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Were the Moon Landings Faked?

Updated on December 16, 2017
CJStone profile image

CJ Stone is an author, columnist and feature writer. He has written seven books, and columns and articles for many newspapers and magazines.

Empires of Unease: Conspiracies, Countercultures, Counterfeit Realities....

Did Neil Armstrong really walk on the Moon? Or was the whole thing an elaborate hoax to distract the public from the Vietnam War?

On July 20th 1969 Neil Armstrong, being one of three men on the Apollo 11 space mission, stepped onto the Moon for the first time, with these famous words:

“That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

An estimated 500 million people back on Earth watched the flickering black and white images on their TV sets, the largest single audience for a live broadcast at that time. After this Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin spent a day on the surface of the Moon before making the epic three day journey back to the Earth.

There were six Moon landings between 1969 and 1972. Altogether 24 American astronauts undertook the flight, twelve of whom walked upon the Moon’s surface.

It was the most extraordinary thing ever achieved by humankind.

At least, that is, according to official history.

There is, however, an alternative theory.

According to this theory, no Moon landings occurred, no men walked on the Moon, no flights ever took place between the Earth and the Moon, and while 500 million people saw something on their TV screens on that day, it was not a Moon landing, but a hoax, a mock-up of the Moon’s surface having been created in a film studio somewhere in the Nevada desert, the “actors”, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, being suspended on wires to simulate the low-gravity environment.

Why would they do this, you ask?

That’s easy. In 1960s, in the fevered atmosphere of the Cold War, anything was possible. The government needed something to take the American public’s mind off the hugely unpopular war in Vietnam, at the time still raging, with thousands of American fatalities.

The fake Moon landings would serve as a perfect distraction.

Speculation about the possibility of the Moon landings having been faked began in 1974, only two years after the final mission, with a self-published book called We Never Went to the Moon: America's Thirty Billion Dollar Swindle by Bill Kaysing. This was the first of a series of books which began to make the claim.

The books come from a variety of different angles and are usually very technical. Bill Kaysing’s book, for example, concentrates on the reliability of the rockets. Other books look at anomalies in the photographs and the images, or on varieties of technical data about the feasibility of the trip.

There was also a Hollywood movie, Capricorn One (1978) which used the theme for its plot. Some say it was the popularity of the film which gave credence to the conspiracy theory.

One man, Bart Sibrel, a freelance investigative journalist and film maker, has made it his life’s work hounding the ex-astronauts trying to get them to swear on the bible that they actually visited the Moon. He was once punched in the face by Buzz Aldrin for his efforts, who claimed provocation and was later let off by the courts.

You will find all of the arguments, both pro and anti, on the internet these days.

One famous bit of film shows one of the astronauts setting up the American flag, and the flag appearing to flutter in the breeze. This is, of course, impossible, as there is no atmosphere on the Moon, so no breeze. However, if you look closely you will see that the astronaut is moving the flag around by hand attempting to lodge it in the Moon’s soil, which is why it is flapping about. It’s not the breeze, it’s the astronaut’s hand.

Most of the evidence ends up with serious flaws like this.

There’s also another theory, that the Moon landing did take place, but that the film footage was so poor that NASA and the US government decided to fake it. They realised that the future of the programme depended on creating a “show” that the human race would believe in.

This is more plausible perhaps, but contains all of the same flaws of logic, the same scientific improbabilities.

But I personally think the best evidence for the Moon landings not being fake come from the astronauts themselves. There’s something about those men – an indefinable look, like star-dust in their eyes – which makes me convinced that they did go to the Moon. You can fake a Moon landing, perhaps, but you can’t fake the look of wonder in a man’s eye.

© 2009 CJStone


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    • profile image

      Anton 4 years ago

      Cold war hoax by the Americans.

    • profile image

      Kaulhulk 5 years ago

      I Wonder why the Russians gave up their Moon Program so abruptly? After all they were way ahead of NASA back then. First in Space too. Did they know something beforehand? And why haven't they pursued the Moon ever again?

    • Larry Fields profile image

      Larry Fields 7 years ago from Northern California

      I haven't done as much homework on the veracity of the official stories of the moon landings as some of the other commentators here. On the other hand, I don't have any ego invested in the official stories, or in the alternative ones.

      I'm also aware that most journalists are more concerned about meeting deadlines than about ferreting out the facts. If you're the subject of a news story, you're lucky if they spell your name right. As Mark Twain once said: Never let the truth get in the way of a good story!

      That said, I did watch a documentary about some the charges made by moon-landing skeptics. For most of the memes presented, I had the feeling: I need more information before I come to a strong conclusion about this aspect.

