Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I don't know why people cling to the belief that the moon landing was a hoax.

Forty years ago yesterday, humans landed on the moon. In Norfolk, Virginia, my sister Kathy and I were three years old; our sisters Peggy and Susan were not quite eight months old. As best I remember, Dad wasn't home -- he was on a ship somewhere in the Caribbean, or maybe had already started work at a new job at the Pentagon. Mom was home alone with the four of us, and hugely pregnant with what would be our brother Ed.

Mom got Kathy and me out of bed to watch the black-and-white TV in her bedroom. I remember almost nothing about it, except standing in front of the television and hearing Mom say, "You have to remember this."

It didn't look real, but if the man on TV said it was the moon, it was the moon. What was much more vivid and real to me was four days later, when we watched the USS Hornet recover the landing capsule. We knew about ships like that; in fact, our dad's ship, the USS Austin, was part of the space recovery team four months later (although by that time, Dad was already on shore duty in Washington).

Even at three, I knew that we were part of the Navy, and that the Navy was part of the space program. I feel that sense of wonder and pride to this day.

Which is why I cannot understand or even really be civil to that small minority of people who continue to insist that the Apollo program was an elaborate hoax. Okay, maybe an army of bureaucrats and military types could have staged such a hoax one time; but why would anyone go through those motions six times, especially after the first Apollo mission killed three astronauts?

This brilliant website debunks the conspiracy theories point-by-point, and I recommend it to anyone foolish enough to try to argue with the Moon landing deniers.

In the meantime, I love the idea of starting a Mars program in earnest. It's a big universe ...

13 comments:

Anna said...

I didn't realize that the anniversary was yesterday! How funny - Tarren and I watched Ron Howard's documentary In the Shadow of the Moon last night. We got it through Netflix and it's been sitting on our TV for at least a month. And last night we were inexplicably draw to watch it. I must have heard something in my travels yesterday that mentioned it but my brain is so scrambled by my days with small children that I didn't immediately recognize it!

Ed Lamb said...

"What"? I don't get a "who" for the person I'd become? Sheesh.

AnswerGirl said...

You know I wavered on that, Ed. At the time, we didn't know you were anything but a big bulge; you became a "who," but were not a "who" to us at the time. Sorry!

AnswerGirl said...

In fact, "what" you were at the time was the reason we could not sit on Mom's lap...

Claire said...

Zach and I have been watching (in his case, rewatching) The West Wing this summer, and appropriately, one of the episodes we watched last night was "Galileo". I know NASA can be a big ol money-suck, but there's something wonderful about space exploration.

Tom Ehrenfeld said...

Umm, first of all, wouldn't it simply be that your Mom was pregnant with Ed, plain and simple?

And, gosh you really believe it was the moon because the man on the tv said so? I heard a lot of people on the TV say a lot of things about Michael Jackson at his televised memorial service, but I know a bit better.

But yah, having said that, this really is an odd cult. I always think of these folks as quite willfully deluded, and more like Civil War re-enactors or other some form of fanatic.

Anonymous said...

My grandmother always said the moon landing was a fake, though she couldn't ever give me a good reason for why the government would do such an elaborate hoax.

Ms. Lamb, you bring up a good point when you say that maybe once we'd fake such an event, but six times??!!

Richard B.

Ed Lamb said...

No real offense taken, Clair. It's that the whole "who/that" usage issue is one of my petest peeves. I've lost this battle, as so often happens.

AnswerGirl said...

I'm with you on the who/that issue, as you know.

eviljwinter said...

Some people actually believed that Capricorn One was a documentary.

Let's debunk that one, shall we?

OJ Simpson played an astronaut, and mission control looked like it had been stuffed into a darkened conference room of a local Holiday Inn.

AnswerGirl said...

Silly ... everyone knows that PLANET OF THE APES was the documentary.

norby said...

Even the Mythbusters have proved that it is not possible for the films to be a hoax. They were not able to recreate the shadows thrown Armstrong as he stepped onto the moon, the footprints left, etc. using all of the methods that conspiracy theorists claim were used to fake the landing.

If Jamie and Adam say it's so, then it must be!

AnswerGirl said...

It turns out that someone's just written a book about the HORNET's role in recovering the lunar module. I'd love to read it. Details here: http://www.mercurynews.com/alamedacounty/ci_12902727