no stars in the background..fake!

6% of Americans believe that the Moon Landing was faked, while another 5% are undecided—according to a poll by Gallup in 2001. Then again, since only 40% of Americans believe in evolution, I guess that doesn’t really matter.

Sadly, I used to doubt that the moon landing was real too. I was still in high school, and during that rebellious period it was almost a pre-requisite to believe in cospiracy theories.

It was all too easy to believe that in order to win the Space Race from the then reigning Soviet Union, the USA faked a moon landing by staging and filming it in an undisclosed location (most probably the infamous Area 51). The proponents of the hoax then put out a number of so-called proofs such as the waving American flag and the absence of stars in the background.

Ray Villard, from the Discovery Channel had posted an article in the ongoing campaign to once and for all squash the notion of a fake landing. His rebuttals are clear, and by the end of the article, only the most die-hard conspiracy theorists will still believe in the hoax.

He hit the mark on the complexity of staging a believable landing:

The hours of astronaut moonwalk video are far too complex to be faked with comparatively stone-age 1960s special effects technology. For example, all the effects in the 1968 landmark film 2001:A Space Odyssey required complex, time consuming, and cumbersome optical printing techniques costing the equivalent of $54 million today. The Apollo billions of dollars would have to have been spent on building a time machine to bring back from the 21st century an image rendering supercomputer and powerful animation software – not to mention kidnapping a computer animation artist from the future.

On the waving flag:

Finally, the American flag doesn’t wave because a fan on the set is blowing! The flag appears to wave after an astronaut touches the pole. The vibration takes more time to dampen out than on Earth because the flag material is moving without air resistance in a vacuum and in 1/6th the pull of gravity.

With these kind of scientific explanations, it’s a wonder if anyone would still cling to the notion of hoax.

Nevertheless, a more amusing and famous rumour about the moon landing is that Neil Armstrong heard the azan (Muslim prayer call) while he was on moon, and decided to convert to Islam right after that. Oh, how proud the kids must feel when their ustazs mentioned this almost miraculous trivia!

Can somebody please tell these ustazs that this didn’t happen at all?