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The Apollo 11 moon landing is a momentous historical event that over 100 million Americans watched on television in 1969. But conspiracy theorists are still peddling claims that they were faked and now have a new one they think has exposed NASA. They were wrong.
“We set sail on this new sea because there is new knowledge to be gained, and new rights to be won, and they must be won and used for the progress of all people,” President John F. Kennedy declared in 1962 while announcing in a speech that the United States is aiming to walk on the moon in the name of scientific research and national pride.
“We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard; because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win, and the others, too.”
Here’s the full speech via YouTube:
And just like that, the space race entered a new and exciting phase that would see Kennedy’s vision become reality seven years later when astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin set foot on the lunar surface, with Armstrong uttering the immortal words:
“That’s one small step for man — and one giant leap for mankind.”
Speaking of steps, conspiracy theorists are now trying to use the footprints left by them to make the claim that Armstrong and Aldrin never really walked on the moon.
A meme has been popping up comparing a footprint on the moon to Neil Armstrong’s boots that have been preserved along with the rest of his space suit at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum.
It’s basically a “gotcha” image used by someone who clearly did not bother to do any real research or ask any questions before jumping straight to the conclusion that NASA must be lying to us.
For instance, the footprint is not even Neil Armstrong’s. It belongs to Buzz Aldrin, who was snapping photographs during his own moonwalk so that scientists could study the surface better.
Aldrin even posted the image on Twitter in 2015.
“I only took a few photos on the moon and this one was to show how the lunar dust was like talcum powder,” he wrote.
— Buzz Aldrin (@TheRealBuzz) July 21, 2015
According to NASA:
“The astronaut photographed his own footprint to permit later study of the lunar surface bearing strength. The thin, crusty appearance of the surface was similar to that discovered during the Surveyor soil mechanics experiments.”
In addition, Aldrin’s boots and the iconic pattern on the bottoms can be seen as he descends a ladder after leaving the lunar module.
— Buzz Aldrin (@TheRealBuzz) July 20, 2015
The boot is known as the overshoe designed for the A7LB Space Suit. The special boots were worn by both astronauts for extra protection over their spacesuit boots, which are visible in the photograph in the meme.
“Notice how the footprint matches the boot sole in the second image,” NASA added.
Here’s an image Armstrong took of Aldrin on the moon wearing the same boots. And you can even see the footprints around him.
As has been demonstrated by NASA and Aldrin, the bootprint matches the actual boot worn over the original spacesuit boots.
So, what happened to Armstrong’s boots?
Well, the astronauts could not take everything back to Earth with them. They needed to leave behind any extra weight that would not be needed in order to make room for soil and rock samples. Thus, along with about 99 other items, both pairs of overshoes are still on the moon along with the footprints they made 50 years ago.
Many moon landing conspiracies, including this one, have already been repeatedly debunked by fact-checkers over the years.
For some reason, some people refuse to believe that humans had the determination and technological capability to make it to the moon. But it took years of research, inventions, and failures to get us there. People actually died in the effort. Armstrong and Aldrin and the others who had the privilege to walk on the moon risked their lives for it. We can never forget that, and their courage should always be honored.
The moon landings were not staged inside a studio. Our astronauts were there. They lived it and there are photographs and samples from the lunar surface to prove it. Besides, as Aldrin has pointed out, even the Russians admit that the United States landed on the moon, or else they would have exposed it long before now.
— Buzz Aldrin (@TheRealBuzz) July 21, 2015
Perhaps, one day soon, we will go back to the moon and retrace the Apollo 11 mission so that more modern photographic evidence can be provided to those who still doubt that science has taken us to the moon and back. Until then, the next mission NASA is planning is a manned trip to Mars. And then the conspiracy theorists will have something else to accuse NASA of faking.
Featured Image: Wikimedia