Conspiracy Corner Presents: Did NASA Organize the Fraud of the Century?

Amy Rivadeneira and Stephany Varela

**Readers are invited to make judgments based on all information**

From the 1960’s to the 1970’s, there was a technological boom in the Soviet Union. History has proven that if a nation goes through any kind of advancement (especially a tech advancement) it will come with some not-so-friendly competition from other countries. During this time, the United States was doing a considerable amount of work in the technology department. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration, better known as NASA, was providing many jobs to Americans, which pleased both the people and the government…but not for long.

The United States and the Soviet Union were fighting for world domination. On October 4, 1957, Sputnik, the world’s first artificial satellite, was launched. Americans feared Sputnik, thinking it would rain down nuclear weapons. The United States was now desperate to find a way into space, and the race began.

In 1961, John F. Kennedy became president. He, like many government officials, was fearful for the country’s fate. On September 12, 1962, President Kennedy stated to the public “We choose to go to the moon…We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do other things.” His speech put the nation at peace…except for those at NASA. The pressure was on, but every attempt to send astronauts to the Moon had failed. By 1967, the government and NASA were desperate to get the American flag flying on the Moon, but they had no idea how they would accomplish the promise President Kennedy made to not only the country but also to the world.

The crucial and terrifying tragedy of Apollo 1 took place on January 27, 1967. The Apollo program was in charge of landing the first humans on the Moon. The astronauts who boarded Apollo 1 were Gus Grissom, Edward White and Roger Chaffee. Grissom was a protective family man, with many of his co-workers saying that he was quite outspoken and never quiet. He wasn’t the kind of person to conform to anything unethical, no matter the circumstances and the consequences. On January 22, Grissom took a lemon and put it in a wire hanger. (The “lemon on a hanger” is slang for “broken down/ piece of junk.”) This action sparked anger from government officials and NASA workers. Days later, on January 27, the pre-launch test was scheduled to depart. All three men, NASA engineers, and the government were anxiously on-edge, not knowing what to expect. However, the cockpit of the Apollo 1 caught fire, burning all three astronauts to death. According to an investigation made by the US Congress, the fire resulted from electrical problems. The reason for the fire’s rapid spread was due to the high-pressure pure-oxygen cabin atmosphere and combustible nylon material. Many people believe that the symbolic gesture Grissom made on January 22nd caused his death as well as the deaths of White and Chaffee. They believe the fire was intentional, with the government and NASA not wanting Grissom to “blow the whistle” on all of the information they worked hard to keep hidden. Similarly, Thomas Ronald Baron, a safety inspector from North American Aviation, released a 500-page report on the safety protocol violations of the program, filled with his testimony and findings, and exactly one week later he was struck by a train. He had the truth of the Apollo project, and his report had mysteriously gone missing.

On July 16, 1969, Americans stood by and watched the launch of Apollo 11. However, NASA was able to promote the moon landing in a distinct and unique way that was never done before: through television. Yet, many people speculate as to what they were watching. When commander Neil Armstrong and pilot Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon, they planted the United States flag. The flag appeared to be waving despite the moon having neither air nor wind. This observation introduced the conspiracy theory that the Moon landing was supposedly filmed on a Hollywood studio set instead of actually on the surface of the moon. This idea is supported by evidence from several photographs that reveal shadows of various objects hitting a variety of angles. Those angles could mean only one thing: there’s more than one light source, which means those shots were taken with electrical lighting as a source, not the sun. The most famous support for this theory is the “C”-rock idea, where one rock was clearly labeled with the letter “C,” which fed into the idea that the landing was on a soundstage and the rock being used was a prop. If filmed on a sound stage, it could be possible that one of the film crew members forgot to turn it around. Also, a Hasselblad camera was used to photograph the event, but the astronaut’s camera didn’t have a viewfinder because it had been removed. Yet, the photos are amazingly well-framed and shot. Also, according to astronomers, the Van Allen belt is an area of charged particles in space that appears to have high radiation levels. If a person is exposed to these, they could become extremely ill or die. The astronauts would need 6 feet of lead shielding in order to survive, yet the only shielding they had was paper-thin aluminum.

Over 40 years later, between 6% and 20% of Americans believe that the moon landing didn’t happen. It is no secret that the government and NASA did everything in their power to keep Americans out of the actual mess that was going on at NASA. A large portion of NASA’s budget during this time was used to give the American people a good impression of themselves. They spent high amounts of money on press conferences. They painted the perfect picture that everything was going to be okay, and most importantly, that the United States was going to win the space race. In order to keep up the image, it is possible that NASA and the US government faked their results and staged the 1969 Moon landing for the good of the country.