Was the moon landing faked?

Conspiracy theorists insist that the Apollo moon landings were a hoax. These accusations flourish in part because predictions by enthusiasts that Moon landings would become commonplace have not yet come to pass. Some claims can be empirically discredited by three retroreflector arrays left on the Moon by Apollo 11, 14 and 15. Today, anyone on Earth with an appropriate laser and telescope system may bounce laser beams off these devices, verifying deployment of the Lunar Laser Ranging Experiment at historically documented Apollo moon landing sites.

In addition, close scrutiny of film footage of the EVAs shows clearly something that could not be replicated in an Earth sound-stage. Lunar dust kicked up by the astronauts and the Lunar Rovers shoots up quite high because of the low gravity, but settles just as rapidly as there is no air resistance. Watching this film footage, and comparing it to footage from the Tom Hanks miniseries, From the Earth to the Moon—which does show dust clouds resulting from the actors' spacesuits kicking up dust—shows this difference clearly.


There are a lot of "silly reasons" floating around to suggest the moon landing was faked. People who repeat these obviously don't think much or question things. They are easily shown to be based in ignorance. In researching I found Robert Braeunig's site, where he examines each of the hoax theorists claims. I have reproduced most of his intelligent examinations here, with the inclusion of the images he links to, mainly because he has exactly what I wanted on my page, and it's a lot easier than re-writing each point. (and there are a lot!) So thanks Robert!

He makes this opening comment:

On February 15, 2001 the FOX television network aired a program titled Conspiracy Theory: Did We Land On The Moon? This program showed alleged evidence that NASA faked the moon landings.

This TV program capitalizes on America's fixation with government conspiracies by sensationalizing the notion that NASA perpetrated a multi-billion dollar hoax on the world. In my opinion, the FOX network acted irresponsibly by airing this program. What they produced is a TV show filled with sloppy research, scientific inaccuracies and erroneous conclusions. To support such a absurd theory and to cast doubt in the minds of the American public is an insult to the courage of the astronauts and the brilliance of the engineers who worked to achieve mankind's greatest technological feat. FOX is apparently only concerned with ratings while exhibiting total disregard for the integrity of America's true heroes.


Why can we see the astronaut in this picture when he is in the shadow of the lander? Shouldn't he be in the dark?

This is a question posed about a lot of the photos taken on the moon. What needs to be realised is that the sun, while being the only source of direct light, was not the only light source. Light reflects off everything around the astronauts and because this is very bright light, the reflected light can be very significant.

So the answer to all these questions is reflected light. In the photograph above the astronaut is significantly above the ground and is lit by reflected light off the surrounding lunar landscape. The fact that he is wearing a pristine white spacesuit also helps, as it reflects most of that light again. So he really shows up against the shadow on the ground below him.

Consider that we see the moon so brightly because the surface reflects sunlight back to us so well that it can be quite bright when there is a full moon. That is light reflected off the moon all the way to earth, lighting the night up for us. Consider how much more that same reflected light would light up an astronaut wearing bright white suits on the moons surface.

The highly reflective white spacesuits also explain some of the light in individual pictures of the astronauts. These were taken with the sun's light reflecting off the photographer, providing a great deal of infill on the astronaut being photographed. Remember that the photographer would be reflecting a lot of light, think of a snowy landscape on a bright winter's day. This is a very common trick also used by photographers on Earth. They get someone to hold up a large sheet of white card or cloth. This reflects the sunlight back across the shadows on the person being photographed, providing a natural infill to any harsh shadows.

Why doesn't the dust stay in the air longer than on earth? Surely with the less gravity it would float around for ages?


This is one of the most common reasons for confusion and claims of hoaxery. Let's get straight two basic facts:

These two facts make almost dead certain proof of a lunar landing. There is absolutely nowhere on Earth that you could make dust behave in this, to us, peculiar way. If you were to create a vacuum on Earth, the dust would fall very quickly, just as we are used to a rock doing. But here is evidence of dust behaving like it's in a vacuum and in low gravity. Without modern computer movie graphics there is no way this could be faked on Earth.

Shadows cast on the lunar surface should be parallel. Some shadows in the Apollo photos are not parallel indicating more than one light source; thus, the photos are fakes.

This is the most stupid one. Again there is a sound explanation; it is a simple a matter of perspective. Shadows anywhere will only appear parallel when viewed from above. We all know how lines on a highway appear to diverge as they approach the observer, yet we know they are parallel. Another important factor that comes into play here is the slope of the ground. Let's consider two shadows - one cast on an upward slope and the other on a downward slope. If viewed from the side, these shadows would appear to go off in different directions. However, if viewed from high above, they would be seen as parallel. In other words, looks can be deceiving. There is no evidence of NASA trickery here.

In this example above, the astronaut on the right is standing on a small rise. The sloping ground has caused his shadow to elongate and appear at a different angle than the shadow of the astronaut on the left. Also note, if two spotlights produced the shadows then each astronaut would have two shadows.

Still not convinced?

Due to PERSPECTIVE, shadows should not appear to be parallel unless viewed from directly overhead. This next photo should prove it. if not, set up your own photo in the late afternoon sun and prove it to yourself that way.

Thanks to Sean Kirby for this photo.

Apollo 11 footage shows the astronauts' shadows increasing and decreasing in length as they move about. This is because they are in close proximity to a large artificial light source that causes their shadows to change as they move toward or away from the light.

