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Should NASA Try To Refute Crackpots?

timothy posted more than 11 years ago | from the crackpots-are-interesing dept.

Space 507

angkor writes "CNN has an interesting article on the dilemma faced by NASA: what is the proper way to deal with far-out theories given exposure (and legitimacy) by the media--ignore the crackpots or refute them?"

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NASA would call them crackpots wouldn't they? (3, Funny)

wiggys (621350) | more than 11 years ago | (#4943508)

After all, NASA are controlled by the illuminati lizards who want to keep the truth about life on other planets hidden from the rest of us.

Re:NASA would call them crackpots wouldn't they? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4943561)

.....Glad you got first post. Wait until 2003.

Do a Buzz Alrdrin (1)

ideonode (163753) | more than 11 years ago | (#4943510)

punch 'em in the face!!

(Can't get link to work...)

Re:Do a Buzz Alrdrin (4, Funny)

Rhinobird (151521) | more than 11 years ago | (#4943619)

yeah, but then you have to come back 2 weeks later after the bruises have healed and say that you didn't punch them in the face. The photographs were faked in photoshop. You didn't make him see stars, he was looking up at night. There is no bruise.

spin it in your favor (2, Insightful)

Twillerror (536681) | more than 11 years ago | (#4943511)

I say refute the crap out of them and get more press then the idiots making the wild claims.

Nasa needs to get more public support, the more chances to remind people how magical walking on the moon was the more likely we will be doing it again.

If you ask me the best way to refute it isn't to right a book, but to do it again. Would it really be that hard now that we have a space station to launch from.

Re:spin it in your favor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4943516)

Going to the moon not very hard? Are you joking? Even with a space station up there.. it would still be more difficult than any scientific endeavor we have done since the original landings.

Re:spin it in your favor (1)

PeePeeSee (633156) | more than 11 years ago | (#4943565)

Hardly magical walking on the moon and by that I mean hardly any point of it other than the fact to say - we did it. Im not a big fan of NASA period......sure they have come up with some technology but I dont think there has been much of a ROI as they like to say ..... If you ask me its a complete waste of resources for the most part.

Re:spin it in your favor (2)

mangu (126918) | more than 11 years ago | (#4943573)

its a complete waste of resources for the most part.

If you think about all the people who watched it on TV, it was less waste than most Hollywood productions.

Re:spin it in your favor (1)

Alan Partridge (516639) | more than 11 years ago | (#4943676)

you've got to look at NASA as a non-lethal branch of military spending. It has a similar (or greater) tech payback but the shuttle isn't used to drop bombs on Afghan weddings. It's GOTTA be a good thing.

Re:spin it in your favor (2, Interesting)

caveman (7893) | more than 11 years ago | (#4943634)

One of the best ways of attracting public interest, and (eventually, once the people who have become interested gain power) funding is to open your doors and make interesting educational programmes about your work. Get into schools, colleges, and make sure everyone knows where their money is going, and how government cutbacks have placed a stranglehold on your research.
Let the crackpots join in, and let them make fools of themselves infront of millions. Problem solved.

Just my $0.02

Why Blindly trust your government? (0, Troll)

HanzoSan (251665) | more than 11 years ago | (#4943702)

IF people can believe that millions of abductees are lying why then is it illogical to believe our government may have faked the moon landings?

To this day no other country has put a man on the moon.

To this day we havent went back to the moon, and the timing is suspcious.

I'm not saying we couldnt do it, but we have every right to be skeptical of the moon landings, just like we have every right to be skeptical of the roswell incident.

The government lies when it benifits them to do so.

Why bother? (5, Insightful)

SirTwitchALot (576315) | more than 11 years ago | (#4943512)

You're probably not going to change the mind of someone who is CONVINCED the moon landing was a hoax. I don't see a need to spend money that could go toward research on trying to change people's minds.

Re:Why bother? (2)

mangu (126918) | more than 11 years ago | (#4943585)

The idea is not to change the mind of people who are convinced, but to keep them from convincing more people.

Re:Why bother? (-1)

Sarcasm_Orgasm (535390) | more than 11 years ago | (#4943671)

Pretty tough when the moon landing was a hoax. Despite all the evidence, let's use some common sense:

1) Only the USA has gone...why?

2) We haven't gone back in a long time..why?

3) Special hi-heat resistant tiles...come on.

What I don't get is about 95% of the /. folks don't believe in a god, but the same % believe that we landed on the moon. Brainwashed? Think about it, if there was a big bang what the fuck created the objects that banged?. If there was evolution, where the fuck did the ameba come from?

Re:Why bother? (3, Interesting)

sql*kitten (1359) | more than 11 years ago | (#4943614)

You're probably not going to change the mind of someone who is CONVINCED the moon landing was a hoax. I don't see a need to spend money that could go toward research on trying to change people's minds.

It's a very simple calculation, based on how much influence the crackpots have over the Senate appropriations committee (or whoever decides NASA's funding). If the level of influence on NASA's budget >> the expense of convincing the crackpots, then they should do it, and if not, they shouldn't bother.

Re:Why bother? (3, Insightful)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 11 years ago | (#4943632)

The main impetus for this was the FOX "infotainment" show that made claims the moon landing was faked. While everyone should know that network that brought you Celebrity Boxing, Who Wants To Marry A (abusive jerk), and The O'Reilly is the LAST place you should be looking for science, sadly that isn't always the case.

FOX is still a major network, and while they should be ashamed of themselves for spreading such blatant misinformation, it seems to me that NASA should have some response to this. Yes, I've heard the claim that responding to it only gives the crackpots more credibility, but when a major network (even the lowley FOX) suggests the moon landings were faked, the crackpots already have far too much credibility than they deserve.

