Why would NASA fake the Moon landings?

The Moon hoax theory relies on two assumptions:

  1. The Americans were not able to safely land a man on the Moon in 1969.
  2. The Americans were so desperate to get to the Moon in 1969 that they were prepared to take an extreme risk and fake a landing.

On this page we're concerned with the second assumption.

Exactly how important was it for NASA to get to the Moon in 1969?

Some people have suggested that NASA stood to gain financially from a successful landing. In fact NASA only had a small part in the budget—the research and development was virtually all outsourced to private companies. NASA and its employees had very little to gain financially.

Most conspiracy theorists concentrate on the deadline angle. President Kennedy had set the goal of landing a man on the Moon before the end of the decade. Clearly it would have been something of a disappointment to have failed (let's ignore the fact that the end of the decade was technically the end of 1970, not 1969). But how severe would the blow have been?

Remember that the timeline was a goal, not an imperative. No other country was in the race (Russia had tried but dropped out) and it was obvious that even if America was late getting to the Moon, they would be years ahead of anyone else. The deadline may have been somewhat significant for national pride, but it was never critically important.

It goes without saying that being exposed as frauds would have been a significantly worse blow to national pride than getting to the Moon late. The question then becomes:

Would the benefit of achieving a landing on schedule (even if it was fake) be worth the risk of being exposed as frauds?

Of course it depends on the chances of being caught. By today's standards it seems like the hoax would have been an extreme risk. It's hard to imagine any rational person deciding that the risk was worth it. However, the situation is worse when you see it in terms of the 1960s climate. At the time America had a lot of ambitious plans for the Moon. It was widely assumed that the Apollo missions would quickly lead to regular trips and then a permanent base on the Moon. Given the general feelings and expectations, the hoax would have seemed less like an extreme risk and more like an utter impossibility.

Deciding to go ahead with the hoax would have been beyond reckless—it would have been an insane decision. Is it possible that the hoax was ordered by an insane administrator? If so, many people from the government, NASA and private enterprise would have had to agree to participate. So the hoax theory requires a completely irrational administrator and a large number of people from various organisations willing to follow nonsensical orders, and never come come forward to reveal the truth.


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Author: Dave Owen.