Was the moon landing real or faked?
DANNY CLAYTON: I'm Danny Clayton. And this is "Conspiracies Unpacked." And it's time to take a look at the moon. Now there are loads of different conspiracies based around Earth's only natural satellite, that the moon isn't real, or that maybe there's a Nazi war base built on the moon.
But one of the most popular-- in fact, 6% of Americans believe-- is that humans never landed on the moon, and that the Apollo 11 mission was faked. Some people think that Stanley Kubrick filmed it in Hollywood, and that Area 51 could also be a giant secret film studio. Now to break this down for us, we have futurist Dr. Richard Hames. Dr. Richard, why do so many people suspect the moon landing was faked?
RICHARD HAMES: I think because it seems so improbable that we could do something like that then. It seems very unlikely. And there are a number of reasons why NASA would want to fake a moon landing. There would be three major ones probably.
One would be a distraction that the government want-- would want away from the commitment to the Vietnam War, which was becoming troubling at the time. Another was to ensure funding, ongoing funding for NASA that they would actually keep to their commitments of getting to the moon and back, which Kennedy wanted. And the third was really to do with the space race and the fact that they would-- in terms of the space race with the Russians of the Soviet Union, they would want to stay ahead at least in the minds of everybody.
DANNY CLAYTON: A major point for the conspiracy theorists is that the moon landing footage was faked. And there's an overwhelming amount of footage showing these astronauts jumping around on the moon. So what were they saying about the footage? Why were they saying that this was fake?
RICHARD HAMES: Well, they're claiming that footage was slowed down. And it doesn't appear to be the kind of thing that you could capture on the moon in those conditions. Professional filmmakers refute that, rebuke it absolutely, and say that it would be easier to go to the moon and do what was done than to fake it with the technology they had at the time particularly.
DANNY CLAYTON: So how many employees were used to get these guys to the moon? I mean, do you think that it's possible for that many people working at NASA to keep a secret of this magnitude?
RICHARD HAMES: Well, that's a good question, isn't it? Because all told, if you count more than the astronauts and the crews and everyone at NASA and all the subsidiaries involved, you're talking about 400,000 people who would have to keep a secret. And, you know, that's long odds.
DANNY CLAYTON: And what other bits of evidence did NASA produce to prove that the moon landing wasn't faked?
RICHARD HAMES: Well, the most recent in the early 2000s were photographs from the orbiting cameras around the Apollo landings proving quite conclusively. There were footprints, the five flags planted there and one on the ground, but they're still there. I mean, there's evidence that the moon landing was real.
DANNY CLAYTON: So when we take all of that information we put it together, how plausible do we think it is that we could have faked the moon landing?
RICHARD HAMES: Well, the film technology available at the time couldn't have faked the moon landing. There were obvious reasons why the government would want to lie if it could, to distract from Vietnam War, et cetera, et cetera. But, generally speaking, keeping 400,000 people silent and keeping a secret would have been, I would imagine, almost impossible.
DANNY CLAYTON: It's safe to say that we landed on the moon, Richard?
RICHARD HAMES: Yeah, absolutely. We landed on the moon, Danny.
DANNY CLAYTON: OK, so did we fake the moon landing? Not very plausible. This is "Conspiracies Unpacked."