The Apollo Moon Landing was a Hoax

by Emily Koch

In July of 1969, astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins landed on the moon along with their rocket Apollo 11. While this was literally a huge step for mankind, many people then and some today believe that the landing never happened and was instead staged. According to The Skeptic’s Dictionary, the theory became popular in the 1970’s and a couple decades later in 1999, 30 percent of Americans were skeptical of the moon landing. That number today has lowered to 6 percent, but the theory still remains well known throughout the internet and our society. This belief is extraordinary because it uses the appearance of science to persuade people into believing in it. It is also important that the public recognizes that this belief is not true as it discredits the extreme risk that the astronauts took to go to the moon and their success in doing so.

Those who are believers in the idea that the moon landing was a hoax state many reasons as to why it could never have actually happened, and most of them deal with their ideas of how physics works. The most widely known piece of evidence is the fact that the flag placed on the moon by the astronauts seemed to have been waving in the footage taken by the astronauts. If this was the case, as many skeptics of the moon landing believe, then there is no way they were actually on the moon because that would mean there was enough wind to make the flag wave. Since there is no air let alone wind on the moon, then it would have been impossible for this to occur. But to contradict this “fact” many scientists have said that the flag was placed in a bent shape by the astronauts and because there is extremely low gravity on the moon, the flag stayed in the bent position. If you look closely at the footage, you can see the flag in fact doesn’t wave at all and instead stays still in its bent position.

A second, lesser known argument for a conspiracy is the idea of the Van Allen Belts. The Van Allen Belts are two regions of high radiation that surround the earth and are located inside the earth’s magnetosphere. For the astronauts of Apollo 11 to have passed through these belts would have caused more than a normal amount of radiation exposure, which could lead to radiation sickness. Because the astronauts did not show any symptoms of this, many believe that they did not actually pass through these belts and did not go to the moon. Oppositely, according to NASA, the astronauts were in the Van Allen Belt for only a short time, sustaining .18 rads of radiation- which is about the same dose of radiation one gets from an x-ray. So, although it seems like the hoax believers are presenting scientifically back facts about the Van Allen belts, they are in fact incorrect about the amount of radiation one is exposed to when passing through the belts.

A third attempt to prove that the astronauts did not go to the moon is the fact that there was not a single star in any of the pictures taken when the astronauts landed. This is used as evidence to prove that those pictures were not taken on the moon because, if you are in space, then how could there not be any stars around? With this piece of evidence, there are two sets of conspiracies that emerge about the moon landing: there are those who believe it never happened and then there are also those that believe the astronauts made it to the moon but faked the pictures on earth. But according to astrophysicist Brian Koberlein, this is actually a common phenomenon in photographs. Because the moon is quite bright in comparison to the sky around it, the light of the stars gets drowned out and overpowered by the light of the moon when standing on it. This is why no stars can be seen in any pictures taken on the moon and therefore debunks the conspiracy that the pictures were not taken on the moon.

Those who believe that the moon landing was a hoax, mostly misunderstand how perception works. Because many of the hoax believers state evidence that is not supported by science, they are misinformed about the way that science and physics can alter the perception of something, such as the stars in the night sky or the movement/non-movement of the flag. They also fall victim to the outward appearance of science in the explanations given to support the hoax theories. Several of those who believe it was a hoax also disregard any evidence contradictory to their own ideas and tend to think that the only evidence that is correct is evidence that supports their theory. This belief, although it was largely popular in the decade following the Apollo 11 moon landing, is still widely known today. Because it is so largely spread throughout the media, many people take it as fact since they see the media as a credible source. Those who believe in the hoax today are largely American youth, as they were not around when the moon landing occurred and so they find it easier to believe something that they hear or read claiming the landing was faked. Other hoax believers tend to be those who supported the idea of the faking of the moon landing around the time when it was most popular in the decade following the landing.

Although the conspiracy that the moon landing was faked is a widely known idea, only 6% of U.S. citizens today believe in it. Whether persuaded by what looks like scientific explanations for the phenomena or the misunderstanding of how perception works, hoax believers stand strong in their belief and neglect to listen to any opposing evidence presented to them. Recently, the media has been causing the public to become more exposed to the idea that the landing was faked although there are few that actually take this belief seriously. As a society, it was very important at the time of the space race that we make it to the moon first. Because Apollo 11 made it there first, Americans see this as quite an accomplishment and it is something we are very proud of. Hoax believers fail to recognize this very important achievement, which is detrimental to our society because they are failing to give the astronauts the recognition they deserve. If the number of hoax believers rises, it will be very sad and discouraging to all of those who support the three astronauts and those who helped them make it there.