This claim comes from David Percy, who displays the above image on his Web site. A brief examination reveals that Percy's claim of close artificial lighting cannot possibly account for the shadows. If the shadows were produced from artificial lighting, then the closer an astronaut is to the light source, the shorter his shadow will be, which is just the opposite of what we see. Percy claims ground slope cannot explain the shadows because the terrain is essentially flat. On a large scale the Apollo 11 site was essentially flat, however there were local undulations in the ground surface. Since we are looking at a two-dimensional image we cannot see the slope of the ground, but we can infer it from the shadows. It appears the ground is sloping upward and away from left astronaut either to the top-left, the bottom-right, or a combination of both. Remember, shadows cast on a downward slope are lengthened, while those cast on an upward slope are shortened. It seems that a change in ground slope is the only feasible explanation for the shadows we see no matter what the lighting.

There can't be any pictures taken on the Moon because the film would melt in the 250° temperatures.

Any normal film would indeed melt if exposed to a temperature of 250° F; however, the film used was not ordinary film, and it was never exposed to this kind of temperature. Apollo astronauts used a special positive transparency film designed specifically, under a NASA contract, for hostile environments like the Moon. According to Kodak, the film would at worst begin to soften at 200° F, and would not melt until it reached at least 500° F. The cameras were also protected inside a special case designed to keep them cool. The situation on the airless Moon is much different than in your oven, for instance. Without convection or conduction, the only method of heat transfer is radiation. Radiant heat can be effectively directed away from an object by wrapping it in a material with a reflective surface, usually simply a white material. The camera casings, as well as most of the astronauts' clothing, were indeed white.

Every Apollo photograph appears to be perfectly composed, focused and exposed, despite the fact the astronauts used cameras without viewfinders and light meters.

The implication is that the astronauts could not have achieved this apparent level of perfection. The obvious answer is that they did not, as is evident by badly underexposed examples. The photos to which the hoax advocates refer are publicity photos released by NASA. Surely, NASA isn't going to release the foul-ups and blunders. Also, what appears to be perfect composition is, in many cases, the result of cropping. If all the photographs were uncropped, the number, size and pattern of crosshairs would be identical in every photo, which clearly is not the case. I don't mean to take anything away from the astronauts because they performed a remarkable job, which can be explained in three words: practice, practice, practice. Perhaps no humans have ever been better prepared for a job than the Apollo astronauts.

The black sky should be full of stars, yet none are visible in any of the Apollo photographs.

This claim is one I hear frequently, and is one of the easiest to refute. The answer is very simple: they are too faint. The Apollo photos are of brightly lit objects on the surface of the Moon, for which fast exposure settings were required. The fast exposures simply did not allow enough starlight into the camera to record an image on the film. For the same reason, images of the Earth taken from orbit also lack stars. The stars are there; they just don't appear in the pictures. The hoax advocates often argue that stars should be visible, and some of their claims are valid; however, they fail to recognize the difference between "seeing" stars and "photographing" stars. The astronauts could have recorded star images in their photos by increasing exposure times, but they were not there to take star pictures. The purpose of the photos was to record the astronauts' activities on the surface of the Moon.

In many photographs the shadow side of the astronauts appear illuminated, while the shadow side of rocks appear totally black.

This Apollo 17 photograph above is a good example of the above hoax claim. The explanation is apparent from the photo itself. Look at the astronaut's feet and you will see that the shadow in this area is just as dark as that of the foreground rocks. The lunar surface acts as a reflector to illuminate the shadow side of the astronaut. At the elevation of the astronaut's feet, and the foreground rocks, this reflector surface is mostly covered by the adjacent shadows. However, at the elevation of the astronaut's head and torso, the shadows cover a much smaller percentage of the surface. For example, on a flat surface the angular distance from horizon to horizon is 180 degrees. At an elevation of five feet, a one-foot wide shadow subtends an angle of 11.4 degrees, or only 6% of the distance from horizon to horizon. At two inches above the ground, this shadow subtends an angle of 143 degrees, or nearly 80% of the surface. Furthermore, the rocks are darker and less reflective than the astronaut's white space suit.

Many Apollo photographs show lighting "hot spots", as well as a darkening of the surface toward the horizon. Sunlight should not produce hot spots, nor should the surface fade in an airless environment.

The "hot spots" are the result of the lunar soil's tendency to reflect light back toward its source. There are many reasons for this, but it is mostly due to countless tiny glass spheres found in the lunar soil, and formed by meteorite impacts. When you see a photo taken "down sun", away from the Sun, you see what looks like a spotlight around the shadow's head. This is because the light is strongly reflected back toward the Sun, so the soil around the head of the shadow looks very bright. This phenomenon also explains why the surface fades so drastically toward the horizon. It is brightest near the foreground due to sunlight being preferentially reflected back toward the camera. Farther away, the sunlight is preferentially reflected away from the camera, making the ground look dark. This phenomenon can also be observed in wet grass on Earth, as spherical water droplets act like the glass spheres. The technical term for this phenomenon is Heiligenschein, and is the result of light refraction, reflection, and diffraction on the surface of and inside the glass spheres and/or water droplets. This Apollo 11 photo is very good example of Heiligenschein:

In an Apollo 11 photograph of Buzz Aldrin the horizon is located at eye level; however, if the camera was mounted to Neil Armstrong's chest, the horizon should be at chest level.

The referenced photograph is the most reproduced image in the entire Apollo archive [see photo]. The claim of the hoax advocates assumes that Aldrin and Armstrong were standing on level ground; however, if Armstrong were standing on higher ground, the apparent elevation of the horizon would rise accordingly. If we look at Armstrong's reflection in the visor, we see the horizon is located at his chest.

This shows Armstrong was indeed standing on higher ground with his chest located in approximately the same horizontal plane as Aldrin's eyes. Given this camera position, we see the horizon across Aldrin's eyes as expected.

The hoax advocates also point out that the top of Aldrin's backpack should not be visible if the camera was attached to Armstrong's chest. Again, the hoax advocates fail to recognize that Armstrong is standing on higher ground. In addition, Aldrin is leaning forward; thus, exposing the top of his backpack to the camera. Due to the weight of the astronauts' backpacks, a slight forward lean was required to maintain balance.

