The Dark Side of the Moon (Landing)

Some dispute that the U.S. sent a man to the moon. Astronaut Buzz Aldrin is the first man to walk on the moon's surface in 1969
Some dispute that the U.S. sent a man to the moon. Astronaut Buzz Aldrin is the second man to walk on the moon’s surface in 1969

By Judy Berman

Over eight days during July 1969, all eyes were on Apollo 11, when it became the first manned mission to land on the moon.

More than 40 years after this historic event, about 6 percent of Americans still dispute that we ever set foot on the moon. They think it was a plot by the government to generate pride during the space race.

It fulfilled a goal set by President John F. Kennedy in 1961, when he said that we would have a man land on the moon “before this decade is out” and return safely to Earth.

Apollo 11 made its landing on July 20, 1969. Neil Armstrong was the first to walk on the moon on July 21st. Who can ever forget his words as he stepped out on the surface, “That’s one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind”?

Yet, Bill Kaysing, considered to be the father of the moon hoax, said the whole event was staged. I interviewed Kaysing in the late 1970s about his book, “We Never Went to the Moon,” when I worked at WOLF-AM, a radio station in Syracuse, New York.

Kaysing, himself, was not an engineer. He was a technical writer for Rocketdyne, a major aerospace contractor. He left that company before Rocketdyne began work on the Apollo project.

And, yet, his story had legs. Some believe, as Kaysing did, that the film footage was taken in the Nevada desert.

I decided to pick an engineer’s brains on this subject: my Dad. He had worked in the space program in Huntsville, Alabama, and later did rocket program work in Nevada.

Dad had an analytical mind and addressed some of the claims in Kaysing’s book. Among them, Kaysing’s claim about the absence of stars when the astronauts were on the lunar surface photography.

Here’s the scoop from the web site science.howstuffworks:

“The light from the sun hitting the surface of the moon is too bright for any camera to capture something in the distance — it would wash out any light coming from distant stars in the sky. Even if you were standing on the surface of the moon yourself, you would have to block the landscape from your vision to see any notable points of light. This happens for the same reason that stars are harder to see in big cities than in wide-open fields — there’s a lot more light bouncing around from street lamps in the city, so the stars are hidden from view.”

Conspiracy theorists also question how the flag could flap with no wind on the moon, and that the photo had to be a hoax. TV’s Mythbusters blew these theories out of the water. (see videos below)

Mythbusters' Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman
Mythbusters’ Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman

Between July 1969 and Dec. 14, 1972, 12 men landed on the moon. The last astronauts arrived on Apollo 17 – Jack Schmitt and Gene Cernan. Cernan was the last to step off the lunar surface and wrote a book, “The Last Man on the Moon,” about America’s race in space.

“Too many years have passed for me to still be the last man to have walked on the Moon. Somewhere on Earth today is the young girl or boy, the possessor of indomitable will and courage, who will lift that dubious honor from me and take us back where we belong,” Cernan wrote.

I just hope it’s real soon.


Video  – National Geographic – NASA’s newly restored video of the very first moonwalks of the Apollo 11 mission in 1969

COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Judy Berman and earthrider, 2011-15. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to (Judy Berman) and (earthrider,, or earthriderdotcom) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Photo: Buzz Aldrin – Apollo 11 – on the Moon – Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, lunar module pilot, walks on the surface of the Moon near the leg of the Lunar Module (LM) “Eagle” during the Apollo 11 extravehicular activity (EVA).

Photo: Mythbusters, TV program, Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage – Skulls Unlimited Owner, Jay Villemarette and Director of Education, Joey Williams with the Mythbusters Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman at the Discovery Channel’s Young Scientists Challenge 2004. Photo by Skimsta.

Video Clip and story: The Faked Apollo Landings

Mythbusters examine the Moon Landing photo hoax

Mythbusters tackle other moon landing hoaxes

How Stuff Works – addressing the hoax claims about no stars in the photos taken on the moon

  1. Judy, I know quite a few people who refuse to believe American astronauts landed on the Moon. Part of what’s interesting about their theory is that none of them was old enough to remember the Apollo program, and most weren’t even born yet. They’re getting their information from magazine articles and videotapes made by individuals who had nothing to do with the space program — while rejecting reports by scientists and professional journalists who, somehow, were all fooled by the hoax. I think it’s part of our society’s declining interest and understanding of science. I join you in hoping we will soon return to a time of curiosity and exploration.

    1. It’s difficult to believe that the moon landing is questioned. Charles, I was intrigued by the opportunity to interview Bill Kaysing. But in my heart and mind I firmly believe we were there. Now if we could only continue our space exploration to find what’s truly out there.

    1. Me, too, Madhu. I’m a skeptic on many things. I don’t bet on the lottery. I won’t give out personal data in exchange for the promise of a fortune in my checking account. But, bottom line, I do believe we’ve been on the moon and returned.

  2. Wonderful post, Judy. Thanks for mentioning Cousin Neil, and for not mentioning Cousin Lance… : P

    Ah, these conspiracy theories… I know we live in an age of disbelief, but it’s getting ridiculous! Perhaps the most interesting thing is the substitutions people make– what they choose to believe in instead…

    That was mighty cool how you interviewed the Moon Hoax guy, and how you were able to enlist your dad in rebuttal.

    On behalf of Wallace and Gromit, I’m hereby presenting you with The Wensleydale Cheese Award– which is only given to blogging’s biggest cheeses… : )

    1. Mark … When you do interviews at a rock ‘n’ roll radio station, you never know who’s going to come thru the door. I was delighted and relieved that my Dad had the background knowledge to address some of the questions that Bill Kaysing raised in his book.

      By the way, my favorite Armstrong – next to you – is Louis. 🙂

      I’m no “grand fromage,” but I happily accept the Cheese Award, she says with a cheesey grin.

  3. If all the visits to our moon are, in fact a hoax, then I’m Wonder Woman and my wife is Superman. Now, picture a 70 year old Wonder Woman and a 65 year old Superman. That’s gotta make you smile. Have you ever heard the expression, “Some folks would argue with a fence post, just to prove they’re right.” ? Well…

    1. The expression that comes to mind is “Some would rather be right than president.” (I never did figure that one out, but it captures the same spirit as your quote.) Maybe you’re a super couple, but I still gotta believe … 😆

      1. We must be a super couple, excuse my ego, but we are married now for 44 years.

        earthrider to no ulterior motive: Congrats. We’ll be celebrating our 29th anniversary this August.

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