If the Moon landings were faked, then one question that naturally arises is: why would any government go to such extreme lengths to mount such an elaborate hoax?
The most obvious answer (and the one most frequently cited by skeptics) is to reclaim a sense of national pride that had been stripped away by America’s having played follow-the-leader with the Soviets for an entire decade. While this undoubtedly played a large role, there are other factors as well – factors that haven’t been as fully explored. But before we look at those, we must first deal with the question of whether it would have even been possible to pull off such an enormous hoax.
Could so many people have really been duped into believing such an outrageous lie, if that in fact was what it was? To answer that question, we have to keep in mind that we are talking about the summer of 1969 here. Those old enough to have been there will recall that they – along with the vast majority of politically active people in the country – spent that particular period of time primarily engaged in tripping on some really good acid (most likely from the lab of Mr. Owsley).
How hard then would it really have been to fool most of you? I probably could have stuck a fish bowl on my head, wrapped myself in aluminum foil, and then filmed myself high-stepping across my backyard and most of you would have believed that I was Moonwalking. Some of you couldn’t entirely rule out the possibility that everyone was walking on the Moon.
In truth, not everyone was fooled by the alleged Moon landings. Though it is rarely discussed these days, a significant number of people gave NASA’s television productions a thumbs-down. As Wired magazine has reported, “when Knight Newspapers polled 1,721 US residents one year after the first moon landing, it found that more than 30 percent of respondents were suspicious of NASA’s trips to the moon.” Given that overall trust in government was considerably higher in those pre-Watergate days, the fact that nearly a third of Americans doubted what they were ‘witnessing’ through their television sets is rather remarkable.
When Fox ran a special on the Moon landings some years back and reported that 1-in-5 Americans had doubts about the Apollo missions, various ‘debunking’ websites cried foul and claimed that the actual percentage was much lower. BadAstronomy.com, for example, claims that the actual figure is about 6%, and that roughly that many people will agree “with almost any question that is asked of them.” Hence, there are only a relative handful of kooks who don’t believe that we’ve ever been to the Moon.
All of those websites fail to mention, of course, that among the people who experienced the events as they were occurring, nearly 1-in-3 had doubts, a number considerably higher than the number that Fox used. And, needless to say, the ‘debunkers’ also failed to mention that 1-in-4 young Americans, a number also higher than the figure Fox used, have doubts about the Moon landings.
Returning then to the question of why such a ruse would be perpetrated, we must transport ourselves back to the year 1969. Richard Nixon has just been inaugurated as our brand new president, and his ascension to the throne is in part due to his promises to the American people that he will disengage from the increasingly unpopular war in Vietnam. But Tricky Dick has a bit of a problem on his hands in that he has absolutely no intention of ending the war. In fact, he would really, really like to escalate the conflict as much as possible. But to do so, he needs to set up a diversion – some means of stoking the patriotic fervor of the American people so that they will blindly rally behind him.
In short, he needs to wag the dog.
This has, of course, traditionally been done by embarking on some short-term, low-risk military endeavor. The problem for Big Dick, however, is that a military mission is exactly what he is trying to divert attention away from. What, then, is a beleaguered president to do? Why, send Neil and Buzz to the Moon, of course! Instead of wagging the dog, it’s time to try something new: wagging the Moondoggie!
Nixon’s actions from the very moment he takes office belie his campaign pledges to the American people (not unlike that Barry Obama guy, who also led the American people to believe that he opposed an unpopular war). In May of 1969, with Nixon just a few months into his term, the press begins publicizing the illegal B-52 carpetbombing of Cambodia engineered by that irrepressible war criminal, Henry Kissinger. By June, Nixon is scrambling to announce what is dubbed the ‘Vietnamization’ of the war, which comes with a concomitant withdrawal of U.S. troops.
