Here’s a fact: We went to the moon in 1969
NEW YORK (AP) — Fifty years after Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon, some people insist it never happened and was all a big hoax by the U.S. government.
The suspicions arose even as the lunar landing was taking place in 1969, said Roger Launius, NASA’s former chief historian. Soon, conspiracy theories that said it was an elaborate, Hollywood-style production created on a soundstage on Earth started to take root.
The notion is treated mostly as a punchline, as in a new commercial for Red Bull. But public opinion polls over the years have consistently shown roughly 5% to 6% of Americans believe the moon landing was faked, Launius said.
Aldrin once ran into one of those people in 2002 and punched him in the face after the man called the former astronaut a liar.
Here’s a look at some of the most common claims and how they’re explained away:
CLAIM: The American flag in photos from the moon looks as if it’s flapping in the wind. That would be impossible, since there’s no air on the moon.
THE FACTS: Rather than let the flag droop, NASA decided to use a right-angled rod to keep it spread out, according to Launius. Armstrong and Aldrin accidentally bent the rod a little bit, making it look as if the flag was in motion. They were also worried that the flagpole was going to fall down after they had twisted it into the ground, so they quickly snapped the photos, capturing the flag while it was still moving, Launius said.
Watching war and warriors from a USO stage is beautiful and bittersweet. Pamela Smith has that perspective.