Now, you can argue about WHAT NASA should say or do, I'm not sure funding a book was the proper thing. It would seem too late to make a big stink about FOX being so irresponsible to air trash like this, being that it's been almost 2 years since it was first shown. Personally I think this argument should be about what NASA should do about this sort of thing, not if.

UFO sightings are hoaxes, roswell was a hoax (2)

HanzoSan (251665) | more than 11 years ago | (#4943712)

So why cant the moon landing be a Hoax?

How can you believe something when it was only on TV? You didnt see it in person.

Also why has no other country gone to the moon besides us? We havent even gone back since then.

So why not be skeptical.

I'm going to admit I dont know either way.
I dont trust the government, the government is just as quick to claim something they cant prove is a hoax, like UFO sightings. Millions of people claim to have seen them, but its a hoax because the government prolly doesnt even know.

So why dont we have the right to be skeptical of the government if they are skeptical of us?

If you claimed to have found an unlimited energy source and your only proof was a video tape, and no one has since been able to duplicate your experiment in a lab, everyone would say its a hoax, including NASA.

Evidence (2, Informative)

legomad (596194) | more than 11 years ago | (#4943514)

I hate ignorance (4, Informative)

Keebler71 (520908) | more than 11 years ago | (#4943550)

Bad astronomy []

The "Moon": A Ridiculous Liberal Myth (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4943515)

It amazes me that so many allegedly "educated" people have fallen so quickly and so hard for a fraudulent fabrication of such laughable proportions. The very idea that a gigantic ball of rock happens to orbit our planet, showing itself in neat, four-week cycles -- with the same side facing us all the time -- is ludicrous. Furthermore, it is an insult to common sense and a damnable affront to intellectual honesty and integrity. That people actually believe it is evidence that the liberals have wrested the last vestiges of control of our public school system from decent, God-fearing Americans (as if any further evidence was needed! Daddy's Roommate? God Almighty!)

Documentaries such as Enemy of the State have accurately portrayed the elaborate, byzantine network of surveillance satellites that the liberals have sent into space to spy on law-abiding Americans. Equipped with technology developed by Handgun Control, Inc., these satellites have the ability to detect firearms from hundreds of kilometers up. That's right, neighbors .. the next time you're out in the backyard exercising your Second Amendment rights, the liberals will see it! These satellites are sensitive enough to tell the difference between a Colt .45 and a .38 Special! And when they detect you with a firearm, their computers cross-reference the address to figure out your name, and then an enormous database housed at Berkeley is updated with information about you.

Of course, this all works fine during the day, but what about at night? Even the liberals can't control the rotation of the Earth to prevent nightfall from setting in (only Joshua was able to ask for that particular favor!) That's where the "moon" comes in. Powered by nuclear reactors, the "moon" is nothing more than an enormous balloon, emitting trillions of candlepower of gun-revealing light. Piloted by key members of the liberal community, the "moon" is strategically moved across the country, pointing out those who dare to make use of their God-given rights at night!

Yes, I know this probably sounds paranoid and preposterous, but consider this. Despite what the revisionist historians tell you, there is no mention of the "moon" anywhere in literature or historical documents -- anywhere -- before 1950. That is when it was initially launched. When President Josef Kennedy, at the State of the Union address, proclaimed "We choose to go to the moon", he may as well have said "We choose to go to the weather balloon." The subsequent faking of a "moon" landing on national TV was the first step in a long history of the erosion of our constitutional rights by leftists in this country. No longer can we hide from our government when the sun goes down.

That's what everyone else is for (5, Insightful)

Boiling_point_ (443831) | more than 11 years ago | (#4943517)

Outsource it!

NASA's core business is delivering science and engineering, not education.

There are plenty of educated, credible and vocal people who don't work for NASA who can and will provide necessary refutations (word??) for pseudoscientific nonsense.

NASA could probably achieve the same goal (convincing swinging skeptics) to the same level of efficiency through a PR department staffed with a couple of researchers and the occasional "read this or ask them" press release.

Re:That's what everyone else is for (2, Insightful)

Audity (600754) | more than 11 years ago | (#4943544)

Sure nasa could easily respond with some press releases, or a PR department, but the real problem is that crackpots don't go away. If nasa starts answering questions, people are bound to think up more and more, until nasa has spent millions trying to shut these guys up. It's a lost cause. I think nasa realized that no matter what they do, there will always be crackpots bothering them, if not about the moon then about aliens or something else. That's why they've chosen not to waste their time/money on this.

It is NASA's business (5, Insightful)

jesterzog (189797) | more than 11 years ago | (#4943548)

NASA's core business is delivering science and engineering, not education.

One of Nasa's three stated mission objectives [] is "to inspire the next generation of explorers". Exactly how could the next generation be inspired if they think NASA was lying up-front about its most inspiring accomplishment?

Bring me to the moon. (4, Informative)

ottawanker (597020) | more than 11 years ago | (#4943519)

"The issue of trying to do a targeted response to this is just lending credibility to something that is, on its face, asinine," NASA chief Sean O'Keefe said in late November after the dust settled."

Why bother trying to convince the "crackpots"? What percentage of the population are they, and does it really concern NASA? Maybe the most telling thing about the whole story is that NASA does seem concerned.

If they really want to prove them wrong, then take me (and everyone else) to the moon, and we'll check out that flag and footprints to see if they're there.

Nasa will not be able to convince all the "crackpots" until there is a viable station on the moon that people can go to for vacation.

Re:Bring me to the moon. (4, Insightful)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 11 years ago | (#4943554)

No, this is to stop the crackpots from getting on the Art bell show and spread thier message like a plague.

