It is a question that has been asked over the years and decades since the grainy pictures were beamed into homes across the globe. “Did we (mankind) really land on the Moon?”
Keeping in mind the power of computers and their size back in 1969 it does seem an unlikely event.
Many people speculate that the landings were actually filmed on a studio set not too dissimilar to that used for the film “Capricorn One”.
Further videos such as this one where Neil Armstrong refuses to swear on the Holy Bible that he walked on the moon only fuel further speculation.
However, whether you believe the astronauts of the Apollo 11 mission walked on the Moon or not, I think they are still heroes for the people of the USA.
You have to look at the context of the world back in 1969.
If we assume that that the Apollo 11 mission did land men on the Moon, then they got there with extremely basic technology by today’s standards. That makes the achievement all the more impressive, risking life and limb with what would be described today as primitive computing and communications technology.
If they didn’t really go to the Moon, the astronauts put their entire lives and reputations in the hands of NASA and their Government. Why would anyone do this? Let’s look at the social history of the day. Back in 1962, President Kennedy (an extremely popular and glamourous President) had promised the people of the USA that man would walk on the Moon before the end of the decade.
Yet, if the landings were an elaborate hoax, I think it has more to do with politics and fear than a Presidential promise to the people.
When the Union of Socialist Soviet Republics (USSR) launched the first satellite into space, Sputnik 1, there was palpable fear through communities across the USA. People thought the Soviets would be able to launch missiles from space and rain death down amongst them. If you keep in mind this was at the height of the Cold War following World War II, it is easy to see how this fear could be so contagious. National Pride in the USA was further damaged when Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space, orbiting the Earth in his Vostok 1 capsule.
In short, the USA needed a huge win by the end of the 1960s to restore national pride in their citizens and get them to believe their nation was the best in the world. With the clock ticking, is it so far fetched to believe the resources available to the US Government would try and convince the world the Moon had been visited by mankind? Being part of that mission to convince the world would still make those involved US National heroes, albeit of a slightly different (though no less in stature) kind. After all, 100,000 people were involved in the construction of the Atomic Bomb and that remained a secret until used.
What do we know about the Moon landings?
The reality is, very little. People who tell you they ‘know’ are kidding you. Only the three men on the Apollo 11 mission are able to say with certainty whether they did, or did not, land on the surface of the Moon. Sadly, only two of the three remain with us at the time of writing.
For the rest of us, it is more about the question of ‘belief’. What do you believe happened?
If you are like me, the more you look into this, the more questions come to mind. My heart tells me ‘Yes’ mankind went to the Moon. My head, still has questions that remain unanswered.