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Moon Landing Hoax/Conspiracy: Did Apollo 11 Land on The Moon?

Updated on March 25, 2014

Fact or Fiction?

On July 16, 1969 three men, Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Buzz Aldrin, after a year of training for this moment, waited anxiously 363 feet above the ground inside the top of the towering Saturn V rocket, to begin mankind’s most historic journey to landing on the moon. Or did they?

The 2 month-long celebrations and parades when they returned back to Earth and the 3 week quarantine that the astronauts underwent certainly suggest that the Apollo 11 moon landing mission was a success and an epoch making milestone. Yet for many years now, skeptics speculate what really happened in the Apollo 11 mission during its 4 day voyage and whether the 21 hours and 37 minutes that were spent on the moon, really happened on its surface.

This article examines both sides of the Apollo 11 Moon landing hoax and presents evidence to support each side of the moon landing conspiracy


Airless Surface?

Hoax argument: The most prominent evidence that any amateur conspirator can point out about the moon landing, is the waving of the United States flag on the surface of the moon. How could a flag “wave” in the wind if the surface of the moon is airless? It can’t.

Landing argument: According to the astronaut, he had just placed the flag there and the inertia from releasing the flag, kept it waving, says spaceflight historian Roger Launius. The flag was also made of nylon, and if it had been a hoax, there wouldn't be huge fans causing gusts of wind in the studio.


Conspiracy Photos?

Hoax argument: Another plain evidence photograph of the moon landing hoax is one of a headshot of Buzz Aldrin. Neil Armstrong is reflected in the background in Aldrin’s visor. Yet he is too far away to be taking a photograph and doesn’t appear to be holding anything. Since only 2 astronauts walked the moon, Neil and Buzz, who took the picture?

Landing argument: According to Phil Plait, president of the James Randi Educational Foundation, the astronauts had cameras mounted to their chests, and that is what Neil Armstrong took the picture of Buzz Aldrin with. Since the visor was curved severely, distance can not be properly judged and Neil was actually much closer to Buzz than what is seen in the photograph.


No Stars In Space?

Hoax argument: Another common argument that comes up is the lack of stars in the photos taken by the astronauts while they were on the moon. We expect to see stars when we look up at the vastness of space and especially when we are on the moon where there is no atmosphere and stars should be very easy to see. None of the pictures taken by the astronauts had stars in the background, so what kind of moon landing has no stars?

Landing argument: One attempt to explain this argument is that the moon reflects sunlight and the glare makes it hard to see the stars. The astronauts were also were also using exposure settings which limited incoming background light. When pictures are taken very fast, the dim stars just don’t have time to be registered on the film. If NASA really wanted to fake some moon landing photographs, they would have been smart enough to add some stars. But then, of course, the latter argument could be used against them, that the stars SHOULD NOT have shown up due to camera settings and moon light reflectivity.


What About The Footprints?

Hoax argument: Concerns about the astronaut’s footprint marks on the moon, have also surfaced. Skeptics say that since the moon’s surface is so dry, when the astronauts stepped in it, they should not have left such precise and clear marks, and that the consistency that we see on film is that of fine, wet, sand, not dry dust particles.

Landing argument: Phil Plait explains, “…that’s nonsense. Moondust, or regolith, is like a finely ground powder. When you look at it under a microscope, it almost looks like volcanic ash. So when you step on it, it can compress very easily into the shape of a boot." And because of the vacuum of space, those footprints can remain on the surface of the moon like that for a very long time.

The moon
The moon

So Where IS That Infamous Flag?

Hoax argument: Perhaps one of the most known and logical arguments about the moon landing that can be made to this day, is why are none of the things that were left behind on the moon (such as the United States flag, and part of the Eagle), visible when we have all these powerful telescopes on Earth AND in space?

Landing argument: Even the most powerful telescopes on Earth and in space (See a picture here) do not have the resolving power, which is the telescope’s ability to make us see really small details and see sharp images, to make us notice things that small. The smallest object that can be seen on the moon, with a telescope, is something about the size of a house.