There is one photograph of an astronaut standing on the surface of the Moon in direct sunlight, yet he casts no shadow, which is impossible.

The photo to which the hoax advocates refer is one of astronaut John Young saluting the Stars and Stripes [see photo above]. They often reference this photo as evidence of fraud; however, they are very wrong. Young's shadow is clearly visible on the ground below him and to the right (his left). How can his shadow not be attached to his body? The answer is simple; Young was leaping off the ground and was elevated about two feet when the photo was taken. There is also some very good corroborating video of the event. This is one of the most famous of the Apollo photos and it is surprising that the hoax advocates would be unfamiliar with the story behind the photograph.

Other comments I've heard about this particular photo include (1) the flag appears to be fluttering and (2) the flag's camera facing side should be shaded from the sun. The fluttering issue I will deal with later. As for the lighting issue, it seems obvious to me that the flag is angled to the right and toward the camera. With the sun to the left, the flag's camera facing side would be sunlit at a shallow angle, which agrees with the shadows on the flag itself.

If Neil Armstrong was the first man on the Moon, then who shot the video of him descending the ladder and taking his initial steps on the lunar surface?

The TV camera was stowed in an instrument pallet in the LM descent stage. When Armstrong was at the top of the ladder, he pulled a lanyard to swing open the pallet, which was hinged at the bottom. The TV camera, which was attached to it, also swung down. Buzz Aldrin then switched on the camera from the LM cabin. The camera was pointing at the ladder of the LM so that TV pictures of Armstrong's initial steps on the Moon could be relayed to the world. The camera was later removed from its mounting and placed on a tripod some 30 feet from the LM, where it was left unattended to cover the remainder of the moonwalk.

Two photographs show an identical mountain background, yet in one the Lunar Module is present while in the other the LM is absent. The mountain scene must be an artificial backdrop.

The above example, which was presented in the FOX TV program, is just one of many hoax claims about "identical backgrounds" and "artificial backdrops" [see photos]. If someone is going to claim the backgrounds are identical, they had better be IDENTICAL. In this case, as in all such claims, the backgrounds are clearly not identical. If you examine the photos with scrutiny, differences can be easily identified. For example, look closely at the hill on the right of each photo and you will notice that the angles of view are significantly different. It is obvious the photos were taken from different camera positions, thus we see different foreground terrain. In the right photo it appears the LM is off-camera to the left.

Another factor to consider is, due to the lack of an atmosphere, distant objects on the Moon appear clearer than they do on Earth, thus the background mountains may be more distant than they appear to be. As such, a change in camera position may, at first observation, have a nearly unperceivable affect on the appearance of the background. However, close examination will reveal otherwise.

Two video clips, claimed by NASA to have been taken at different locations many kilometres apart, show an identical hill.

There's an easy explanation for this: human error. The video clips to which the hoax advocates refer are from a documentary (not made by NASA) that accidentally used a wrong clip. This was a simple mistake, but not one made by NASA. According to NASA, the photos were actually taken about three minutes apart on the same hill.

Apollo 16 photographs show a rock with a clearly defined "C" marking on it. This "C" is probably a studio prop identification marking.

I do not deny that the rock certainly appears to have a "C" on it; however, to suggest this is some sort of studio prop marking seems a bit far-fetched. Fortunately, someone else has already solved this mystery for us. An investigation by the Lunar Anomalies Web page has uncovered that the "C" is, in fact, no more than a hair or fiber that was likely on the paper when the print was made. This print was then scanned to produce the digital image seen on this, and other, Web pages. The original negatives have been found to be "clean" with no evidence of the infamous "C". Click here to visit the in-depth investigation of the 'C' marking.

More photos of the "C" rock from NASA:


Crosshairs, etched into the cameras, are visible in the Apollo photos; however, in some images there are objects that appear to be in front of the crosshairs; an indication that the photos have been faked.

In all the examples I've seen the crosshairs, called fiducials, disappear when crossing a brightly lit white object [see photo]. What's happening here is the intense light reflecting off the white surface is bleeding in around the crosshair and saturating the film, thus obliterating the crosshair. This phenomenon is commonplace and is in no way evidence of fraud. For example, the following image displays this.


Some of the Apollo video shows the American flag fluttering. How can the flag flutter when there is no wind on the airless Moon?

This I find to be one of the more ridiculous observations. It is readily apparent that all the video showing a fluttering flag is one in which an astronaut is grasping the flagpole. He is obviously twisting or jostling the pole, which is making the flag move. In fact, in some video the motion of the flag is unlike anything we would see on Earth. In an atmosphere the motion of the flag would quickly dampen out due to air resistance. In some of the Apollo video we see the twisting motion of the pole resulting in a violent flapping motion in the flag with little dampening effect.

I've heard many hoax advocates claim that some of the Apollo photos show a fluttering flag. (How one can see a flag flutter in a still photograph is a mystery to me!) I can only guess that ripples and wrinkles in the flags are being perceived as wave motion. The flags where attached vertically at the pole and horizontally from a rod across the top. On some flights the astronauts did not fully extend the horizontal rod, so the flags had ripples in them. There is much video footage in which these rippled flags can be seen and, in all cases, they are motionless.

When astronaut Alan Shepard hit a golf ball on the Moon, Mission Control teased him about slicing the ball to the right, yet a slice is caused by uneven airflow over the ball.

This comment by Ralph Rene is another example of inadequate research, as well as evidence of a poor sense of humour. Near the end of Apollo 14's second and final EVA, Al Shepard pulls a PR stunt by hitting a pair of golf balls. He drops the first ball and takes a one-arm swing, topping the ball and burying it. He takes a second swing and pushes the ball about 2 or 3 feet, mostly along the line toward the TV camera. In Houston CAPCOM Fred Haise jokes "That looked like a slice to me, Al". Shepard's third swing finally connects and sends the ball off-camera to the right. He drops a second ball and connects again. Shepard says "Miles and miles and miles", Haise replies "Very good, Al".

