I'll declare my intentions up front. The only reason I have written a page on the moon landings conspiracy theory is to help knock it down. Of course the Apollo moon landings happened. There are thousands of photos , loads of video footage, audio tapes and of course the moon rock samples. However conspiracy theorists still claim that there is 'proof' that the landings did not take place on the moon but were in fact shot in film studios. Fair enough lets look at the main arguments:
Where are all the stars in the photos?
When you see pictures of the astronauts on the moon, the sky is dark and yet you can't see any stars. Why?
The astronauts were out and about on the moon during the day. The sun was above the horizon and was shining down on the moon's surface, the lunar module and the astronaut's white spacesuits. In order to take photos of these relatively bright objects a fast shutter speed was used. This will capture the brightly lit objects (astronauts, Lunar module, moon) but not dim objects (stars). When the astronauts looked overhead they would have seen plenty of stars but with the fast shutter speed on the camera none were caught on film.
The shadows on some photos do not run parallel!! Non-parallel shadows indicate that more than one light source was present (studio lighting) whereas if the photos had really been taken on the moon the only light source would have been the sun.
This a perspective effect that is partly due to the fact that the sun is low in the sky and partly due to the undulating nature of the moon's surface. If there had been two light sources then objects would have cast two sets of shadows but you can clearly see from all the photos that each object casts just the one.
Why does the American flag appear to be blowing in a breeze?
In the vacuum of space this should not be possible.
The flag had a pole inserted across the top edge so that it would be unfurled for the photos and not hanging limply on the flagpole. The Apollo 11 astronauts were not able to extend the horizontal pole fully and it left a crease in the flag. This gave it the appearance of the flag fluttering. The later Apollo astronauts liked the way this looked and decided to also leave the horizontal arm partially extended.
Why weren't the astronauts killed by the enormous dose of radiation they received during the mission?
Much of this argument centres on the Van Allen belts. These magnetic fields around the earth trap particles from the solar winds and the theory is that passing through these regions would have given the astronauts deadly amounts of radiation poisoning. This is true if they stayed in the belts for a long period of time but on the Apollo missions they passed through the belts in about an hour. Also the metal spacecraft protected the astronauts from most of the radiation.
The cameras were mounted on the astronauts chests and would have been very difficult to line up. How come the photos are so good?
The astronauts were given many hours of training purely on taking good shots of the moon. NASA had spent a fortune getting there, they weren't about to leave things to chance. They used specialist cameras from the top manufacturers and extensively tested them. The films were protected from the extreme temperatures of the moon in special canisters and when they arrived back on earth each of the hundreds of frames were individually developed by specialists in their own lab. Any dud photos that were taken would not have been published.
Why is there no blast crater?
When the lunar module landed it should have made a large crater.
By the time the LM was near the landing site it was descending quite slowly and the guidance rockets would have been powered down to less than 3000 pounds of pressure. Unlike on earth where most of the thrust from the rockets would have pushed air downwards and created vertical streams of pressure to disturb the dust, in the space vacuum this pressure disperses in all directions much more evenly and this creates less disturbance of the moon's surface hence no big crater.
These are some of the main arguments that the conspiracy theorists put forward and as you can see with the appliance of science and a bit of common sense they quickly fall apart. Now lets turn the spotlight around 180 degrees and see how the conspiracy holds up when it is examined.
Here are a few of the questions I would like answered by the pro-hoaxers:
The moon landings were the culmination of a fraught space race between the Americans and the Russians. Both nations threw the kitchen sink at trying to get a man on the moon first. Now if the Americans were hoaxing the whole thing the Russians would have quickly latched on to the fact that none of the audio or video transmissions were actually coming from the moon. Why didn't they step forward and declare the whole thing an American sham and gloat about it for the next two decades? It is simply not feasible that NASA could have duped the Russians. On the other hand maybe the Kremlin decided it was such a great wheeze they would play along with it.
THE SCOOBY DOO FACTOR
As we all know when somebody tries to pull a scam like this it normally ends up with the bad guys saying "and if it hadn't been for those pesky kids we would've got away with it."
There would have been hundreds if not thousands of people in on this conspiracy and yet nobody said a word. Surely somebody would have let the cat out of the bag. The astronauts, the NASA management, the NASA technicians, the film crews, the people who created the moon stage, directed the film, dealt with the outtakes, the scientific advisors who would have needed to be on hand to oversee every aspect of every bit of film , video or voice transmission to make it as authentic as possible. Surely some of these people (if not most of them) would have had a guilty conscience and picked up the phone and rung the Washington Post or NBC...surely.
IT'S OK GUYS I'VE HAD AN IDEA
Another question I would like answered by the pro-hoaxers is this.
At what point did the hoax begin?
From Alan Shepard's 15 minute flight that made him the first American in space to the Apollo moon landing, many many missions were flown to try out new technology, gain experience and learn exactly how to get to the moon. The Mercury missions extended the amount of time and earth orbits the astronauts were spending in space. The Gemini missions developed the astronauts ability to manoeuvre and dock space craft and the Apollo missions took the astronauts, first into moon orbit and finally to its surface. Everything was done in relatively small steps. At what point did NASA and the US government decide that rather than land on the moon it would be far easier to con the population of the world with the biggest, most complicated, costly and risky hoax the world has ever known? Never that's when.
If you would like to read more about the moon hoax arguments, I would suggest having a look at the following:
Bad Astronomy. A very well researched site that which is essential reading for anyone interested in this subject.
Moon Hoax. Another site that explains away the great mysteries of the Apollo photos etc.
Ian Goddard. This is great. Ian Goddard has reproduced a lot of the 'discrepancies' in the Apollo photos using models. Well worth a look.