Buzz Adrin salutes American Flag
Conspiracy theorists suggested that NASA asked Stanley Kubrick, the director of 2001: A Space Odessey a year prior, to direct the ‘fake’ lunar landings. They have no problems with subsequent landings, but Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin’s moon walk was–and still is–a lie to them.
They say the U.S. government, desparate to beat the Russians, faked the lunar landings; Saturn V rocket with Collins, Armstrong and Aldrin was lunched but they were immediately transferred into a landing module, and they acted out their mission on a secret film set, located either in the Hollywood Hills or in Area 51. With the photos and videos of the Apollo missions only available through NASA, there’s no independent verification that the lunar landings were anything but a hoax. NASA’s losing and careless guardianship of those tapes didn’t help either.
Conspiracy aficionados pointed the above instance of Aldrin planting a waving American flag on the moon as the smoking gun. The flag’s movement, they say, clearly shows the presence of wind, which is impossible in the vacuum. NASA says that Aldrin was twisting the flag pole to get the moon soil, which caused the wire-framed flag to move. In above picture, the Lunar Module (LM) is on the left, and the footprints of the astronauts are clearly visible in the soil of the moon. Astronaut Neil A. Armstrong, commander, took this picture with a 70mm Hasselblad lunar surface camera.
Astronauts have brought back hundreds of independently verified moon rocks, but theorists claimed these rocks come from moon meteors NASA had collected in the polar regions. Theorists have even suggested that Virgil I. Grissom, Edward H. White, Roger B. Chaffee — three astronauts who died in a fire while testing equipment for the first moon mission — were executed by the U.S. government, which feared they were about to disclose the truth.
Far-fetched as the hoax theory may seem, a 1999 Gallup poll showed that it’s comparatively durable: 6% of Americans said they thought the lunar landings were fake and 5% said they were undecided. They inspired the 1978 conspiracy thriller, Capricorn One about faked Martian landings.
Apart from the conspiracies aside, the first flag that flew on the Moon was also drenched in history and lore. Putting a U.S flag on the Moon was sensitive because it had to sidestep a law banning appropriation of the outer space and celestial bodies. A $5.50 flag was brought from a convenience store, and was fitted with wire frames. However, a wrong coating prevented frames from extending fully, thus creating a rippled effect. Now, six U.S. flags fly on the Moon, all with frames that didn’t extend fully because NASA liked the accidental effect.