For many, the moon landing will forever be tied to moon landing denial and a grand cosmic hoax. The fiftieth anniversary of the summer 1969 Apollo 11mission to the moon is being celebrated this year, with celebrations, parades, special exhibits, lectures, and re-enactments taking place across the country, plus TV specials and documentaries scheduled for broadcastanda special gala starring surviving mission astronaut Buzz Aldrin on July 13th in California.
But in the shadow of this prestigious anniversary season is a belief that, while not quite 50 years old, sprang up long ago and has never died: That the Moon landing was an elaborate hoax. These two parallel worlds have not co-existed happily.
A 1999 Gallup Poll said that 6 percent of the American public supports the Moon-hoax theory or some form of moon landing denial. Some say that the Internet has fostered and broadened the belief and that percentage is much higher today. Former NASA chief historian Roger Launius toldThe Washington Postthat disbelievers have showed up whenever he gave a lecture on the topic: “They’re very vocal — and they love to confront you.” In 2002, Buzz Aldrin punched a man who had been harassing him and accused Aldrin of being a liar.