The absurdity of the “faked Apollo moon landing” conspiracy theories

 

Our nation yesterday rightly treated itself to a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo moon landing. Vice President Pence summed it up this way: "This may be the only event of the 20th century that will be remembered in the 30th.

But it wasn’t celebrated by everybody. Even for an event like this, there are conspiracy theorists. They claim that the Apollo program never happened, that it was all faked by the United States government, as in the movie Capricorn-1. ExamplesSome conspiracy theorists talk about the fluttering in the flag planted by Buzz Aldrin. (Explanation: it was vibrations in the wires holding it, after Aldrin pounded it into the regolith.) Others object to the lack of stars in the photos taken from the Moon’s surface (Explanation: the Moon’s surface was so bright, a quick f-stop exposure time on the camera was needed.) Footprints on the moon would require moisture, right? (No, they wouldn’t.) Trivial objections are raised to “prove” that the mission was faked, and the debunking explanations are ignored.

Buzz Aldrin once had to punch out a heckler calling him a liar who had participated in a faked Apollo mission.

What can one say? It is reminiscent of the Roman Catholic Church’s doctrine of studied or affected Vincible Ignorance, meaning stubborn resistance to the truth and refusal to accept it, no matter how overwhelming the evidence in its favor is.

This writer personally saw the Apollo 11 Saturn V rocket a month before it launched from Cape Kennedy. It was part of a guided tour given to NROTC midshipmen doing their summer training cruises. So there the rocket was, as tall as a football field is long including the end zones. Let’s suppose it was a fake, that it was a plywood fabrication. Some architect-engineering firm still had to design that fake, knowing that it couldn’t go anywhere. Some construction company had to build the fake. The government must have corrupted them all.

Vice President Pence and Apollo astronaut Michael Collins alluded to the 400,000 people who worked on Project Apollo, whether NASA employees or workers of NASA contractors. Evidently, the government was able to corral all of them into the conspiracy. The government was able to construct all the monitors inside Mission Control, knowing that it was for a fake.

The Apollo 11 rocket launched from Cape Kennedy on July 16, 1969, in front of a reviewing stand three miles away seating thousands of spectators, who were witnesses, including Vice President Spiro Agnew. They were all part of the conspiracy, too. (Agnew was so corrupt, he was forced to resign from the vice presidency four years later, so he must have been corrupted into this, too.) The launch was televised live by all the TV networks, so the government had to have suborned them as well.

NASA operated a chain of surveillance stations all across the world, in order to enable continuous tracking of Apollo 11. They were in places such as Spain, Ascension Island in the South Atlantic, Australia, and California. All the persons assigned to these stations were part of the conspiracy.

News stories about Apollo 11 emerged during and after the mission. The Palomar Observatory on Mount Palomar, California, operator of the Hale Telescope, which was then the biggest telescope in the world, released photos that it purported to have been taken through the Hale Telescope and which were supposedly images of light reflecting off Apollo 11. Somebody had to compose that press release and then suborn the entire Palomar Observatory into not contesting it.

After Apollo 11 re-entered the atmosphere on the way back from the Moon, a pilot for Qantas Airline reported seeing its fiery trail from the air over the nighttime Pacific Ocean. Somebody faked that, too. Evidently they were able to contrive a fake that was purported to be the Apollo 11 module doing its re-entry but in fact was not, and the fake was fast enough and fiery enough to fool a professional airline pilot and his passengers.

Something came out of the sky dangling from three parachutes in front of thousands of sailors on the recovery ship USS Hornet. So evidently, someone was able to launch something high enough into the sky that it could fool all those credulous sailors when it came down.

Do you readers see where this is going? A government, of which it has been said that: “A group of women washing their laundry at a riverbank can keep secrets better than can the United States government,” nevertheless is able to hatch a conspiracy to fake the biggest voyage of discovery since Captain Cook, with hundreds of thousands of people in on the conspiracy. Not one of them thought to make his fortune by exposing the fake. Do you see how ridiculous and impossible that is?

