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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Lunar Conspiracy Theorists: Come Back to Earth!

Today is the 40th anniversary of Apollo 11’s successful landing on the moon – yet there are still those who would claim that the entire landing was a hoax. In 1999, Gallup reported that 6 percent of Americans did not believe U.S. astronauts ever landed on the moon, with another 5 percent (somehow) still unsure. One of the most common-sense responses to these theorists was spoken by Apollo 16 astronaut Charlie Duke, who, according to The Space Review, simply said: “If we faked going to the Moon, why did we fake it nine times?”

Newsweek recently wrote about this conspiracy theory, highlighting the work of a Web site called – which for 10 years has been dedicated to debunking claims of a moon landing hoax and proving that there is no “giant leap” of logic behind its supporting arguments. This whole episode serves as a reminder of our constant efforts at to debunk claims that President Obama was not “Born in the U.S.A.”

One theory we don’t anticipate ever having to shoot down, however, involves a question Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin was once asked by British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen: whether he thought man would ever walk on the sun. Aldrin said no — even if it was winter.