      There were two photos that did catch my eye. They were supposedly from two different missions with landing sites hundreds of kilometers apart. The foregrounds did not interest me very much. Surprisingly, the mountains in the backgrounds appeared to be absolutely identical in size and shape.

      That's consistent with the movie-set hypothesis. However it's also possible that some NASA librarian screwed up big-time, and put one of the photos in the wrong folder.

    • stendek profile image

      stendek 8 years ago from Pellucidar

      Want proof that conspiracies exist? I am a conspiracist. Have been for over half a century! I know for a fact from decades as an investigative reporter that conspiracies are fact not fiction. I have been on a personal crusade against NASA since astro-not Edwin "Sucker Punch" Aldrin launched an unprovoked attack on an American citizen. NASA never brought to task when it was AUTHENTICATED that a piece of worthless wood palmed off on Dutch as genuine moon rock. United States media made light of national disgrace. Why? I digress. Friends told me NASA would get my conspiracy pages off HubPages. I authored almost 5,000 pages so even I found that difficult to believe. Guess what? My friends knew more than this conspiracist! Signed into account one day only to find all pages had vanished. NASA won again! When I requested report on Roswell Report for my newspaper I was told by friend that my name is flagged at Pentagon due to my conspiracy columns. Not security risk since weekly newspaper has limited circulation. When report arrived at newspaper offices it had my name on it although only the newspaper name had been utilized. Those darn coincidences. All my conspiracy HubPages now in limbo. Having to get almost 5,000 pages "cleared" by nameless HubPage czars prior to publication. Are conspiracies real? Hell yes! See Jesse Ventura show on 911 which only scratched surface? Keep seeking truth. Skeptics be damned. Perhaps one day even their eyes will open. Doubt it. Peace. ++STENDEC++

    • stendek profile image

      stendek 8 years ago from Pellucidar

      Moon rock presented to Dutch VERIFIED to be nothing more than wood! Need additional proof of lying Never Address Serious Allegations (NASA) deception? Never landed on moon! Astro-nots liars and cowards bound by military secrecy oaths. They know what happened to outspoken hero Virgil Grissom! Ask his son and family. They will tell you too! ++STENDEC++

    • blodwyn profile image

      blodwyn 8 years ago from wales

      i can now spell appearing. sory mr stone,

    • blodwyn profile image

      blodwyn 8 years ago from wales

      I think maybe your on the right track here Bard and very interesting videos they are, there is plenty out there to see and you can all see it if you take time to look, just keep watching the dark skys, the proof will be before your eyes,I have seen the most unusual things apearing out of the blue/nightsky,

      I do spend a lot of time on the hills of west wales and its very dark here at night great spatial viewing,

      Its a case of "did he/she look alien to you" there here.

    • CJStone profile image

      CJStone 8 years ago from Whitstable, UK

      Who's apologising? This is a celebration.

    • stendek profile image

      stendek 8 years ago from Pellucidar

      No patience with Never Address Serious Allegations (NASA) apologists! Unthinking sheep follow. Follow on! Too bad about those recorded over/misplaced tapes. Now they cannot be exposed as fabrications they are/were! Peace.

    • marisuewrites profile image

      marisuewrites 9 years ago from USA

      Great Idea, I'll do that!!

    • CJStone profile image

      CJStone 9 years ago from Whitstable, UK

      Hi marisue, you should write a hub about your brother... and one about UFOs and the Moon landings. I'd be interested in both of them.

    • marisuewrites profile image

      marisuewrites 9 years ago from USA

      Hi cj, my brother has met many famous people, while I, on the other hand, am forced to only listen to his experiences....sigh. Well, everyone needs an audience, yes? LOL I have been told by many in the space programs over the years, that there is definitely evidence of other life somewhere as they see many UFO's in space while they are in flight. Vehicles that make 90 degree angle movements and shoot lasers towards other vehicles. Interesting enough, they follow our spaceships but make no attempt to interact and ignore our communication attempts. Perhaps they think we are too far beneath their technology -- like ants on a hill..? However, there seems to be some reports that have "leaked" over the years that indicate we were warned away from the moon for a few years following our first landing. Of course, I can't site specifics, but there were lots of winks and nods in my household when I was growing up. I believe, I believe...beam me up scotty!! =))

    • CJStone profile image

      CJStone 9 years ago from Whitstable, UK

      I'm very impressed by your brother marisue. I mean, I've met famous people before now, but I've never met anyone who has been to another planet. Do you think that Aldrin saw evidence of other beings on the Moon then? That's an interesting thought....

      Hi Valerie Lynn, I agree about the vast expanse of the universe surrounding our little planet. That has always impressed me too. Glad you enjoyed the story.