Re:Bring me to the moon. (2)

Bartmoss (16109) | more than 11 years ago | (#4943562)

Maybe that's why we cut back the space programme...they're afraid the hoax will be uncovered ;-)

Perhaps they can issue their own crackpot theories (1)

toxic666 (529648) | more than 11 years ago | (#4943521)

Remeber the pseudoscience they used to "prove" a Martian meterioite had evidence of extraterrestrial life? Lesson lerned: do not release the sample for independent verification of research.

Nuke 'em from Orbit, it's the only way to be sure (1, Redundant)

odaiwai (31983) | more than 11 years ago | (#4943522)

Nasa should take off and nuke the crackpots from orbit - it's the only way to be sure.


Why should NASA even care? (2)

Dark Lord Seth (584963) | more than 11 years ago | (#4943523)

I mean, seriously, why waste good money on a bunch of people who don't believe that the NASA went to the moon? I mean, sure, some point they make are compelling about lack of stars, flag wave while there is no wind. But each and everyone one of those points been tackled by claims like overexposure, not so perfect cameras, etcetera. So why waste money on a bunch of idiots who do not believe the NASA? Besides, even IF you would prove it to them, there will always be a few retards who will still refuse to believe it all, claiming that the evidence was set up as well and more of such claims.

NASA should realize that there also are idiots on this planet who should be ignored.

Re:Why should NASA even care? (4, Insightful)

odaiwai (31983) | more than 11 years ago | (#4943537)

Because these anti-science crackpots are trying to make it look as if NASA spent billions with nothing to show for it. They're trying to undermine the faith that society has in science.

I could draw parallels with creationism.


Re:Why should NASA even care? (1)

cyberserker (540923) | more than 11 years ago | (#4943631)

It's interesting how you use the words 'faith' and 'science' in the same sentence. Phrasing it like that you almost make it seem like it's a PR battle between two faiths...

Re:Why should NASA even care? (3, Insightful)

odaiwai (31983) | more than 11 years ago | (#4943652)

Good point - I think that maybe there's a faction which says you can believe in Religion or in Science, but not both. It preys on devout people: says "thou shalt not believe in Science", as if Science was some mystical thing.

I wonder if there's a faction who'd like a populace which doesn't understand the word it lives in and reverts to superstition and prayer when a little thought would do. Then they can blame events on lack of faith, rather than a rational analysis.


Re:Why should NASA even care? (2, Insightful)

Alan Partridge (516639) | more than 11 years ago | (#4943689)

scientific method IS a faith - one has faith that scientific method will produce more accurate results than any other method. Scientific method demands that you show evidence to back up any conclusions and open your method for peer review - it's a system that I have faith in.

Re:Why should NASA even care? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4943688)

"I could draw parallels with creationism."

Why not just do it with one word: Dinosaurs

I'm sure GOD planted them just to fuck with the fundamentalists faith though! He's a clever one.. that God.

Re:Why should NASA even care? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4943541)

The flag didn't wave - it was an artistically slightly crumpled metal sheet, hence its wavy appearance.

far-out theories (2)

R.Caley (126968) | more than 11 years ago | (#4943524)

far-out theories given exposure (and legitimacy) by the media

Like theories about the evils of MP3 from people who think pink make mice tails rot off?

Just my guess (1)

John_Renne (176151) | more than 11 years ago | (#4943527)

For what it's worth I think it would be quit arrogant to even think we're alone in this universe we ourselves hardly know. The universe is simply too huge for us te imagine. Allthough I'm very sceptic about foreign visits it just might be possible. On the other hand would I want to visit a planet ruled by violence, envy and aggression. If they're smart they'll leave us alone

Only one way to refute moon landing crackpots (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 11 years ago | (#4943529)

NASA should offer holidays to the moon. Anyone who doubts this can go up there, and see the evidence for themselves.

I guess they could always argue that it was only the Apollo moon shot that was faked. Of course, then you may as well argue that so were Marco Polo's journeys.

Already doing it. (1)

billybob2001 (234675) | more than 11 years ago | (#4943583)

They're already doing it.

Apparently Sean Penn is booked on the next flight.

Yay! Lunar propaganda.

Why should there be a policy? (2)

tgrotvedt (542393) | more than 11 years ago | (#4943532)

A policy (standard procedure) for how to treat "far-out" theories is silly, not to mention restrictive. All theories should be argued and discussed credibility-wise, and let people make their own decisions.

It's a non-issue.

And another thing.... (2, Insightful)

91degrees (207121) | more than 11 years ago | (#4943535)

Is it my imagination, or are the people who believe the moon landings were faked often the same people who there's an aliens conspiracy in the Whitehouse?

Maybe it's just the the two groups are lumped together as crackpots. Either that, or it was the aliens who prevented the Apollo missions from succeeding.

Belief (2, Insightful)

Wtcher (312395) | more than 11 years ago | (#4943536)

People will believe what they want to believe. Evidence is ignored or twisted into something that helps their cause; human beings, for as long as the history books remember, have been leaping ahead into possibilities so minute, so improbable in order to feed a familiar sense of understanding; people wish and hope for what they'd rather know rather than what is, at times, oft eventually convincing themselves of something that may be untrue.

Re:Belief (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4943698)

Well, according to the Law here, you can't be convicted if there is any doubt to event. I'm kind of glad people don't just come to agreement and go forward. I mean, shit, people were being KILLED because they *believed* the world wasn't flat. I say let both sides argue for as long as they like until the real truth is revealed. I know the Earth isn't flat because i've traveled across it, but as for anything moon related? No fucking clue.

Did we go to the moon? (2)

fruey (563914) | more than 11 years ago | (#4943540)

If enough people believe it, then it happened. If they don't, it didn't. So we just need to know how many people believe it - cue a Slashdot Poll?

There is no spoon.

Re:Did we go to the moon? (2)

sql*kitten (1359) | more than 11 years ago | (#4943673)

If enough people believe it, then it happened. If they don't, it didn't.

