"TITTER YE NOT"
NASA is launching a rocket to the moon. On board are two Monkeys
and Kiki, a stunning
When the rocket is outside the stratosphere, the first stage drops off. Contact is made:
“Houston here, Monkey 1, do you read us, over.” “Monkey
1 here, Houston, read you loud and clear!” “Monkey 1, do you still know your instructions?”
“Yes, when we get to the moon, I press the red button to initiate the moon landing, over.”
“That’s right. Out.”
They go on until the rocket separates its booster stage.
“Hello, Monkey 2, Houston here, come in, please.” “Monkey 2 here, read you loud and clear!”
“OK, Monkey 2, do you remember your
instructions” “Yes, when we’ve landed on the moon and are ready to leave, I press on the green button to initiate the launch program.”
“That’s right. Out.”
An hour later, when the rocket has achieved the correct speed, the last stage drops off as planned. Ground control contacts the astronauts again.
“Houston here, Kiki,
come in Kiki, do you read us?” “Kiki here, reading you loud and clear!” “Kiki, do you remember your instructions?” “Yes,” Kiki says, “I feed the two Monkeys and keep my hands off any buttons.”
The Moon landing conspiracy theories claim that some or all
elements of the Apollo program and the associated Moon
landings were hoaxes, staged by NASA with the aid of other
organisations. The most notable claim is that the six manned
landings (1969–72) were faked and that twelve Apollo
astronauts did not actually walk on the Moon. Various groups
and individuals have made such conspiracy claims since the
mid-1970s. Conspiracists claim that NASA and others
knowingly misled the public into believing the landings
happened, by manufacturing, tampering with, or destroying
evidence including photos, telemetry tapes, radio and TV
transmissions , Moon rock samples, and even some key
Much third-party evidence for the landings exists, and detailed
rebuttals to the hoax claims have been made. Since the late
2000s, high-definition photos taken by the Lunar
Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) of the have captured the
lander modules and the tracks left by the astronauts. In 2012,
images were released showing five of the six Apollo missions'
American flags erected on the Moon still standing (the Apollo
11 flag was accidentally blown over by the take off rocket's
exhaust, but is still there).
Conspiracists have managed to sustain public interest in their
theories for more than 40 years, despite the rebuttals and third-party evidence. Opinion
polls taken in various locations have shown that between 6% and 20% of Americans and
28% of Russians surveyed believe that the manned landings were faked.
Even as late as 2001, the Fox television network documentary Conspiracy Theory:
Did We Land on the Moon? claimed NASA faked the first landing in 1969 to win the Space Race.
The first book about the subject, We Never Went to the Moon :
America's Thirty Billion Dollar Swindle, was written in 1974, two years after the Apollo Moon flights had ended, and self-published in 1976, by Bill Kaysing (1922–2005), a senior technical writer hired in 1956 by Rocketdyne, the company which built the F1 engines used on the Saturn V rocket, despite having no knowledge of rockets or technical writing. He served as head of the technical publications unit at the company's Propulsion Field Laboratory until 1963. Kaysing's book made many allegations, and effectively began discussion of the Moon landings being faked. The book claims that the chance of a successful manned landing on the Moon was calculated to be 0.0017%, and hat despite close monitoring by the USSR, it would have been easier for NASA to fake the Moon landings than to really go there.
A main reason for the race to the Moon was the Cold War . The United States government deemed it vital that it win the Space Race against the Soviet Union. Going to the Moon would be risky and expensive, as exemplified by President John F. Kennedy famously stating in a 1962 speech that the United States chose to go because it was hard.
Hoax theory debunk-er Philip Plait says in his book Bad Astronomy , that the Soviets—with their own competing Moon program, an extensive intelligence network and a formidable scientific community able to analyse NASA data—would have cried foul if the United States tried to fake a Moon landing, especially since their own program had failed. Proving a hoax would have been a huge propaganda win for the Soviets. Conspiracist Bart Sibrel
responded, "the Soviets did not have the capability to track deep spacecraft until late in 1972, immediately after which, the last three Apollo missions were abruptly cancelled."