In truth, however, only 25,000 of the 540,000 U.S. troops then deployed will be brought home. This ruse is, therefore, transparently thin and it will buy the new president little time. To make matters worse, on July 14th, Francis Reitemeyer is granted Conscientious Objector status on the basis of a petition his attorney has filed which explicitly details the training and instruction he has just received in assassination and torture techniques in conjunction with his assignment to the CIA’s Phoenix Program. With these documents entering the public domain, the full horrors of the war are beginning to emerge.
Just in time to save the day, however, Apollo 11 blasts off on July 16th on its allegedly historic mission, and – with the entire nation enthralled – four days later the Eagle purportedly makes its landing on the pristine lunar surface. Vietnam is temporarily forgotten as America swells with patriotic pride for having beaten the Evil Empire to the Moon. There is little time to worry about the brutality of war when Neil is taking that “one giant leap for mankind.”
The honeymoon is short-lived, however, for just four months later, in November of 1969, Seymour Hersch publishes a story about the massacre of 504 civilians in the village of My Lai, bringing home to America the full savagery of the war in Southeast Asia. It’s time then for another Moon launch, and Apollo 12 dutifully lifts off on November 14th, making another picture-perfect lunar landing before returning on November 24th. The country is once again entranced by the exploits of America’s new breed of hero, and suddenly every kid in the country wants to grow up to be an astronaut.
All is well again until March of 1970, at which time a U.S.-backed coup deposes Prince Sihanouk in Cambodia and Lon Nol is handpicked by the CIA to replace him. Cambodia then immediately jumps in the fray by committing troops to the U.S. war effort. The war is further escalated the next month when Nixon authorizes an invasion of Cambodia by U.S. and ARVN ground forces, another move engineered by Henry Kissinger. Nixon has been in office just over a year and the war, far from winding down, has now expanded into Cambodia both in the air and on the ground.
Meanwhile, it’s time for yet another Moon launch. But this one is not going to be just any Moon launch. This one, you see, is going to introduce the element of danger. With the first two having gone off without a hitch, the American people – known for having notoriously short attention spans – are already adopting a ‘been there, done that’ attitude. The problem, in a nutshell, is that it looks just a little too damn easy. In order to regain the attention of the American people, it has to be impressed upon them that our brave astronauts are placing themselves in grave danger.
And so it is that on April 11th, 1970, Apollo 13 blasts off with Tom Hanks and a couple of somewhat lesser known actors on board, but unlike the first two missions, this Apollo spacecraft fails to reach the Moon and instead drifts about for the next six days with the crew in mortal danger of being forever lost in space! Now that gets our attention! So much so that when three Vietnam vets hold a multi-city press conference in New York, San Francisco and Rome on April 14th, attempting to publicize the ongoing Phoenix Program in which they have participated and have firsthand knowledge, nobody can really be bothered with paying much attention. It’s hard to be too concerned about the fate of Vietnamese villagers, you see, when Tom and the boys are clearly in trouble.
Awaiting news of the fate of the Apollo 13 crew, we all have our eyes glued to our TVs as though we are watching postmortem coverage of Michael Jackson. When our heroes somehow make it back alive, defying seemingly impossible odds, we are all so goddamned proud of them that we decide to award Tom another Oscar. And all is well again for the remainder of the year.
I really have to repeat here, by the way, that in the late 1960s and early 1970s, America really did rock! I mean, how about that Apollo safety record? Seven manned Moon launches with seven perfect take-offs! Tom and the boys obviously never did make it to the Moon, but the other six crews sure as hell did, and all six set those lunar modules down like the consummate professionals that they were, and all six used that untested technology to successfully blast off from the Moon and attain lunar orbit, and then all six successfully docked with the orbiting command modules. And all seven of those command modules, even Apollo 13’s, returned intact and with their crews happy and healthy.
That was just an awesome time to be an American and especially to be an American astronaut … well, except for the three guys (Virgil “Gus” Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee) who were burned alive during a test procedure in the command module of what was to be the Apollo 1 rocket. But they were troublemakers anyway who probably wouldn’t have wanted to go along with the Moon landing fable. And then there was that Thomas Baron guy who was a safety inspector for NASA and who delivered highly critical testimony and a 1,500-page report to Congress, only to then be killed a week later. That report seems to have been sucked into the same Black Hole that swallowed up all the other Apollo evidence.
