Even more annoying than mindless space boosterism is mindless space conspiracy theorism. Commenters in my recent post about Buzz Aldrin mentioned his five-fingered response to a particularly obnoxious moon-landing troofer.
Yesterday, National Geographic offered a more civil and comprehensive (if ultimately less-satisfying) response to the long-legged theory that the moon landing was faked on a Hollywood sound stage. Dragging up eight old canards based on pictures from the Apollo 11 moon walks, National Geographic quickly dispenses with ("busts") them:
You can tell Apollo was faked because…the American flag appears to be flapping as if "in a breeze" in videos and photographs supposedly taken from the airless lunar surface.
The fact of the matter is…"the video you see where the flag's moving is because the astronaut just placed it there, and the inertia from when they let go kept it moving," said spaceflight historian Roger Launius, of the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C.
As comforting as it might be to imagine that all of the Apollo program money is stuffed into a NASA-sized mattress somewhere in Houston, it just ain't so. The moon landing really did happen. It really did cost that much.
Last weekend, Matt Welch interviewed one of the real "myth busters," Adam Savage, at the Amazing Meeting in Las Vegas. Reason.tv has the footage here. Ron Bailey explains why America won't be going back to the moon until it's profitable here.