Wildest moon landing conspiracies – flapping flag to Armstrong’s missing camera

One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind occurred 53 years ago today when Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon.

Wednesday July 20 marks the 53rd anniversary of the 1969 moon landing, Earth's most iconic space travel mission to date.

But just a few years later, rumours began to spread. Conspiracy theories picked up pace, trying to prove that the mission was all a hoax, a set-up to show America winning the space race against the Soviets.

From shadows to wind and a lack of stars, we take a look at the crazy conspiracies and how they can be debunked according to PHD astronomer Rick Fienberg, an officer at the American Astronomical Society.

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Who made the moon landing?

Apollo 11 landed on the moon on July 20 1969, 53 years ago. The team of astronauts was made up of three men: mission commander Neil Armstrong, lunar module pilot Edwin 'Buzz' Aldrin, and command module pilot Michael Collins.

Neil was the first human to ever set foot on the moon, followed by Buzz. Michael never actually got to walk on the moon, but instead flew solo around it while waiting for his colleagues to complete their mission.

Moon landing conspiracies

The mysterious wind

Still pictures of the moon landing seem to show the American flag flapping in the wind.

In actual fact, Nasa gave their space-men special flags that held shape horizontally to make sure a good photo could be taken.

As there is no wind on the moon, a normal flag would have hung slack.

These flags had a stick to help them keep shape. Apollo 11 had trouble extending the stick, which is why the flag appears creased.

Where are the stars?

A lot of people were shocked at the lack of stars in the photos of the moon landing.

That is because the photo was taken during the day. The sunlight can be seen in photos reflecting off the helmets and on the surface of the moon, and light exposure would make it difficult or impossible to capture the stars above them.

The shadows

Because the sun is the only light source in space, anything in the shadows should be invisible, or so you would think.

However, because there is light reflecting off space suits and the lunar ground, even fractions of reflected light can reveal items that are cast in a shadow.

The missing camera

The last main conspiracy to debunk is Neil Armstrong's missing camera.

A famous photo taken of his co-worker (astronauts are still co-workers, right?) with a reflection on the sun protector, showed everything except the camera.

That's because Neil Armstrong was not walking around holding a camera, it was attached to his suit. Specially fitted to make it easier to take photos.

There we have it, conspiracies busted, according to an astronomer with a PHD.

Happy moon landing anniversary, folks!

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