts' voices.
The powerful engine of the Lunar Module should have produced a blast crater, yet there is no evidence of a blast crater in any of the Apollo photographs.
Let's consider several facts: (1) Although the Lunar Module descent engine was capable of 10,000 lbs of thrust (the usual hoax advocate's claim), it was throttled down to below 3,000 lbs as it neared the lunar surface. While still several feet above the ground, the descent engine was shut down as probes, extending 5 feet below the footpads, sensed contact with the surface. (2) The LM descended at an angle, moving laterally across the ground. When the astronauts identified a suitable landing site, the LM leveled off and dropped to the surface. The LM did not hover over its final landing site for any significant length of time. (3) The Moon's surface is covered by a rocky material called lunar regolith, which consists of fine dust particles, glass spheres and a jumble of large boulders and rocky debris. Lunar regolith has many unique properties, the most obvious being that the particles are very jagged, which causes them to interlock. When subjected to pressure, the regolith will resist, almost like solid rock. (4) In a vacuum, exhaust gases disperse rapidly once exiting the engine nozzle.
When one considers these facts the truth becomes obvious - The exhaust stream was not powerful enough or centralized enough to displace the regolith and blast out a crater. In this Apollo 11 photograph [see photo] one can see some discoloration and a general lack of dust, which was mostly blown away. After the dust was removed a hard surface was exposed.
A large amount of dust was generated during the landings, yet no dust can be seen on the Lunar Module footpads.
This thinking draws on our common experience from Earth but, as we all know, the Moon is not the Earth. If wind picks up dust on Earth we get billowing clouds that tend to settle all over everything. This occurs because the Earth has an atmosphere. The Moon has no atmosphere so any dust that was blown by engine exhaust would follow a simple ballistic trajectory and fall immediately back to the surface. The dust would be blown outward away from the LM; thus, the lack of dust on the footpads is exactly what we would expect to see.
The astronauts make deep footprints around the landing site, yet the Lunar Module exhaust should have blown the area clean of dust.
The downward traveling exhaust stream would impact the ground and rebound mostly upward and away from the surface. Since there is no atmosphere to interact with, the gas molecules would simply fly off and disperse (see note below). The only dust particles that would be displaced would be those directly impacted by the exhaust gas. Since the exhaust stream was concentrated mostly in the area directly beneath the Lunar Module, this zone would experience the greatest disturbance. The area adjacent to the LM would be largely unaffected by the exhaust stream.
NOTE: On Earth, the exhaust gas would impact and displace air molecules that would, in turn, displace other air molecules and so on. This phenomenon would create and large area of disturbance. Since the Moon has no atmosphere this type of widespread disturbance would be nonexistent.
The Lunar Module weighed about 17 tons, yet the astronauts' feet seem to have made a deeper impression in the lunar dust.
The hoax advocates often quote the weight of the Lunar Module as 16 to 18 tons (weights varied mission to mission). This was the LM's Earth weight when fully fueled and included about 9 tons of descent stage propellant. By the time the LM reached the surface, its weight in lunar gravity was only about 2,700 lbs. With four 37-inch diameter footpads, the load on the surface was about 90 lbs/ft2. Neil Armstrong's fully suited weight on the Moon was 58 lbs. His boots covered an area of about one square foot, giving a load of 58 lbs/ft2. In Armstrong's own words "the LM footpads are only depressed in the surface about 1 or 2 inches". On the other hand, the footprints of the astronauts were depressed only a fraction of an inch, although people often exaggerate their depth.
Moisture must be present in soil for it to form footprints, yet the Moon is a totally dry world.
The lunar surface is predominately composed of materials that fall under the general category of silicates. Silica has a natural tendency to bond with other silica, forming large molecular chains. When a meteoroid impacts the Moon, much of the energy goes into fracturing the surrounding structure causing breaks in the molecular bonds. On Earth, these "exposed" bonds quickly fill with oxygen in a process called oxidation or weathering. On the Moon, with a total lack of oxygen, these bonds have nothing to attach to until an event occurs that aligns the molecules. When an object, such as an astronaut's boot, disturbs lunar dust new molecular bonds are created. The new bonds enable the dust to hold its shape, forming an impression of the deforming object. Thus, footprints can form despite the absence of water.
The astronauts could not pass through the tunnel connecting the Command Module and the Lunar Module with their spacesuits and backpacks on.
