What better way to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo moon landings than with a freshly baked conspiracy theory? Russ Swan dons his shiniest aluminium-foil hat and tells us how it is…
It’s clear that the conspiracy loons are just that, loons, but I can’t help feeling they’ve missed the one for which there is clear and incontrovertible evidence… Strap yourselves in, for I have my own brand-new Apollo conspiracy theory to lay on you.
This Saturday marks the 50th anniversary of the Apollo moon landings – that is, if they really happened. I mean, come on! We’re supposed to believe they did that in the 1960s? Pffft.
It was only in April 1961 that the first person was strapped onto an overgrown firework and lofted above the atmosphere. And by July 1969 we’re supposed to believe they put three dudes into a huuuge rocket and pointed them at the moon? Eight and a quarter years from the first cosmonaut to get boots on alien ground.
That’s about as far from today as the premiere of Game of Thrones, or somebody called (I think) William Prince got married. Is that long enough to build a completely new industry making use of hundreds of new technologies? All with less computing power than your car’s remote locking fob? Hardly seems likely.
Obviously it’s far more plausible that a vast secret sound stage was built, somewhere in Nevada probably, crewed by highly trained professional film makers, special effects artists, set and prop builders, and all their support crew. Transport, catering, lavatories, all that.
And then the hundreds of people involved in the deception were somehow persuaded to maintain the secrecy, for decades. Them, and the hundreds more involved in the actual Apollo programme who would also have to be in on the secret, so they didn’t press the wrong button and accidentally send those crews across the void.
Oh, and then there’s the Russians. They would certainly have known about the hoax, but it is less clear why they would have agreed to keep shtum ever since.
It’s clear that the conspiracy loons are just that, loons, but I can’t help feeling they’ve missed the one for which there is clear and incontrovertible evidence…
On his A-game?
Strap yourselves in, for I have my own brand-new Apollo conspiracy theory to lay on you. It concerns the crew selection process – which astronauts would fly on which mission.
It’s easy to assume that the powers that be would have chosen the best, brightest, and most capable white American males available to them – especially for the most hazardous early missions. But from a pool consisting of only the best, brightest, and most capable, how to make that distinction?
I don’t think this has been postulated before, but it seems they gave up trying to separate them on merit and instead just wrote a list. An alphabetical list.
The first landing, Apollo 11, was performed by the only two astronauts whose surnames began with A: Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. Their command module pilot, who remained in lunar orbit during the excursion to the surface, was Mike Collins.
The second landing mission, Apollo 12, was performed by the only initial B and one of only two remaining initial Cs in the Apollo astronaut flight roster: Alan Bean and Pete Conrad. Their command module was piloted by Dick Gordon, the next lowest surname alphabetically until three years later, when Charlie Duke walked on the moon. Only one command module pilot had an earlier surname, and he was the last of the bunch: Ron Evans on Apollo 17.
I have no doubt that Neil Armstrong thoroughly deserved to be the first to make that small step off the lander and onto another world. Did I tell you I met him once? Very likeable and surprisingly unreclusive. I believe him when he said that he and his colleagues did that extraordinary thing, and I regret that even if we started again today it would take more than eight and a quarter years to return people to the lunar surface.
But was Armstrong the first man because of alphabetical hierarchy? As somebody with a lifetime at the other end of these lists, I smell a conspiracy.