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)
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 http://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/news/space-technology-news/1969-moonlanding-vin/
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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). http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/b/bb/Aldrin_Apollo_11_%28jha%29.jpg/574px-Aldrin_Apollo_11_%28jha%29.jpg
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. http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d5/Mythbusters2.jpg
Video Clip and story: The Faked Apollo Landings http://www.ufos-aliens.co.uk/cosmicapollo.html
Mythbusters examine the Moon Landing photo hoax http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wym04J_3Ls0
Mythbusters tackle other moon landing hoaxes http://dsc.discovery.com/tv-shows/mythbusters/videos/moon-hoax.htm
How Stuff Works – addressing the hoax claims about no stars in the photos taken on the moon http://science.howstuffworks.com/moon-landing-hoax1.htm