History says that on July 20, 1969, three Americans made world history when they landed on the Moon.
Two of those Americans, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, took it a step further when they became the first humans to walk across the surface of the Moon.
On that day, America won the space race against the Soviet Union; a much needed win for the United States’ morale during the height of the Cold War.
When the Americans returned to Earth, they returned as heroes.
However, there are some conspiracy theorists that maintain that this historic event did not actually unfold on the moon, but rather took place in a film studio.
They claim that the entire moon landing was an elaborate government hoax.
Was the Moon Landing Fake?
These theorists offer a wide variety of “evidence” to prove the idea that the moon landing was a hoax. This evidence ranges from unbelievable to the somewhat plausible.
However, leaving out some of the most outlandish ideas, there are some points that are rather interesting, and seem worthy of further study at first glance. However, once the details of the landing are studied more closely, and the physics of space is better understood, those points can be easily dismissed as well.
For example, one fact that many proponents of the moon landing hoax often point to is that the pictures taken on the moon do not depict any stars in the background.
Conspiracy theorists contend that with no clouds in space (or any atmosphere of any kind for that matter) stars should be clearly visible in the background of the pictures.
However, scientists easily explain the lack of stars using simple physics of light and photography.
Because the moon is reflecting so much light from the sun, cameras cannot sense the tiny light being emitted by the distant stars.
According to HowStuffWorks:
"Even if you were standing on the surface of the moon yourself, you would have to block the landscape from your vision to see any notable points of light."
Discrepancies in the Photographs
Conspiracy theorists point to the shadow lengths of the astronauts and the inconsistencies of the shadows of the moon rocks.
These theorists contend that these inconsistencies of the shadows indicate that an external light source (such as the light rigging of a film stage) was incorrectly positioned or not working correctly.
However, this "evidence" is also easily explained using the known physics of light.
While the astronauts were on the moon, more than one light source was present. These sources of light were:
• The sun (obviously)
• Light from the sun being reflected by the moon
• Light from the sun being reflected by Earth
• Light from the sun being reflected by the astronauts and their equipment
With all of this direct light and reflective light bouncing around, shadows are easily distorted.
In his book, Bad Astronomy: Misconceptions and Misuses Revealed, from Astrology to the Moon Landing "Hoax”, Philip Plait stated:
"Light from these sources is scattered by lunar dust in many different directions, including into shadows. Shadows falling into craters and hills may appear longer, shorter and distorted."
One of the most pointed to images as definitive proof that the moon landing was a hoax is the image of the American flag seemingly "waving" in the wind.
The reason that this is so compelling is because there is no wind in outer space.
However, scientists explain that this phenomenon occurs due to the nature of a vacuum.
The flag was hung on an L-shaped flagpole. The kinetic energy left-over from the astronaut adjusting the flag caused it to momentarily sway. Due to the lower gravitational force of the moon, that kinetic energy lasted longer than normal, and so the swaying was prolonged as well.
It was this swaying that gave the flag the appearance of waving in the photographs.
Although these explanations have science to back them up, most theorists dismiss those scientific explanations, and instead choose to believe that the landing was faked.
Was the moon landing faked? Most scientists dismiss this theory as the ramblings of crazy conspiracy theorists. What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.