The Apollo crews were launched into space but never left Earth orbit.

Orbiting spacecraft and satellites are easily visible to the naked eye; in fact, there are many people who enjoy tracking satellites as a hobby (I have personally seen many satellites). The Apollo spacecraft were large vehicles, thus bright and easy to see. Had the Apollos not left orbit, they would have been observed by many people worldwide, yet there were no such sightings. Also, there are documented cases of observers following the Apollos as they left Earth orbit on their translunar trajectories - exactly when and where the spacecraft were predicted to be. Furthermore, the Soviets closely tracked the Apollos all the way to the Moon and back.

To reach the Moon astronauts would have to travel through the Van Allen Radiation Belts, resulting in lethal doses of radiation.

This is a claim the hoax advocates often make, but it is a gross exaggeration and simply not supported by the data. Radiation was a definite concern for NASA before the first space flights, but they invested a great deal of research into it and determined the hazard was minimal. It took Apollo about an hour to pass through the radiation belts - once on the outbound trip and once again on the return trip. The total radiation dose received by the astronauts was about one rem. A person will experience radiation sickness with a dose of 100-200 rem, and death with a dose of 300+ rem. Clearly the doses received fall well below anything that could be considered a significant risk. Despite claims that "lead shielding meters thick would have been needed", NASA found it unnecessary to provide any special radiation shielding.

The hoax advocates also make the mistake of limiting themselves to two-dimensional thinking. The Van Allen Radiation Belts consist of a doughnut-shaped region centred around the Earth's magnetic equator, and spanning about 40 degrees of latitude - 20 degrees above and below the magnetic equator. The translunar trajectories followed by the Apollo spacecraft were typically inclined about 30 degrees to the Earth's equator; therefore, Apollo bypassed all but the edges of the radiation belts.

for more info, see this site and this site.

Intense radiation from solar flares would have killed the Apollo astronauts in route to the Moon and back.

Solar flares were a NASA concern as well, but the radiation doses claimed by the hoax advocates are again greatly exaggerated and unsubstantiated. Although low-intensity solar flares are common, they posed no real threat to the astronauts. High-intensity solar flares could have endangered the astronauts' health, but these large eruptions are infrequent. Furthermore, there are statistical methods for determining the likelihood of a major flare during a given time interval. If NASA found an unacceptably high probability for a solar flare event during a scheduled flight, the mission would have been postponed. No large solar flares occurred during the Apollo missions and typical radiation doses received by the astronauts was very low.

For more information, please see Radiation Plan for the Apollo Lunar Mission.

How could the astronauts survive in the heat of the Moon's day? Objects that are heated cannot be cooled by space.

This is true, to a point; however, spacesuits can radiate heat. All objects above absolute zero radiate heat; therefore, some of the heat energy received from the Sun is radiated back into space as infrared rays. Also, much of the Sun's radiant energy can be reflected away. The astronaut's spacesuits were white because this colour reflects the most radiation, thereby minimizing the amount absorbed. Finally, the spacesuits where equipped with a cooling system that utilized water as a medium to carry away excess heat. Water sprayed into a vacuum experiences a very rapid drop in pressure and, consequently, temperature. Hence, when a small amount of water was sprayed onto a cooling element on the rear of the spacesuit, its temperature dropped so much that it would immediately freeze onto the element. The cooling water of the spacesuit was then pumped through this element. The heat of the cooling water melted the ice, which then rapidly boiled off and carried into space the unwanted heat.

The Apollo guidance computer had the equivalent computing power of today's kitchen appliances, far less than that required to go to the Moon.

Unlike general-purpose computers, the Apollo guidance computer had to perform only one task - guidance. Most of the number crunching was performed at Mission Control on several mainframe computers. The results were then transmitted to the onboard computer, which acted upon them. The Apollo guidance computer was capable of computing only a small number of navigation problems itself. Since the guidance computer had to run only one program, that program could be put in ROM; thus, only a small amount of RAM was required to hold the temporary results of guidance calculations.

The hoax advocates tend to overrate the tasks performed by the onboard guidance computers of the 1960's. In fact, the Mercury spacecraft, 1961-63, flew into space without any onboard computer whatsoever, yet the trajectories were precisely controlled and the capsule was capable of fully automated control.

The computer technology did not exist in the 1960's to build the Apollo guidance computer.

Computer companies of the 1960's had to produce general-purpose computers at a cost that would attract consumers. NASA, on the other hand, required a computer capable of performing only a single task - guidance - and could easily afford a custom designed and built system using cutting edge components and techniques. Although modern microprocessors did not yet exist, microchips performing simple tasks were available in the early 1960's, and these could be built-up into computer processors. By the mid-1960's several companies were producing commercially available integrated circuits.

The hoax advocates often become trapped into a single way of thinking. Just because one technology is used to solve a particular problem today does not mean that problem was unsolvable before the technology was available. Man is much more creative than the hoax advocates are willing to acknowledge.

The astronauts' movement inside the Lunar Module would change the centre of mass, throwing the LM off balance, and making it impossible to control.

This is the claim of hoax advocate and Ralph Rene who, apparently, has a poor understanding of physics and the Lunar Module's control systems. The LM had an automatic computer guidance and inertial control system. This system was designed to measure the attitude of the LM several times per second using a system of gyroscopes. If it found that the LM was out of proper attitude it would make adjustments by gimballing the main descent engine and/or throttling it back, and firing control thrusters as needed to stabilize the spacecraft. Despite claims to the contrary, the control thrusters exerted sufficient force to nudge the spacecraft around as necessary to keep it stable.