This writer has engaged in furious disputations against Apollo conspiracy theorists online, including in the threads of American Thinker. One of these theorists averred to me that well, O.K., maybe the government did launch something that it called “Apollo 11” from Cape Kennedy. And maybe it did go into low Earth orbit. But that’s all it did; it never went to the moon. That would at least take care of the TV networks, the spectators in the reviewing stands, the Qantas Airline captain, some of the NASA workers and contractors, and the credulous sailors of USS Hornet and the credulous midshipmen such as this writer.

Such commentary ignores an essential fact of orbital mechanics, which is: “Once you’re in low Earth orbit, you’re halfway to anywhere.” Meaning that a satellite orbiting the Earth has only half of the amount of the kinetic energy needed to escape the Earth’s gravity well from a ground launch entirely. For objects that are going to the moon and not intended to escape the Earth’s gravity, well, the additional amount of kinetic energy that needs to be pumped into them once they’re in orbit is actually less than the amount needed to achieve orbit from the Earth’s surface.

In other words, just because the moon orbits the Earth at altitudes 2,000 times as high as low Earth orbit, it doesn’t require 2,000 times as much fuel to get there. In fact, it requires less than twice as much. If we can achieve low Earth orbit, then we can achieve the moon; it takes very little more.

In summary, it is simply not possible that men didn’t walk on the moon. Moreover, they did it in exactly the manner that the United States Government truthfully says that they did.

In fact, it is worse than not possible; it is a lie. Anyone subscribing to Apollo conspiracy theories does so only after making a deliberate, willful decision, with full knowledge and malice aforethought, to embrace a lie. Why do they do it? Probably because it enables little men to tell themselves that they are really Big Men, because they are know more than ordinary little people, whom they can then scorn. It is a lot easier for mediocre people to believe that they are Great People just by telling themselves that they are, than it is to achieve real greatness through talent and hard work.

 

The author is an Iowa truck driver known to some AT readers as Kzintosh.

 

Our nation yesterday rightly treated itself to a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo moon landing. Vice President Pence summed it up this way: "This may be the only event of the 20th century that will be remembered in the 30th.

But it wasn’t celebrated by everybody. Even for an event like this, there are conspiracy theorists. They claim that the Apollo program never happened, that it was all faked by the United States government, as in the movie Capricorn-1. ExamplesSome conspiracy theorists talk about the fluttering in the flag planted by Buzz Aldrin. (Explanation: it was vibrations in the wires holding it, after Aldrin pounded it into the regolith.) Others object to the lack of stars in the photos taken from the Moon’s surface (Explanation: the Moon’s surface was so bright, a quick f-stop exposure time on the camera was needed.) Footprints on the moon would require moisture, right? (No, they wouldn’t.) Trivial objections are raised to “prove” that the mission was faked, and the debunking explanations are ignored.

Buzz Aldrin once had to punch out a heckler calling him a liar who had participated in a faked Apollo mission.

What can one say? It is reminiscent of the Roman Catholic Church’s doctrine of studied or affected Vincible Ignorance, meaning stubborn resistance to the truth and refusal to accept it, no matter how overwhelming the evidence in its favor is.

This writer personally saw the Apollo 11 Saturn V rocket a month before it launched from Cape Kennedy. It was part of a guided tour given to NROTC midshipmen doing their summer training cruises. So there the rocket was, as tall as a football field is long including the end zones. Let’s suppose it was a fake, that it was a plywood fabrication. Some architect-engineering firm still had to design that fake, knowing that it couldn’t go anywhere. Some construction company had to build the fake. The government must have corrupted them all.

Vice President Pence and Apollo astronaut Michael Collins alluded to the 400,000 people who worked on Project Apollo, whether NASA employees or workers of NASA contractors. Evidently, the government was able to corral all of them into the conspiracy. The government was able to construct all the monitors inside Mission Control, knowing that it was for a fake.

