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Was the Moon Landing a Hoax?

Flyby News
Apollo 11

About a week ago, we celebrated the forty-fifth anniversary of Apollo 11, which marked the first landing of men on the moon. Or did we? For those of us old enough to remember, it marks one of the most memorable events in our lives. But was it just a hoax? In spite of the fact that over a billion people watched the mighty Saturn V rocket lift off, saw the television broadcasts of the three astronauts en route en route to and from the surface of the moon, and watched the splashdown of the command module in the ocean, between 15 and 20 of people believe that it never happened, that it was somehow staged. Are these people just nuts and kooks, or could they have a valid point?
Personally, I believe that the moon landings did happen, because it would have been nearly as hard to fake them as to actually go to the moon. But it is easy to see why many people are skeptical. If it was a hoax, it wouldn't be the first time that the American government lied to the American people. Just half a decade before the Apollo 11 mission, the assassination of President Kennedy, who had established the goal of landing a man on the moon, caused many people to become suspicious of the government, particularly when it began to come out that what was supposed to have happened wasn't what actually happened. The long war in Vietnam, which nearly split the country in two and set generation against generation, further contributed to this sense of mistrust, as did, in subsequent years, the Watergate scandal and the lies that led to the war in Iraq. Is it any wonder that some people might come to believe that anything the government was a lie, even when it may have been the truth. We do know that the space race between this country and the Soviet Union became the focal point over which way of life, ours or theirs, was best, and it is possible to imagine that we would do anything to prove that ours was indeed the best, even if it meant staging the moon landing like 2001: A Space Odyssey or some other movie, and saying it really happened.
Whatever the truth actually is, this controversy reminds me of an episode in the old science fiction series The Outer Limits. It was set in the early-to-mid sixties, the same time period we are talking about. As was really the case, the world was deeply divided, nation against nation and ideology versus ideology. Nuclear war seemed a real possibility. A group of scientists believed that the only way to prevent this was to manufacture a threat that was even more frightening than war, so they took a test pilot and turned him into a frightening-looking alien, believing that the nations of the world would be so frightened by this external threat that they would come together rather then continue to fight among themselves. In the end it didn't work, because one cannot fight fear with fear, one can only fight fear with hope. Regardless of what happened or didn't happen forty-five years ago, one can only hope that we won't need a threat from outer space, real or imagined, in order to finally live together in peace here on earth.

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