How could the untested Lunar Module land flawlessly six times on the Moon when its prototype crashed on Earth during training.

The "prototype" to which the hoax advocates refer was not a prototype at all, but two classes of training vehicles known as the Lunar Landing Research Vehicles (LLRV) and the more advanced Lunar Landing Training Vehicles (LLTV). These vehicles included a jet engine to support five-sixths of their airborne weight, a pair of rocket engines that simulated the LM's descent engine, and small jets that mimicked the LM's attitude control thrusters. The Apollo astronauts trained in the LLRV and LLTV to learn the skills necessary to manoeuvre the actual LM. During one test flight, Neil Armstrong was forced to eject when the LLRV's helium pressurization system for the steering jets failed, causing the LLRV to become unstable and crash. Despite this incident, the LLRV and LLTV flew hundreds of successful flights.

The LLRV and LLTV were very different from the LM and the "untested" LM was far from untested. Every component of the LM was tested over and over again during its development. Furthermore, the LM was tested in space during the Apollo 9 and 10 missions. The LM flew successfully to the moon because of the hard work of thousands of workers over many years during the design, development and construction of the spacecraft.

The sound of the Lunar Module descent engine should be heard in the Apollo audio, but there is no such sound.

On Earth, a rocket engine is an extremely noisy device; this comes from the shearing action between the high velocity exhaust jet and the surrounding atmosphere. The LM operated in a vacuum so the only sound would be that produced by vibrations transmitted through the spacecraft structure itself. Also, the microphones used by the astronauts were located inside their spacesuits, thus insulated from the cabin environment. Finally, the microphones were designed to pick up only the sound in their immediate vicinity, that is, the astronauts' voices.

The powerful engine of the Lunar Module should have produced a blast crater, yet there is no evidence of a blast crater in any of the Apollo photographs.

Let's consider several facts: (1) Although the Lunar Module descent engine was capable of 10,000 lbs of thrust (the usual hoax advocate's claim), it was throttled down to below 3,000 lbs as it neared the lunar surface. While still several feet above the ground, the descent engine was shut down as probes, extending 5 feet below the footpads, sensed contact with the surface. (2) The LM descended at an angle, moving laterally across the ground. When the astronauts identified a suitable landing site, the LM leveled off and dropped to the surface. The LM did not hover over its final landing site for any significant length of time. (3) The Moon's surface is covered by a rocky material called lunar regolith, which consists of fine dust particles, glass spheres and a jumble of large boulders and rocky debris. Lunar regolith has many unique properties, the most obvious being that the particles are very jagged, which causes them to interlock. When subjected to pressure, the regolith will resist, almost like solid rock. (4) In a vacuum exhaust gases expand rapidly once exiting the engine nozzle.

When one considers these facts the truth becomes obvious - The exhaust stream was not powerful enough or centralized enough to displace the regolith and blast out a crater. In this Apollo 11 photograph below, one can see some discoloration and a general lack of dust, which was mostly blown away. After the dust was removed a hard surface was exposed.


A large amount of dust was generated during the landings, yet no dust can be seen on the Lunar Module footpads.

This thinking draws on our common experience from Earth but, as we all know, the Moon is not the Earth. If wind picks up dust on Earth we get billowing clouds that tend to settle all over everything. This occurs because the Earth has an atmosphere. The Moon has no atmosphere so any dust that was blown by engine exhaust would follow a simple ballistic trajectory and fall immediately back to the surface. The dust would be blown outward away from the LM; thus, the lack of dust on the footpads is exactly what we would expect to see.

The astronauts make deep footprints around the landing site, yet the Lunar Module exhaust should have blown the area clean of dust.

The downward traveling exhaust stream would impact the ground and rebound mostly outward and away from the surface. Since there is no atmosphere to interact with, the gas molecules would simply fly off and disperse (see note below). The only dust particles that would be displaced would be those directly impacted by the exhaust gas. Since the exhaust stream was concentrated mostly in the area directly beneath the Lunar Module, this zone would experience the greatest disturbance. The area adjacent to the LM would be largely unaffected by the exhaust stream.

NOTE: On Earth, the exhaust gas would impact and displace air molecules that would, in turn, displace other air molecules and so on. This phenomenon would create a large area of disturbance. Since the Moon has no atmosphere this type of widespread disturbance would be nonexistent.

The Lunar Module weighed about 17 tons, yet the astronauts' feet seem to have made a deeper impression in the lunar dust.

The hoax advocates often quote the weight of the Lunar Module as 16 to 18 tons (weights varied mission to mission). This was the LM's Earth weight when fully fuelled and included about 9 tons of descent stage propellant. By the time the LM reached the surface, its weight in lunar gravity was only about 2,700 lbs. With four 37-inch diameter footpads, the load on the surface was about 90 lbs/ft2. Neil Armstrong's fully suited weight on the Moon was 58 lbs. His boots covered an area of about one square foot, giving a load of 58 lbs/ft2. In Armstrong's own words "the LM footpads are only depressed in the surface about 1 or 2 inches". On the other hand, the footprints of the astronauts were depressed only a fraction of an inch, although people often exaggerate their depth.

Moisture must be present in soil for it to form footprints, yet the Moon is a totally dry world.

The lunar surface is predominately composed of materials that fall under the general category of silicates. Silica has a natural tendency to bond with other silica, forming large molecular chains. When a meteoroid impacts the Moon, much of the energy goes into fracturing the surrounding structure causing breaks in the molecular bonds. On Earth, these "exposed" bonds quickly fill with oxygen in a process called oxidation or weathering. On the Moon, with a total lack of oxygen, these bonds have nothing to attach to until an event occurs that aligns the molecules. When an object, such as an astronaut's boot, disturbs lunar dust new molecular bonds are created. The new bonds enable the dust to hold its shape, forming an impression of the deforming object. Thus, footprints can form despite the absence of water.

