The United States celebrated the fortieth anniversary of the first landing in the summer of 2009. However, among all of this excitement, almost every news story about the anniversary had some skepticism about whether or not the moon landing actually happened.
This idea of a “fake moon-landing” is not something that came out a mere 40 years after the landing, there of course were some Americans that denied its occurrence when the first Apollo missions had just happened. But this small group of people appears to be growing as the Apollo story becomes more engrained in history. This group is a youth a movement that is too young to really remember what actually happened during the time of the Apollo, and furthermore, is a group of people who does not trust the government whatsoever. This group of people has had enough of other government lies, and from what they see on a myriad of Moon hoax websites, they feel as though they have no reason to believe it was not a lie. They perhaps do not understand science enough and do not have the proper critical thinking skills, and are therefore more vulnerable to believing such websites.
Much research has been conducted on people that really embrace these types of conspiracy theories, and it has been shown that it is mainly due to people simply feeling as though ‘power cannot be trusted’. Many people see such events as too closely tied to the political system and take this extremely to heart. In fact, when the first landings were reported, surveys showed than less than five percent of people were highly skeptical about it actually taking place. However, this number has increased significantly over time due to all kinds of conspiracy theorists.
A poll in 2004 showed that 27% of Americans between the ages of 18-24 years old had doubts that NASA really made it to the moon. And while doubt is not the same as complete denial, this inevitably shows a popular and growing trend among those that did not see it with their own eyes. Perhaps this should have been expected, and there are of course many other weird beliefs within society.
Harrison Schmitt, Apollo 17 astronaut explains that history, as well as the facts of science and technology simply cannot be denied, and that if people chose to not believe it, then he is sorry that their education was unsuccessful. These denials should of course not be taken seriously, we are living in a society where truth is constantly challenged. Even the media, in fact, especially the media has contributed to increasing these doubts, and this is what they are teaching today’s children to believe.
In 2001, Fox aired a special entitled: Conspiracy Theory: Did We Land On the Moon?, which changed things within this debate. They presented a conspiracy theory that had not been seen before, which was that since the United States so badly wanted to beat the Soviets in the 1960’s space discovering, that they faked all six Apollo missions. And the airing did not have any contradiction present. The show showed Moon landing deniers and got a great deal of response, with people telling them to ‘stick to cartoons’.
After the Fox program aired, NASA released a press release entitled ‘‘Apollo, Yes, We Did’’ in which they expressed that taking this topic as a debate is a complete insult to the thousands of people who worked for years to achieve this historical feat, and is even more insulting to those who lost their lives for space exploration.