Moon Landing a Hoax? Ever since the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) sent astronauts to the moon between 1969 and 1972, skeptics have questioned whether the Apollo missions were real or simply a ploy to one-up the Soviet Union during the Cold War. The debate resurfaced and reached crescendo levels in February 2001 when Fox television aired a program called Conspiracy Theory: Did We Land on the Moon?. Guests on the show argued that NASA did not have the technology to land on the moon, but, anxious to win the space race, acted out the Apollo program in movie studios. The conspiracy theorists pointed out things such as the pictures transmitted from the moon do not include stars and that the flag the Americans planted on the moon is waving even though there is thought to be no breeze on the moon. NASA quickly refuted these claims in a series of press releases, stating that any photographer would know it is difficult to capture something very bright and very dim on the same piece of film and since the photographers wanted to capture the astronauts striding across the lunar surface in their sunlit spacesuits, the background stars were too faint to see. For the flag, NASA said that the astronauts were turning it back and forth to get in firmly planted in the lunar soil, which made it wave.
The issue may have been put to rest when NASA pointed out that the show never raises a question about the more than 800 pounds (363 kilograms) of rocks brought back from the moon. “Geologists worldwide have been examining these samples for 30 years, and the conclusion is inescapable. The rocks could not have been collected or manufactured on Earth,” NASA says on its Web site. Regardless, the conspiracy theory abounds today. Similarly, there are still people who claim that the Earth really is flat. Some people are convinced that there is a vast conspiracy to hide evidence of flying saucers and that dead aliens lie in a secret government mortuary in a place known as Area 51 in Nevada. Others think that aliens are alive and well and living in the White House. For many people, the world is full of conspiracies and hoaxes.