The Apollo 11 rocket launched from Cape Kennedy on July 16, 1969, in front of a reviewing stand three miles away seating thousands of spectators, who were witnesses, including Vice President Spiro Agnew. They were all part of the conspiracy, too. (Agnew was so corrupt, he was forced to resign from the vice presidency four years later, so he must have been corrupted into this, too.) The launch was televised live by all the TV networks, so the government had to have suborned them as well.

NASA operated a chain of surveillance stations all across the world, in order to enable continuous tracking of Apollo 11. They were in places such as Spain, Ascension Island in the South Atlantic, Australia, and California. All the persons assigned to these stations were part of the conspiracy.

News stories about Apollo 11 emerged during and after the mission. The Palomar Observatory on Mount Palomar, California, operator of the Hale Telescope, which was then the biggest telescope in the world, released photos that it purported to have been taken through the Hale Telescope and which were supposedly images of light reflecting off Apollo 11. Somebody had to compose that press release and then suborn the entire Palomar Observatory into not contesting it.

After Apollo 11 re-entered the atmosphere on the way back from the Moon, a pilot for Qantas Airline reported seeing its fiery trail from the air over the nighttime Pacific Ocean. Somebody faked that, too. Evidently they were able to contrive a fake that was purported to be the Apollo 11 module doing its re-entry but in fact was not, and the fake was fast enough and fiery enough to fool a professional airline pilot and his passengers.

Something came out of the sky dangling from three parachutes in front of thousands of sailors on the recovery ship USS Hornet. So evidently, someone was able to launch something high enough into the sky that it could fool all those credulous sailors when it came down.

Do you readers see where this is going? A government, of which it has been said that: “A group of women washing their laundry at a riverbank can keep secrets better than can the United States government,” nevertheless is able to hatch a conspiracy to fake the biggest voyage of discovery since Captain Cook, with hundreds of thousands of people in on the conspiracy. Not one of them thought to make his fortune by exposing the fake. Do you see how ridiculous and impossible that is?

This writer has engaged in furious disputations against Apollo conspiracy theorists online, including in the threads of American Thinker. One of these theorists averred to me that well, O.K., maybe the government did launch something that it called “Apollo 11” from Cape Kennedy. And maybe it did go into low Earth orbit. But that’s all it did; it never went to the moon. That would at least take care of the TV networks, the spectators in the reviewing stands, the Qantas Airline captain, some of the NASA workers and contractors, and the credulous sailors of USS Hornet and the credulous midshipmen such as this writer.

Such commentary ignores an essential fact of orbital mechanics, which is: “Once you’re in low Earth orbit, you’re halfway to anywhere.” Meaning that a satellite orbiting the Earth has only half of the amount of the kinetic energy needed to escape the Earth’s gravity well from a ground launch entirely. For objects that are going to the moon and not intended to escape the Earth’s gravity, well, the additional amount of kinetic energy that needs to be pumped into them once they’re in orbit is actually less than the amount needed to achieve orbit from the Earth’s surface.

In other words, just because the moon orbits the Earth at altitudes 2,000 times as high as low Earth orbit, it doesn’t require 2,000 times as much fuel to get there. In fact, it requires less than twice as much. If we can achieve low Earth orbit, then we can achieve the moon; it takes very little more.

In summary, it is simply not possible that men didn’t walk on the moon. Moreover, they did it in exactly the manner that the United States Government truthfully says that they did.

In fact, it is worse than not possible; it is a lie. Anyone subscribing to Apollo conspiracy theories does so only after making a deliberate, willful decision, with full knowledge and malice aforethought, to embrace a lie. Why do they do it? Probably because it enables little men to tell themselves that they are really Big Men, because they are know more than ordinary little people, whom they can then scorn. It is a lot easier for mediocre people to believe that they are Great People just by telling themselves that they are, than it is to achieve real greatness through talent and hard work.

 

The author is an Iowa truck driver known to some AT readers as Kzintosh.