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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 www.clavius.org – 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 FactCheck.org 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.