In fact, the Soviets had been sending unmanned spacecraft to the Moon since 1959, and "during 1962, deep space tracking facilities were introduced at IP-15 in Ussuriisk and IP-16 in Evpatoria (Crimean Peninsula), while Saturn communication stations were added to IP-3, 4 and 14," the latter having a 100 million km range. The Soviet Union tracked the Apollo missions at the Space Transmissions Corps, which was "fully equipped with the latest intelligence-gathering and surveillance equipment." Vasily Mishin , in an interview for the The Moon Programme That Faltered," describes how the Soviet Moon program dwindled after the Apollo landing.
Also, there was nothing "abrupt" about the Apollo cancellations, which were announced in January and September 1970 for cost-cutting reasons.
The Flat Earth Society was one of the first organizations to take up the cause and accuse NASA of faking the landings, arguing that they were staged by Hollywood with Walt Disney sponsorship, based on a script by Arthur C. Clarke and
directed by Stanley Kubrick. Folklorist Linda Dégh suggests that writer-director Peter Hyams' 1978 film Capricorn One , which shows a hoaxed journey to Mars in a spacecraft that looks identical to the Apollo craft, may have given a boost to the hoax theory's popularity in the post Vietnam War era. She notes that this happened during the post-Watergate era, when American citizens were inclined to distrust official accounts. Dégh writes:
"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." In A Man on the Moon, first published in 1994, Andrew Chaikin mentions that at the time of Apollo 8's
lunar-orbit mission in December 1968, similar conspiracy ideas were already in circulation.
It is claimed that NASA faked the landings to forgo humiliation and to ensure that it continued to get funding. NASA raised "about US$30 billion" to go to
the Moon, and Kaysing claimed in his book that this could have been used to "pay off" many people. Since most conspiracists believe that sending men to the Moon was impossible at the time, they argue that landings had to be faked to fulfill Kennedy's 1961 goal, "before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth." In fact, NASA accounted for the cost of Apollo to the US Congress in 1973, totalling US $25.4 billion.
Mary Bennett and David Percy have claimed in Dark Moon:
Apollo and the Whistle-Blowers, that, with all the known and unknown hazards, NASA would not risk broadcasting an astronaut getting sick or dying on live television. The counter-argument generally given is that NASA in fact did incur a great deal of public humiliation and potential political opposition to the program by losing an entire crew in the Apollo 1 fire during a ground test, leading to its upper management team being questioned by Senate and House of Representatives space oversight committees. Technically there was in fact no video broadcast during either the landing or take off because of technological limitations.
The American Patriot Friends Network claimed in 2009 that the landings helped the United States government distract public attention from the unpopular Vietnam War; and so manned landings suddenly ended about the same time that the United States ended its involvement in the war. In fact, the ending of the landings was not "sudden".
The war was one of several federal budget items with which NASA had to compete; NASA's budget peaked in 1966, and fell by 42.3% by 1972. This was the reason the final flights were cut, along with plans for even more ambitious follow-on programs such as a permanent
space station and manned flight to Mars.
Many conspiracy theories have been put forward. They either claim that the landings did not happen and that NASA employees (and sometimes others) have lied; or that the landings did happen but not in the way that has been told. Conspiracists have focused on perceived gaps or inconsistencies in the historical record of the missions. The foremost idea is that the whole manned landing program was a hoax from start to end. Some claim that the technology to send men to the Moon was lacking or that the Van Allen radiation belts, solar flares, solar wind, coronal mass ejections and cosmic rays made such a trip impossible.
Vince Calder and Andrew Johnson , scientists from Argonne National Laboratory , gave detailed answers to the conspiracists' claims on the laboratory's website. They show that NASA's portrayal of the Moon landing is fundamentally accurate, allowing for such common mistakes as mis- labeled photos and imperfect personal recollections. Using the scientific process, any hypothesis that is contradicted by the observable facts may be rejected. The 'real landing' hypothesis is a single story since it comes from a single source, but there is no unity in the hoax hypothesis because hoax accounts vary between conspiracists.
