Why do people believe the moon landings were faked (and how do we know they weren’t?)

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, lunar module pilot for Apollo 11, poses for a photograph beside the deployed United States flag during an extravehicular activity (EVA) on the moon, July 20, 1969. The lunar module (LM) is on the left, and the footprints of the astronauts are visible in the soil. Neil Armstrong/NASA/Handout via REUTERS   ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY

Millions of people firmly believe that the moon landings were faked, with a 1999 Gallup poll suggesting that 6% of Americans believe Apollo 11 was a hoax.

A further 5% were undecided.

YouTube recently cracked down on conspiracy theory content, but there are still dozens of deadly serious videos arguing that the moon landings never happened.

On the 50th anniversary, TV stations and newspapers are filled with video and imagery of the landings - so how can conspiracy theorists argue it's all faked?

Conspiracy fans claim that the landings simply wouldn't have been possible with 60s technology, or that details in the images 'prove' that the landings didn't happen.

There's also a bizarrely specific rumour that Stanley Kubrick directed the whole thing.

So why do so many people believe that the landings were faked - and how do we know they're wrong?

Where did the idea come from?

A self-published 1976 book by 'rocket expert' Bill Kaysing, 'We Never Went to the Moon: America's Thirty Billion Dollar Swindle' lit the match under the moon hoax conspiracy.

Many of the supposed 'giveaways' still touted by moon truthers today come from Kaysing's book.

Kaysing, a former US Navy Officer had worked as a technical writer for Rocketdyne until 1963.

Kaysing claimed - with little evidence - that NASA only had a '0.0017%' chance of completing the mission for real, and thus resolved to fake it.

Author C Stuart Hardwick has debunked moon hoaxes repeatedly on Quora, saying, 'The first person to give real voice to moon hoax conspira-nonsense was Bill Kaysing, a technical writer who had worked for Rocketdyne until 1963.

'Why? It's unclear. He was not obviously insane, but he was obviously unqualified to express the opinions he was expressing. My guess is, technical writing with objective criteria didn't suit him, and pretending expertise to a bunch of ignorant sycophants fuelled his ego.

Kaysing misused his 'expertise' as a technical writer to create the impression the missions were faked, Hardwick says, ignoring any facts that got in the way.

'No stars'

In a newspaper interview in 1977, Kaysing said, 'There are no stars in any of their pictures. If they were taken on the moon there would have been some stars in evidence.'

Obsessing over the images taken on the moon has become a favourite pastime of moon 'truthers' in the years since - and people still raise the 'no stars' argument'.

But Kaysing's complaint makes little sense.

Still photography from the Apollo 11 moonwalk was captured on cameras specially built by the Swiss company Hasselblad to mount on an astronaut's chest.

The cameras used by the NASA astronauts were built to capture images on the lunar surface - so the aperture was adjusted for the blazing sunlight of the moon.

Cameras with those settings are not going to capture the small amount of light from distant stars.

25 PHOTOS
How we went to the moon
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How we went to the moon

Aldrin walking on the moon.

Aldrin stands near a scientific experiment on the lunar surface.

Aldrin salutes the flag they planted on the surface of the moon.

Apollo 11 astronauts (left to right) Aldrin, Collins, and Armstrong leaving crew quarters to enter the Astrovan for the ride to Launch Pad 39A.

NASA officials join the flight controllers in celebrating the conclusion of the Apollo 11 mission.

Apollo 11 lunar module rising above the moon to rendezvous with command module before heading home.

The American flag at Tranquility Base on the Moon, planted by the Apollo 11 astronauts.

Armstrong's footprint on the moon.

Spectators as they watch (and film) the launch of NASA's Apollo 11 space mission from a concrete ledge at Cape Kennedy (later Cape Canaveral) on July 16, 1969.

A ring of condensation forms around the Saturn V rocket as it compresses the air around it during the launch of Apollo 11.

A pre-launch twilight photo of the The Apollo 11 Saturn V space vehicle.

Prelaunch breakfast in crew quarters with Armstrong, Collins, and Aldrin.

the International Arrival Building at John F. Kennedy International Airport shows a crowd of passengers as they watch a large screen television that broadcasts the Apollo 11 moon landing mission, New York

Vice President Spiro Agnew and former President Lyndon Johnson view the liftoff of Apollo 11 from the stands located at the Kennedy Space Center VIP viewing site.

Aldrin inside the Eagle on the way to the Moon.

Aldrin does science experiments on the moon.

The Command Module, as taken from the Lunar Module, during its orbit of the moon.

Apollo 11 mission officials relaxing in the Launch Control Center at Kennedy Space Center on July 16, 1969.

