Today, however, to a growing number of people that memorable achievement is literally history: blurred, distant, known only through second-hand stories and often reported tiredly and superficially by mainstream media. Even today, going to the Moon is still an incredible, mythical and unreal challenge, and the idea that we went there in the 1960s – and then stopped going – is, for many, understandably hard to accept.
I offer this book to anyone who honestly seeks to understand what really happened and rightly demands answers to his or her reasonable doubts. To hardcore Moon hoax believers, those who are impervious to any argument and think that they have it all figured out, I offer only my pity. They are unable to enjoy this amazing adventure, which is one of the few peaceful endeavors for which the twentieth century stands a chance of being remembered as something more than a heartbreaking series of wars, devastations and genocides.
However, this book is not just a pedantic refutation of a set of eccentric claims. It’s a celebration of a moment in time that can never be equaled or repeated. Yes, there will be other destinations, other missions, other landings on distant worlds, but the Moon landing of July 1969 will be forever mankind’s first contact with another world. It will always be the first time that humanity proved, albeit for a brief moment, that it is capable of crawling out of its fragile cradle.
What an incredible privilege it is to be alive in that unique, minuscule slice of history in which all this happened, and to be able to personally thank, talk and shake hands with those who accomplished a voyage that for countless centuries was merely a dream beyond the power of even the mightiest king, emperor or pharaoh. To walk on the Moon. This book is my small homage to the courage and ingenuity of all those who contributed to turning that dream into reality. In peace, for all mankind.
AcknowledgmentsI would like to thank all the people who patiently read and checked the drafts of this book and debugged them as they grew online. I am especially indebted to Luca Boschini, John H. Cato, jr, Epsilon, Cesare Guariniello, Hammer, Martin Keenan, Massimiliano Carnevale, Naomi, Razvan Neagoe, Papageno, Giuseppe Regalzi, Luigi Rosa, Claudio Severi, Linden Sims, Roland Suhr, Trystero, Tukler and Larry Turoski for their tireless fact-checking and proofreading. Any surviving mistakes are solely mine.
I am also very grateful to Terry Watson (Apollo GNC), Eric Jones of the Apollo Lunar Surface Journal, and to all the members of the Project Apollo online forum, for helping me through the maze of jargon and technical minutiae and for unerringly answering the bizarre questions of a fellow space geek; to Nicola Colotti, Fabio Letta, Milco Margaroli, Rodri Van Click, Andrea Tedeschi, Luigi Pizzimenti, Roberto Crippa, Guido Schwartz and Lukas Viglietti, for organizing amazing encounters and interviews with Apollo astronauts Buzz Aldrin, Charlie Duke, Fred Haise and Walt Cunningham and with Mission Control EECOM Sy Liebergot; to Diego Cuoghi, for kindly sharing his research; to Elena Albertini, for keeping the e-book and paper editions in sync; and to my daughters Lisa and Linda, who helped me with the technical process of creating the digital edition of this book.
This book is dedicated to my parents, who woke me up when I was six years old so that I could watch the Apollo 11 Moon landing live on TV in sleepy amazement (it was nighttime in Europe), and to my aunt Iris, who in the early 1970s gave me a copy of Peter Ryan’s enthralling account of the first Apollo missions, The Invasion of the Moon 1957-70. I never recovered from this double bite of the space bug. That dog-eared paperback is still here with me as I write these words. Its pages are fading, but the passion and wonder they have fed for all these years are certainly not.
Free distributionYou may freely copy and distribute this book in its digital editions, provided that you don’t alter it, don’t pass it off as yours and don’t print it for sale without my written permission; the details are in the Copyright notice section. I didn’t write Moon Hoax: Debunked! to become rich and famous, but to allow as many people as possible to get the facts they need to counter the arguments of conspiracy theorists. Just don’t mess with my rights.
However, writing a technical book takes time and hard work; buying manuals and DVDs and documents takes money. So if you like what you read and you feel like lending me a hand on this project, you’re welcome to point out errors or unclear language, help me with research, buy me space reference books from my Amazon.com wish list or donate the equivalent of a genuine Italian pizza and a good beer via my Paypal account as an incentive for me to keep on writing.
Units of measurementThroughout this book, all measurements are given in both metric units and US customary units. Unless otherwise specified, mile is understood to reference a statute mile and ton is understood to be a metric ton (1,000 kg). Some rounding may be introduced to avoid unnecessarily pedantic conversion results; e.g., 100,000 feet will be converted to 30,000 meters instead of 30,480. Also, idiomatic expressions such as a couple of inches or a few feet, which suggest a very approximate measurement, will not be converted.
Comments, corrections and updatesThis book is a work in progress. Apollo’s science and documentation are still being studied today and new Moon probes are providing updates and new opportunities for cross-checking that are included here as they become available.
Also, conspiracy theorists concoct new “evidence” and claims all the time, so you might find that a specific claim hasn’t yet been debunked specifically in this book. You might also find mistakes or typos. If so, let me know by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, so that the next edition of this book will be updated and corrected.
The changes introduced in the various editions are listed here.
In memoriamThis book wishes to honor those who paid the highest price in order to reach and extend the new frontier, sometimes in secret and often without being remembered even as a footnote of history. The story behind each one of the names that follow is given in the Remembering the fallen chapter.
May we never forget that anyone who denies the Moon landings is sullying the memory of these brave people, of their families and of everyone who worked hard for the exploration of space.
Michael J. Adams
Michael P. Anderson
Charles A. Bassett II
David M. Brown
Laurel B. Clark
Theodore C. Freeman
Edward G. Givens, Jr.
Virgil “Gus” Grissom
Rick D. Husband
Robert H. Lawrence, Jr.
William C. McCool
Francis “Dick” Scobee
Elliot McKay See, Jr.
Michael J. Smith
Clifton C. Williams, Jr.
Ad astra per aspera.
Continue to Chapter 1
Continue to Chapter 1