On July 20, 1969, two Americans landed on the moon. While railroads transformed commerce, communication, and travel in the United States, Moon landings abruptly stopped with no commercial benefits after six missions. There are still people, 40 years later, who believe it never happened. Whoopi Goldberg is the latest. Bill Kaysing thinks he knows why.

Kaysing claims in his book We Never Went to the Moon[1] that the missions were a scam. After a number of technological mishaps, NASA realized it did not have the expertise to make President Kennedy’s dream of putting a man on the Moon before the close of the decade a reality. To avoid shutting down NASA, losing funding, and giving the Soviet Union a reason to believe that America was behind them in missile design, an elaborate hoax was supposedly concocted to fool the world. Taking a page from Hollywood, Kaysing claims that an elaborate Moon-set was constructed somewhere in the Southwest region of the United States.

What we saw on television during those eventful days was special effects, “a near seamless piece of performance art.” The only real things the public saw were an empty Saturn V rocket lifting off from Cape Canaveral and the return of the astronauts in a sealed “dummy space capsule that was dropped from a C5-A transport plane.”

We’re to believe that everyone was in on the hoax, even Walter Cronkite! I’m surprised the conspiracy theorists have not claimed that Cronkite was killed last week because he was about to spill the beans! Anyone who tried to blow the lid off the planned ruse would pay the ultimate price. As a warning, so Kaysing theorizes, three astronauts were killed in a launch pad “accident” on January 27, 1967, mostly to keep Gus Grissom quiet. Grissom had been complaining about safety issues and threatened to go public. Again, this is according to Kaysing. Here’s the reality:

According to Dr. James Longuski, Professor Of Aeronautics And Astronautics Engineering at Purdue University, the size and complexity of the alleged conspiracy theory scenarios make their veracity an impossibility. More than 400,000 people worked on the moon landing project for nearly ten years, and a dozen men who walked on the moon returned to Earth to recount their experiences. Hundreds of thousands of people (astronauts, scientists, engineers, technicians, and skilled laborers) would have had to keep the secret. Longuski also contends that it would have been significantly easier to actually land on the moon than to generate such a massive conspiracy to fake such a landing.[2]

If any of the Moon-landing hoax theory sounds familiar, you might remember the 1978 movie Capricorn One, starring O.J. Simpson, Telly Savalas, Elliot Gould, and James Brolin.[3] Goldberg mentions it during her “The View” conspiracy rant  on July 20, 2009. The movie was about a faked mission to Mars said to be inspired by the supposed moon-landing hoax. The only difference is that these astronauts had a conscience and wanted to get the true story out to the world.

There are millions of people who believe Kaysing is on to something. Mistrust of the government runs deep. But if it’s all true, why have so many people been able to keep the secret for so long?[4] This is where all conspiracy theories break down. Too many people have to keep too many secrets for too long.

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[1] Bill Kaysing, We Never Went to the Moon: America’s Thirty Billion Dollar Swindle! (Soquel, CA: Holy Terra Books, 1991)_.
_[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moon_landing_hoax
Here’s a bit of movie trivia. Elliot Gould was married to Barbra Streisand, and James Brolin is presently married to Streisand.
For a summary of Kaysing’s evidence, see http://www.carpenoctem.tv/cons/moon.html