AS11-40-5902 (20 July 1969) --- Astronaut Edwin E. Aldrin Jr., lunar module pilot, walks on the surface of the moon near a leg of the Lunar Module during the Apollo 11 extravehicular activity (EVA). Astronaut Neil A. Armstrong, Apollo 11

Aldrin descends the steps of the Lunar Module ladder as he prepares to walk on the Moon.

A photo of Aldrin, taken by Armstrong.

Collins during Apollo 11's first around the Earth.

These Photos of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing Will Leave You in Awe

Armstrong after his historic walk on moon.

Fifty years ago, the Apollo 11 space mission took its place in global history.I remember watching the Apollo 11 moon landing. It was an amazing achievement, enabled by a brilliant team of engineers, scientists and technicians at Nasa. I was still at school and we were utterly awed by the engineering and ingenuity that made it happen. The posters on my wall at university were the famous shot of Neil Armstrong on the moon and the Blue Planet from space.Today, half a century later, it's important to remember how crucial the inspiration of that one small step was to a new generation of engineers around the world – it would underpin so many of the innovations we take for granted today. Here in the UK, a "new Britain" was being forged in the "white heat" of technology. 1969 saw the MacRobert Award for Engineering Innovation presented for the first time. Established by the MacRobert Trust, the medal features a man leaping for the moon to commemorate the lunar landing, and the £50,000 prize recognises those that meet three key criteria – commercial success, societal benefit, and true innovation.In a year that saw Americans on the moon, the judges had a tough decision as to who should win that first award for British innovation. They announced joint winners: a team from Freeman, Fox and Partners for the aerodynamic deck design of the Severn Bridge – later used for long-span bridges all over the world – and a team from Rolls-Royce for the Pegasus engine that powered the Harrier, the world’s first vertical take-off and landing aircraft.Since 1969, the global influence of winning British innovations has been maintained, with a host of world firsts, including the CT scanner in 1972, the first bionic hand in 2008 and Raspberry Pi, the world’s most affordable computer, in 2017.Landing on the moon gave the whole world a new perspective on our planet, in particular the fragility of our environment. It is only fitting therefore that our 50th anniversary winner is already reducing the carbon footprint of commercial flight – Bombardier’s advanced composite aircraft wing is the first certified commercial aircraft wing made using resin transfer infusion. This new technique, developed in their world-leading Belfast facility, uses less energy, fewer parts and results in a lighter wing. The carbon composite wing is approximately 10 per cent lighter than a metal wing, reducing fuel burn and emissions.As we celebrate the achievements of the Apollo programme’s engineers and astronauts in the late 60s, it is crucial that we continue to support the generations who carry forward their legacy.Inspired by innovation, today’s young engineers know that nothing is impossible in meeting the grand challenges we have to face in the future.Dr Dame Sue Ion DBE FREng FRS, is chair of the UK Nuclear Innovation Research Advisory Board and chair of the judging panel for the MacRobert Award for engineering innovation
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Did Stanley Kubrick film the landings?

Haysing also started the rumour that Stanley Kubrick was involved in the hoax, claiming that the director's research for the film 2001 was in fact a 'cover' for his real work for NASA.

There is no evidence of this - and the effects in the film 2001, filmed in 1968, offer concrete evidence of why it would be extremely difficult to fake the landings using 1969 technology.

After Kubrick's death, a video circulated with 'Stanley Kubrick' saying, 'I perpetrated a huge fraud on the American public, which I am now about to detail, involving the United States government and NASA, that the moon landings were faked, that the moon landings ALL were faked , and that I was the person who filmed it.'

But the video was rapidly debunked, with Kubrick's widow pointint out that the 'Kubrick' in the video was a fake.

How do we know the landings were real?

A visitor watches footage from the moon landing in a recreated 1960s-style living room on the anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission launch at the "Destination Moon: The Apollo 11 Mission" exhibit at the Museum of Flight in Seattle, Washington, U.S., July 16, 2019.   REUTERS/Lindsey Wasson

Earlier this year, NASA astronaut Doug Hubley said that it would have been harder to fake the landings than to actually do them.

More than 400,000 people were involved in the Apollo project, so maintaining a complete veil of secrecy would have been impossible.

Hubley said, 'I've always maintained that it would've been harder to fake it and hide it. It just takes one person to go spill.'

Then, of course, there are all the moon rocks.

Not only has NASA analysed pounds and pounds of moon rocks, it's still analysing samples which were 'held back'.

One sample being opened this year was collected by the Apollo 17 mission.

Lori Glaze, acting director of NASA's Planetary Science Division in Washington, DC said, 'These samples were deliberately saved so we can take advantage of today's more advanced and sophisticated technology to answer questions we didn't know we needed to ask.'

There's also the fact that human artifacts on the moon are clearly visible in satellite footage captured by NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.

That includes footprints, spacecraft, and American flags.

These sightings have been confirmed by other spacecraft from countries such as China, India and Japan.

- This article first appeared on Yahoo

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