Forty years after U.S. astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first human to set foot on the moon, many conspiracy theorists still insist the Apollo 11 moon landing was an elaborate hoax. Examine the photographic evidence, and find out why experts say some of the most common claims simply don’t hold water.
You can tell Apollo was faked because … the American flag appears to be flapping as if “in a breeze” in videos and photographs supposedly taken from the airless lunar surface.
The fact of the matter is … ”the video you see where the flag’s moving is because the astronaut just placed it there, and the inertia from when they let go kept it moving,” said spaceflight historian Roger Launius, of the Smithsonian’sNational Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C.
The astronauts also accidentally bent the horizontal rods holding the flag in place several times, creating the appearance of a rippling flag in photographs
Photograph courtesy NASA
Neil Armstrong and the Eagle lunar lander are reflected in Buzz Aldrin’s visor in one of the most famous images taken during the July 1969 moon landing.
You can tell Apollo was faked because … only two astronauts walked on the moon at a time, yet in photographs such as this one where both are visible, there is no sign of a camera. So who took the picture?
The fact of the matter is … the cameras were mounted to the astronauts’ chests, said astronomer Phil Plait, author of the award-winning blog Bad Astronomy and president of the James Randi Educational Foundation.
In the picture above, Plait notes, “you can see [Neil's] arms are sort of at his chest. That’s where the camera is. He wasn’t holding it up to his visor.”
No Stars Visible
Photograph courtesy NASA
“My God, it’s full of stars!” Arthur C. Clarke’s 2001 character Dave Bowman famously exclaimed when faced with the vastness of space.
You can tell Apollo was faked because … the astronauts made no such exclamation while on the moon, and the black backgrounds of their photographs are curiously devoid of stars.
The fact of the matter is … the moon’s surface reflects sunlight, and that glare would have made stars difficult to see. Also, the astronauts photographed their lunar adventures using fast exposure settings, which would have limited incoming background light.
“They were taking pictures at 1/150th or 1/250th of a second,” Bad Astronomy’s Plait said. “In that amount of time, stars just don’t show up.”