Conspiracy theorists still trying to debunk moon landing

Moon EDUARDO MUNOZ / REUTERS

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It’s been 50 years since man first set foot on the moon, and conspiracy theorists to this day still insist the Apollo 11 moon landing never happened. Never mind the fact that scientific technology has progressed immeasurably during the past half-century and has debunked every one of the theorists’ claims.

I suppose it gives us something to talk about all these years later, and maybe it’s even the impetus for a talked-about return to the moon in 2024.

These conspiracy theories contributed to the plot of the late 1970s movie Capricorn One, which was about the first manned mission to Mars…only the whole thing was faked and three innocent astronauts were subsequently hunted down by government agents once the hoax got really out of hand. I won’t spoil the movie beyond that, and I highly recommend it to anyone curious enough to see it – even if one of the stars is O.J. Simpson.

I remember two distinct things about the Apollo 11 moon landing when it happened. One was watching CBS news anchor Walter Cronkite revealing his human side, live on the air, when Neil Armstrong announced, “The Eagle has landed.” Cronkite removed his glasses and seemed momentarily overwhelmed and speechless upon describing for viewers that important piece of history being made.

I also remember one of our neighbours setting out a telescope in his backyard and pointing it to the moon, hoping to see history unfold through his lens. Even as a 10-year-old, I knew there was no possible way he would be able to see anything. This was a grown man who only succeeded in embarrassing himself that day.

There were subsequent Apollo moon missions in the years to follow, but none was able to capture the same level of interest, except for the return to Earth of the Apollo 13 capsule after informing mission control in Houston that it had a problem. Aside from that hiccup, all liftoffs and splashdowns were pretty routine. In fact, they became so lacklustre that the major television networks didn’t bother to provide any further live news coverage of them.

It’s been a long time since a human being stepped on the moon’s surface. It’s unfortunate that such monumental achievements continue to be dragged through the mud by these ongoing conspiracy theories. In recent years, I’ve heard a couple of bizarre things about the moon and Earth, coming from seemingly intelligent people.

One was adamant the moon is only a projection in the sky by alien beings. This individual is clearly off his rocker. Another individual – who incredibly has many, many supporters throughout the world – is insistent the Earth is flat. These people must have flunked geography and science during their high school years.

The only shame associated with the 50th anniversary of the first manned moon landing is that the first man on the moon wasn’t around to celebrate the occasion with his still-living shipmates. I have yet to see the biopic film First Man that chronicles Armstrong’s journey to the moon, but I’m suddenly anxious to see it.

Mike Jiggens is a Delhi resident

 

 

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