Take the 2-minute tour ×
Skeptics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for scientific skepticism. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Is there any concrete, solid proof of this space odyssey?

Is there a way that I personally have a look a it? Let's say, with a nice telescope ?

share|improve this question
88  
Anytime anyone requests "irrefutable" proof of anything, it's always helpful to first ask, "what do you consider rock-solid proof?" Until that baseline is first established, their query will never be satisfactorily answered. (Of course, their baseline might be unreasonable, but then the discussion can turn to what we all consider sufficient proof of something to believe in its veracity.) So, Rabskatran, other than going there yourself, what would you consider to be rock-solid proof of the moon landing? –  user886 Mar 22 '11 at 16:02
38  
@Lie Ryan: There is no Moon. –  Rusty Mar 22 '11 at 16:42
19  
Is there any concrete-solid proofs that north pole exists? Or of a creature like platypus actually existing? Or of anything? If yes, then there's indeed concrete-solid proofs of the space mission. If no, then -- the rest of this message has been deleted by The Order. –  Ilari Kajaste Mar 22 '11 at 17:59
15  
No, no proof at all. No man really walked on the Moon. Not because of the NASA bastards but because there is no America. It's a hoax by the Spaniard bastards and Columbus. –  ypercube Mar 22 '11 at 21:59
17  
If we faked landing men on the moon so many years ago, we would have faked landing men on Mars by now. –  JD Isaacks Apr 8 '11 at 19:03

2 Answers 2

up vote 189 down vote accepted

Besides

lunar command module

lunar rocks

enter image description here

no we don't have any evidence ;-)

The artifacts of the mission have been seen by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and probably other satellites. They can't be seen from Earth.

Apollo 14 landing site

share|improve this answer
54  
To play devil's advocate, all of the above-listed evidence was provided by or affiliated with NASA. The mirror would be perfect evidence except that placing a mirror on the moon's surface is trivial compared to landing people there. –  FYG Mar 22 '11 at 18:10
36  
@Sklivvz: You don't seriously consider the rocks rock-solid, do you? :P –  configurator Mar 22 '11 at 21:02
53  
If this whole bunch of evidence was all faked by NASA and the US government, the Russian and the Chinese space agencies would have jumped with great pleasure to debunk this a very long time ago. It's been over 40 years since Apollo XI; how much longer do we need to wait for those guys to come forward with their accusations (with hard evidence) of fraud by NASA? –  Andy Mar 22 '11 at 23:13
14  
@FYG: The photo from LRO actually was taken by an instrument provided by ASU, a university. I've worked with a very similar camera, and I can tell you this much. While NASA provides the raw data feed, they do not provide the images themselves, they come through the processing power of the unversity. All of this data is publicly available, from the raw stream, or will be at some future date. The tools to look at and process the data are usually publicly available as well. If one says those images are fake, they need to change the raw image, which would leave evidence of tampering. –  PearsonArtPhoto Mar 23 '11 at 15:44
12  
@Renesis: I don't agree. Skepticism is about balancing available evidence against how much claim is extraordinary. We have a lot of positive evidence (which is what I presented in the answer) and also negative evidence (the absence of complaints from the Soviet Union). What is more likely, that the US did go to the moon and the Russians had nothing to say, or that the US did not go to the moon and the Russian decided to be quiet? –  Sklivvz Mar 26 '11 at 19:56

I've spent a great deal of effort arguing about the moon landing, and done a great deal of research (the google kind, not the graduate kind) into the claims about the moon landing "hoax." The biggest struggle I've had is that I (obviously) don't possess all the knowledge from every scientist who worked on Apollo, and the person I'm arguing with will normally ask more and more detailed questions until I can't answer them, and they say something like "see? You find out it's a government cover-up if you dig deep enough."

Most of the claims I hear are technical in nature, and are easy to debunk if you can go read about the subject and then follow up with the person (and the person is willing to appeal to fact, which in many cases, is doubtful). Some of the technical claims I hear:

  • We could never go to the moon, because it's impossible to send a man through the Van Allen belts
  • We could never go to the moon because it would take an absurd amount of energy to keep the astronauts warm
  • We could never go to the moon because they couldn't take enough oxygen.
  • The president couldn't have made a phone call to Neil Armstrong on the moon.
  • We couldn't have broadcast footage live from the moon.
  • The flag waved in the wind when they put it on the "moon" and there's no wind on the moon.
  • It would have been easier and less expensive to use a sound stage on earth, so that's what they did.

All of these are founded on a misunderstanding of some scientific discipline or the other. Most people don't know that the Van Allen belts aren't made of "radiation," but high energy charged particles. Or that the astronauts were plenty warm from being in direct sunlight the entire time, and had to keep cool.

These are supplemented with claims that the US would do anything to win the space race. Since the technical challenges are insurmountable, it follows that the landings were faked in order to win. Of course, the technical challenges aren't insurmountable -- and the evidence that the moon landings are real is overwhelming.

There's a few things that I think are very convincing evidence that the moon landings happened:

  • independent astronomers the world over tracked the command module on its way to and from the moon (eg., here)
  • all the Apollo missions brought back much more lunar material than has ever been found on earth (382 kg, as opposed to the 50-ish kg found as meteorites)
  • the moon rocks were studied by top geologists from all over the world and there are no disputes that they are of lunar origin, and that they didn't fall through the earth's atmosphere unprotected.
  • The oldest moon rocks are around 4.5 billion years old, approximately the age of the earth itself. These couldn't be found on earth due to plate tectonics happening over the course of its lifetime.
  • The Soviets' Luna 16, 20, and 24 probes brought back lunar material and matched the Apollo moon rocks.
  • the LRO photographed the landing sites, and SELENE mapped the geography of the landing sites and found that it matched the photos taken on the moon (which they could not if the photos were faked). (here, and here)
  • the video footage of the moon landings is consistent with a low gravity environment in a vacuum, and would have been impossible to film on earth in the 60's and 70's.
  • there are mountains and mountains of evidence, and yet nobody of reputable scientific background has been able to disprove that we went to the moon. Indeed, not one shred of evidence has been disproved -- all claims that I have heard about the footage and pictures are easily explained and do not contradict the evidence.
share|improve this answer
13  
I can vouch for the geologists thing as my father was one of the geologists who got to experiment on the moon rocks and he doesn't seem like the conspiracy type. –  JohnFx Jun 4 '11 at 20:08
5  
@JohnFx that is so cool! –  Carson Myers Jun 4 '11 at 21:07
14  
John, they never seem like the conspiracy types, that's why the conspiracy works! ;) –  drxzcl Sep 1 '11 at 9:59
    
it's not that you can't send a man through the van allen belts; it's that the van allen belts protect the earth and all life on it from very harmful radiation. science1.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2005/… curious why they'd need that force field if they didn't need that for apollo, none of those guys got sick from the radiation deep space is awash in. –  user16081 Feb 1 at 15:04
4  
@user16081 The Van Allen belts are dangerous because they trap and channel high energy particles from the sun to the poles of the planet. Travelling through them exposes you to these particles which are very harmful. Conspiracy theorists just exaggerate the amount of damage a human would sustain over the few hours it takes to traverse them. Solar radiation was very much a concern for the Apollo astronauts even though they took place during solar minimum - they didn't get sick because they were only exposed for a couple of weeks. Humans on Earth need to survive the radiation for a lifetime. –  Carson Myers Feb 2 at 4:12

protected by Sklivvz May 8 '12 at 15:21

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality answers, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site.

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.