  1. Apollo Hoax Frequently Asked Questions,
  2. Apollo Moon Landing Hoax.” Apollo Moon Landing Hoax – The Skeptic’s Dictionary –,
  3. Davis, Scott. “How Do We Know The Moon Landing Really Happened?” The National Space Centre, 15 June 2017,
  4. Scudder, Jillian. “Why Aren’t The Van Allen Belts A Barrier To Spaceflight?” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 16 June 2017,
  5. Weiner, Sophie. “Why Faking the Moon Landing Was Impossible.” Popular Mechanics, Popular Mechanics, 14 Nov. 2017,
  6. Why Do People Persist in Denying the Moon Landings?” National Air and Space Museum, 22 Mar. 2017,

26 thoughts on “The Apollo Moon Landing was a Hoax

  1. I find this conspiracy theory to be very interesting, because I would have never thought to challenge the fact that we went to the moon, but so many people even today are so persistent about it. It makes sense that some people think that the moon landing was real but the pictures were faked, but to think that the government spent billions of dollars and hired so many people to fake a moon landing is outrageous to me. I liked that you mentioned that it gave an outward appearance of science because when I first heard of this theory I started questioning it myself a little, but I stopped after reading the science that disproves those “facts.” Many people probably hear about the “evidence” for the moon landing being fake and don’t do further research about it and that is why they continue to believe this theory.

    • when I first heard some of the hoax believers evidence, it sounded pretty convincing to me too! But with a little research, I was able to find real facts that completely disprove those of the hoax believers. It’s crazy to me that people today can’t do the research for themselves because it would lead to a lot more informed people and a lot less denying of the moon landing. Social media nowadays doesn’t aid in the truth either because so many people can post something completely made up about the moon landing, say it’s true, and people will actually believe it.

  2. I love that you made this a post! Similarly to how we discussed this in class, the arguments being made for this as the first landing being a hoax is a lot bigger than I realized. I also find it interesting that there is 2 kind of believers, one type that believes the US hasnt been there at all and one type that believes just the first time was a hoax. Regardless, I feel like it is popular for people to note scientific advancements as false, and my question is why? Why would people go out of their way to fake it?

    • hey grace great post! I definitely think the point of the 2 types of believers is interesting. I know alot of people who believe that the US wasnt the first to go to the moon, I have never met anyone who thinks we have never gone to the moon but I know alot of people who believe the first time was a hoax. To answer your question, the people I interact with tell me that they feel because of the space race the US felt pressured to go to the moon first and did not have means to do so therefore, they faked it. But after reading this article and what we talked about in class about how so many other countries were watching us, i think this extraordinary belief is over rated now.

  3. I find it interesting that people still believe this even though we have made multiple trips to the moon now. I guess that could be explained by the two different types of believers described in this post, but it is still hard to imagine that people thought it was a hoax in the first place. With many of the other extraordinary beliefs, we have evidence that disproves this belief, yet people choose to ignore it.

  4. I have definitely heard of people who believe the landing was staged, but I had not yet heard what their reasoning was. It is interesting that you are unable to see stars in the photographs, but it makes sense as to why they would not appear there, on top of the fact that their cameras were nowhere near what we have today. At least we regained some believers again, ones who believe it actually did happen.

    • exactly! our phones today can’t even capture stars so why do so many people expects to see them in the photos from decades ago? I guess people will go to any length to try and prove their belief is right, even when it logically doesn’t make sense. The stars in the photo are also one of the biggest pieces of evidence for the staging of the moon landing, so it’s obvious that there isn’t much else to go on besides that, which has been explained by scientists since it became a theory.

  5. I’ve seen a bit of this theory leak over to a documentary of the Stanley Kubrick film “The Shining” called “Room 237”. It is good when the people talking about the film actually have some point to their dialogue. It covers some of the imagery and messages behind the film and there are scenes where they talk about how the son character wears a rocket shirt and the word “Room No.” on the hotel keys can be switched to say MOON. I died so hard of laughter and wanted to know how this got into the film (and several other speakers).

  6. This is an interesting conspiracy and it leaves me with a lot of questions. Mainly though, do these people believe we ever went to the moon? If so when? What do they think changed to allow us to be able to actually do this rather than just filming a fake scene? Have we been to the moon yet? Do we have satellites? Has anyone been to the moon yet ? Where does NASA spend all their money?

  7. This was a great post!
    So many people still today believe that the moon landing was a hoax even though we have gone up a couple more times since then. Every piece of “evidence” the conspiracy theorists put forth those who know the landing was real combat it by providing evidence and an explanation for it but they still believe it is fake, which is why it is an extraordinary belief. Hopefully, one day, we will get everyone to believe the moon landing was real.

  8. Emily, I really enjoyed reading your blog post. I liked how you put into perspective of how many people did not believe it back then to how many people today still do not believe it ever happened. I also liked how you had many explanations to both sides, it was very thorough! Great post!

  9. Emily, I liked that you mention the media’s effect on making people more exposed to conspiracy theory. As people, especially the young, are more exposed to ”confusing media”, how could we do to help hoaxers realize the facts and reduce the effect of ”confirmation bias”? Also, how could our education improve to distinguish the facts and the present ”conspiracy theory”, especially ”biased” political news?

