It’s now been over four decades since Neil Armstrong took his “giant leap for mankind” — if, that is, he ever set foot off this planet. Doubters say the U.S. government, desperate to beat the Russians in the space race, faked the lunar landings, with Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin acting out their mission on a secret film set, located (depending on the theory) either high in the Hollywood Hills or deep within Area 51. With the photos and videos of the Apollo missions only available through NASA, there’s no independent verification that the lunar landings were anything but a hoax.
Film of Aldrin planting a waving American flag on the moon, which critics say proves that he was not in space. The flag’s movement, they say, clearly shows the presence of wind, which is impossible in a vacuum. NASA says Aldrin was twisting the flagpole to get the moon soil, which caused the flag to move. (And never mind that astronauts have brought back hundreds of independently verified moon rocks.) Theorists have even suggested that filmmaker Stanley Kubrick may have helped NASA fake the first lunar landing, given that his 1968 film 2001: A Space Odessey proves that the technology existed back then to artificially create a spacelike set. And as for Virgil I. Grissom, Edward H. White and Roger B. Chaffee — three astronauts who died in a fire while testing equipment for the first moon mission? They were executed by the U.S. government, which feared they were about to disclose the truth.
Far-fetched as the hoax theory may seem, a 1999 Gallup poll showed that it’s comparatively durable: 6% of Americans said they thought the lunar landings were fake, and 5% said they were undecided.
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