The vast majority of people once believed that the sun orbited the Earth, which was flat, but that didn't make it any more true. Beliefs in fact have no effect whatsoever on reality. That's why religion isn't taken seriously these days.

Re:Did we go to the moon? (1)

Alan Partridge (516639) | more than 11 years ago | (#4943697)

no, religion isn't taken seriously these days because it is being recognised as a haven for social misfits, fanatics and child molestors.

Ignore them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4943542)

I personally say ignore the crackpots and don't waste the money.. unless things get out of hand and NASA's budget is threatened by the stupid people. If NASA stands to lose money from lack of funding because people start protesting their tax dollars being put towards "hoaxes", then make a book. Otherwise, a few individuals from the scientific community writing a few well-placed newspaper articles could help alot more than an official response from NASA.

Crackpot! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4943545)

Let's all don our pope hats and crusade against the crackpots! Man didn't land on the moon? Blaspheme! There must be purification!

As I said on a previous post.... (5, Insightful)

acehole (174372) | more than 11 years ago | (#4943547)

It never ends with them, you can't please them.

You show them documents, they say they are fake.

Show them footage, they say it was done in a studio.

Show them the moon lander through a telescope, they say the telescope has been tampered with.

Take them to the moon and show them the lander in person, and they say it was planted.

Last time i posted this reply i got some replies suggesting that the crackpots be left on the moon.

Re:As I said on a previous post.... (3, Funny)

garbs (121069) | more than 11 years ago | (#4943574)

Tell them to take off their helmets while in the vacuum of space.

That'll convince them, or they'll say that they are in a big room, with all of the air removed, and it is a big conspiracy to silence them.

Re:As I said on a previous post.... (2)

robbyjo (315601) | more than 11 years ago | (#4943611)

That's right. Mockers are just mockers. There's no way to convince incorrigibly pessimist freaks. If they don't believe NASA, it's their problem, not NASA's. Even if NASA would make another last ditch attempt to send some people to the moon, these crackpots would still cry "Liar! Liar!"

You can't see the lander (4, Interesting)

sh0rtie (455432) | more than 11 years ago | (#4943639)

Show them the moon lander through a telescope, they say the telescope has been tampered with.

Thats the whole point of these debunking missions you can't see the lander on the moons surface or the rovers, even with modern telescopes the size relationship between the lander and any earth based telescope is just too small its like looking for a grain of sand from 100,000 miles away.

I believe Japan is launching a mission [] in 2003 to photograph the moon [] (called LUNAR-A) from a hi resolution camera on a low orbit satellite , also a californian company is doing the same with a mission called Trailblazer [] which also should prove/disprove that mankind was indeed on the moon.
In order to see if someone is lying you cannot ask the said lier to show evidence especially if fabrication of evidence was an issue in the first place , that is why its probably a better idea for a independant non connected 3rd party to verify the accused lier's claims.

Of course this still probably wont be enough for the hoax/conspiracy believers as they will say NASA skewed the results or "tainted" the 3rd party.

You must remember, we live in an age of liers [] and fraudsters [] and no one is untouchable even a established science agency such as NASA or members of the American goverment [] , after all no one thought Enron or AC would be one of the biggest frauds in history so it is somewhat understandable that people don't believe everything they see

But for the "ignorant" masses an independant investigation will go a long way to dispell any doubts, especially from one by a country independant from that of the said "fraudsters", plus with any luck they might be able to complete some worthy science along the way.

NASA's reaction to string theory in the late 80s (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4943551)

They totally refuted it, and went on to say how sexy their female friends' feet were.

Personally I couldn't agree more! I love a nice hot little pair of KDE feet on my dick rubbing my GNU/Shaft with their Xfree86 toes... how sluts indeed. Hot little feet with cum all over them from another guy. Pounding a big cock arched as hard as they can.

Shut these people up ...... (2)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | more than 11 years ago | (#4943555)

.... once and for all. It should not be that much of a problem proving that the landings took place. Build it into a probe mission to photograph the stuff left on the moon? Perhaps as a kind of "The moon landings 30something years later" kind of documentary? .... but eeeehhh. No wait, I can see it now, a vision, it is crearing up, yess there it is, the conspracy theory they will put up after any attempt by Nasa to prove the moonlandings existed:

"How NASA faked its proof of the fact that the moonlandings are not a fake; read all about it at"

Sigh! They should really create a new top level domain suffix,

There seems to be no shortage of csutomers for it.

All They Need To Do Is Hire Rumsfeld & Co. (1, Funny)

Shturmovik (632314) | more than 11 years ago | (#4943556)

Those guys have a magnificent history of making people believe anything they are ordered to believe. And of course all Slashdotters want opposing viewpoints squashed like the verminous bugs that they are. Therefore Donald, Dick, John, Connie and the two Georges are just the folks for the job. DOWN WITH DISSENT! TOE THE PARTY LINE! ASK NOT WHAT YOUR COUNTRY CAN DO FOR YOU...ASK WHERE YOU CAN LINE UP FOR YOUR ID TATTOO! Or not.

How about the truth? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4943559)

Now that Soviet union has fallen apart there is no shame of just admitting that the landing was a fake.

The greatest achievements of the USA are anyway in the military area. They showed us how the nuclear bombs work (in populated area), how to oppress third world countries and steal their natural resources especially oil, how to develope and use chemical and biological weapons and use them, then blame others. The list goes on. We all know your achievements, we don't give a shit about one moonlanding.

Logic Problem (2)

JimPooley (150814) | more than 11 years ago | (#4943563)

These idiots who would naysay mankind's greatest feat of exploration are completely mental, and all the logic in the world won't disuade them from their own crackpot idiocies. Fucking nutters, the lot of them.

