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One small show, one giant danger

by Kim Poor

Conspiracy theorists have claimed for years that the Moon landings were faked. It used to be their ramblings were little more than an annoyance, given as much credence as flat-earthers.

Today however, their claims have begun to spread like a cancer mostly due to the repeated airings of the FOX Network's "Conspiracy Theory: Did We Go to the Moon?". No longer limited to the ravings of loonies, support has gathered among housewives, children and those you thought knew better.

The broadcast of this program (twice in the US, once in Britain) triggered widescale debate inside offices, on the streets, at bars and just about any other place where people could gather and talk. The result has been a growing belief that the Moon landings were a Hollywood stunt -- the most expensive movie ever made -- filmed at Area 51. If the space race could not be won with technology, we did what we do best -- faked it on film.

With so many of today's movies containing astounding special effects, it isn't much of a stretch to believe a young mind might assume that the ability to fake such an event as a Moon landing has always been possible. It's equally hard to fault their reasoning -- since we can't make it to the Moon today, how could we have done so long ago?

The program raises a host of questions that to non-scientific types with a "National Enquirer" mentality sound like a logical examination of the facts. Even my kids expressed concern because of schoolyard taunts related to the alleged hoax. Each of the questions can be explained, but many will take some study and guidance for a cogent and convincing argument.

I submit that all "true believers" must go forth and spread the truth (do I sound like an evangelist?). If we do not, in another generation the "moon hoax" could cast (at the very least) a strong shadow of doubt on the accomplishments of the early space program. There will be no one left who was present, and certainly no Apollo astronauts.

Your autograph collections could become worthless, or worth less.

Sure, that sounds like an alarmist, worst-case scenario, but look at what's happening now. If you haven't already been confronted by a hoax believer (HB), it is only a matter of time. At minimum, it takes a noble exercise to debunk the major points that seem to comprise the cornerstones of an HB's arguments. The more people armed with facts, the more prepared for an HB encounter, then, to coin a phrase, that's one small step. We must be as focused and fanatic as they are.

We have the ability to inspire a whole new generation to understand the wonder and glory of what we accomplished over thirty years ago. Born-again space geeks! Of course there are those who will never submit. Evolution will take care of their kind.

Of course, there will eventually come a time when people will be living on the Moon, and this whole debate will be moot, but that may be a long time in the future. We will probably have people living on Mars long before.

The foremost HB argument seems to be "Why can't you see stars in any of the pictures?" Our UPS driver, a man I thought intelligent because of his nerdy appearance, could not stop talking about it (knowing that we deal in space memorabilia) insinuating that our whole business was a sham.

My simple answer was "You can't see stars in the daytime." Just because the sky is black doesn't mean it's night. There is still a glaringly bright sun, earthlight, and the landscape lit in every direction. Cameras cannot capture bright and dim objects in the same shot. Even on Earth at night, you need a long exposure to photograph stars.

Of the 20-odd HB arguments, some are based on bad science, some on bad photography (even though they often quote photographic "experts"), but most are just an ignorance of the truly alien environment of an airless Moon and how things behave there.

Some astronauts report no confrontations, but others, like Neil Armstrong are called upon to "prove" they went to the Moon. Armstrong had a good retort: laser beams are reguarly bounced off special reflectors on the Moon to accurately measure its distance from the Earth. "I put one of those there," counters Armstrong. "If we didn't go to the Moon, how did those get there?"

Ironically, many of the HB's arguments can be used against them. They speculate that details were "forgotten" by NASA's cinematographers, such as the lack of lunar dust billowing upon landing or the flags flapping "in the wind." However, for either of these not to have occurred, the movie set would have had to have been a near-perfect vacuum. This is not possible. Personally, I believe Dave Scott's "hammer and feather" experiment proves it all.

Jim Lovell was asked about the HB profiled on the FOX show, Bill Kaysing and in response called him a "kook." Lovell was quickly sued for slander by Kaysing, but the case was dismissed, as Kaysing couldn't afford a lawyer (he was being evicted from his trailer park.)

Even if you haven't yet seen the FOX program, there are a couple of good hoax-debunking websites, as well as a few HB websites. These have links to other sites, too. Have a look and be informed:

  • Bad Astronomy: Fox TV and the Apollo Moon Hoax
  • Red Zero: NASA Moon Hoax

    Conspiracy theorists are everywhere! They look just like you and me. It's them or us. The future of the world is in your hands!

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    Kim Poor has become one of the world's best known space artists. His unique style and dramatic use of color and perspective has won numerous awards and has been seen in many publications, movies and television shows worldwide. He was a co-founder and the first president of the IAAA, the international guild of space artists, and today owns the world's first and largest gallery devoted to space art, Novaspace Galleries.

    He can be reached through his website at

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