Why the moon landings could not have been faked

Because the technology to get to the moon existed in 1969, but the technology to fake a moon landing in a studio did not.

The takeaway –

Why does any of this matter? Well my concern is with the ultimate fate of knowing, of seeing the difference between what you can know and what you wish for…The urge to believe drives people to trade in part of their soul in exchange for the comfort of being a rebel.


  1. says

    Look, they spent a couple billion to make the moon-landing footage in the first place, and you think they won’t throw a few thousand at making a misleading YouTube video like this one? A little skepticism, please.

  2. says

    I’ve always held that the simplest disproof of the moon hoaxers is three words: The Soviet Union. If their instruments hadn’t been picking up the capsules where and when we said they were, they’d have trumpeted that news to the skies in every medium they could imagine.

  3. Rick Pikul says


    There are some stock responses to that line of argument, the big one being that the Russians were in on it. Another is that they were faking things as much as the US was[1] and knew that blowing the whistle would expose them as well.

    [1] It turns out that the Soviets _were_ lying a lot about their space program, but it was more along the lines of simply covering up deaths and exaggerating their accomplishments.

  4. Your Name's not Bruce? says

    Something I’ve wondered about for a while: why would FOX TV, which is so uber-american, telecast a moon hoax program, thereby trashing a great American achievement? Is it as simple as the hypothesis noted in this video that the government (or in this case FOX) would rather have people squabbling about whether the moon landings were faked than have people pay too much attention to the more sinister (and real) aspects of US policies?

    Just curious.

  5. says

    Because Fox TV is most of all uber-MONEY.

    They pander to the lowest common denominator.
    For entertainment that means moon hoax “documentaries” and reality shows and cartoons.
    For news that means xenophobia, racism, sexism and all manner of reflexive hatred – Fox News.

    Also, the news division has a Nixon staffer running it, the entertainment division has who-the-fuck-knows.

  6. Timon for Tea says

    Dallilama makes a good point, obvious once it is mentioned, but personally I have never seen it come up in this silly discussion before.

  7. sheila says

    I love his description of the Cold War as “a prick wagging contest”. So true.

    Now think of the shape of a moon rocket.

    In the middle of a prick wagging contest, is it so implausible that male politicians would spend someone else’s money on rockets? “Ours are bigger.” “Our’s go deeper (into space).”

    Film special effects aren’t nearly so sexy.

  8. says

    The Soviet Union argument is usually countered by claiming we bought them off with shipments of wheat. Which is totally plausible, right?

    I always want to know what the denialists think actually happened? How much was faked? Did they launch Saturn Vs, or did they just hire a huge crowd of extras to pretend the rockets lifted off? Or did they actually launch them but they never got past low earth orbit? Did they fake the splashdowns too? Was the entire NASA workforce in on it, or just a couple at the top and everyone else got taken in?

    And then down the line did they recruit really stupid people to make idiotic arguments like “No stars in the photos!!!” to make the smart people think the conspiracy theorists were morons?

  9. left0ver1under says

    If the landings were fake, the looneytunes will have to explain how astronauts placed reflectors on the moon if Armstrong never set foot on it.



    Did aliens put the reflectors there? Did they appear naturally? Hardly. And why would a reflector just happen to appear naturally after the “fake” Apollo 11 landing?

    Did another launch to those locations on the moon somehow go unnoticed by people and scientists around the world? Only the Soviets used robots to put reflectors on the moon, and their rockets were noticed.

  10. says

    Was gonna point out the reflectors. Mythbusters did a whole episode on all of the various claims about how the landing was faked and disproved each one in order, then shot a laser at the reflector and showed the beam bouncing back. All TV shows should end by shooting a laser at the moon. Chairhead Chippendale can’t have all the fun.

    Why does Faux News tacitly (or explicitly) foster moon-hoaxer sentiment? Simple: The Moon Landing was a major achievement of a Democratic president who also went on to be a national martyr and to whom our current President is often favorably compared. Any way you can smear Obama is a good way in the Rightwingiverse.

  11. says

    Of all the conspiracy theories I know and love (and, I’m embarrassed to admit, used to believe), including who killed JFK, 9/11 was an inside job, the New World Order (not the World Championship Wrestling heel outfit), and so on, the Moon Landing was one I just never fell for.

    Ultimately it’s the reason the conspiracy theorists give for it, which is no reason at all. The government faked it just because… they could… or something like that. The conspiracists just cannot come up with a logical reason for why our government would spend so much money to fake it.

    But then, I feel like, even if the conspiracy theorists were allowed to fly to the moon and see, for themselves, the lander, flag, and footprints, they’d still claim it was a hoax, because evidence just isn’t as important as their paranoid, delusional fantasies… which is why they jive so well with Creationists…

  12. fastlane says

    Bonus internets for Kes@18 for the Tick reference!

    I have a degree (only a BS) in aerospace engineering, and I’m at least passingly familiar with the technology (and the math) required to get us to the moon. I’ve had classes in orbital mechanics and space mission design (really fun stuff, that). I love getting into it with moon-landing hoaxers for the sheer entertainment value, but it does get old sometimes. It’s also fairly obvious when they aren’t really arguing a case, just trolling for responses.

  13. says

    Anyone ever seen the video of Buzz Aldrin punching Bart Sibrel in the face?

    Bart is a a conspiracy theorist who is convinced that the moon landing was a hoax. He harasses and insult Buzz Aldrin, who finally clocks the asshole in the face.

    I don’t understand why Buzz wasn’t given another medal for it… 😀

  14. Sastra says

    The urge to believe drives people to trade in part of their soul in exchange for the comfort of being a rebel.

    This is a great line.

  15. Crudely Wrott says

    I know that we went to the Moon in July of 1969 because I was there.

    OK, it was only virtually and I was really in a six story brownstone in NY City watching a black and white TV. But it was TV. And there were thousands of people around the world including people controlling a radio telescope in Australia and there was the build up to the event through the Mercury and Gemini projects and three guys died on the pad practicing and Ed White floated in space with a hand held reaction device and Walter Cronkite just dug the shit out of what we were doing and the X-15 and lifting bodies and besides at the same time there was the Lockheed Skonk Works making F-104s and the U-2 and the Blackbird and I flew on jet airplanes just to get from one place to another without blowing shit up and computers were doing accounting and statistical stuff and lasers were making holograms and some guy from South Africa did a heart transplant and I could buy LSD for five bucks a pop and stuff like that there.

    Sheesh! We already had the imagination, the hardware and the desire. Oh, and the personnel. Everything was ready, cocked and primed. How could we have NOT gone to the moon?


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