According to James Longuski (Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics Engineering at Purdue University), the conspiracy theories are impossible because of their size and complexity. The conspiracy would have to involve more than 400,000 people who worked on the Apollo project for nearly ten years, the 12 men who walked on the Moon, the six others who flew with them as Command Module pilots, and another six astronauts who orbited the Moon. Hundreds of thousands of people—including scientists, engineers, technicians, and skilled laborers—would have had to keep the secret. Longuski argues that it would have been much easier to really land on the Moon than to generate such a huge conspiracy to fake the landings.
To date, nobody from the United States government or NASA who would have had a link to the Apollo program has said the Moon landings were hoaxes. Penn Jillette made note of this in the "Conspiracy Theories" episode of his contrarian television show Penn & Teller: Bullshit! in 2005. He said that, with the
number of people that would have had to be involved, someone would have outed the hoax by now. Noting the Watergate scandal, Jillette said the government could not have silenced everyone if the landings were faked.
Conspiracists focus heavily on NASA photos. They point to oddities in photos and films taken on the Moon. Photography experts (including those unrelated to NASA) answer that the oddities are what one would expect from a real Moon landing, and not what would happen with tweaked or studio imagery. Some of the main arguments and counter-arguments are listed below.
In some photos, crosshairs seem to be behind objects. The cameras were fitted with a Réseau plate (a clear glass plate with crosshairs etched on), making it impossible for any photographed object to appear "in front" of the grid. This suggests that objects have been "pasted" over them.
This only appears in copied and scanned photos, not the originals. It is caused by over exposure:
the bright white areas of the emulsion "bleed" over the thin black crosshairs. The cross-hairs are only about 0.004 inch thick (0.1 mm) and emulsion would only have to bleed about half that much to fully obscure it. Furthermore, there are many photos where the middle of the crosshair is "washed-out" but the rest is intact. In some photos of the American flag, parts of one cross-hair appear on the red stripes, but parts of the same cross-hair are faded or invisible on the white stripes. There would have been no reason to "paste" white stripes onto the flag.
Cross-hairs are sometimes rotated or in the wrong place. This is a result of popular photos being cropped and/or rotated for aesthetic impact.
The quality of the photographs is implausibly high. There are many poor-
quality photos taken by the Apollo astronauts. NASA chose to publish only the best examples. The Apollo astronauts used high resolution Hasselblad
500 EL cameras with Carl Zeiss optics and a 70 mm medium format film magazine.
There are no stars in any of the photos; the Apollo 11 astronauts also claimed in a post-mission press conference to not remember seeing any stars. The astronauts were talking about naked-eye sightings of stars during the lunar daytime. They regularly sighted stars through the spacecraft navigation optics while aligning their inertial reference platforms, the Apollo PGNCS .
All manned landings happened during the lunar daytime. Thus, the stars were outshone by the sun and by sunlight reflected off the Moon's surface. The astronauts' eyes were adapted to the sunlit landscape around them so that they could not see the relatively faint stars. Likewise, cameras were set for daylight exposure and could not detect the stars. Camera settings can turn a well-lit background to black when the foreground object is brightly lit, forcing the camera to increase shutter speed so that the foreground light does not wash-out the image. The astronauts could only see the stars with the naked eye only when they were in the shadow of the Moon.
A special far ultraviolet camera, the Far Ultraviolet Camera / Spectrograph, was taken to the lunar surface on Apollo 16 and operated in the shadow of the Apollo Lunar Module. It took photos of Earth and of many stars, some of which are dim in visible light but bright in the ultraviolet. These observations were later matched with observations taken by orbiting ultraviolet telescopes. Furthermore, the positions of those stars with respect to Earth are correct for the time and location of the Apollo 16 photos.
Blueprints and design and development drawings of the machines involved are missing. Apollo 11 data tapes containing telemetry and the high-quality video (before scan conversion from slow-scan TV to standard TV) of the first moonwalk are also missing.