    • marisuewrites profile image

      marisuewrites 9 years ago from USA

      I love your last comment..."you can't fake the look of wonder in a man's eye..."

      My brother, who possessed his own Top Secret Clearance, and worked on Nuclear Reactors, among other things... met Aldrin, the wonder is real.  In fact, a more interesting question might be "was there any evidence of other's on the moon WHEN we landed..." as Buzz will carefully avoid answering that question...

      As do many astronauts. 

      My father had a TSC (top secret clearance) and worked at White Sand's Missile range, in the area that determined how many G's a human could withstand before  - uh - not making they could devise a way for astronauts to live through the separation from gravity to weightlessness.  Among other things; but suffice it to say, they did figure it out, that and the early version of the patriot missile, then called "the hound dog..." and we did make it to the moon.  I'm the daughter of the man (one of hundreds/thousands) who knew.  =))  I am so astounded that people think our technology has no relationship with outer space study...and success or failure.  Just look what they did to the Hubble. 

      I think many civilizations have visited our moon.  And do.  =)  but then, I am a star gazer...

    • profile image

      Valerie Lynn 9 years ago

      Hi CJ, I'm a fan of anything dealing with the expanse of universe eveloping our little blue planet. I'm also a fan of public tv, books, etc. Having seen the interviews, news reels, tapes of the control room during the alleged "maybe not" journey, I never experienced that "spark" one gets with the unexplained or inconsistent, of the falsely affected...for whatever that is worth.

      I do agree with hubbers here; the presentation to the public of the actual journey was as fluffed up as they could reasonably fluff. Also, there are too many cohesive and irrefutable variables supporting this journey as a fact. 

      Jean Houston, and her husband, Robert Masters, both psychologists, and educators of the human potential movement, had the very enviable job of "testing" the crew upon their return.  The didn't remember anything out of the relative ordinary. There was one exception as I understand it.

      I think it was Allan Alldredge who said to Dr. Houston:  "it wasn't the trip there; it was the trip back to earth.  It [the Earth] rose like a great blue ball in the sky."  The crew had chosen, I believe this is correct, the music from "Chariots of Fire" for the return home.  In Alldrege's mind, the trip home was the most poignant part of the journey.  He took it all in, the grandness of what he was seeing enhanced by music from a tape recorder. 

      I never thought any of the rumors "it" didn't really happen were taken seriously until now.  Though, if were to vote, there are way too many variables, including the experiences of the astronauts, men of integrity, as well as the chase to the moon watched, and monitored by the world, to conclude anything differently. 

      I'll always love that picture of earth from the point of view of the space craft.  It's A wonderful World...that would have been a good background as well.

      Just one last vote in favor of the world not having been duped; science is, as are most things, built upon a system of layers, of epigenesis, a series of accomplishments that suport new ones, and so forth. I think those astronaughts were definitely flying by the seats of their pants, and, boy, do I believe they were flying! 

      Thanks again CJ,

      Valerie Lynn 

    • CJStone profile image

      CJStone 9 years ago from Whitstable, UK

      Paraglider, it's obvious: the inside of the Moon is the astroid belt.

    • Paraglider profile image

      Dave McClure 9 years ago from Kyle, Scotland

      Or maybe they just ate it, as it's really made of cheese...

    • Jewels profile image

      Jewels 9 years ago from Australia

      The stuff could be floating around with our space junk?? :)

    • Paraglider profile image

      Dave McClure 9 years ago from Kyle, Scotland

      Bard - hollowed out?? Where did they put the stuffing ;)

    • profile image

      Writer Rider 9 years ago

      I don't know about the moon mission being fake but some people claim that the moon is teeming with life and the pictures were airbrushed. If you look at the pictures of the moon and the earth carefully you'll notice not only an absence of ufos and architechture but of stars as well. Last I remember, there were many stars between the moon and earth.

    • Bard of Ely profile image

      Steve Andrews 9 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal

      Chris, let me introduce you again to Alex Collier, my favourite contactee who I am delighted is back speaking in public again after six years away. Alex says they did land on the Moon but were warned not to do so again. He also maintains that the Moon itself is a hoax because it is actually a vast spacecraft made from a heavenly body that was hollowed out inside and then moved here around 12,000 years ago to act as base.

      I proudly present Alex in conversation in a series of 12 new videos of him speaking this April:

      and I also am presenting that talk he gave to around 20 people in 1995 which is described in part as: "This is Collier's representation of the Andromedan perspective about the leaders of the United States, the banks, and the very fragile state of our environment, our basic freedoms and our human rights. This DVD presents the entire lecture held in Tucson, Arizona in 1995 concerning the collaboration between the secret government agencies and authoritarian leaders, who are collaborating for profit and power with a malevolent ET confederation, led by reptilian humanoid ETs."

