'Ever since the Apollo 11 mission touched down on the lunar surface on July 20, 1969 and Neil Armstrong uttered the phrase “one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind” conspiracy theories, and debunkings, have abounded.
As we near the 50th anniversary of one of the most iconic moments in human space exploration history, RT.com takes a quick glance at some of the most persistent conspiracy theories about the Moon landings.
The Moving Flag
The entry-level lunar conspiracy theory concerns the US flag which appeared to flap in the non-existent lunar breeze and also move around in the footage captured by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin (or Stanley Kubrick, but we’ll get to that one in a minute).
NASA attributes the flapping to the Moon’s microgravity in combination with the astronauts’ rotating it back and forth multiple times, while attempting to stick the flagpole in the ground, giving it the effect of rippling. The flag never moved after it was initially planted, the astronauts moved around it.
Unfurling a piece of rolled-up cloth with sore angular momentum will naturally result in waves and ripples – no breeze required,” the exasperated space agency explained.
The Apollo 11 flag has likely fallen over by this point, but flags from Apollo 12, 16, and 17 remain upright (though cosmic radiation has likely bleached all of them white by now).
Lack of stars in the lunar sky
Skeptics also frequently ask why the sky isn’t dotted with dozens of stars in footage of the landing. '
Read more: Waving flag, dodgy footprints & Stanley Kubrick: 50 years of moon landing conspiracy theories