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Tuesday, November 12, 2002

Was the moon landing a hoax?

By now, most people have heard various arguments that the moon landing was a "hoax". There was even a TV show on FOX about it. Buzz Aldrin punched somone over it. Many of the arguments seem plausible, especailly to a non-scientist. NASA's website even addresses conspiracy theorist's arguments directly.

The conspiracy theory surrounding the moon landing is hardly laughable. Conspiracies can always be linked to a collective disappointment by society. Sadness over the senseless loss of a beloved president, disappointment in the failure of our government to protect our greatest city. These can be emotionally understood more easily if they are not simply "random" acts of violence. So when conspiracies become popular, you are seeing an indication of popular collective disappointment.

The conspiracy doubting the moon landings comes from a similar group psychological dissatisfaction in the advancement of space technology. The reason why people don't believe in the moon landing is that they expected so much from NASA, from Mars, and from space technology - and have been let down. In a generation we've never landed on it again, or established a station on the moon, or even managed to get a probe on Mars.

So the landing now seems a lonely achievement, isolated in history. Conspiracy theorists, by making it fiction, are assuaging a deeper underlying disappointment in our space program, and more generally, in our technological prowess, and even more generally - in our country. It should be expected that, in our current environment of falling expectations, conpiracy theorists will gain believers.

The doubting of the landing should be taken not by NASA at "face value", but as a very positive indication of the mankind's collective desire to reach further, and farther. The stronger the voices of conspiracy are, the more we should try to show that we are capable of far more than merely landing on the moon!

Once our collective faith in mankinds achievements has been restored, the doubters voices will be swiftly silenced. And, at that point, they really will seem silly...

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