The astronauts could not pass through the tunnel connecting the Command Module and the Lunar Module with their spacesuits and backpacks on.

Finally the hoax advocates are correct about something. Fortunately, the astronauts did not have to! Their EVA suits and backpacks were stowed in the Lunar Module the whole time. The only time the astronauts donned their suits and packs were when they actually egressed the LM for surface activities on the Moon.

The astronauts could not have egressed the Lunar Module because they could not fit through the hatch and there was insufficient room to open the hatch in the LM.

The hoax advocate who came up with this claim is badly misinformed. The astronauts were positioned on either side of the cockpit panel with the main EVA hatch between them. The hatch, hinged on the right side, swung inward to open, effectively trapping the Lunar Module Pilot (LMP) momentarily on his side of the LM. (There was plenty of room to open the hatch.) Once the Commander egressed, the LMP was able to close the hatch, move over to the left side, and exit himself.

As to the issue of whether the astronauts could fit through the hatch, clearly they could. There are many photos and video, both on the Moon and while in training, showing fully suited astronauts crawling through the hatch. There are a couple possible sources for this misinformation. First, early versions of the LM had a round hatch that hampered astronaut egress; however, the original round hatch was changed to a rectangular hatch while the LM was still in development. Second, as I hear the story, a hoax advocate compared the width of the LM's hatch to dimensional data on the astronauts' spacesuit, or EMU (Extravehicular Mobility Unit). It was found that the published width of the EMU exceeded the hatch width. What the hoax advocate failed to realize is the EMU dimension was the maximum width measured across the elbows. When crawling through the hatch, an astronaut would draw his arms in under his body, thus decreasing his width and allowing him to pass through the opening.

The Lunar Rover was too large to fit in the Lunar Module.

If one takes the measurements of the Lunar Rover Vehicle (LRV) when it was fully deployed and assembled, then yes, it would not fit in the Lunar Module; however, the Rover folded for stowage in the descent stage of the LM in a quadrant to the right of the ladder. The chassis was hinged in three places and the four wheels were pivoted nearly flat against the folded chassis occupying only 30 ft3. When the astronauts deployed the Lunar Rover, all they had to do was pull on two cords and the Rover popped right out of its berth and down to the lunar surface. As it did so, the wheels deployed outward and were then locked into position.

The pressure inside a spacesuit was greater than inside a football. The astronauts should have been puffed out like the Michelin Man, but were seen freely bending their joints.

While on the surface of the Moon, the Apollo astronauts wore a spacesuit known as the Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU). The EMU was a closed-circuit pressure vessel that enveloped the astronaut. The environment inside the suit consisted of 100% oxygen at 3.7 psi (about 1/3 that of a football). The complete article included a liquid cooling garment, pressure garment assembly, and integrated thermal micrometeoroid garment. The pressure garment was an airtight bladder with accordion joints at the knees and elbows, and swivel joints at the shoulders to allow mobility. When pressurized, the suit was allowed to expand slightly, but was kept from ballooning outward too far by a restraint layer of non stretch netting. The fabric of the EMU's outer garment covered the pressure garment assembly. To suggest the EMU should puff out like the "Michelin Man" is a clear case of the hoax advocates making claims that are based on woefully inadequate research.

Video footage of the Lunar Module's ascent from the Moon should show an exhaust plume from the engine, yet there is no visible plume.

The hoax advocates' claim that an exhaust plume should be visible is due to their experience seeing launches of such rockets as the Saturn V and the Space Shuttle, where large columns of smoke and flame are seen trailing the vehicle. Whether an exhaust plume is visible or not is mostly due to the type of propellant used. The Saturn V's first stage burned liquid oxygen (LOX) and kerosene (RP-1), which produces an opaque yellow flame. The plume we see trailing the Space Shuttle comes from the solid rocket boosters, which burn a propellant consisting mostly of ammonium perchlorate and powdered aluminium. However, if you look closely at the three main engines at the stern of the Shuttle orbiter you will see very little flame. The LOX and liquid hydrogen burned by the Shuttle's main engines produces a nearly invisible flame. The Lunar Module used a propellant mixture consisting of nitrogen tetroxide (NTO) and Aerozine 50 (a 50-50 mixture of hydrazine and unsymmetrical dimethyl hydrazine), which, like LOX & liquid hydrogen, produces exhaust gases that are mostly invisible.

This photograph shows the test of an engine burning NTO & Aerozine 50 - note the near invisibility of the flame. In space, the flame is even less visible as the plume disperses very rapidly. Also note that the video of the LM launches is of generally of poor quality and low resolution.






The fuel tanks of the Lunar Module were nowhere near one-sixth the size of those on the space shuttle as one would expect to achieve lunar orbit.

This comment, by Bart Sibrel, fails to take into account propellant density. It is not the "volume" of the propellant that matters; it is the "mass". The main engines of the Space Shuttle consume liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen. Since liquid hydrogen has an extremely low density, a very large tank is required to store it. The LM, on the other hand, used propellants of much higher density. On average, the LM propellants were 3.3 times denser than the propellants stored in the large external tank of the Space Shuttle. With an average specific gravity of 1.19, the 5200 pounds of propellant stored in the LM's ascent stage would displace a volume of only 70 ft3 (2 m3). This volume is consistent with the size of the tanks we see in photographs of the LM.

Also note that Mr. Sibrel assumes that since lunar gravity is 1/6th Earth gravity, 1/6th as much propellant is required to achieve lunar orbit. Unfortunately it is not nearly that simple, however it is possible to calculate the amount of propellant required. The 5200 pounds of propellant in the LM's ascent stage comprised about 52% of the total launch mass. I have performed some rough calculations and have determined that, for the type of propellant used, this is just the right percentage needed to overcome the Moon's gravity and achieve lunar orbit.

