Why Do So Many People Think The Moon Landing Was Fake?

By | April 15, 2019

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Astronaut Buzz Aldrin walks on the surface of the moon near the leg of the lunar module Eagle during the Apollo 11 mission in a photo taken by Neil Armstrong. Source: NASA.gov

On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed the Apollo 11 Lunar Module on the surface of the Moon -- right? Well, that depends on whom you ask. Maybe 7/20/69 was the day that science brought the world closer to understanding the immense depths of the solar system, or maybe it’s the day that a vast conspiracy began. Disregarding the time and money spent on sending astronauts to space, and the physical pressures that they’ve endured, there’s a growing number of people who believe that the moon landing never happened.

Moon-truthers come from all walks of life. Some are educated, some aren’t, there are doctors, lawyers, and even teachers who believe that the moon landing was fake. They believe that some or all elements of the Apollo program and the associated Moon landings were hoaxes staged by NASA, possibly with the aid of other organizations. The more you look into the conspiracies surrounding the moon landing the more they grow and entangle within one another. We’ll try to figure out where the conspiracy originated, and some of the most popular theories surrounding the moon landing.

The Conspiracy Germinated At A Time Of Mass Distrust Of The Government

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Astronaut and Lunar Module pilot Buzz Aldrin is pictured during the Apollo 11 extravehicular activity on the moon. In the foreground is the Passive Seismic Experiment Package. Source: NASA.gov

By the 1970s Americans were fed up with Watergate, the Vietnam War, and the near constant quagmires in which the US government found itself entrenched. Politicians were being outed as frauds and crooks, and a healthy subset of the country began wondering if man had even been to the moon. That distrust of the government was elevated with the release of Capricorn One in 1978. This film tells the story of a fake mission to Mars where the astronauts worry that they’re doing a disservice to the American people and the likelihood that they’ll be hunted down and killed by the government.

Folklorist Linda Dégh believes that this film bolstered conspiracy theorists while showing just how irresponsible film and television can be. She said:

The mass media catapult these half-truths into a kind of twilight zone where people can make their guesses sound as truths. Mass media have a terrible impact on people who lack guidance.