I think Buzz Aldrin had by far the right idea. If they won't see sense, try to knock some into them!

In the meantime, I fully recommend "Full Moon" by Michael Light. Absolutely beautiful pictures of the moon, scenes of beautiful desolation. They make you wonder why we ever stopped going there.

Cure the problem at the source (2)

silentbozo (542534) | more than 11 years ago | (#4943567)

Co-opt the media to propagandize the truth. They seem to have done a very nice job of propagandizing that the moon landings were a lie (and that little grey men pay visits to hicks out in the hinterlands on a yearly basis.) Find the people responsible, pay them more to work for you, and "re-educate" the masses appropriately.

I'll bet it costs less than having to pay a board of Ph.Ds and senior engineers to try and convince the lowest common denominators in the public scientifically, not to mention a hell of a lot more effective...

Turn it around... (2)

HiQ (159108) | more than 11 years ago | (#4943569)

Let the Idiots (Tm) *prove* that NASA faked it, instead of just claiming it. Let them do the same forgery with 60's technology, let them produce rocks & dust with the same characteristics as the moonrocks NASA brought back.

Re:Turn it around... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4943576)

not a bad idea... see how good they can create a forgery. but they'd already have an advantage in using the information NASA gathered from space. heh, they'd probably use it without telling you too!

Re:Turn it around... (1)

Zork the Almighty (599344) | more than 11 years ago | (#4943621)

Better yet, let them build their own powerful telescope, so they can see the lander and the car sitting on the damn moon. Oh wait, I can see it now... "NASA put a chip in my head which makes me see these things."

Does it really matter? (2, Insightful)

Fuzquat (534556) | more than 11 years ago | (#4943578)

The easy way to prove that we had been to the moon would simply be to go back. Oops, wait we can't go back. How is it that we can't do something now that we could do in the 60's?

I believe its called an "International Space Station" or a "Space Shuttle" both of which have given dismal returns on investment. NASA started going downhill in 1970.

It hasn't hit bottom yet.

That aside, prehaps the biggest piece of evidence for us actually going to the moon is the Soviet Union. Does anyone believe for an instant that the Russians wouldn't have done everything in their power to show that the US had not actually been to the moon if they could? You have to remember that this was during the Cold War and the Russians would have loved to do anything to give the US a black eye.

Prehaps space flight will really take off once we find some other source of power then solid/liquid fueled rockets.

Only one option remains (3, Funny)

ChrisJones (23624) | more than 11 years ago | (#4943579)

You can't reason with them, you can't ignore them, so the only answer is to simply point at them and laugh.
I want to see NASA appoint an official representative to go and visit all of the conspiracy nuts, point at them, and laugh.
This way the nuts will become so ashamed of themselves that they'll climb into their tinfoil beanies, get into their metal trailer homes and cry until the visitors take them away ;)

Re:Only one option remains (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4943664)

Breaking bulletin on
Posted 12/23/02, 04:15am:

Today we received a videotape of NASA officials simply laughing at us. Clearly this indicates that they have no answers to our questions, and is proof incontravertible that the moon landing was faked.

Ignore them (3, Insightful)

egjertse (197141) | more than 11 years ago | (#4943581)

I think the keyword here is "crackpots". They're a fringe group of lunatics who are not at all likely to be swayed by any attempt by NASA to prove them wrong. So why bother wasting any time on it? Post a link to on the front page of and be done with it; no need to waste any more time or resources on them. Besides, as previous posters have mentioned, a lot of people have already put together detailed explanations of all the "anomalies" the crackpots are pointing to. So why spend time and money duplicating their work?

Intresting read from NASA (1)

deniea (257313) | more than 11 years ago | (#4943584)

While on the subject:

Interesting indeed !


Anonymous Voice Of Wisdom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4943595)

Time will reveal all.

Re:Anonymous Voice Of Wisdom (1)

Zork the Almighty (599344) | more than 11 years ago | (#4943638)

Wishful thinking. Time can obsure all too, and when people can't agree on "the facts" one of two things happen; either history records both sides of the argument, or it records nothing. A society of irrational skeptics wouldn't be bothered with something like history, just as they can hardly be bothered with logic and facts. Time mainly reveals our faults and our flaws.

Throw lawyers at them (2)

mangu (126918) | more than 11 years ago | (#4943598)

If people claim the moon shots were faked, they are accusing people who worked at NASA of fraud. They are falsely accusing someone of commiting a felony. Isn't that libel?

Fox special effect on people (5, Insightful)

jesterzog (189797) | more than 11 years ago | (#4943601)

The point of this isn't the minority of crackpots, and hopefully it never will be. I've been around several schools as an astronomer since that ridiculous Fox special aired locally, and personally I think that's where it hurts most. For example, the children in one school had had a "debate" about the moon landings the day before we arrived, and the side claiming it was a hoax had won hands down.

This wasn't because the arguments in the show were actually good, it was because the teachers and parents of the children didn't have a clue how to contradict the arguments that'd been presented. The only information they had access to was the extremely crack-pot Fox special.

This shouldn't be a case of "think about the children", though. It's at least as much a case of "think about the adults". They don't need to be crack-pots, only ignorant.

Most people simply don't know how to critically evaluate information presented to them. I was taught the difference between fact and opinion in school, but I wasn't taught to use it implicitly with the world around me. I figured that out myself. Personally I think that most people never learn. They just take information presented to them on a plate, and believe whatever seems most convenient or to their liking at the time.

If people were taught to pro-actively think for themselves then it might be different, but most of the time they're not. Instead they're taught to rely on someone else for the answers to any remotely hard questions... which is why there's so much reliance on psychics, daytime talk shows, astrology, mainstream media and sensationalist television. That's my theory, anyway.