Finally the hoax advocates are correct about something. Fortunately, the astronauts did not have to! Their EVA suits and backpacks were stowed in the Lunar Module the whole time. The only time the astronauts donned their suits and packs were when they actually egressed the LM for surface activities on the Moon.
The astronauts could not have egressed the Lunar Module because they could not fit through the hatch and there was insufficient room to open the hatch in the LM.
The hoax advocate who came up with this claim is badly misinformed. The astronauts were positioned on either side of the cockpit panel with the main EVA hatch between them. The hatch, hinged on the right side, swung inward to open, effectively trapping the Lunar Module Pilot (LMP) momentarily on his side of the LM. (There was plenty of room to open the hatch.) Once the Commander egressed, the LMP was able to close the hatch, move over to the left side, and exit himself.
As to the issue of whether the astronauts could fit through the hatch, clearly they could. There are many photos and video, both on the Moon and while in training, showing fully suited astronauts crawling through the hatch. The source of the hoax advocate's claim may stem from early problems with a round hatch. While still in development, the LM's original round hatch was changed to a rectangular hatch.
The Lunar Rover was too large to fit in the Lunar Module.
If one takes the measurements of the Lunar Rover when it was fully deployed and assembled, then yes, it would not fit in the Lunar Module; however, the Rover folded for stowage in the descent stage of the LM in a quadrant to the right of the ladder. The chassis was hinged in three places and the four wheels were pivoted nearly flat against the folded chassis occupying only 30 ft3. When the astronauts deployed the Lunar Rover, all they had to do was pull on two cords and the Rover popped right out of its berth and down to the lunar surface. As it did so, the wheels deployed outward and were then locked into position.
The pressure inside a spacesuit was greater than inside a football. The astronauts should have been puffed out like the Michelin Man, but were seen freely bending their joints.
While on the surface of the Moon, the Apollo astronauts wore a spacesuit known as the Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU). The EMU was a closed-circuit pressure vessel that enveloped the astronaut. The environment inside the suit consisted of 100% oxygen at 3.7 psi (about 1/3 that of a football). The complete article included a liquid cooling garment, pressure garment assembly, and integrated thermal micrometeoroid garment. The pressure garment was an airtight bladder with accordion joints at the knees and elbows, and swivel joints at the shoulders to allow mobility. When pressurized, the suit was allowed to expand slightly, but was kept from ballooning outward too far by a restraint layer of nonstretch netting. The fabric of the EMU's outer garment covered the pressure garment assembly. To suggest the EMU should puff out like the "Michelin Man" is a clear case of the hoax advocates making claims that are based on woefully inadequate research.
Video footage of the Lunar Module's ascent from the Moon should show an exhaust plume from the engine, yet there is no visible plume.
The hoax advocates' claim that an exhaust plume should be visible is a result of our observation of rocket launches on Earth. Rocket engines typically use a fuel-rich propellant mixture, which results in unoxidized fuel in the exhaust gas. This fuel reacts with oxygen in the atmosphere to produce flame and smoke in the exhaust stream. In the vacuum of space this secondary reaction is nonexistent. The Lunar Module used a propellant mixture of Aerozine 50 and nitrogen tetroxide, which, in the absence of atmospheric oxygen to react with, produces exhaust gases that are nearly invisible.
The FOX program points out NASA illustrations showing an exhaust plume coming from the LM's ascent engine. This is a simple case of NASA taking artistic license. The illustrations are a dramatization of a LM launch and are not meant to be scientifically accurate.
When Apollo 17's Lunar Module lifted-off the Moon the video camera followed the ascent, yet no one was left on the surface to operate the camera.
This is one of the hoax advocates more foolish statements. Apparently they believe NASA can send robotic spacecraft to the Moon and planets but they cannot build a remotely operated camera. The video camera that shot the LM launch footage was mounted on the Lunar Rover and was controlled remotely from Mission Control in Houston.
The Apollo video is strikingly similar to scenes in the movie Capricorn One. NASA, with a much larger budget, could have produced the Apollo video in a studio.
Capricorn One (released 1978) is a movie about how NASA faked a manned mission to Mars. The scenes look similar to the Apollo video because the movie was filmed to look like the real thing; however, the similarities are only superficial. A close examination of the Apollo video reveals numerous examples of phenomenon that simply cannot exist on Earth. No matter how big their budget, NASA cannot change the laws of physics. The comparison to Capricorn One is nothing but an attempt by the FOX producers to sensationalize their program.
