With July 20, 2011 comes the 42nd anniversary of the first time man landed on Moon.
After nerve wrecking moments, for the scientists sitting in the NASA observation room and 30 billion USDollars of investment at stake, finally Apollo11 mission landed on Moon on July 20, 1969 with just a few seconds of fuel left.
The mission sent message from the spaceship to Earth:
“Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.”
The nervous scientists took a sigh of relief replying:
“Roger, Tranquility. We copy you on the ground. You got a bunch of guys about to turn blue. We’re breathing again.”
Finally Neil Armstrong climbed down the ladder and went down in history as the first man to step his foot on moon. And came those famous words:
“That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”
It indeed was a giant leap for the mankind, but more so for the anxious Americans, who were extremely nervous that the Communist Soviet Union had left them behind in the space race with the launching in space for the first time of Sputnik 1, on October 1957. It had come as a bolt in the blue for the Americans.
President Kennedy could not hold his anxiety and had ‘inspired’ the American public by a speech in the Congress in May 25 , 1961:
“I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth.”
Neil Armstrong and his companion Buzz Aldrin strolled on the moon for two hours and 31 minutes. They has already unfurled an American flag on landing which they were leaving behind along with a plaque which read:
“Here men from the planet earth first set foot upon the moon. July 1969, A.D. We came in peace for all mankind.”
How I wish that this was all they had left. But on their first journey to the moon, like we have done on Earth, they littered it too. To lighten their load they threw off their moon boots, a camera, urine bags and some backpacks. And this trash is to sit there for all times to come, to mark the arrival on man(un)kind on the moon.
Interestingly, 42 years on still conspiracy theories are afloat that the whole mission was a hoax. It began with a book published in 1974 called ‘We never went on moon…”. The author Bill Kaysing published some sensational arguments which caught the interest of public like wild fire. It was a spicy topic of science fiction for the common man to indulge in.
In 1978 came a film “Capricorn One” which talked of a fake journey to Mars. The spaceship in the film bore a stark resemblance to Apollo 11 of the Moon mission. Hence the hot saucy news loving people immediately saw connections between this fiction and the fake moon landing.
There are more than a dozen, supposedly, logical arguments against the moon landing, mostly based on the information from the photos.
A couple of them being: the background sky is pitch dark with no stars visible, and that the flag which was unfurled was waving as if there was air on moon.
There is even the conspiracy theory that the rock samples they brought had been collected from Antarctica, by the director of NASA who led a scientific expedition there to collect the samples of Moon rocks. Apparently some rocks separated from the moon had fallen in Antarctica as meteors millions of years ago.
Most of their ‘scientific’ arguments have been ruled and logically explained by the scientists. There is also third party evidences from the Russians themselves, Japanese Satellites pictures and certain other reliable sources, that the Moon mission was real.
However, in a poll in 1999, about 15 million(6%) Americans still continued to believed that the moon mission was a hoax.
The theories that have been propounded for the reasons of the fraud : either to show to the Soviets that we can do it too, or to grab a huge budget for NASA, in the pretext of this mission.
The conspiracy theory of Moon mission as hoax lives on and the way we think, it will probably not lose its spark for a long time to come.
The reason? It lies within the human mind: no matter what amount of evidence is presented, the sceptics shall always refute it because of a phenomenon called Cognitive Dissonance, by virtue of which people have a bias to consider them self righteous despite the presence of a contrary evidence.