    • It’s so hard today to listen to news that isn’t biased in any way. Because of this there’s so many “facts” being spread around that people are just believing are true without hearing any truth behind it, all because their trusted news reporter said it was true. I definitely think that our education around the world needs to be changed to become non-biased but it is so hard to say how that will become possible! It is also really sad how more and more young people are being exposed to confusing media like you said and not knowing how to pick out fact from fiction.

  10. I liked how you talked about how the people who believe in this conspiracy theory just wrong understanding of perception. I think that its important to note how people should pay attention to the scientific evidence, and if people researched a little further on the topics presented by the media they would realize that this conspiracy theory is indeed incorrect.

    • I agree! so many people these days are too quick to believe something that they read on the internet instead of taking the time to find the actual facts on the matter. But when the moon landing happened, there wasn’t the internet so the theory was spread by word of mouth. I guess when your friend or family member whom you trust tells you something they believe in, then you believe it too. Maybe that’s why there was a greater amount of people who believed it back then, and because of the fact that the belief is not super relevant today so not many people pay attention to it.

  11. This one is one of my favorite conspiracies. I really like how you gave a background on some of the things that were going on in the united states during the time of the moon landing and how there might be some political reasons why people at the time would not believe it. But i am happy that there is so little people that believe this conspiracy today.

  12. I also did the moon landing being a hoax. It was incredible to me that this topic had to be done and people actually believe this. It is on the same tier of the flat earth theory for me in incredible dumb conspiracies. I enjoyed your background and factual information about the moon landing. I also enjoyed you including statistics on how many people currently believe it was a hoax. Thank you for your insight on the moon landing hoax!

  13. As a former research analyst at the Lunar Receiving Laboratory during the Apollo program (1969-1972), I have a Facebook page that debunks the “Apollo Moon Landings Hoax”:

    I am also a retired Technology Applications/STEM teacher (middle school), and it hurts me that this way of thinking (hoax) dilutes the STEM educational process in our schools.

  14. A favorite idea of mine concerning the “fake” moon landing, is the idea that all the footage was filmed at area 51. according to this idea, all the pictures of the flag and the moon and footprints was all shot in a studio set up in area 51 and that is area 51’s true purpose.

  15. Moon landings in 1969-72 were all staged, filmed in Groom Lake / Area 51. Now please don’t remove this statement for the fear that how did i find out about it .. lolzzz..

  16. Hello!
    This is a great conspiracy theory to chose! I think the moon landing was one of the greatest accomplishments during the time and for it to be questioned is a big deal. I think who ever pulled together the data to debunk the landing definitely gives some good ideas. Luckily though, logic is able to clarify maybe what was confused. I think it would be silly to fake the landing. Would all of our other space expeditions to faked as well? We have gained so much information about space, I find it hard to believe that all of this information is fabricated or possibly made up!!

  17. Well here is why I think America faked the moon landing…

    First.. its not hard to keep a secret. Every highly developed, High functioning military system nation has secrets… Secrets that never get out. So it’s not hard to do. And the people that know the most may not be the people in the forefront.

    Countries with Agencies like our own, can and will suppress whistle blowers.

    Next… Americans, and Russians went to the Moon.. so there is no hoax.
    We sent machines just as we do today.\

    The hoax is that put foot on the moon… That is what has not been done.
    So its easy to disprove the hoax if the hoax is challenging the wrong topic.

    if China makes it to the moon, and they will… and tries to land a human on the moon, they will try… that person or person will die… just like those that have attempted this before.

    Here is my simple proof that we did not got to the Moon. Or tech would have progressed my further along.

    Co-operation with other nations seeking the same goals would have don’t this mission
    Together… And we have not…and there is talk of another “Space Race”

    Man will land on the moon.. but it will have to be a collective effort.

    Finally if NASA did this back in the day… it would not take science to prove it.. nor woulf it take countless dramas and tv shows to disprove some hoax.

    If NASA made it to the moon’s surface all those many years ago. It should only take a simple 4 or 5 mins to prove it. Not with a reflective laser hitting a panel on the moon or replays of grainy video.

    If NASA made it up there we would still have regular visit to the surface with people work at the multinational base that would have been built in the 80’s and 90’s

  18. A little history and perspective are desperately needed in view of this topic.
    In short, Both happened. We have landed on the moon,
    a moon landing was filmed.
    what?.. Why? you say.
    It was the cold war. the war of ideaologies on a huge geopolitical scope. Russia was also gunning for the MOON, for space and the technology, for dominance.

    so we actually did succesfully land on the moon, but Kubrick was contacted and contracted, by the government, to film ‘a’ space landing as well.

    nnling the psychological war was as important as the physical space race.

    Some food for thought.

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