Did We Land on the Moon?

Luke Wirth, Broadcast Journalism

President Biden recently announced a plan to add funding to NASA to send men back to the Moon. In relation to this, there are many conspiracy theories that we didn’t even land on the Moon at all, or that there are oddities in the data and media from the Moon landing. 


On July 20th, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first men in history to walk on the Moon. It was televised all across the world, and was a major victory for the United States and its space program. However, millions have questioned its legitimacy throughout the years. Whether it were claimed oddities with pictures and videos taken on the Moon, missing data in NASA’s archives, or claims that it was all filmed in a Hollywood basement, there are dozens of different theories that pertain to the Apollo 11 Moon landing. While many of these theories have been debunked, plenty still live on and millions of people around the world still are convinced that the Moon landings never happened. 


What do Madison High Schoolers believe? Via a poll taken on the puckboysproductions instagram, we were able to reach 36 Madison High students in which 24 voted yes that we did land on the Moon and 12 voted no. The percentages of this come out to a clean 2/3rds of students believing that we did indeed land on the Moon while 1/3rd of them believe that we did not. Now why is that? What motives would the government have to lie to the world? What are some of the more convincing theories that may have convinced some of the students here at the high school?


There are three main claimed motives by conspiracy theorists about why the US Federal Government would lie to the people. The first is that the United States was clearly behind the Soviet Union in the Space Race and wanted to get ahead and claim victory. The second is to secure NASA funding for the future and to keep its prestige as the administration had plenty of failures in the prior decade. The third theoretical motive for faking the landing is to take public interest away from the failing Vietnam War and provide a bit of national pride to the people of the United States. Now, all three of these theoretical motives have been debunked. The Space Race motive was debunked by Phil Plait, a hoax theory debunker, who states that the Soviets would’ve “called foul” if there was solid evidence that the landing was faked. The funding motive was debunked as NASA would not risk its entire future on faking a great achievement like landing on the Moon. Finally, the third was debunked as NASA was actually competing with the funding of the Vietnam War and wouldn’t risk its own funding by trying to pull a stunt like that.


The most popular theories against the Moon landing are oddities in pictures and video tapes as well as missing data and tapes in NASA’s archives. In some photos, crosshairs don’t match up and in some photos the quality is too good for it to be taken from the Moon with cameras from the 1960s. However, these claims have been debunked as some photos were edited by NASA to be clearer after they were recovered from the Moon and oddities in crosshairs would be common with pictures taken from space. The missing data and archives can be explained as regular housekeeping. The data that was missing was also not as important to the missions as conspiracy theorists claim. 


While there are passionate and almost convincing arguments for these theories out there, NASA’s evidence proves that Neil Armstrong did in fact take his “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” on the Moon on July 20th, 1969. 


Tyler Shannon & Luke Wirth