Dr. David R. Williams (NASA archivist at Goddard Space Flight Center) and Apollo 11 flight director Eugene F. Kranz both acknowledged that the Apollo 11 telemetry data tapes are missing. Conspiracists see this as evidence that they never existed. The Apollo 11 telemetry tapes were different from the telemetry tapes of the other Moon landings because they contained the raw television broadcast. For technical reasons, the Apollo 11 lander carried a slow-scan television (SSTV) camera. To broadcast the pictures to regular television, a scan conversion had to be done. The radio telescope at Parkes Observatory in Australia was able to receive the telemetry from the Moon at the time of the Apollo 11 moonwalk. Parkes had a bigger antenna than NASA's antenna in Australia at the Honeysuckle Creek Tracking Station, so it received a better picture. It also received a better picture than NASA's antenna at Goldstone Deep Space Communications Complex. This direct TV signal, along with telemetry data, was recorded onto one-inch fourteen-track analog tape at Parkes. The original SSTV transmission had better detail and contrast than the scan- converted pictures, and it is this tape that is missing. A crude, real-time scan conversion of the SSTV signal was done in Australia before it was broadcast worldwide. However, still photos of the original SSTV image are available. About fifteen minutes of it were filmed by an amateur 8 mm film camera and these are also available. Later Apollo missions did not use SSTV. At least some of the telemetry tapes from the ALSEP scientific experiments left on the Moon (which ran until 1977) still exist, according to Dr. Williams. Copies of those tapes have been found.
Others are looking for the missing telemetry tapes for different reasons. The tapes contain the original and highest quality video feed from the Apollo 11 landing. Some former Apollo personnel want to find the tapes for posterity, while NASA engineers looking towards future Moon missions believe the tapes may be useful for their design studies. They have found that the Apollo 11 tapes were sent for storage at the U.S. National Archives in 1970, but by 1984 all the Apollo 11 tapes had been returned to the Goddard Space Flight Center at their request. The tapes are believed to have been stored rather than re-used. Goddard was storing 35,000 new tapes per year in 1967, even before the Moon landings.
In November 2006, COSMOS Online reported that about 100 data tapes recorded in Australia during the Apollo 11 mission had been found in a small marine science laboratory in the main physics building at the Curtin University of Technology in
Perth, Australia. One of the old tapes has been sent to NASA for analysis. The slow-scan television images were not on the tape.
In July 2009, NASA indicated that it must have erased the original Apollo 11 Moon footage years ago so that it could re-use the tape. In December 2009 NASA issued a final report on the Apollo 11 telemetry tapes. Senior engineer Dick Nafzger, who was in charge of the llive TV recordings during the Apollo missions, is now in charge of the restoration project. After a three-year search, the "inescapable conclusion" was that about 45 tapes (estimated 15 tapes recorded at each of the three tracking stations) of Apollo 11 video were erased and re-used, said Nafzger. In time for the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing, Lowry Digital has been tasked with restoring the surviving footage. Lowry Digital president Mike Inchalik said that, "this is by far and away the lowest quality" video the company has dealt with. Nafzger praised Lowry for restoring "crispness" to the Apollo video, which will remain in black and white and contain conservative digital enhancements. The US $230,000 restoration project that will take months to complete will not include sound quality improvements. Some selections of restored footage in high-definition have been made available on the NASA website.
Bart Sibrel cites the relative level of United States and USSR space technology as evidence that the Moon landings could not have happened. For much of the early stages of the Space Race, the USSR was ahead of the United States, yet in the end, the USSR was never able to fly a manned craft to the Moon, let alone land one on the surface. It is argued that, because the USSR was unable to do this, the United States should have also been unable to develop the technology to do so.
For example, he claims that, during the Apollo program, the USSR had five times more manned hours in space than the United States, and notes that the USSR was the first to achieve many of the early milestones in space:
the first man made
satellite in orbit (October 1957, Sputnik 1); the first living creature in orbit (a dog named Laika, November 1957, Sputnik 2); the first man in space and in orbit (Yuri Gagarin, April 1961, Vostok 1); the first woman in space (Valentina Tereshkova, June 1963, Vostok 6); and the first spacewalk (EVA) (Alexei Leonov in March 1965, Voskhod 2).
