A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Viral NASA Story Gets Science Wrong

Q: Is NASA “spraying Americans with lithium and other chemicals”?

A: No. The space agency uses such materials, which are also used in fireworks, in the upper atmosphere – way above where planes fly. Experts say it’s “extremely unlikely” even “a minute amount” would reach Earth’s surface.

Trump Misses with Mars Attack

During the 2016 campaign, Hillary Clinton said that one of her goals as president would be to “make human exploration of Mars a reality.” Nevertheless, President Donald Trump mistakenly claimed that NASA “wouldn’t even be thinking about” going to Mars if Clinton had been elected.

Earth Won’t Go Dark for Days

Q: Did NASA confirm that there will be 15 days of darkness on Earth in November?

A: No. Variations of that false claim have been circulating since at least 2015.

Smith Spins NASA Funding

Rep. Lamar Smith said that, after national security agencies, “NASA received the most favorable budget request from the Trump administration.” True, but President Trump’s 2018 proposal would still cut NASA’s budget by about 3 percent compared with the agency’s enacted budget for 2017.

NASA Won’t Pay You to Smoke Weed

Q: Does NASA pay $18,000 for people to stay in bed and smoke weed for 70 straight days?

A: No. NASA conducts bed-rest studies, but it does not allow participants to smoke marijuana or even drink alcohol.