The Moon Landing: Fake Movie Set or the Real Deal?

By: Lauren Nowakowski

We have all heard the phrase, “One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind,” but what if that one small step didn’t actually happen? Some believe that the astronauts did not actually land on the moon, but simply set up and filmed a fake moon landing at a studio on earth. This belief that the moon landings were fake has been around since the first moon landings happened in the late 60’s and early 70’s, but it has become even more prominent since the internet. When typing in to google “Was the moon landing fake?” you get 20,900,00 results. This huge quantity of information demonstrates just how much there is out there covering the topic of a faked moon landing. But what really seemed to have sparked the fire of this conspiracy theory was a television special on Fox in 2001 called, “Conspiracy Theory: Did We Land on the Moon” (Fuller)? The people who tend to believe that the moon landing was faked think it was because the United States wanted to prove that it had better space technology than the Soviet Union and wanted to do this without spending incredible amounts of money to actually send people to space (Fuller). This belief is important and extraordinary because supporters of this theory are going against all logic and evidence that is out there.

The first moon landing happened in July of 1969. Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon at exactly 4:18 p.m. EDT. After taking the first steps they spent a few hours taking photographs of what they could see and collecting samples from the surface. While on the surface they planted an American flag. A key point to this story is how bad President John F. Kennedy wanted to land on the moon, even announcing a goal to land on the moon by the end of the 1960’s (1969 Moon Landing). This was during an era known as the Cold War. The United States was not as advanced as the Soviet Union in terms of space, which led to an intense race to be the first to put a man on the moon (1969 Moon Landing). This is a point that believers in the “faked” moon landing are fascinated with.

Believers of this theory claim to have huge amounts of “evidence” to support their claim. First, believers state that there are shadows on the moon in photos taken during the moon landing. According to them, there are not supposed to be any shadows in Space. Next, they point at the image of the American flag appearing to “flutter” in the wind. They argue that there is no wind on the moon, therefore the American flag should not be fluttering at all. Lastly, they argue that the images of the astronauts driving the Rover as proof that the moon landing was faked. Even with all of this “evidence”, people who believe that the moon landing did in fact happen have points to refute each claim the faked moon landing believers have. First, they counter that there can be shadows on the moon because the sun is not the only source of light there, and that the moon itself can reflect its own light. When it reflects its own light, it can create shadows on the surface. Second, they state that objects on the moon, “don’t stop moving as fast as they do on earth” (The Moon Landing Hoax Conspiracy). The flag is moving like that because it has been disturbed, not because of wind. Evidence also exists that the astronauts driving the rover does not prove the moon landing as a hoax, because the moon does not produce dust. Dust on the moon returns right back to the surface, which is something we would not be able to control and create in a movie on earth during that time period (1969). Some of the most solid evidence that the moon landing did actually happen comes from pieces of the moon that we have to study. By scientifically dating these rocks you can see that they are 4.5 billion years old, which is older than anything dated on earth (Patel). Even though believers in the moon landing have logical arguments for all of the moon landing hoax believers, their beliefs persist.

There are many cognitive contributions that can be seen to explain the belief system of these people and the moon landing hoax. A definite misinterpretation of evidence is at play in this theory, because none of their proof holds any semblance of truth. As stated by Jan-Willem van Prooijen, “conspiracy theories help us to understand the unknown whenever things happen that are fearful or unexpected” (Svoboda). People who believe that the moon landing was a hoax fall prey to confirmation bias. They only look for evidence that confirms their theory. In the moon landing case, they look at the “waving” flag, shadows, and other images as evidence, even though each of these can actually be seen as disconfirming the moon landing hoax. These believers also partake in availability error when they focus on the fact that JFK wanted to beat the Soviet Union to the moon and use that strong desire of JFK’s to build up their belief, and to even make their confirmation bias worse. Conspiracy theories are made by people who wish to reject what is already known, and to go against the stream of common belief (Svoboda). Being a believer in a conspiracy theory can make you feel like you are in an exclusive club, and that can be difficult to give up. Even though there is knowledge out there to help get people out of conspiracy theories, it is tough, and the mind can have a hard time turning around.

The social state when this theory came to light was tense. The United States and Russia were in the Cold War, and both wanted to be the first to put a man on the moon. The United States, even though seemingly far behind the Soviet Union, were the ones to accomplish this feat. This tense political setting is what began guiding people to believe the theory that the moon landing could have been a giant hoax. People just want to understand what is going on around them, and sometimes this can lead to beliefs in outlandish conspiracies. Conspiracy theories also have a high tolerance for contradiction, and also offer ego boosts (Svoboda). This ego boost and choice to ignore opposing evidence allows them to sustain their beliefs, and even allow them to grow. For this reason, there are many believers of the hoax moon landing theory everywhere. Even when proof exists that contradicts and even disproves a theory, conspiracy theorists can still find ways to go around the proof and continue a belief in a faulty idea.

