The moon landing conspiracy theories that refuse to go away

It stands as one of the greatest technological triumphs, a moment that science fiction became fact.
But even 50 years later there are still those who believe the Apollo 11 moon landing in 1969 was a hoax, an elaborate ruse by the US government to embarrass its Cold War nemesis the Soviet Union and to distract public attention from the mess that was the Vietnam War.
Conspiracy theorists have won fame and fortune over the years with claims ranging from the vaguely scientific to the patently absurd. And everyone from NASA to the TV show Mythbusters have shot them down.

Here are some of the top moon landing conspiracy theories, and why you should not believe them:
AREA 51
FICTION: All six of missions that landed men on the moon were faked, filmed on sound stages built at the US military's top secret base
Area 51
in the Nevada Desert using slow motion techniques and cunningly camouflaged wires to float the astronauts as if they were in low gravity.  The hoax supposedly had Hollywood's backing with Disney on board, sci-fi author Arthur C. Clarke writing the script and 2001: A Space Odyssey filmmaker Stanley Kubrick directing. This idea was kicked along by the 1978 movie Capricorn One about a faked Mars landing.
FACT: NASA denies the claim and every other credible scientist who has checked backs it up. Scientific evidence includes rocks samples the astronauts brought back that could not be from Earth, expert analysis of miles of
film footage
and thousands of photos, and countless reams of documents.
STARLESS SKY
FICTION: None of the photographs taken while Neil Armstrong and his crewmates were on the surface of the moon surface show stars in the sky, raising claims the key detail was edited because astronomers would be able to expose the hoax by comparing the position of the moon and the stars.
FACT: The stars are there but they are too faint to see. The landings happened during the lunar daytime, not on the dark side of the moon, and the camera was set to capture as much detail of the foreground as possible, not the background.

FLUTTERING FLAG
FICTION: One of the most iconic photos from the Apollo 11 mission shows astronaut Buzz Aldrin standing beside an US flag as it appears to flutter in the breeze. But wait, there's no breeze in the airless vacuum of space!
FACT: The flag was attached to an inverted L-shaped pole so that when Aldrin planted it in the surface it would hang parallel to the ground in the airless environment. The action of screwing the pole into the ground set the loose corner of the flag swinging in motion and because of the low atmosphere, the motion just kept going. Crinkles in the cloth that add to the impression of fluttering were simply creases from the flag being tightly folded during the flight.

THE FOOTPRINT
FICTION: Another iconic image shows the footprint of one of the astronauts perfectly preserved in the surface as if in thick mud, despite there being a near total absence of moisture on the moon's surface.
FACT: The
astronauts
described the surface of the moon as a fine powder 'like talcum' that their feet and equipment sank into and left a clear impression. With no wind to disturb them, it is no surprise the prints were perfectly preserved.

MYSTERY CAMERAMAN
FICTION: The historic moment Neil Armstrong stepped off the lunar module onto the surface was filmed from outside the space ship, so he could not be the first man on the moon.
FACT: Armstrong pulled a cable that swung a camera out from the side of the lunar module to film the big moment. He could actually be heard on radio transmissions asking mission control if the camera was delivering a good picture before proceeding with his final 'one small step for man'.

BY THE LETTER
FICTION: A widely published photo of the moon surface appears to show a rock on the ground marked with the letter C, in a method movie stage hands were known to use to keep track of their props on set.
FACT: Just one print of the image shows the C, meaning it is not on the original negative and is likely a stray hair or other imperfection that has made its way onto on that final print.
COKE BOTTLE
FICTION: According to one book, a
Perth
woman given the pseudonym Una Ronald saw a coke bottle kicked across the screen as she watched the live TV broadcast of moon landing, something the clearly could not be there if the landing was real.
FACT: No other person among millions who watched the broadcast around the world reported seeing the bottle. The story was also full of other inconsistencies, such as that Ms Ronald 'stayed up late' to watch the landing – which happened mid-morning Perth time.

© Nine Digital Pty Ltd 2019
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