However, most of the Soviet gains listed above were matched by the United States within a year, and sometimes within weeks. In 1965, the United States started to achieve many firsts (such as the first successful space rendezvous), which were important steps in a mission to the Moon. Furthermore, NASA and others say that these gains by the Soviets are not as impressive as they seem; that a number of these firsts were mere stunts that did not advance the technology greatly, or at all, e.g., the first woman in space. In fact, by the time of the launch of the first manned Earth-orbiting Apollo flight (Apollo 7), the USSR had made only nine spaceflights (seven with one cosmonaut,
one with two, one with three) compared to 16 by the United States. In terms
of spacecraft hours, the USSR had 460 hours of spaceflight; the United
States had 1,024 hours. In terms of astronaut/cosmonaut time, the USSR
had 534 hours of manned spaceflight whereas the United States had 1,992
hours. By the time of Apollo 11, the United States had a lead much wider
Moreover, the USSR did not develop a successful rocket capable of a
manned lunar mission until the 1980s – their N1 rocket failed on all four
launch attempts between 1969 and 1972. The Soviet LK lunar lander was
tested in unmanned low-Earth-orbit flights three times in 1970 and 1971.
In June 1977, NASA issued a fact sheet responding to recent claims that the
Apollo Moon landings had been hoaxed. The fact sheet is particularly blunt
and regards the idea of faking the Moon landings to be preposterous and
outlandish. NASA refers to the rocks and particles collected from the Moon
as being evidence of the program's legitimacy, as they claim that these rocks
could not have been formed under conditions on earth. NASA also notes that
all of the operations and phases of the Apollo program were closely followed
and under the scrutiny of the news media, from liftoff to splashdown. NASA
responds to Bill Kaysing's book, We Never Went to the Moon, by identifying
one of his claims of fraud regarding the lack of a crater left on the Moon's
surface by the landing of the lunar module, and refuting it with facts about
the soil and cohesive nature of the surface of the Moon.
The fact sheet was reissued on February 14, 2001, the day before Fox
television's broadcast of Conspiracy Theory:
Did We Land on the Moon? The documentary reinvigorated the public's interest
in conspiracy theories and the possibility that the Moon landings were faked, which has provoked NASA to once again defend its name.
Filmmaker Stanley Kubrick is accused of having produced much of the
footage for Apollos 11 and 12, presumably because he had just directed
A Space Odyssey, which is partly set on the Moon and featured
advanced special effects. It has been claimed that when 2001 was in post-
production in early 1968, NASA secretly approached Kubrick to direct the first
three Moon landings. The launch and splashdown would be real but the
spacecraft would stay in Earth orbit and fake footage broadcast as "live from
the Moon." No evidence was offered for this theory, which overlooks many
facts. For example, 2001 was released before the first Apollo landing and
Kubrick's depiction of the Moon's surface is much different from its
appearance in Apollo video, film and photography. Kubrick did hire Frederick
Ordway and Harry Lange, both of whom had worked for NASA and major
aerospace contractors, to work with him on 2001. Kubrick also used some 50 mm f/0.7 lenses that were left over from a batch made by Zeiss for NASA. However, Kubrick only got this lens for Barry Lyndon (1975). The lens was originally a still-photo lens and needed changes to be used for motion filming.
The mockumentary based on this idea, Dark Side of the Moon, could have fueled the conspiracy theory. This French mockumentary, directed by William Karel, was originally aired on Arte channel in 2002 with the title Opération Lune. It parodies conspiracy theories with faked interviews, stories of assassinations of Stanley Kubrick's assistants by the CIA, and a variety of conspicuous mistakes, puns and references to old movie characters, inserted through the film as clues for the viewer. Nevertheless, Opération Lune is still taken at face value by some conspiracy believers.
The 2015 movie Moonwalkers is a fictional account of a CIA agent's claim of Kubrick's involvement. In December 2015, a video surfaced which allegedly shows Kubrick being interviewed shortly before his 1999 death; the video purportedly shows the director confessing to T. Patrick Murray that the Apollo moon landings had been faked. Research quickly found, however, that the video was a hoax.