In conclusion, the moon landing brings a lot of strong opinions from both the people who believe in the moon landing, and those who think it is a hoax. Buzz Aldrin even once punched a man who accused him of not actually landing on the moon (Svoboda). This physical violence shows how fed up people can become on both sides. Those who believe the moon landing did happen can become very upset when people who believe in the moon hoax ignore all logical evidence. On the other hand, those who believe in a hoax moon landing can become aggravated and strengthen their own beliefs when they do not hear/see what they want to hear. All in all, we can agree that the moon landing did in fact happen, and that by arguing that it didn’t we aren’t achieving anything. There is too much evidence in support of the moon landing. If you still don’t believe, then maybe go see a test the samples we have from the moon. If they aren’t from the earth, and you do not believe they are from the moon then where are they from?



Fuller, John. “Why Do Some People Believe the Moon Landings Were a Hoax?” HowStuffWorks Science, HowStuffWorks, 8 Mar. 2018,



Svoboda, Elizabeth. “Why Do People Believe the Moon Landing Hoax or Other Conspiracy Theories?” The Washington Post, WP Company, 20 July 2018,


Dunbar, Brian. “July 20, 1969: One Giant Leap for Mankind.” NASA, NASA, 19 Feb. 2015,


Editors, “1969 Moon Landing.”, A&E Television Networks, 23 Aug. 2018,


“The Moon Landing Hoax Conspiracy.” Moon Landing Hoax Conspiracy,


Patel, Neel V. “7 Easy Ways You Can Tell for Yourself That the Moon Landing Really Happened.” Popular Science, 10 Dec. 2018,



23 thoughts on “The Moon Landing: Fake Movie Set or the Real Deal?

  1. I personally have never doubted the theory that Neil Armstrong was the first man to step on the surface of the moon. But since I started noticing that few believe that this never actually happened, I started reading the arguments made by these people. Some people in support of this theory are strongly opiated people who are making good arguments. Unfortunately I just can’t get myself to wrap my head around this.

  2. I wonder how much influence political affiliation (particularly fringe) has on this specific extraordinary belief. Being on the fringe politically tends to go along with extraordinary beliefs, but this one is interesting since the moon landing is so inextricably tied to concepts of Western innovation and American exceptionalism. Does this extraordinary belief get much traction outside of the United States, or is this pretty much only within America?

  3. I love reading moon landing theories. This belief really splits my friend groups as some of my friends are convinced that the landing was fake. I never doubted that it was real growing up, but recently all the evidence people have been presenting has caused me to think about it. I’m still not sure where I stand, although I lean towards believing that it was real.

  4. I had to watch a documentary for a class on the argument that the moon landing is fake, one example of evidence most cited were the pictures that were taken. The evidence was that crosshair marks, or the little, thin black plus sign that appears on an old photograph, would be partially covered by an object in the picture. I thought this was certainly interesting, but not enough to convicne that the entire operation was a hoax.

    • I believe I watched that documentary too at some point, or at least a very similar one, as I remember them discussing the crosshair marks. I found it interesting to think about, but definitely not compelling enough to make me buy into the moon landing hoax.

  5. This theory reminds me of the alien architects theory where people doubt the capabilities of humans. This theory that the entire event was a hoax is only backed by minuscule things such as lighting and flag movement. In my opinion, the only argument that would be convincing enough to believe such a theory is if an astrophysicist showed mathematical calculations that proved that leaving the atmosphere is too difficult. Credibility when making such claims is so important.

  6. This theory has been around for what seems like forever. I personally have people in my life who swear the moon landing was fake. I however am unsure. The evidence regarding the photo that was taken does make alot of valid points, thus making me second guess it. The relationship between the United states and Russia has always been very complicated and competitive at times. So this would make since as to why the US “faked” the moon landing. I also find it interesting that for so many decades the exploration of space and NASA was very important to our country, but now we have cut funding.

  7. I love love loveee this conspiracy because it toys with the idea of Hollywood special effects being able to create something that could trick the world. It really makes you question–whether you believe the hype around the conspiracy or not–whether our own technologies and cinematography have the abilities to trick us into thinking something that really never happened. It kinda eats away at you…

  8. One of the things I’ve always found interesting about the moon landing hoax is that, if it were really a hoax, don’t you think the Russians would’ve found evidence by now? Having the power to deny one of the greatest scientific achievements of all time would’ve been HUGELY powerful propaganda for the USSR.

    • I definitely agree. If the moon landing was actually faked, Russia would have been all over it. There has always been a power struggle between the US and Russia, and if they were able to prove that we “lied” they would play that until the end of time!

  9. I grew up with my dad as one of the strongest believers in this conspiracy theories. Since my dad was an immigrant to the United States, he was tested on USA history, past and present. He has always told me that in the pictures of the moon landing, the flag is moving. The evidence in that would be their is no air to blow the flag to get it to move. Other ideas that helped fuel the theory were our competition with Soviet Union to be the best.

