Fake Moon Landing?

Since Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin‘s Moon Odyssey, people have speculated whether the landing was real or fake. The sheer magnitude of such a trip is certainly mind numbing and, even though society was certainly more naive back in the seventies, dozens of different theories were formulated in record time after NASA shared the images of the epic voyage with the rest of the world; the moon landing conspiracy was born.

Why Faking It?

In order to understand the theories, it is first essential to answer the fundamental question: Why? Faking a moon landing is not a trivial matter; it not only requires massive resources, and technical prowess, but also the trust of a large number of people who would be involved in the moon landing conspiracy. In terms of practicality, attempting such a hoax would only make sense if the reasons behind it were solid enough. Most theorists point at the very Space Race as the reason.

During the Cold War, both the United States and the USSR did all they could to outsmart each other, and to demonstrate their technological superiority. The idea of launching rockets and satellites into the space was not only a practical undertaking but also a very clear demonstration of power. It became quite apparent that the faction who would win the Space Race would win the Cold War.

The Moon Landing Conspiracy
Astronaut Buzz Aldrin stands on the Moon

To support this theory, it is important to consider how complex and expensive it would be to get to the Moon in the first place. Some say that our current technology is just not enough to get there yet, let alone the technology we had in 1969. So, bearing in mind that traveling from the Earth to the Moon was an impossibility, it is not so far-fetched to imagine that somebody in the NASA, or in any other relevant government agency, would come up with the idea of faking such epic accomplishment. After that, the rest would be just a matter of logistics. Knowing the “Why” makes the “How” much easier to understand.

Flapping Flags and Dark Skies

Some of the main arguments that are related to the moon landing conspiracy stem from the pictures and the video recordings of the event. Many experts have watched over and over those recordings and analyzed the pictures from every point of view. Under such an intense scrutiny, some strange things become apparent:

1 – The flag is flapping

Considering that the Moon has no atmosphere, that would mean that there is no wind. With no wind, the mere idea of a flapping flag is just preposterous. On the other hand, it is important to consider that the flag was equipped with a traversal pole along the top of the fabric; otherwise, it would have hanged loose, affected only by the satellite’s gravity.

2 – There are no stars

The pictures show no stars in the background. That fact itself is suspicious. Those trying to disprove the moon landing conspiracy theorists argue that the reflection of the sunlight on the surface of the Moon would be so intense that distant lights, such as stars, would be invisible to the camera, as it happens in big cities by night.

3 – There is a rock with a letter “C” in it

In one of the pictures, there is a rock with a letter “C” clearly inscribed in it. Conspiracy theorists argue that the rock would be a prop and that the technicians of NASA would have made a gross mistake by leaving it there, with the letter “C” on display. The main argument against that theory is that the letter “C” is just a speckle in the picture’s negative, not a real inscription on a rock.

4 – Visible lighting equipment

It is quite easy to see two big shining objects in the left side of one of the pictures. Some people defend that the shining objects are in fact lights, mounted on large tripods, that appeared in the picture by accident. Those lights could also be lens flares, as some NASA defenders argue; making public a picture featuring two massive lights would not be the smartest move by the space agency. However, the lights are there, and their shining presence project some shadows over the whole lunar odyssey.

Celebrity Director

The Moon Landing Conspiracy
Astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong in NASA’s training mockup of the Moon

Many moon landing conspiracy theorists go quite far in their pursuit of this line of investigation. After all, the video footage and the pictures are the most important proof we have of the veracity of the moon landings, and contesting their truthfulness would make the whole world doubt of the veracity of the entire Space Program. One of the most interesting theories in this regard is the one concerning to the man allegedly in charge of filming the fake landings: Stanley Kubrick.

It may seem a bit random, but this name is very well justified. In 1964, Kubrick released his military satire “Doctor Strangelove”. His budget was admittedly small, and the Pentagon had refused him the right to film inside a B-52 bomber, jeopardizing the whole production. Kubrick managed to create some impressive special effects – even though they would not look that impressive judging by today’s standards – with close to no money, giving the illusion of shooting inside the real bombers. Somebody at the Pentagon watched the movie and was very impressed by his technical ability.

According to this theory, Kubrick was given unlimited funding to shoot the landings, as he was the perfect man for the job. However, it is hard to imagine that the legendary film director would agree to take part in such a hoax. Some moon landing conspiracy theorists point to the possibility of Kubrick being blackmailed by the Pentagon; after all, his brother Raul Kubrick was back then the leader of the American Communist Party. On top of that, Kubrick would have been given unlimited financial support to shoot his next movie; the Science Fiction Epic “2001: A Space Odyssey”.

Scientific Explanations

The Moon Landing Conspiracy
Lunar Roving Vehicle used on Apollos 15–17

On an entirely different side of the spectrum, some other groups of conspiracy theorists take a much more scientific approach to the issue. The main proposition of their theories is that it is actually impossible for the human race to send anyone to the Moon, considering our current technological level. One of these theories is based on the existence of the “Van Allen Radiation Belts”; technically speaking, a belt of energetic charged particles that are attached, or held in place, around a magnetized planet by its magnetic field. The Earth, for example, has its own Van Allen Radiation Belts. According to these theories, no human would be able to cross those belts unscathed; they would more likely die in the process. Those who defend this thesis also agree that our technological level is not enough to build an effective shield against the Van Allen Radiation Belts.

In Other Words

Some people believe the landings were real, and some don’t. Some challenge the integrity of the clearest pieces of evidence provided by NASA; the video footage and the pictures. Others doubt the scientific and technological factors involved in the moon landings. Whether they were real or not, one thing is certain: since 1969, many people have made a huge effort in analyzing and understanding the evidence and the science that supports it, and have formulated all sorts of theories based on those pieces of evidence. Regardless of personal beliefs, the whole subject is really attractive, and the amount of well thought and deeply considered material created by so many moon landing conspiracy theorists is undeniably fascinating. Maybe even more than the moon landings themselves.


As well as the professional BBC Documentary, there were amateur fake moon landing scenarios that we found useful in this case, therefore we have included those as well.

1 – The moon landing hoax


2 – The Truth Behind The Moon Landings


3 – Moon Landing Hoax – Conspiracy Theory