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  • Writer's pictureSven Piper

The (faked) Moon Landing

Updated: 7 days ago

Buzz Aldrin's exit from Apollo 11
Buzz Aldrin's exit from Apollo 11 (Copyright NASA)

Were they or weren't they on the moon? Approximately 6% of the American population and a significantly higher proportion of the European population [1] do not believe that astronauts landed on Earth's satellite. Doubts also persist in other countries. In this special, we aim to provide you with a clear understanding of the facts.

The necessity of this effort is underscored by an incident in 2002, when Edwin 'Buzz' Aldrin (*1930), the second man on the moon, engaged in a heated street argument—which ended with a hook to the chin—with a man who insulted him and doubted his lunar visit.

Many alleged “proofs” of a faked moon landing are unfounded upon closer inspection. To date, no renowned scientist or expert has substantiated these claims. However, NASA and the U.S. government have inadvertently fueled these conspiracy theories. On one hand, the tapes containing the high-resolution raw videos from the moon camera, in the "slow-scan television (SSTV)" format, were lost [2] or deliberately taped over in the 1970s for cost reasons—a fact only discovered in 2009 during an attempt to digitally restore the original material. On the other hand, the American government once gifted a "moon rock" to the former Dutch Prime Minister Willem Drees (1886 - 1988), which turned out to be petrified wood upon closer inspection [3].

The frequently used “arguments” for a faked moon landing:

In the picture shown above, the golden foil is glowing even though it is in shadow. Since the sun is the only source of light on the moon, this should not be possible.

The upper layer of the moon consists of a thin layer of dust, also known as regolith. This lunar dust is composed of the remains of thousands of asteroids that have crashed into the moon, causing the countless craters on its surface. Asteroids largely consist of a wide variety of metals, which explains why moon dust also has metallic properties. One of these properties is light reflection.

The Van Allen radiation belt contains radiation that is life-threatening for humans, and since it must be traversed on the way to the moon, a manned moon landing might seem unlikely.

However, the Van Allen radiation belt does indeed exist. It forms because particles from the sun and other stars collide with Earth's magnetic field, triggering phenomena such as the Northern Lights at the poles. Although this radiation is harmful, it is not as dangerous for a brief exposure; the Apollo astronauts, for instance, flew through this radiation belt at 42,000 km/h. Moreover, the intensity of the particles strongly depends on solar activity, and there were no significant solar flares during the Apollo missions.

Landing gear of the lunar module
Landing gear of the lunar module

The picture shows the landing module and the landing site. During the landing, gases escaping at high speed from the landing jets should have created a crater.

As mentioned above, the top layer of the lunar surface consists of a thin layer of regolith, a fine-grained material that inevitably resembles powder and has little in common with terrestrial sand. Beneath this is solid lunar soil. The lunar dust was certainly stirred up when the module landed, but the moon's gravity ensured that it fell back to the ground. Moreover, the lunar module's engines were not operated at full power during the landing approach; instead, they provided progressively less thrust.

In the videos of the moon landing, no engine noises can be heard apart from the radio traffic.

This is expected because, if sound waves could propagate, it would suggest that the moon landing was faked. Since the moon has no atmosphere, sound waves cannot travel as they require a medium to propagate, and there is no such medium in a vacuum. This issue also leads to the wave-particle duality of light, which is discussed in a separate special.

According to the manufacturer's specifications, the camera used to take pictures on the moon should have melted at temperatures of 130°C.

However, the temperature data from the moon cannot be converted directly to Earth equivalents because, as mentioned above, the moon does not actually have an atmosphere. The temperature that we 'feel' on Earth is caused by solar radiation heating the air in Earth's atmosphere; therefore, without an atmosphere, the camera cannot overheat and melt. Additionally, since the amount of energy the camera directly absorbed from solar radiation was significantly lower, this argument can be easily refuted.

You cannot see any stars in the pictures of the manned moon landing, though you might expect to.

This issue persists even today, as stars are not visible in images from the space shuttle, the ISS, the MIR, etc. Stars are only visible in Hubble images after hours or days of exposure time.

This is due to the fact that the sun, being the largest, brightest, and nearest star to us, outshines all other stars, and only a longer exposure time can make other stars visible.

There are video recordings in which it looks as if the American flag is waving in the wind. How is this possible on the moon?

A valid point. It was probably the case that when the astronauts touched the flag, it was set in motion and 'waved' for quite some time due to the lack of air resistance.

There is also solid evidence of a manned mission to the moon:

The Apollo astronauts brought back dozens of kilograms of moon rock to Earth, alongside images and film footage. These moon rocks were examined in several independent institutes around the world and compared with material collected by the Russian Luna 16 probe. In addition, experiments were conducted with the camera running that would not have been possible on Earth. For example, the commander of Apollo 14, Alan B. Shepard, played golf on the moon and executed a one-handed tee shot that would make Tiger Woods envious. Furthermore, the commander of Apollo 15, David Scott, carried out an old experiment predicted by Galileo Galilei. He took a falcon feather and a hammer, dropped both at the same time, and due to the lack of air resistance, both the feather and the hammer hit the ground simultaneously.

The Apollo program was not realized overnight. To make the manned moon flights possible, the Americans tested several new technologies and tactics, such as rendezvous missions in Earth orbit, during the Gemini program.

If the then Soviet Union had found legitimate evidence of a faked moon landing, it would have informed the public, as this would have provided a unique opportunity to discredit the Americans during the Cold War. Such a revelation would have been a significant triumph of communism over capitalism.

Further evidence is provided by the Lunar Laser Ranging Reflectors [4], which Apollo astronauts (11, 14, & 15) set up on the lunar surface. These reflectors are used for time-of-flight measurements of laser pulses from Earth. For this purpose, observatories (European, Australian, etc.) emit a laser beam and measure the time it takes for this beam to be reflected back by the reflectors. This method allows the distance between the Earth and the Moon to be measured to the nearest centimeter.

Image from NASA's LRO probe
Image from NASA's LRO probe (Copyright NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center/Arizona State University)

Additionally, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) captured photos of the Apollo landing sites in July 2009, in which the astronauts' footprints can even be recognized.


The manned moon missions certainly took place.

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