The Moon-Landing Hoax: Did Man Really Walk on the Moon?
Rumors of a Conspiracy Started Early
Speculation that the moon landings were faked began circulating almost as soon as the Apollo 11 capsule splashed back down to Earth.
Bill Kaysing, author of We Never Went to the Moon: Americas 30 Billion Dollar Swindle, is often credited with being the father of the moon-landing conspiracy theories. A former writer and librarian at Rocketdyne, a major aerospace contractor, Kaysing was among the most vocal and visible hoax adherents from the publication of his book in 1976 until his death in 2005.
He was featured prominently in Conspiracy Theory: Did We Land on the Moon?, a 2001 film that presented the evidence skeptics claim as proof that the missions were staged. The show created a stir and is credited with reviving waning speculation that the landings were a hoax. Following the broadcast, NASA was bombarded with so many questions from the public that it was compelled to post an official rebuttal on its website.
On the program, Kaysing claimed that in the late 1950s, Rocketdyne conducted a feasibility study that concluded the probability of a successful trip to the moon by 1969 was only .0017 percent. He said this report made it clear that a lunar landing was virtually impossible.
On May 25th, 1961, President John F. Kennedy stated his belief that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth. And the end of the decade was looming. So conspiracy buffs say the United States, compelled by Kennedys self-imposed ticking clock, was forced to fake the landings in order to secure a key victory in the space race with the Soviet Union, thus achieving a major propaganda coup in the Cold War.
Other theorists claim the motivation was to draw attention away from the unpopular war raging in Vietnam, raise national pride and quell growing political unrest at home.
Wernher von Brauns place at the helm of NASAs space program at the time is reason enough to question the entire operation, many hoax adherents say. During World War II, Braun headed the German team of scientists who developed the V-2 ballistic missiles for the Nazis, and is thought by some film historians to be one of the real-life figures that inspired the title character from Stanley Kubricks classic cold war comedy Dr. Strangelove. The missiles, used against targets in Europe during the war, were allegedly built by forced labor.