If people actually cared, we wouldn't have to put up with trashy media like this in the first place. They don't care about correct information, they just want any information to believe is correct.

Re:Fox special effect on people (2)

Mac Degger (576336) | more than 11 years ago | (#4943654)

Wish I had modpoints...common sense just isn't what it used to be. Even the most basic question aren't asked (like "where does this information come from?" [and thus "what colouring do they give this information?" is left out too]), and it affecting people.
I know a couple of people who should just know better; one's an admin for his own webdesign company (survived the bomb, fyi) and the other is a machinist gone on to a communications degree. These people should know better, but they just don't ask the right questions! They have no knowledge of optics, reaction mass etc, and they just believe what's on tv. Or they go to cleuless sights where they get pseudo-science shoved down their throught ( (or something...went there once, fled back to arxiv...hell, even /. gets better *trolls* than that)).

God, if only people would just ask the propper questions, or at least know where to look to get correct information.

Anyway, my soloution: shoot the crackpots. Think of it as Darwin's way of telling them that they lose. We just can't afford to let these people breed, or they'll form a that vocal minority telling us that there is no greenhouse effect, and it's the aliens/terrorists that have stolen antarctica.

Inform them (1)

int19h (156487) | more than 11 years ago | (#4943602)

If NASA really wants to convince the "crackpots", I belive they
should create a separate organization, specializing in informing
people about "the truth". It may seem unimportant to inform "crackpots", but isn't it so that every democracy is based on enlighted individuals?
Where I live, in Norway, there are some goverment-driven places where one can get neutral info about i.e. mushrooms or certain law-issues. Perhaps a parallel to this could be a good idea for NASA as well?

In a word, no. (1)

xihr (556141) | more than 11 years ago | (#4943615)

That's what Usenet is for :-).

Write a book:"Moon landings for Idiot's" (1, Redundant)

rufusdufus (450462) | more than 11 years ago | (#4943618)

1)Write a book and call it "Moon landings for Idiot's".
2)Discuss the pro's and con's of the whether or not the moon landing happened. Need about 1/4 inch of text. Clarity and logic not necessary.

Re:Write a book:"Moon landings for Idiot's" (2)

Zork the Almighty (599344) | more than 11 years ago | (#4943624)

I don't get it, where's the "???" ???

Milk it! (2)

RobotWisdom (25776) | more than 11 years ago | (#4943623)

NASA should hire Chris Carter to plant fake clues, and build it up into such a wacky, all-inclusive conspiracy that it collapses from its own weight.

The CNN article (1)

KamenK (635658) | more than 11 years ago | (#4943626)

Did you guys read the article at I think it gives huge credibility to the "moonoax". Before I read it, I just took for granted that the USians actually landed on the moon and I didn't really care. Now I am starting to wonder why the hell is that flag fluttering. Yeah, maybe it's time for NASA to speak up.

wrong question (5, Insightful)

g4dget (579145) | more than 11 years ago | (#4943627)

Asking whether NASA should refute crackpots is the wrong question. Questions of whether the moon landing actually took place are symptomatic of a deeper problem. If NASA spends many billions of dollars on a project and all the average person gets out of it is a photo op that could have been staged at a Hollywood studio, it's no wonder that these questions come up. Refuting them at such a late point is too late.

NASA got itself into this problem by presenting itself as a frontier organization, a group of heroic explorers. And to maintain that image, they are wasting lots of money on useless projects like the space shuttle and the space station.

What should NASA do? They should present themselves as a scientific organization and forego the wild-west mentality. They should stop presenting astronauts as "heroes", reduce manned space travel to next-to-nothing, and instead go mostly with comparatively low-cost, unmanned probes. As you may have noticed, people don't generally ask whether unmanned probes are fake or not, and even if they did, nobody would really care very much.

And, of course, the other problem is that the US population isn't exactly up to speed on science, on average. Refuting a single crackpot is too little too late, but NASA should take its educational role in the sciences more seriously and they should get the funding to do it--they are trying, but they aren't making a dent.

If we had a scientifically literate population, and NASA stuck to doing science and didn't create a heroic mysticism around manned exploration, crackpots wouldn't stand a chance. The way it is, NASA is merely reaping what they sowed.

If Carl Sagan were still alive... (5, Insightful)

bedessen (411686) | more than 11 years ago | (#4943633)

If Dr. Sagan was around I'm sure he would point out that debunking crackpottery encourages critical thinking. That was pretty much the whole point of his book The Demon Haunted World, the idea that we are constantly bombarded by claims, arguments, and pitches. By taking on arguments logically rather than emotionally you can separate the legitmate claims from the pseudoscience. These sort of skills have wide relevance in our modern world. Every person that has ever been subjected to an infomercial, a verbal sales pitch, a car sales pitch, a print ad (or about a thousand other forms of persuasive speech) would benefit from logical, critical thinking. Additionally, you are much better at constructing valid arguments if you understand logic and reason, and aren't forced to make emotional appeals, ad hominem attacks, etc. to convince someone of your viewpoint.

evidence towards refutation (2)

tomlord (473109) | more than 11 years ago | (#4943635)

Can hubble resolve the garbage we left on the moon? Crackpots aside, that'd make some neat pictures.

I find it interesting... (2)

still_sick (585332) | more than 11 years ago | (#4943636)

I find it interesting that everyone is referring to the non-believers as "crackpots".

One thing that always stood out in my mind was a High School teacher of mine telling us that the computational power used to deliver people to the moon way back when was equivelant to the computational power in "current" (1994?) calculators.

Up untill that moment I had no reason to doubt the moon landing. After that, however, I started to wonder - not doubt, mind you - but wonder.

Is it really such a hard thing to find a hint of disbelief in? Way back when, on their first attempt, people fired a big-ass rocket off the earth, located and landed safely on another planet, walked around a bit, launched succesfully off of that other planet, located and landed safely back on earth.