Mirrors on the moon. Lunar laser ranging retroreflector array.
Mirrors on the moon. Lunar laser ranging retroreflector array. | Source

Mirrors on the moon?

Hoax argument: Aside from a footprint and a flag Neil Armstrong also left behind a "lunar laser ranging retroreflector array" (NASA). When laser pulses sent from a telescope on Earth hit the surface of the reflector, they bounce back. These can be used to measure the distance of the moon from the Earth very precisely. The reflector also proves someone was on the moon to place it there.

Landing argument: Conspirators will argue that the moon dust can be reflective from Earth and the effect would be the same as having a mirror reflect the light back. Weak, but their better argument is that a a vase of flowers, a book, a block of cheese, and even a "lunar laser ranging retroreflector array" can all be placed on the moon using "unmanned missiles". And they can.

Moon Landing Footage

Famous Conspiracy Theories Explained

Moon Landing Recap Of The Facts and Fiction

Flag made of "special" materials
Flag is waving, but there is no wind
Snapshot in visor distorted image depth
Other astronaut was too far to take a clear picture
Can't see stars because of limited exposure setting
Where are all the stars?
Fine moon dust allowed for a clear print
Footprints look too precise
Telescopes need better resolution to allow us to see tiny objects on the moon
We can't see any of the artifacts left on the moon

Was The Apollo 11 Moon Landing Faked?

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Apollo 11 Launch in 1969

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    • profile image

      Brad Rex 4 years ago


      - The Aluminum hull was thin, but the spaceship had many layers of Mylar and Kapton insulation. The spacesuits also had Mylar. These materials are used in radiation suits in nuclear plants even today, and on the ISS. They were not 100% effective, but they did not have to be. The astronauts received a measured dose of radiation similar to a nuclear plant worker's exposure in a year.

      - Every kind of radiation present in space is present here on Earth, just in lower doses. X-rays on earth can't go through he metal of Hassleblad camera, there is no reason to think they would in space. Film can sit on shelf for 10 years and no signs of x-ray damage. A week in the space ship and an hour outside in a metal camera is not going to any different.

      - The escape velocity from the moon or earth or any other place is what you must achieve at the end of the space flight. At the beginning, every space ship is going zero mph. Acceleration is always fairly linear until much of the fuel burns off. Compare to any video of rockets on Earth.

      - The Apollo program cost 23 billion in early 70's dollars. Going back just for kicks or to prove it to someone seems unlikely. Also China, Russia, India, and the European Space Agency and NASA have been back a lot, just with unmanned probes. Those probes are much cheaper, don't endanger people's lives and do much more science research than Apollo ever did.

    • profile image

      Brad Rex 4 years ago

      Thanks. Also, the flags have recently been spotted by the LRO though they have been bleached white by 40+ years of unfiltered sunlight. Although that is not going to convince hard line hoax advocates.

      The landing sites themselves have been identified by probes from China, Russia, India, and the European Space Agency. That is not going to convince hard line hoax advocates either... :)

    • Londonlady profile image

      Laura Writes 4 years ago

      You're right! I have to fix that, and pass on the word of advice to the author of the book I read that in. Thank you!

    • profile image

      Brad Rex 4 years ago

      The flags were not made of foil. That seems to be something somebody proposed or claimed to explain the wrinkles. But they are pretty noral nylon flags.

    • livingsta profile image

      livingsta 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      Very interesting read! I have been hearing things about this moon landing, and still unsure of what the truth is.

      Thank you for sharing this with us. Voted up!

    • profile image

      Greg 4 years ago

      -Once the Apollo astronauts were outside the van Allen belts, they were subjected to all sorts of radiation. The LM had very thin aluminum shielding, not near enough to protect any living thing.

      -Moreover, the camera that the astronauts used on the moon had no special shielding. Hence, the film from the moon should be virtually ruined by all the x-rays. Not to mention, at the time of taking the picture, the film will be exposed to all sorts of high-energy particles. There should be evidence of this on the rolls of Apollo film - but there isn't.