Anyway, returning now to our timeline, the dawn of 1971 brings the trial of Lt. William Calley on charges that he personally ordered and oversaw the mass murder of the inhabitants of the village of My Lai. And on January 31st, Apollo 14 is launched and once again makes a flawless lunar landing. On February 9th, the Apollo team returns, just a few weeks before Calley is convicted of murder (he served an absurdly short sentence under ‘house arrest’ and none of his superiors were ever held accountable).
A few months after that, the New York Times begins publication of the infamous Pentagon Papers, revealing American policy in Vietnam to be a complex web of lies. Publication is quickly stopped by the Justice Department but resumes once again as June turns to July. This is quickly followed, on July 26th, by the launch of Apollo 15. Four days later, yet another flawless lunar landing clearly demonstrates that America is the most bad-ass nation on Earth. But Moonwalking has become a bit of a bore for the American people, so a new element is introduced and from now on our beloved astronauts will roam the lunar surface in dune buggies. The lunar modules haven’t gotten any bigger, but now they can transport vehicles to the Moon. Cool!
Back on Earth, the astronauts return on August 7th and the rest of the year passes uneventfully. On March 30, 1972, North Vietnamese troops mount a massive offensive across the DMZ into Quang Tri Province, revealing as lies the pompous statements by numerous Washington hacks that victory is close at hand. Nixon and Co. respond to the offensive with deep penetration bombing of North Vietnam and, for good measure, the illegal mining of North Vietnam’s ports. They also respond by launching, on April 16th, another rocket (and another dune buggy) to the Moon. On April 27th, the crew of Apollo 16 once again return to a hero’s welcome.
By the end of the year, a ceasefire is finally looming on the horizon. Beginning in October, Kissinger and David Bruce (a member of the infamous Mellon family) are secretly negotiating peace terms with Le Duc Tho of North Vietnam. In December, however, those talks break down – but not before Apollo 17 is launched on December 7th in a most spectacular way: it is the first night launch of a Saturn V rocket. With the latest Apollo mission still a few days away from returning, the talks cease and Dick and Henry unleash a final ruthless carpetbombing campaign against North Vietnam, snuffing out countless thousands of civilian lives. Meanwhile, America warmly greets its returning astronauts.
Just five weeks later, the talks having resumed, a peace agreement is announced. Within a few days a ceasefire is in effect, thereby officially ending America’s involvement in Southeast Asia. Though the CIA will remain to continue directing the war by proxy, America’s men and women in uniform come home. And the Apollo program – despite several additional missions having been planned and discussed, and despite the additional funding that should have been available with the war drawing to a close – will never be heard from again.
In addition to restoring national pride and providing a diversion from the savage colonial war being waged in Southeast Asia, the Apollo program undoubtedly served another function as well: covert funding of that war effort. Needless to say, faking Moon landings is less expensive than actually making Moon landings, and a whole lot of money was funneled NASA’s way during the Vietnam years to accomplish the latter. It stands to reason that a considerable amount of that money could well have been diverted into covert operations being conducted in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. In addition, a portion of the Apollo funding likely financed the early stages of the militarization of space.
There is no shortage of Moon hoax ‘debunking’ sites out there on the wild and wooly World Wide Web. The majority of them are not particularly well written or argued and yet they tend to be rather smug and self-congratulatory. Most of them tend to stick to ‘debunking’ the same facts and they use the same arguments to do so.
One thing they like to talk a lot about is the Van Allen radiation belts. The Moon hoax sites talk a lot about them as well. The hoaxers will tell you that man cannot pass through the belts without a considerable amount of radiation protection – protection that could not have been provided in the 1960s through any known technology. And the ‘debunkers’ claim that the Apollo astronauts would have passed through the belts quickly enough that, given the levels of radiation, no harm would have come to them. The hoaxers, say the ‘debunkers,’ are just being girlie men.