  10. It really draws my eyes when I see The Landing Moon is fake. I never think about that before and it does make sense. I don’t know much about the moon, but these arguments make me start to doubt. The photo and video can be easily made will the computer and the movie props like the other faked monster photograph. But I still more like to believe that landing Moon is real since many scientists have made the equation and claims that landing Moon is possible.

  11. If the moon landing was faked and the U.S. was given big recognition for having the first man on the moon. Wouldn’t Russia have outed the U.S. when they went to moon? I can see why the race between them sees a bit odd on how fast the U.S. was able to send a man to the moon but if the moon landing was fake. Why does it matter now? We have been to moon more than once. Even if it did matter now because people wanted to prove how the government does these things. Things such as the flag moving and such, why not just make a new video? I don’t know much about technology then but I don’t think they must’ve been that advanced to be able to pull this off. I actually went to go see a video because the flag moving did seem a bit suspicious but the flag just abruptly stopped when the astronaut stop touching it. I feel like we should’ve seen a second of movement even if the wind was stopped.

  12. I never was super involved in this conspiracy theory but I do believe that we actually went to the moon. I can understand why these explanations would convince someone to think otherwise, though. Today I don’t think this conspiracy holds up as much because we have been to the moon several other times. I think that we would see more inconsistencies between the moon “set” or picture background compared to the images we see of the moon today. For someone who has never been to the moon I feel as though it would be very hard to completely and accurately represent such a scene.

  13. If the moon landing were truly a hoax, why would NASA spend quite literally hundreds of billions of dollars on funding a lie? It does not seem the least bit sensible to me. What does NASA really have to gain by lying about the moon landing? It theoretically would have to be worth more than the cost they sunk into creating such an elaborate lie, which is hundreds of billions of cold, hard stacks.

  14. This conspiracy really seems credible at some degree. But my question is such belief always overestimate the power of U.S government. Such a historical moment must involve unnumbered people which is hard to cover the lie. But as a fun hypothesis, this belief is so good for making movies or novels.

  15. The moon landing conspiracy has already existed for a long time and people still argue about it. For me, the biggest causation of this might be people’s lack of knowledge about universe environment. After all, even the professionals still not full understand how things work in space, it’s hard to imagine regular people could have more sufficient data than them. Also, thinking the video we saw during class time, I think it’s really rude to ask the person so aggressively.

  16. I found this post to be very interesting because we have firsthand proof that we landed on the moon, and yet, there are still so many people out there that argue that we haven’t. Like the blog already reflected on, NASA sent Buzz, Neil, and Michael to the moon in 1969 and one of their tasks was to bring evidence from the moon back to Earth! That to me should be evidence enough for the landing there. I feel like NASA should just release the plans of the mission and all the firsthand evidence to the public! Like maybe in the form of a museum setting (if they haven’t already). Other than this, I found the argument that there shouldn’t be shadows in space to be WILD…. It’s very widely known that the sun is giving off light, and depending on how far away a planet is away from the sun determines overall how hot or cold that planet is on its surface. Also, shadows don’t always have to be projected when the sun is out! The angle of the sun determines if and when there is a shadow.. If the Sun is perceived to be right above us, then the light emitted from the sun is traveling straight down on the surface and there is no shadow (90 degrees). But if the sun is at an angle that’s considered obtuse or acute, then there is a better chance that a shadow will be cast. When there is light, there will always be a shadow. Even in space!! Thank you for your post.

  17. Hello!
    Great topic! I think its amazing that people out there believe that one of America’s biggest accomplishments at the time didn’t happen. I think when you have a skeptical mind though or may be mistrusting over government, you may try and piece together a story. You gave good back up information for the claims skeptics made that the landing was fake which was interesting! I think its interesting when the information is there but people still don’t want to believe in history. I think if we were never able to land on the moon, we wouldn’t have come how far we are today with space!!

  18. I think this is one conspiracy where there is a lot of controversy about. And the amount of people believing in it is actually greater than usual for conspiracy theories. I even heard or read somewhere that they admitted that the actual footage of the moon landing is fake because actual footage was lost in the process. But I agree there are so many strong opinions about it, that sometimes can even start arguments between people

  19. In my blog post I wrote about Area 51 and how some believe that is where the moon landing was filmed. I think it is so extraordinary that we were able to land on the moon! Honestly people who believe it was a hoax are missing out on being amazed by just how cool our world is.

  20. I like the question you left at the end. How could people defend their theory when they actually find out the rocks were not from the earth? Probably push the evidence to the side and only focus on the evidence that supports their belief. I know many people who believe that the moon landing was faked just because the flag was moving. There are very strong arguments on both side of this theory and you presented them very nicely. People will always believe what they want but they really need to understand how baised their opinions are.

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