There are many pictures of spacesuited astronauts inside buildings with artificial moonscapes, presumably the studio where the moon landings were faked.
The hoax advocates often cite such photographs as evidence for the hoax. These photos are common and were obtained during crew training for the actual moon landings. NASA has made no attempt to hide the photos, nor have they ever claimed them to be taken on the Moon. The Lunar Module, Rover, experiments, etc. seen in the training photos are generally training replicas or flight spares, rarely actual flight hardware.
If the video footage of the Apollo astronauts is played at double normal speed, their motion appears quite normal; thus, the images were faked by playing normal motion at half speed.
There's an easy explanation for this phenomenon. An object in free flight will follow a ballistic trajectory in accordance with Newton's laws of motion. The only force acting on the object is gravity, which, on Earth, has an acceleration of 32.2 ft/s2. On the Moon gravity is much less, 5.33 ft/s2. If the ballistic flight of an object on the Moon is sped up by a factor of 2.457 it will mimic exactly ballistic motion on Earth, and vice versa. The 2X speed the hoax advocates claim is very close to this 2.457 ratio; hence, the motion looks "normal" because it is what our eyes and brains are accustomed to seeing.
The Apollo video is exactly what it appears to be, that is, man on the Moon. The convincing evidence is in the dust, which is particularly apparent in the video of the Lunar Rover. If this video were shot on Earth there would be clouds of dust thrown into the atmosphere by the Rover's wheels; however, there is no evidence of this. The dust falls immediately back to the surface as it would in an airless environment.
Earth based telescopes should be able to see the Apollo hardware on the Moon, yet none is visible.
The theoretical resolving power of a telescope, measured in arc seconds, is calculated by dividing the aperture of the telescope (in inches) into 4.56. The largest telescope on Earth is the 10-meter Keck telescope in Hawaii. The theoretical resolving power of this telescope is 0.012"; however, the Earth's atmosphere limits the resolving power of any ground-based telescope to about 0.5"-1.0". The Hubble Space Telescope does not suffer from this limitation; thus, with an aperture of 94 inches, HST's resolving power is 0.05". At the Earth-Moon distance of 239,000 miles, the smallest object that can be resolved by HST is about 300 feet. The largest dimension of any hardware left behind on the Moon is 31 feet, which is the diagonal distance across the LM's footpads. No telescope, presently in existence, can see the Apollo hardware from Earth.
The only sure way to prove the moon landings really happened is to return to the Moon and see if the Apollo hardware is there.
Direct visual verification would certainly put an end to the issue; however, there are at least three pieces of hardware on the Moon that is not in dispute. Apollos 11, 14 and 15 erected laser reflectors on the lunar surface. Laser beams are routinely fired at these reflectors through telescopes at McDonald Observatory in Texas and near Grasse in southern France. Timings of these reflected beams are used to measure the Earth-Moon distance to an accuracy of one inch. To explain the existence of these reflectors the hoax advocates have no choice but to claim they were placed on the Moon by robotic landers; a huge undertaking for which there is no supporting evidence (more on this later). The simple answer: the Apollo astronauts placed them there.
The moon rocks allegedly collected and returned to Earth by Apollo astronauts were actually manufactured by NASA in a laboratory on Earth.
It has been suggested that researchers could not to tell the difference between fake and authentic rocks since no one had ever examined a moon rock before. This claim is utter nonsense. In addition to the rocks returned by Apollo, we have samples of lunar rocks that have fallen to Earth as meteorites. (Lunar meteorites are very rare with only 25 known samples.) Tests have shown the Apollo moon rocks and the meteorites are of identical origin; however, the Apollo samples lack other features that would distinguish them as meteorites. Also, the moon rocks have characteristics that are not found in terrestrial or artificial rocks, such as evidence of meteoroid bombardment and exposure to cosmic rays. Likewise, terrestrial rocks have unique characteristics not found in the moon rocks, such as weathering and exposure to water. Finally, the moon rocks returned by Apollo have been determined to be between 3.1 and 4.4 billion years old. The Apollo samples are without doubt of authentic lunar origin.
NOTE: The Apollo missions returned rock and soil samples totaling 842 pounds, comprising 2,196 individual specimens. These specimens have been processed into greater than 97,000 individually cataloged samples. More than 60 laboratories worldwide actively pursue sample studies; some 1,100 samples are sent out to researchers annually.