An episode of MythBusters in August 2008 was dedicated to the Moon landings. The MythBusters crew tested many of the conspiracists’ claims. Some of the testing was done in a NASA training facility. All of the conspiracists' claims examined on the show were labeled as having been "Busted", meaning that the conspiracists' claims were not true.
Conspiracists claim that observatories and the Hubble Space Telescope
should be able to photograph the landing sites. This implies that the world's
major observatories (as well as the Hubble Program) are complicit in the
hoax by refusing to take photos of the landing sites. Photos of the Moon have
been taken by Hubble, including at least two Apollo landing sites, but the
Hubble resolution limits viewing of lunar objects to sizes no smaller than 60–
75 yards (55–69 meters), which
is insufficient resolution to see
any landing site features.
The Daily Telegraph published a
story in 2002 saying that
European astronomers at the
Very Large Telescope (VLT)
would use it to view the landing
sites. According to the article, Dr.
Richard West said that his team
would take "a high-resolution
image of one of the Apollo landing
sites." Marcus Allen, a
conspiracist, answered that no
photos of hardware on the Moon would convince him that manned landings had happened. As the VLT is capable of resolving equivalent to the distance between the headlights of a car as seen from the Moon, it may be able to photograph some features of the landing sites. Such photos, if and when they become available, would be the first non-NASA-produced photos of the sites at that definition.
On July 17, 2009, NASA released low-resolution engineering test photos of the Apollo 11, Apollo 14, Apollo 15, Apollo 16 and
Apollo 17 landing sites that have been photographed by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter as part of the process of starting its primary mission. The photos show the descent stage of the landers from each mission on the Moon’s surface. The photo of the Apollo 14 landing site also shows tracks made by an astronaut between a science experiment (ALSEP) and the lander. Photos of the Apollo 12 landing site were released by NASA on September 3, 2009. The Intrepid lander descent stage, experiment package (ALSEP), Surveyor 3 spacecraft, and astronaut footpaths are all visible. While the LRO images have been enjoyed by the scientific community as a whole, they have not done anything to convince conspiracists that the landings happened.
On September 1, 2009, India's lunar mission Chandrayaan-1 took photos of
the Apollo 15 landing site and tracks of the lunar rovers. The Indian Space
8, 2008 (IST), from Satish Dhawan Space Centre . The photos were taken
by a hyperspectral camera fitted as part of the mission's image payload.
The Apollo program collected 380 kilograms (838 lb) of Moon rocks during
the six manned missions. Analyses by scientists worldwide all agree that
these rocks came from the Moon – no published accounts in peer-reviewed
scientific journals exist that dispute this claim. The Apollo samples are easily
distinguishable from both meteorites and Earth rocks in that they show a lack
of hydrous alteration products, they show evidence of having undergone
impact events on an airless body, and they have unique geo chemical traits.
Furthermore, most are more than 200 million years older than the oldest
Earth rocks. The Moon rocks also share the same traits as Soviet samples.
Conspiracists argue that Marshall Space Flight Center Director Wernher von
Braun's trip to Antarctica in 1967 (about two years before the Apollo 11
launch) was to gather lunar meteorites to be used as fake Moon rocks. Because von Braun was a former SS officer (though one who had been detained by the Gestapo), the documentary film Did We Go? suggests that he could have been pressured to agree to the conspiracy to protect himself from recriminations over his past. NASA said that von Braun’s mission was "to look into environmental and logistic factors that might relate to the planning of future space missions, and hardware." NASA continues to send teams to work in Antarctica to mimic the conditions on other planets.
It is now accepted by the scientific community that rocks have been blasted from both the Martian and lunar surface during impact events, and that some of these have landed on the Earth as meteorites. However, the first Antarctic lunar meteorite was found in 1979, and its lunar origin was not recognised until 1982. Furthermore, lunar meteorites are so rare that it is unlikely that they could account for the 380 kilograms of Moon rocks that NASA gathered between 1969 and 1972. Only about 30 kilograms of lunar meteorites have been found on Earth thus far, despite private collectors and governmental agencies worldwide searching for more than 20 years.