      Here's Alex talking about the Moon:

      But I recommend watching all his videos.

    • tdarby profile image

      tdarby 9 years ago

      The only question I have is why is the flag waving--there is no wind in space?

    • CJStone profile image

      CJStone 9 years ago from Whitstable, UK

      Hello everyone, thanks for all your comments. My only concern is that there are no comments supporting the idea of a hoax. Is this some kind of a cover-up I wonder?

    • Chef Jeff profile image

      Chef Jeff 9 years ago from Universe, Milky Way, Outer Arm, Sol, Earth, Western Hemisphere, North America, Illinois, Chicago.

      When they came back with no green cheese I knew it was fake!  LOL!!!  Since the landings other photos from above the moon show the abandonned parts of the lander there.  One day they'll find the flag as well, and the whole thing will (hopefully) be put aside and we can get back to the important things in life.

    • Amanda Severn profile image

      Amanda Severn 9 years ago from UK

      I watched the moon landings at school. There was a whole hall full of kids sitting cross-legged on the cold parquet, gazing up at these flickering black and white images. I've never thought for even a moment that it might have been a hoax, although I have heard the speculation before.

    • profile image

      Feline Prophet 9 years ago

      If it was a hoax, it was a really elaborate one...perhaps the Americans are taking show biz a little too far! :)

      There was an email that did the rounds a couple of years ago, debunking the moon landings, and I have to admit that I was very disappointed to learn that history might never have actually been created.

    • Storytellersrus profile image

      Barbara 9 years ago from Stepping past clutter

      haha, you are creative, CJ. Only my dad designed the stick that Armstrong ended up using when the computer tried to land them in a crater so I know it was very real, lol.

    • profile image

      ColdWarBaby 9 years ago

      There have never been any circumnavigations of Earth either! The Earth is flat! If you sail too far you'll fall off the edge. And maybe land on the moon if you're lucky.

    • JamaGenee profile image

      Joanna McKenna 9 years ago from Central Oklahoma

      I'd think if the moon walk was faked then the whole flight would've been faked too.  Why bother faking only the walk?

      Some people will always poo-poo anything they don't understand, or refuse to accept.  Like Bill Sibrel.  So what if Armstong and Aldrin wouldn't swear on a bible they'd actually been on the surface of the moon? How would doing so be more "proof" than the footage 500 million people saw?  If you remember (or have seen) sci-fi flicks from that era, film companies - let alone the U.S. government - didn't possess the technology or imagination to fake a walk on the moon.

      The Bill Sibrels and their followers have the same mentality as those who say the Holocaust didn't happen.  They should get a real life.

      Great hub, Chris.

    • SweetiePie profile image

      SweetiePie 9 years ago from Southern California, USA

      The evidence definitely points to the fact that men did land on the moon, but I am not obsessed with it either. I think way too much money is spent on space exploration here in the US anyway when we have bigger issues, such as a dismal education system, health care, and social security.

    • Paraglider profile image

      Dave McClure 9 years ago from Kyle, Scotland

      I remember watching it (on a 15" Phillips b&w portable) and taking pictures of the TV which didn't work, but taught me something about crt scanning!) Good memories :)

    • Ivorwen profile image

      Ivorwen 9 years ago from Hither and Yonder

      My great-uncle spent his life working on space shuttles as an engineer. He never talked much about it, but knowing his integrity, I doubt he could have spent his life working on something he knew to be false. He was very proud of the moon landing.

    • profile image

      LAmatadora 9 years ago

      I liked this. How you kind of play devils advocate and leave us wondering until the end whether you believe it or not. Nice!!! Maybe they did go to the moon and the camera didn't work and they thought that no one would believe them, so they faked the video. That's possible. Especially since they wanted Russia to think that we were way ahead of them in that aspect. Maybe it was just about proving they did it since they had no real footage. I believe video or not that they went to the moon! =)

    • Jerilee Wei profile image

      Jerilee Wei 9 years ago from United States

      I guess I'll forever sit on the fence on what is real and what isn't on this this. I had just graduated from high school and was days away from basic training in the Air Force. My father was an aerospace employee and watching it was "mandatory." Thought provoking and fair hub!

    • CJStone profile image

      CJStone 9 years ago from Whitstable, UK

      I agree Glenn, though Neil Armstrong himself says he didn't fluff the line, it's just that the sound is so bad you don't hear the lost word.

    • Glenn Frank profile image

      Glenn Frank 9 years ago from Southern California

      if the landing footage was faked... then Neil Armstrong would not have screwed up his line... "that was one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind"... was supposed to be: "that was one small step for ***A*** man, one giant leap for mankind"


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