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50 Years Ago: Celebrating the 400,000+ people who helped NASA fake the moon landing

50 years ago on July 20th, 1969, humans stepped foot on the surface of the moon for the very first time with the Apollo 11 mission. It was a remarkable achievement that gave the United States victory in the Space Race, and solidified NASA’s role as a leader in space exploration.

The Apollo program was an incredible time of space innovation and development. It used innovations spawned from the worst parts of humanity to create some of the most incredible things we’ve ever done. (You may also enjoy reading: Meet JoAnn Morgan: the only woman inside the control room for Apollo 11)

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NASA has sent humans back to the moon five times since July of 1969, with the most recent landing occurring on December 11, 1972.

The last words humans ever spoke on the moon were spoken by Apollo 17 Commander Gene Cernan:

As I take man’s last step from the surface, back home for some time to come (but we believe not too long into the future), I’d like to just say what I believe history will record: That America’s challenge of today has forged man’s destiny of tomorrow. And, as we leave the Moon at Taurus-Littrow, we leave as we came and, God willing, as we shall return: with peace and hope for all mankind.

Technically, the real final words were probably “Now, let’s get off. Forget the camera,” just before the lander launched to rejoin astronaut Ronald Evans, who was orbiting the moon in the Apollo capsule. I guess it’s not quite as inspiring or existential as the recording, though.

But, as the Skeptical Meme Society pointed out to us last year, there are some “woke” people who know the actual truth:

NASA has lied to us for five decades – NASA faked the moon landings.

Despite having actual pictures of the landing sites, showing rover tracks, astronaut footpaths, and equipment left on the moon, there are still people who deny that NASA actually landed on the moon.

Above: the landing site for Apollo 17 as captured by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter

Even if you ignore the overwhelming amount of evidence from NASA that supports the fact that they landed humans on the moon six times, many third parties have verified it, and now there is even research into conspiracy theories that supports the fact that we landed on the moon.

Buzz Aldrin, the second person to ever walk on the moon, doesn’t think highly of moon landing conspiracy theorists:

I love the headline they put on that video, and that’s because:

Research just doesn’t support conspiracy theorists.

A study published by PLoS One in March 2016 examined the likelihood of four common conspiracy theories being kept a secret. The study looked at the moon landing conspiracy, the climate change conspiracy, the vaccine conspiracy, and the cancer cure conspiracy. The study looked at the total amount of people involved in each conspiracy, and what their projected ability would be to shut up about it.

They found that 411,000 people would be complicit in the moon landing conspiracy, 405,000 in the climate change conspiracy, 22,000 in the vaccination conspiracy, and 714,000 in the cancer cure conspiracy.

Conspiracy-theory-involvement
And I have enough trouble just getting my kids to agree on dinner.

The study found that, for everyone that would be involved, the probability of failure to keep the moon landing and climate change conspiracies a secret reached 1 (meaning 100% chance of failure) after only 3.7 years.  For the cancer cure and vaccine conspiracies, the cat would get out of the bag after just under 3.2 years.

The “3.2 years” figure includes all parties involved- the CDC, WHO, and vaccine manufacturers. So the study also looked into the probability of just the CDC/WHO being able to keep a lid on the conspiracy as well. They found that it would fail after about 35 years. For reference, the first vaccine was created by Edward Jenner in 1796, meaning that the vaccine conspiracy should have crumbled at a minimum of 6 times by now.

Spoiler alert: there’s no conspiracy.

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Read next: Meet JoAnn Morgan: the only woman inside the control room for Apollo 11

Portions of this article were previously published.

Written by Dan Broadbent

Science Enthusiast. Atheist. Lover of cats.

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Meet JoAnn Morgan: the only woman inside the control room for Apollo 11

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