NASA was able to perpetrate and maintain the hoax because the conspiracy required a relatively small number of people within the NASA "inner circle".
The hoax advocates make this claim yet, if all their assertions were true, the conspiracy they describe would be one of stupendous proportion involving literally thousands of individuals. I could cite numerous examples to illustrate this point, but let me mention just two: (1) Had the laser reflectors, left on the Moon by Apollo astronauts, actually been placed by robotic landers, then a program of huge scope would have been necessary. The design, manufacture, testing and launch of these landers would have involved numerous subcontractors and suppliers, as well as many NASA and civilian workers. Since there is no supporting evidence for such a program, then the thousands of people involved in the project would have to be willing participants in the cover-up. (2) I strenuously maintain the world's geologists could not possibly be deceived by fake moon rocks; thus, the rocks are either authentic, or the geologists are lying. If they are lying, then the hoax must be a worldwide conspiracy involving thousands of people in the civilian scientific community.
The anomalies seen in the Apollo photographs were placed there by "whistle blowers", who secretly passed on hoax evidence in order to expose NASA.
David Percy is the main proponent of the "whistle blower" theory. It is astonishing there could be these do-gooders inside NASA, yet after 30+ years not one of the hundreds of thousands of people who worked on Apollo has come forward to openly admit they were part of a conspiracy. Not a single deathbed confession. Personally, I think Percy is flattering himself by believing he has decoded these subtle messages left behind by ethical individuals who could not stand by and watch NASA perpetrate this dastardly deed. The truth is, there are no whistle blowers because the supposed photographic anomalies are the result of misunderstood phenomenon and mistaken conclusions, not hidden messages.
The fire that killed the Apollo 1 astronauts was a deliberate act by NASA in order to silence Gus Grissom, who was about to expose the hoax.
There's not much I can say here other than the accusation is a complete fabrication with no corroborating evidence whatsoever. Some hoax advocates claim there have been many "suspicious" deaths among those associated with the Apollo program, alleging that NASA murdered these people. These accusations are both ludicrous and libelous. Bill Kaysing particularly has made many slanderous allegations against NASA yet, when former astronaut Jim Lovell called him "wacky", Kaysing had the gall to file suit against Lovell. Wisely, the suit was dismissed.
By the way, one of Mr. Kaysing accusations is that Christa McAuliffe, the school teacher who was to fly aboard Challenger in 1986, would not go along with NASA's lie that stars cannot be seen in space. When she refused, NASA murdered the unfortunate Ms. McAuliffe, along with six others, by destroying Challenger in one of the most spectacular, expensive, and embarrassing failures in U.S. history. What proof does Mr. Kaysing give in support of this claim - none of course.
NASA faked the moon landings as a diversion to distract Americans from the Vietnam War.
Commenting on this claim requires an understanding of the social-political climate in the USA at the time of Apollo, not technical knowledge; thus, I am not the best qualified to comment. However, I do have an opinion based on conjecture (in other words, I am just as qualified to comment as the hoax advocates). Apollo was, in many ways, a political and military objective; hence, I believe those people who supported Apollo would likely also support the war in Vietnam. Conversely, those people opposed to the war would be more likely to view Apollo as a waste of valuable funds. Therefore, if Apollo were intended to ease opposition to the war, it would have been, in my opinion, highly ineffectual.
NASA faked the moon landings in order to beat the Soviets and to assure that America achieved John Kennedy's goal of landing a man on the Moon before the end of the decade.
To me, the idea of a hoax makes absolutely no sense. It is true the Americans we were in competition with the USSR, but the risks involved in trying to perpetrate a hoax would be tremendous. The devastating effect the exposure of a hoax would have on the reputation of the United States would be many times more severe than simply failing to reach the moon. I find it inconceivable that NASA would be willing to take that risk. Also, why six landings? After Apollo 11 the goal had been met, so why fake five more landings? In fact, NASA continued to send men to the Moon long after the public had lost interest. Continuing to perpetrate a hoax would only increase the possibility of making a mistake and being exposed. Almost any hoax is doomed to eventual failure, especially one this elaborate.
The Soviet Union did not contest NASA's claim about the Moon landings because the USSR was faking their own space program and would have likely exposed themselves.