I mean come on, yeah, in all likelihood it happened, but can you say that with absolute certainty that it DID happen (or as close to absolute certainty that reality will allow)? Are you so certain as to be able to label those who disagree with you as crackpots without even talking to them first?

Re:I find it interesting... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4943642)

What do underpowered computers have to do with it? You don't need a supercomputer to perform ballistics calculations on the fly.

Re:I find it interesting... (2, Interesting)

hplasm (576983) | more than 11 years ago | (#4943669)

One thing that always stood out in my mind was a High School teacher of mine telling us that the computational power used to deliver people to the moon way back when was equivelant to the computational power in "current" (1994?) calculators.

This is not quite the case. The onboard computers may have been quite low powered (more like 1984 calculators, acutually...), but dont forget the huge amounts of mainframes on the ground that did all the serious number crunching to feed the little nav-comps.

During the same period, Sozuz craft used a mechanical drum autopilot system, and the first few Shuttle missions had a number of TI programmable calculators stuck to the dash with velcro, to assist in working out ground station aquisition times, IIRC, as the onboard gear was a decade out of date.

So on-board byte-bashing is no reason to lose faith in Moon Landings, after all you can see where you are going!

There are some things NASA can't explain. (1)

Conspiracy FACT (590760) | more than 11 years ago | (#4943637)

note: I DO think we went to the moon, but there are some things NASA can't explain.

Namely, why in some pictures, the crosshairs which were on the camera lens itself, actually appear either partially or fully obstructed by objects in the pictures. In one picture, for example, one of the crosshairs appears behind an Astronaut, in another, behind a flag, etc. This is technically impossible, since the crosshairs were on the camera lens itself. Further more, numerous people, including former Astronauts have stated that it was impossible to take and bring back pictures, because of the Van Allen Radiation Belt, pointing out that numerous attempts were made prior to the moon landing to take pictures in space and bring them back, but each time the film was totally ruined, with spots and lines through it.

Again, I'm not saying we didn't go to the moon, we did, the physical evidence is irrefutable. But there's strong evidence to suggest that the picture were absolutely fake. It's not inconceivable that NASA realized that without pictures, many people wouldn't believe the landing took place, so they faked them.

Of course, NASA would never admit to that, because it would give more ammo to the "crackpots," and prompt many to wonder, if NASA was lying about that, what else are they lying about?
Just a thought.

Re:There are some things NASA can't explain. (1)

hplasm (576983) | more than 11 years ago | (#4943679)

How many bloody times......????!!!!

Bad astronomy []

Re:There are some things NASA can't explain. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4943681)

We've been though this arguement many times before. The answer to the cross-hairs image is colour bleeding. Cant be bothered to dig up the links again, but photograph a thin black line, surrounded by a bright white source, and the white will bleed out the black.

Re:There are some things NASA can't explain. (2)

Alioth (221270) | more than 11 years ago | (#4943691)

It's trivially easy to explain why crosshairs sometimes appeared obscured by a nearby object - it's basic photography that you can reproduce here on Earth quite happily.

Bright objects will bleed over onto thin black lines on film. It's as simple as that. The effect gets more pronounced the brighter the object and the wider the aperture.

Now let's suppose this bleeding effect didn't exist (which it does - you can demonstrate it here on Earth), if NASA was faking the photographs, and this was an issue, don't you think they would have fixed the problem so you couldn't prove the image was faked?

Ways to refute (1)

Groo Wanderer (180806) | more than 11 years ago | (#4943649)

If NASA wants to refute these twits without giving credence to thier theories, there are ways. First, you make a web page/materials that debunk the common myths and arguements. Then, whenever someone comes up with a 'new' article 'proving' that it was faked, you simply link to the appropriate parts of the page, adding as little necessary to debunk the people.
'Duh' I hear you say, it probably exists allready, the point was not to give these people exposure, and by extension, legitemacy. Well, you don't have to mention them, what they stand for, thier organizations, thier pets, or the brain tumor that they should have removed. Every time one of these crackpots surfaces with an epic theorem, simply restate it, with NO refrence to the origional, and shoot it down. After the first 10 or so, you could almost automate it with a perl script. Think auto-flame generator.
This way, you get your information out, without helping them. It cuts the legs out from under moronic attention-getters. I used to use similar tactics on street preachers who hung out in my favorite places and tried to 'convert' me. If you actively attack to de-legitimize them, they win. Go around, and you win.


P.S. My personal opinion is to wait them out till they go away, and have the CIA kill them, it will make the world a better place. We really should be getting some return on all those 'black' dollars we are spending! :)

Take the long view. (2)

FTL (112112) | more than 11 years ago | (#4943651)

My personal opinion would be to take the long-term view. Let the conspiracy nuts dig themselves deeper and deeper at your expense. Then in a few years the evidence will start rolling in.

You've got TransOrbital's TrailBlazer mission [] which will take photos of the landing sites. Followed a few years later by TransOrbital's Electra II [] which will drive rovers up to the landing sites. And within 15 years we'll have Chinese astronauts [] on the Moon (they say by 2010, but personally I think that's about 5 years too optimistic).

None of these things will convince the conspiracy nuts. Nothing would. But that's not the point. The point is to discredit them in the eyes of the public.

In a personal argument... (4, Insightful)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 11 years ago | (#4943657)

In arguments with people, I have a goal that I shoot for. I try to make sure that I've reached the point where: a) I am sure that my opponent has heard me and understood me; b) I am sure that I have heard and understood my opponent; c) I can state my opponent's views, and his or her reasons for holding them, in a manner that my opponent agrees is accurate; d) my opponent can state my views and their rationale in a manner that I agree is accurate.

Even with very intense religious or political discussions, it is usually possible to reach this goal.