When Apollo 17's Lunar Module lifted-off the Moon the video camera followed the ascent, yet no one was left on the surface to operate the camera.

Apparently the hoax advocates have never heard of a remotely operated camera. The video camera that shot the LM launch footage was mounted on the Lunar Rover and was controlled remotely from Mission Control in Houston. The signal commanding the camera to pan upward was sent early to account for the 1.3-second time delay.

The video showing the Lunar Module's rise from the surface of the Moon was created by lifting the ascent stage on wires.

The hoax advocates substantiate this claim by citing how the video abruptly ends when the Lunar Module ascent stage reaches the 'ceiling' of the movie stage. The video to which they refer is an edited version that is often seen in Apollo documentaries and on television. The unedited footage [see youtube video] clearly shows the LM rising far into the sky, pitching over, and then traveling far downrange before moving out of the range of the camera.

There are many pictures of spacesuited astronauts inside buildings with artificial moonscapes, presumably the studio where the moon landings were faked.

The hoax advocates often cite such photographs as evidence for the hoax. These photos are common and were obtained during crew training for the actual moon landings. NASA has made no attempt to hide the photos, nor have they ever claimed them to be taken on the Moon. The Lunar Module, Rover, experiments, etc. seen in the training photos are generally training replicas or flight spares, rarely actual flight hardware.

Recently discovered video shows NASA staging part of the Apollo 11 mission. The astronauts, who never left low Earth orbit, used a camera trick to make viewers think that they were seeing a round Earth on their TV screens.

This claim can be credited to Bart Sibrel, who is more than happy to sell you (for a profit) this "never before seen footage" in his so-called documentary A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Moon. I have recently viewed this video and find it to be a horrible example of journalism. Sibrel simply beats us over the head with his own interpretation and conclusions while not providing any evidence or data that would permit the viewer to evaluate Sibrel's claims or formulate an independent opinion. The purpose of the video is not to inform the viewer, but rather to manipulate. The NASA video to which he refers is neither "never before seen" nor evidence of fraud. Despite Sibrel's billing that this footage is the "smoking gun", very little of it is actually shown and that which is shown is highly edited and voiced over with commentary. The alleged "camera trick" is simply a figment of Bart Sibrel's imagination as there is nothing seen to suggest the slightest foul play on the part of NASA. Jim McDade, in his Web page The Apollo Hoax Conspiracy, provides a very professionally debunking of Bart Sibrel's claims. I invite you to give it a read.

If the video footage of the Apollo astronauts is played at double normal speed, their motion appears quite normal; thus, the images were faked by playing normal motion at half speed.

There's an easy explanation for this phenomenon. An object in free flight will follow a ballistic trajectory in accordance with Newton's laws of motion. The only force acting on the object is gravity, which on Earth has an acceleration of 32.2 ft/s2. On the Moon gravity is much less, 5.33 ft/s2. If the ballistic flight of an object on the Moon is sped up by a factor of 2.46 it will mimic exactly ballistic motion on Earth, and vice versa. The 2X speed the hoax advocates claim is close to this 2.46 ratio, hence free flight motion looks "normal" because it is what our eyes and brains are accustomed to seeing. Other motion however, such as the movements of the astronauts' arms, looks very unnatural when speeded up. The hoax advocates deceivingly apply this explanation very selectively. If the Apollo footage is viewed in its entirety it becomes clear the 2X speed explanation cannot account for the observed motion.

The Apollo video is exactly what it appears to be, that is, man on the Moon. The convincing evidence is in the dust, which is particularly apparent in the video of the Lunar Rover. If this video were shot on Earth there would be clouds of dust thrown into the atmosphere by the Rover's wheels; however, there is no evidence of this. The dust falls immediately back to the surface as it would in an airless environment.

Earth based telescopes should be able to see the Apollo hardware on the Moon, yet none is visible.

The theoretical resolving power of a telescope, measured in arc seconds, is calculated by dividing the aperture of the telescope (in inches) into 4.56. The largest telescope on Earth is the 10-meter Keck telescope in Hawaii. The theoretical resolving power of this telescope is 0.012"; however, the Earth's atmosphere limits the resolving power of any ground-based telescope to about 0.5"-1.0". The Hubble Space Telescope does not suffer from this limitation; thus, with an aperture of 94 inches, HST's resolving power is 0.05". At the Earth-Moon distance of 239,000 miles, the smallest object that can be resolved by HST is about 300 feet. The largest dimension of any hardware left behind on the Moon is 31 feet, which is the diagonal distance across the LM's footpads. No telescope, presently in existence, can see the Apollo hardware from Earth.

The only sure way to prove the moon landings really happened is to return to the Moon and see if the Apollo hardware is there.

Direct visual verification would certainly put an end to the issue; however, there are at least three pieces of hardware on the Moon that are not in dispute. Apollos 11, 14 and 15 erected laser reflectors on the lunar surface. Laser beams are routinely fired at these reflectors through telescopes at McDonald Observatory in Texas and near Grasse in southern France. Timings of these reflected beams are used to measure the Earth-Moon distance to an accuracy of one inch. To explain the existence of these reflectors the hoax advocates have no choice but to claim they were placed on the Moon by robotic landers; a huge undertaking for which there is no supporting evidence. The simple answer: the Apollo astronauts placed them there. (More on robotic missions later.)

The moon rocks allegedly collected and returned to Earth by Apollo astronauts were actually manufactured by NASA in a laboratory on Earth.