Surely the Soviets possessed the knowledge and experience necessary to debunk NASA's claim of a moon landing. Since they declined to do so, they, according to the hoax advocates, must have had something to hide as well. Not only is there no evidence whatsoever of fraud on the part of the USSR but, if they were faking it, why didn't they just hoax a landing before the USA did? It was awfully generous of the Soviets to allow the Americans to fake it first. There appears to be no accusation the hoax advocates are unwilling to make, despite the lack of evidence, if it supports the hoax storyline.
Another idea that's been proposed by the hoax advocates is that NASA paid-off the Soviets to keep them quiet, which, like most hoax claims, is pure speculation. This accusation is just another desperate attempt by the hoax advocates to squelch one of the many obstacles confronting them.
If NASA was able to land men on the Moon with such great success, why are there no plans to return and why haven't the Russians sent anyone?
Despite the apparent ease with which NASA landed six crews on the lunar surface between 1969 and 1972, traveling to the Moon was difficult, dangerous and very expensive. The advanced planning and preparation of the spacecraft and astronauts resulted in spectacularly successful missions that succeeded despite the inherent difficulties and dangers. The United States landed men on the Moon while the Soviet Union failed in its attempt to do the same. Once the U.S. succeeded, the Soviets' reason for going to the Moon was eliminated. To fly to the moon today would be nearly as difficult and likely more expensive than it was three decades ago. Until there is sufficient motivation to do so, it is unlikely man will return to the moon any time in the near future.
Many hoax believers are well meaning people who have been duped into believing the hoax theories by what they perceive to be compelling evidence. Although I may not agree with their views, I mean these people no malice. There are other hoax advocates, often representing themselves as experts, who publicly make claims based on erroneous conclusions resulting from a lack of proper research or scientific ignorance. I find these people to be very dangerous because they possess the power to sway people into accepting their assertions as fact. A third possibility is that there are those who may believe the moon landings were real, but intentionally try to persuade people otherwise for some sort of attention, fame or profit. These people I believe are especially loathsome.
The thing I find most bothersome about the hoax advocates is their repeated failure to apply the scientific method, that is, the principles of discovery and demonstration considered necessary for scientific investigation, generally involving the observation of phenomena, the formulation of a hypothesis concerning the phenomena, experimentation to demonstrate the truth or falseness of the hypothesis, and a conclusion that validates or modifies the hypothesis. The hoax advocates routinely observe a phenomenon; they usually call it an anomaly, dream up one possible explanation for the anomaly, and then jump straight to the conclusion that their explanation is the correct one. They universally fail to put their claims through the rigorous testing necessary to validate them. It is this failing that irreparably damages the credibility of the hoax advocates.
The problem the hoax advocates face is that there is a mountain of evidence supporting the authenticity of the moon landings. In order to substantiate their story, this evidence must be refuted. In some cases, the hoax advocates propose arguments that, on the surface, appear to have some merit, but as they try to dismiss other evidence it becomes more difficult. Usually their claims become more and more outlandish, often times foolish. In many cases they resort to making assertions that are seriously flawed in both science and logic. On the other hand, the claims of the moon landing supporters are always based on scientific fact (it's easy when you have truth on your side).
If one looks at the hoax "theory" in total, it becomes apparent it is little more than a fairy tale based on a handful of mistaken observations and assumptions. You may see a hundred examples of so-called hoax evidence, but it is mostly just repeated samples of the same misinterpreted phenomena. For those who have convinced themselves Apollo was nothing more than a hoax, it becomes necessary to create a story that fits the remaining evidence and is consistent with the hoax plot. For example, one must explain the existence of the Moon rocks, so the hoax advocates claim the rocks are fakes even though there is overwhelming evidence to the contrary. They make this claim only because it is crucial to the storyline. Another example is the claim the Soviet Union was faking its space program. Again, the hoax advocates have no proof; however, they must invent an explanation for the Soviets' failure to challenge the moon landings. If you look critically at the hoax story you will see it is no more than an illusion.