And, for the most part, this goal is usually about as far as it is possible to go, at least in a single argument. After you get that far, you need to give it a rest for six months or so and not keep harping on it.

It is very unusual for anyone to say "By gosh! you're right! I just changed my mind." But if you can get a mutual understanding of each others' point of view, the chances of productive progress sometime in the future are much increased.

At work, say, with discussions with colleagues or supervisors, what typically happens (when I'm right and have presented it well) is that nobody agrees at the time, and nobody says that they've changed their mind, yet three or six months down the line I will see some partial or incremental progress in the directions I've advocated.

I believe that the same goal should be applied to the "moon-landing-hoax" debate. NASA should try to present clearly and publicly, the reasons why people believe the moon landing occurred, AND should try to address the opponents' arguments intelligently and respectfully.

NASA should not expect to convince the "it's-a-hoax" crowd nor to settle the debate, but NASA needs to acknowledge that the government has lied to us on occasion, and that saying, in effect, "it's true because we say so, and your opinions don't count because you're crackpots" is arrogant and inappropriate.

The Amazing Randi has not "settled" any debates about psychic phenomena, but he's done a lot of good.

refute (0)

sHu_pAc (620580) | more than 11 years ago | (#4943668)

I've been reading alot of how we should make them believe, and do this and that to make people believe or think a certain way ie. that the moon landing did indeed occur. which I believe it did, but we have to realize that we need these kinds of people, the people that think against the grain at times, you never know if they actually might be on to something. So i suggest that we do write somekind of book explaning the events that took place and let them decide for themselves if they want to believe or not. If they don't they never will, and if they do well that's great, hopefully they will get a greater appreciation for science.

Just my 2 cents

easy, ignore (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4943672)

Always ignore. Morons who fight logic with illogic cannot be fought with logic. It only feeds them. Suckers who believe them can't be convinced with logic either so it's useless to try. Let Darwin sort it all out.

Tell them about the mutant space goats (2)

clickety6 (141178) | more than 11 years ago | (#4943680)

NASA should assemble all the crackpots and tell them about the giant mutant space goats coming to devour the planet, then herd them all onto the rockets that will take them to safety....

If The Spacesuit Don't Fit, You Must Acquit! (1)

robbway (200983) | more than 11 years ago | (#4943683)

How do I know OJ Simpson played a real fake astronaut?

It is not about the crackpots (3, Insightful)

KjetilK (186133) | more than 11 years ago | (#4943693)

I see a lot of people saying that "you'll never convince the crackpots anyway, so why bother?".

It is not about the crackpots. It is not even about moon landings. It is about teaching reasonable folks about critical thinking and evaluating evidence.

There are many people who believe what they see on Fox, because there are no easily accessible sources that give them the other side. These people also vote at elections, and one of their votes count as much as your vote (at least theoretically... :-) ). They shape policy as much as you do, and really, democracy can't work unless you have a well-educated public who can tell when they are being lied to.

That's why NASA, and every well-educated person has to spend time teaching everyone about evaluating evidence, not because of the moon landings, but because you can't have a working democracy without.

Sue them for defamation and slander. (2)

fmaxwell (249001) | more than 11 years ago | (#4943699)

They present these claims as factual, so they should be sued for defamation and slander by every scientist and astronaut that worked on the Apollo program. They should be left penniless, destitute, with judgements against them that they can never hope to pay off. Let them see how much of an audience they get when they are living in refrigerator boxes under bridges.

No, you can never cure stupidity (2)

gelfling (6534) | more than 11 years ago | (#4943700)

Nor can you win over crazy. It's fruitless to try and only serves as a solid world troll.

It Won't Matter (3, Insightful)

vjmurphy (190266) | more than 11 years ago | (#4943703)

The crackpots will always believe that they are correct, regardless of what the scientific community does. For example, the Air Force was constantly berated for not "explaining" the Roswell incident more completely. But when they did, all the crackpots said they were just covering it up with their explanations.

The "Moon Landing is a Hoax" crackpots are the same: if NASA doesn't refute them, then they can continue with their silliness. If NASA does refute them, then the crackpots either say "See, if NASA is refuting us, we are important" feeding into their delusions, regardless of the information NASA releases. It's a Catch-22.

Plus, any information that NASA does release would be used against them in some way: any little deviation, correction, etc, automatically triggers the "conspiracy sense" these idiots have.

It is a lot like the John Edwards stuff: you can explain exactly how he does his tricks, exactly how he gathers his information, but none of that will actually convince a person who believes.

Refute? NASA should sue! (2)

haggar (72771) | more than 11 years ago | (#4943710)

Come on now, can't you see what's due? Try to imagine what would you do if someone came into your garden and said "hey, this is my house and my garden". Would you start arguing with the guy? I sure wouldn't. I would probably:
- Tell him to get his ass outta here or else I'll call the cops
- Call the cops
- Use physical force (aided by appropriate tools) to get the guy off my property
but sure as hello I would -not- argue with him. If I would argue, I would give a very small legitimity to the claim. And he'd take it from there and get more and more obnoxious, so I would really have to kick his ass.

Why should NASA refute these crackpot claims, argue with sleazy journalists in search for fame? You don't argue these outrageosly stupid allegations, because if you do, you give them at least a little bit of validity.

didnt they alredy to this? (1)

in_ur_face (177250) | more than 11 years ago | (#4943713)

I thought I saw something on Fox or Discovery chan that combated the hoax theories?

Dont we have relatively inexpensive telescopes that people can buy to see apollo debris left on the moon? I mean it's not THAT far away!

I do entertain myself with the hoax theories when I see them.. but come on as Jim Carey would say "We landed on the moon!!!"

This is right down the line with Area51. People have some amazing imaginations!
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