As it turns out, both sides are wrong: the ‘debunkers,’ shockingly enough, are completely full of shit, and the hoaxers have actually understated the problem by focusing exclusively on the belts. We know this because NASA itself – whom the ‘debunkers’ like to treat as a virtually unimpeachable source on all things Apollo, except, apparently, when the agency posts an article that implicitly acknowledges that we haven’t actually been to the Moon – has told us that it is so. They have told us that in order to leave low-Earth orbit on any future space flights, our astronauts would need to be protected throughout the entirety of the flight, as well as – and once again, this comes directly from NASA – while working on the surface of the Moon.
On June 24, 2005, NASA made this rather remarkable admission: “NASA’s Vision for Space Exploration calls for a return to the Moon as preparation for even longer journeys to Mars and beyond. But there’s a potential showstopper: radiation. Space beyond low-Earth orbit is awash with intense radiation from the Sun and from deep galactic sources such as supernovas … Finding a good shield is important.”(http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2005/24jun_electrostatics.htm)
You’re damn right finding a good shield is important!! Back in the 1960s, of course, we didn’t let a little thing like space radiation get in the way of us beating the Ruskies to the Moon. But now, I guess, being that we are more cultured and sophisticated, we want to do it the right way so we have to come up with some way of shielding our spaceships. And our temporary Moon bases. And figuring out how to do that, according to NASA, could be a real “showstopper.”
As NASA notes, “the most common way to deal with radiation is simply to physically block it, as the thick concrete around a nuclear reactor does. But making spaceships from concrete is not an option.” Lead, which is considerably denser than concrete, is actually the preferred material to use for radiation shielding, but lead also isn’t very popular with spaceship designers. In fact, word on the street is that one of the main reasons the Soviets never made it to the Moon was because their scientists calculated that four feet of lead shielding would be required to protect their astronauts, and those same scientists apparently felt that spaceships wouldn’t fly all that well when clad in four feet of lead.
Now NASA is thinking outside the box and contemplating using ‘force fields’ to repel the radiation, a seemingly ridiculous idea that, whether workable in the future or not, certainly wasn’t available to NASA in the 1960s. Below is NASA’s own artist rendering of a proposed ‘force field’ radiation shield that would allow astronauts to work safely on the Moon. As you may have noticed in the earlier photos of the lunar modules, our guys didn’t bring anything like that with them on their, uhmm, earlier missions to the Moon. And you may have also noticed that the modules did not have any type of physical shielding.
How then did they do it? My guess is that the answer lies in that gold foil wrap. While it may look like an amateurish attempt to make the modules appear more ‘high-tech,’ I have a hunch that what we are looking at is another example of the lost technology of the 1960s – this time in the form of a highly-advanced superpolymer that provided maximum radiation shielding while adding virtually no weight. So all we have to do is track down a few leftover rolls of that stuff and we should be well on our way to sending guys back to the Moon.
According to Charles Buhler, a NASA scientist currently working on the force field concept, “Using electric fields to repel radiation was one of the first ideas back in the 1950s, when scientists started to look at the problem of protecting astronauts from radiation. They quickly dropped the idea though because it seemed like the high voltages needed and the awkward designs that they thought would be necessary … would make such an electric shield impractical.”
What a real journalist would have asked here, of course, is: “After dropping the electric shield concept, exactly what did they decide to use to get our astronauts safely to the Moon and back on the Apollo missions? And why can’t we do the same thing now, rather than reinventing the wheel? Don’t you guys have some of that gold foil in a closet somewhere?” No one in the American media, of course, bothered to ask such painfully obvious questions.
The 2005 report from NASA ends as follows: “But, who knows, perhaps one day astronauts on the Moon … will work safely.” Yes, and while we’re dreaming the impossible dream, let’s add a few more things to our wish list as well, like perhaps one day we’ll be able to listen to music on 8-track tape players, and talk to people on rotary dial telephones, and carry portable transistor radios, and use cameras that shoot pictures on special film that develops right before our eyes. Only time will tell, I suppose.