It has been suggested that researchers could not to tell the difference between fake and authentic rocks since no one had ever examined a moon rock before. This claim is utter nonsense. In addition to the rocks returned by Apollo, we have samples of lunar rocks that have fallen to Earth as meteorites. (Lunar meteorites are very rare with only 25 known samples.) Tests have shown the Apollo moon rocks and the meteorites are of identical origin; however, the Apollo samples lack other features that would distinguish them as meteorites. Also, the moon rocks have characteristics that are not found in terrestrial or artificial rocks, such as evidence of meteoroid bombardment and exposure to cosmic rays. Likewise, terrestrial rocks have unique characteristics not found in the moon rocks, such as weathering and exposure to water. Finally, the moon rocks returned by Apollo have been determined to be between 3.1 and 4.4 billion years old. The Apollo samples are without doubt of authentic lunar origin.

NOTE: The Apollo missions returned rock and soil samples totaling 842 pounds, comprising 2,196 individual specimens. These specimens have been processed into greater than 97,000 individually cataloged samples. More than 60 laboratories worldwide actively pursue sample studies; some 1,100 samples are sent out to researchers annually.

The moon rocks allegedly collected by Apollo astronauts were actually collected and returned to Earth by robotic spacecraft.

Any mission capable of returning over 800 pounds of rock and soil samples would be a massive, complex and difficult undertaking. If NASA could pull this off, then surely they had the technical know-how to land a manned vehicle. In fact, with an astronaut at the controls, a manned mission would likely have greater odds of success than a robotic mission. Perhaps the greatest case for the Apollo landings exists in the variety of rock samples collected. A robotic mission would be limited to a random collection of samples in the lander's immediate vicinity. However, the Apollo astronauts visited vastly different geological sites and were able to roam about the surface looking for particularly interesting and valuable specimens. For example, it is very unlikely that a robot would have been lucky enough to scoop up the "genesis rock" found by Apollo 15 astronauts. Only trained human explorers could collect the diversity of samples credited to the Apollo astronauts.

NOTE: During the 1970s the USSR successfully completed three lunar sample return missions - Luna 16 (1970), Luna 20 (1972) and Luna 24 (1976) - however, these missions returned a grand total of only 301 grams (10.6 ounces) of soil.

NASA was able to perpetrate and maintain the hoax because the conspiracy required a relatively small number of people within the NASA "inner circle".

The hoax advocates make this claim yet, if all their assertions were true, the conspiracy they describe would be one of stupendous proportion involving literally thousands of individuals. I could cite numerous examples, but nothing illustrates this point better than the Moon rocks. Had the rock samples been collected by robotic landers, as some hoax advocates assert, then a program of huge scope would have been necessary. The design, manufacture, testing and launch of these spacecraft would have involved numerous subcontractors and suppliers, as well as thousands of workers. Since there is no supporting evidence for such a program, then the multitude of people involved in the project would have to be willing participants in the cover-up. (The same is true of the robotic landers that supposedly placed the laser reflectors on the Moon.) Other hoax advocates claim that the rock samples are manufactured fakes. I strenuously maintain the world's geologists could not possibly be deceived by fake moon rocks; thus, the rocks are either authentic, or the geologists are lying. If they are lying, then the hoax must be a worldwide conspiracy involving thousands of people in the scientific community.

The anomalies seen in the Apollo photographs were placed there by "whistle blowers", who secretly passed on hoax evidence in order to expose NASA.

David Percy is the main proponent of the "whistle blower" theory. It is astonishing that do-gooders inside NASA would have produced these anomalies, yet after 30+ years not one of the hundreds of thousands of people who worked on Apollo has come forward to openly admit they were part of a conspiracy. Not a single deathbed confession. Personally, I think Percy is deluding himself by believing he has decoded these subtle messages. The truth is, there are no whistle blowers because the supposed photographic anomalies are the result of misunderstood phenomenon and mistaken conclusions, not hidden messages.

The fire that killed the Apollo 1 astronauts was a deliberate act by NASA in order to silence Gus Grissom, who was about to expose the hoax.

There's not much I can say here other than the accusation is a complete fabrication with no corroborating evidence whatsoever. Some hoax advocates claim there have been many "suspicious" deaths among those associated with the Apollo program, alleging that NASA murdered these people. These accusations are both ludicrous and libelous. Bill Kaysing particularly has made many slanderous allegations against NASA yet, when former astronaut Jim Lovell called him "wacky", Kaysing had the gall to file suit against Lovell. Wisely, the suit was dismissed.

By the way, one of Mr. Kaysing accusations is that Christa McAuliffe, the school teacher who was to fly aboard Challenger in 1986, would not go along with NASA's lie that stars cannot be seen in space. When she refused, NASA murdered the unfortunate Ms. McAuliffe, along with six others, by destroying Challenger in one of the most spectacular, expensive, and embarrassing failures in U.S. history. What proof does Mr. Kaysing give in support of this claim? None of course.

Also consider that if NASA has been silencing these people, why haven't they killed any of the hoax conspiracy theorists?

NASA faked the moon landings in order to beat the Soviets and to assure that America achieved John Kennedy's goal of landing a man on the Moon before the end of the decade.

To me, the idea of a hoax makes absolutely no sense. It is true the Americans we were in competition with the USSR, but the risks involved in trying to perpetrate a hoax would be tremendous. The devastating effect the exposure of a hoax would have on the reputation of the United States would be many times more severe than simply failing to reach the moon. I find it inconceivable that NASA would be willing to take that risk. Also, why six landings? After Apollo 11 the goal had been met, so why fake five more landings? In fact, NASA continued to send men to the Moon long after the public had lost interest. Continuing to perpetrate a hoax would only increase the possibility of making a mistake and being exposed. Furthermore, the Soviets would have never been fooled by a hoax. The USSR fully understood the difficulties of a Moon land