Every so often these hoax theories begin to circulate, only to be disproved and brushed aside until they resurface some time later. When these false ideas are brought into the public consciousness, it is the task of the scientists and engineers to deal with the fallout and set the record straight. I ask that you not be persuaded by incomplete or inaccurate information. Study all the facts and use your sound judgment. I'm sure you will, like me, come to the conclusion that
I earned a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Cincinnati in 1981. My formal university education includes such subjects as Astronomy, Physics, Statics, Dynamics, Thermodynamics, Fluid Mechanics, Soil Mechanics, Geology, Chemistry, Calculus, Structural Analysis, and Electrical Networks. I have received training in the basics of Photography with emphasis on exposure control. I have been an avid amateur astronomer since 1989, having served as both president and vice-president of the Birmingham (Alabama) Astronomical Society. In additional to my formal training, I am self-taught in the basic principals of Orbital Mechanics and Rocket Propulsion. I am in no way affiliated with NASA or any of its subcontractors.
My greatest qualifications are a keen eye, common sense and the power of reason. When the hoax advocates make claims that are based on flimsy evidence, sloppy research, and a poor understanding of the sciences, it does not take a PhD to figure out they are wrong. In general, the main proponents of the hoax theory are people who have no special education, training or experience to qualify them to make their claims. They are in no better position to judge the facts than you and I; so use your own sense of reason.
This Web page has been reviewed by professionals in the fields of aerospace engineering, astrophysics, and astronomy. All have confirmed the content of this page to be factual, accurate, and truthful. I am thankful to these individuals for their time and comments.
If you are interested in further information regarding this topic, I recommend the following Web pages. All do a very fine job of debunking the alleged hoax evidence, often delving into the various topics with great detail.
Moon Base Clavius
Bad Astronomy - Fox TV and the Apollo Moon Hoax
Are Apollo Moon Photos Fake?
FOX Goes to the Moon, but NASA Never Did - The No-Moonies Cult Strikes
Comments on the FOX Moonlanding Hoax special
Answers to Questions about the FOX TV Moon Hoax Program
Non-Faked Moon Landings!
Who Mourns For Apollo? - Or - Was It Really Only a Paper Moon?
Who Mourns For Apollo? Part II
Who Mourns For Apollo? Part III
The Apollo "C-Rock" Revealed
Another Nail in The "Moon Hoax" Coffin
Apollo 15 Landing Site Spotted in Images
Apollo Hoax Charges Falter Under Light of Critical Analysis
The Great Moon Hoax
NASA Facts - Did U.S. Astronauts Really Land On The Moon? (PDF)
The Science Teacher - Evidence from Apollo
The Apollo Moon Landings - Were they all a hoax?
A Conspiracy of Conspiracy Theories: America's Lost Moon
Was the Apollo Moon Landing a Hoax?
The Moon Hoax Is A Hoax!
Kooks and Heros: Yes Amy, we really did Go To The Moon
The Van Allen Belts and Travel to the Moon
The following Web pages are by persons who actually believe in the Moon hoax theory:
Aulis Online - Apollo Investigation
Was The Apollo Moon Landing Fake?
Ground Zero: Faked Moon Landings?
Faked Moon Landings?
Where the Moon Landing Shots Faked?
The Lunar Conspiracy? Did Man Really go to the Moon?
NASA: Numerous Anamolies and Scams Allowed
But Seriously, It Sure Looks Like NASA Faked the Lunar Landings - Is That Possible?
Rethinking NASA's Version of History
Oh what a wicked web we weave!!! - "The Apollo Program"
ONE SMALL STEP ..... Moon Anomalies and The Great NASA Cover-Up
MoonShadows: Did We Really Go To The Moon In The Late 1960's & Early 70's?
We never went to the moon?
Investingator Challenging NASA
The following is an interview with Bill Kaysing, who is one of the hoax advocates featured in the FOX television program and author of We Never Went To The Moon. Mr. Kaysing's opinions are unconventional to say the least. Read his comments and judge for yourself if they hold merit.
Excerpt for Bill Kaysing Interview on the Apollo Hoax
Bill Kaysing, considered by many the father of the Moon hoax theory, portrays himself as some sort of expert, but is he? The following Web page outlines his qualifications.
Clavius / Bibliography, Bill Kaysing
The following Web page provides a little information about the major proponents of the Moon hoax theory. In addition to Bill Kaysing, the article talks about photographer David Percy, co-author of Dark Moon: Apollo and the Whistle Blowers, Ralph Rene, author of NASA Mooned America, and journalist Bart Sibrel, a newcomer to the Moon hoax game.
Moon Hoax Proponents
If you have comments or questions, please feel free to drop me a line.
Robert A. Braeunig, firstname.lastname@example.org