The Van Allen belts, by the way, trap most Earth-bound radiation, thus making it safe for us mortals down here on the surface of planet Earth, as well as for astronauts in low-Earth orbit (the belts extend from 1,000 to 25,000 miles above the surface of the Earth). The danger is in sending men through and beyond the belts, which, apart from the Apollo missions, has never been attempted … well, actually there was that one time, but I think we all remember how badly that turned out. In case anyone has forgotten, the astronauts returned to a world dominated by extremely poor acting, apes speaking with British accents, and a shirtless Charleton Heston. And I don’t think anyone wants to see that happen again.
The 2005 report was not the first time that NASA had openly discussed the high levels of radiation that exist beyond the Van Allen belts. In February 2001, the space agency posted a ‘debunking’ article that argued that the rocks allegedly brought back from the Moon were so distinctive in nature that they proved definitively that man had gone to the Moon. The problem though with maintaining a lie of the magnitude of the Moon landing lie is that there is always the danger that in defending one part of the lie, another part will be exposed. Such was the case with NASA’s ill-conceived The Great Moon Hoax post, in which it was acknowledged that what are referred to as “cosmic rays” have a tendency to “constantly bombard the Moon and they leave their fingerprints on Moon rocks.”
NASA scientist David McKay explained that “There are isotopes in Moon rocks, isotopes we don’t normally find on Earth, that were created by nuclear reactions with the highest-energy cosmic rays.” The article went on to explain how “Earth is spared from such radiation by our protective atmosphere and magnetosphere. Even if scientists wanted to make something like a Moon rock by, say, bombarding an Earth rock with high energy atomic nuclei, they couldn’t. Earth’s most powerful particle accelerators can’t energize particles to match the most potent cosmic rays, which are themselves accelerated in supernova blastwaves and in the violent cores of galaxies.”
So one of the reasons that we know the Moon rocks are real, you see, is because they were blasted with ridiculously high levels of radiation while sitting on the surface of the Moon. And our astronauts, one would assume, would have been blasted with the very same ridiculously high levels of radiation, but since this was NASA’s attempt at a ‘debunking’ article, they apparently would prefer that you don’t spend too much time analyzing what they have to say.
How exactly are we to reconcile NASA’s current position on space radiation with the same agency’s simultaneous claim that we have already sent men to the Moon? There are a few different possibilities that come to mind, the first of which is that, in the late 1960s and early 1970s, we simply threw caution to the wind and sent our boys off to the Moon with no protection whatsoever from space radiation. If that were true, however, then the question that would naturally be raised is: why not just do it again? After all, all of our Moonwalkers made it home safe and sound and most all have lived long, healthy, cancer-free lives. So why all the fuss over space radiation?
NASA could, I suppose, take the position that space radiation is a recent problem. Perhaps in the ‘60s and early ‘70s, space was relatively free of radiation, allowing unshielded Apollo rockets to cruise about without a care in the world while crew members primarily busied themselves with such important tasks as trying to capture all the stems and seeds that were floating around the command module as a result of cleaning their stash of low-grade ‘60s marijuana. It was just a different solar system back in those days. As aging hippies like to say, if you remember the solar system of the sixties, you weren’t really flying around in it.
If it proves not to be the case that this space radiation “showstopper” is a new development, then I suppose that the only explanation that we are left with is that we did indeed have the technology to shield our astronauts from radiation back in the 1960s, but at some time during the last four decades, that technology was simply lost. What probably happened was that an overzealous night custodian simply threw the data away. The conversation around the NASA water cooler the next day probably went something like this: “Holy shit! Has anyone seen that folder that I left on my desk last night? It contained the only copy of the secret formula that I devised for building a weightless space radiation shield. It could be forty years or more before someone else can duplicate it! My ass is so fired!”