While the Apollo missions gathered 380 kilograms of Moon rocks, the Soviet Luna
16, Luna 20 and Luna 24 robots gathered only 326 grams combined (that is, less
than one-thousandth as much). Indeed, current plans for a Martian sample return
would only gather about 500 grams of soil, and a recently proposed South Pole-
Aitken basin robot mission would only gather about 1 kilogram of Moon rock. If
NASA had used similar robot technology, then between 300 and 2000 robot
missions would have been needed to collect the current amount of Moon rocks
that is held by NASA.
On the makeup of the Moon rocks, Kaysing asked:
"Why was there never a
mention of gold, silver, diamonds or other precious metals on the moon? Wasn't
this a viable consideration? Why was this fact never discussed in the press or by
the astronauts?" Geologists realize that gold and silver deposits on Earth are the
result of the action of hydrothermal fluids concentrating the precious metals into
veins of ore. Since in 1969 water was believed to be absent on the Moon, no
geologist would bother discussing the possibility of finding these on the Moon in any great amount.
BABYLON ZOO SPACEMAN
Aside from NASA, a number of groups and individuals tracked the
Apollo missions as they happened. On later missions, NASA released
information to the public explaining where and when the spacecraft
could be sighted. Their flight-paths were tracked using radar and they
were sighted and photographed using telescopes. Also, radio
transmissions between the astronauts on the surface and in orbit
were independently recorded.
The presence of retro-reflectors (mirrors used as targets for Earth-
based tracking lasers) from the Laser Ranging Retro-reflector
Experiment (LRRR) is evidence that there were landings. Lick
Observatory attempted to detect from Apollo 11's retro-reflector while
Armstrong and Aldrin were still on the Moon but did not succeed until
August 1, 1969. The Apollo 14 astronauts deployed a retro-reflector
on February 5, 1971, and McDonald Observatory detected it the
same day. The Apollo 15 retro-reflector was deployed on July 31,
1971, and was detected by McDonald Observatory within a few days.
Smaller retro-reflectors were also put on the Moon by the Russians; they were attached to the unmanned lunar rovers
Lunokhod 1 and Lunokhod 2.
In a 1994 poll by The Washington Post, 9% of the respondents said that it was possible that astronauts did not go to the Moon and another 5% were unsure. A 1999 Gallup Poll found that 6% of the Americans surveyed doubted that the Moon landings happened and that 5% of those surveyed had no opinion, which roughly matches the findings of a similar 1995
Time/CNN poll. Officials of the Fox network said that such scepticism rose to about 20% after the February 2001 airing of their network's television special, Conspiracy Theory:
Did We Land on the Moon?, seen by about 15 million viewers. This Fox special is seen as having promoted the hoax claims.
A 2000 poll conducted by the Public Opinion Foundation (ru) ( ФОМ ) in Russia found that 28% of those surveyed did not believe that American astronauts landed on the Moon, and this percentage is roughly equal in all social-demographic groups. In 2009, a poll held by the United Kingdom's Engineering & Technology magazine found that 25% of those surveyed did not believe that men landed on the Moon. Another poll gives that 25% of 18- to 25-year-olds surveyed were unsure that the landings happened.
There are subcultures worldwide which advocate the belief that the Moon landings were faked. By 1977 the Hare Krishna
magazine Back to Godhead called the landings a hoax, claiming that, since the Sun is 93,000,000 miles away, and "according to Hindu mythology the Moon is 800,000 miles farther away than that", the Moon would be nearly 94,000,000 miles away; to travel that span in 91 hours would require a speed of more than a million miles per hour, "a patently impossible feat even by the scientists' calculations."
James Oberg of ABC News said that the conspiracy theory is taught in Cuban schools and wherever Cuban teachers are sent. A poll conducted in the 1970s by the United States Information Agency in several countries in Latin America, Asia, and Africa found that most respondents were unaware of the Moon landings, many of the others dismissed them as propaganda or science fiction, and many thought that it had been the Russians that landed on the Moon.