      -The escape velocity from the surface of the moon is about 2.4 km/s. That's kilometers per second! Go to : - and try and calculate the liftoff speed. First, the acceleration is linear - second, the liftoff velocity is well below anything approaching escape velocity.

      -Each Apollo mission brought back a certain amount of moon rocks. As lifting off from the moon was very, very dangerous - and the amount of fuel would have to be extremely precise. How did they manage to account for the unknown mass of the rocks?

      -Finally, no one's been back to the moon in 40 years. How come we haven't been back when technology has gotten exponentially better.

    • Londonlady profile image

      Laura Writes 4 years ago

      Haha, I agree...humans can (and will) find anything to argue about.

    • profile image

      lolidiots 4 years ago

      Amazing that there's even a debate about this. Crawl back under your rocks and put your tinfoil hats on before the government zaps you with their mind-controlling space lasers.

    • Didge profile image

      Didge 5 years ago from Southern England

      Great hub!

    • profile image

      BatDan 5 years ago

      You included the mirrors being left on the Moon, which is a good addition, but I'd just like to respond to the "No" portion of that, which you were, for lack of a better word, obligated to present.

      The Moon's albedo is quantified at 0.12. Albedo being a fancy-shmancy science word for 'reflectiveness'. It's measured on a scale of 0 to 1, where 1 is a perfect mirror.

      At 0.12, its surface alone certainly does reflect light on its own, but not nearly enough to measurably reflect a laser pulse back to Earth. For some reference, snow's albedo can be as high as 0.9.

      Imagine going out on a snow-covered night and shining a laser as the ground. The laser dot probably wouldn't reflect at all, and that'd only at a distance of about one meter. Not much else aside from a perfect mirror could allow a laser pulse to be measurably reflected from the Moon and back to Earth.

    • Londonlady profile image

      Laura Writes 5 years ago

      @Daniel Cabrera, Hmmm...I'm curious to see what the political amalgamate will tell us when we land on Mars. IF we even land on Mars. I heard they will have to take a "pit stop" on the moon, before they continue directly there. Also curious to see how quickly those globalists will come up with a foreign policy for Mars!

    • profile image

      Daniel Cabrera 5 years ago

      Fraud,....fraud then on this issue (perpetueted - and in consortioum -with / by others governments beside the one here in this country);...just like the ongoing and current fraudulent corrupted political amalgamte of individuals now in Washinton where Mr Obama is playing and posing as "president"...but is only a front face...a propagandist to and for a group of globalists with destructive agenda against our great country...a pack of traitors to the constitution of this great nation.

      Conspiracy theory?....oh no-no-no , we all are living it right now.

    • Londonlady profile image

      Laura Writes 5 years ago

      @rich, I could see both sides of the argument. I guess the world will never know.

    • profile image

      rich 5 years ago

      Moon Landings Did Not Happen. It was all Filmed on Earth.,

      It's time for buzz and neil to come clean on this fantasy.

    • profile image

      savanna 6 years ago

      you are cool

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 6 years ago

      Great hub. I have no idea. I'm not sold either way. I wasn't there. I can't believe much otherwise. Nice job. God bless!

    • Emmeaki profile image

      Emmeaki 6 years ago from Brooklyn, NY

      I've seen an read a lot of things that made me have doubts about the moon landing. I can't say yes or no definitively, but there are a lot of things to think about.

    • Cogerson profile image

      Cogerson 6 years ago from Virginia

      Great hub...the show the MythBusters took all the myths are pretty much proved all the myths were wrong....and that the moon landing did in fact occur.....but you never know.

    • rpalulis profile image

      rpalulis 6 years ago from NY

      Very interesting, I am not sure what to believe, I would like to believe that we did land on the moon, and if it were a hoax I would think that they wouldn't have been so careless to make such rookie mistakes. Great hub, excellent topic!

    • gregas profile image

      Greg Schweizer 6 years ago from Corona, California.

      Hi LL, I believe we landed on the moon. Good hub. Greg