Serious Moonlight: Debunking Stupidity

“Yes, there is a conspiracy, indeed there are a great number of conspiracies, all tripping each other up… the main thing that I learned about conspiracy theories is that conspiracy theorists actually believe in the conspiracy because that is more comforting. The truth of the world is that it is chaotic. The truth is, that it is not the Jewish Banking Conspiracy, or the Grey aliens, or the twelve-foot reptiloids from another dimension that are in control, the truth is far more frightening; no-one is in control, the world is rudderless.”

-Alan Moore

I believe that “conspiracies” exist in the world, my two favorites: who really killed the Kennedy brothers and what, if anything, does the government know about extraterrestrials. Most theories out there I tend to ignore or research enough to see if there is any credibility to the concept being touted…if the facts or the science don’t hold up-then I am not interested.

One of these currently popular fad theories is that Stanley Kubrick somehow directed the entire Apollo program as some kind of massive blockbuster film. The sheer audacity of this idea inspired me to attempt a very basic, logic oriented debunking. Some of my ideas are repetitive, some of them stolen from others, and all of it intended to help any poor misguided soul away from such ignorant beliefs.

We went to the moon. It was hard, it was expensive, it was incredibly important for mankind. The moon hoaxers out there need to take some basic science courses and wake up.


I have noticed throughout my travels in conspiracyland a particularly pernicious belief that the moon landings were faked in a studio by Stanley Kubrick. The idea is charming and I can see how people could want the master filmmaker to be the director of the ‘Ultimate Trip’. In this essay I will present evidence as to why this supposition is false, as well as explain why the Apollo missions could not have been faked using late 60s early 70s film making technology.

It’s 1964. Stanley Kubrick has recently contacted British science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke to create what he calls “the first truly great science fiction movie.”  Clarke and Kubrick hit it off and 2001: A Space Odyssey was to be the fruit of their labors. The movie was released in late 1968 to what can be best described as mixed reviews. Most people, regardless of their comprehension of the plot, were blown away by the visual effects. Even now the average person wonders at how some of the scenes were filmed. Let me tell you.

Kubrick filmed 2001 in England at various studios around the Isle. His nature as a perfectionist resulted in a four year filming period, most of the time devoted to preproduction and special effects work (he was still editing the movie while on the way to its American premiere). Anyone who has seen the movie knows that its vision of the future is very close to technology we have today. Arthur C. Clarke in the book describes a device called a “Newspad” that is letter sized, with a touch sensitive flat screen surface. It could interface with a network of sites through the use of hypertext and used a GUI with thumbnail icons-all conceived in the late 1960s…in the movie, Bowman and Poole, the astronauts, use them to watch a BBC program on their mission. Advanced stuff.

However, with all the interesting technological suppositions shown in the film, its portrayal of space flight is the most important. I know that Kubrick and Clarke went to great lengths to ensure scientific realism in the movie; going to so far as to having real aerospace engineers design the vehicles depicted on screen, using men in the artificial intelligence field like Marvin Minsky, and asking astronomers for their insights into extraterrestrial life.  Yet even with all of this experience, many factual errors crept into the film. The most flawed of all being the scenes set on the moon at Clavius Base and the Monolith site.

These images show the unrealistic appearance of the lunar surface. It strikes me as odd that this kind of unrealistic depiction if the surface would have been in the movie, considering that after the Rangers and Lunar Orbiter probes showed that the surface is actually heavily eroded, not like the sharp rock spires and hard edges seen here.

These scenes of Floyd and company heading down into the excavation site of the Monolith, shows an accurate dark lunar dust, but no apparent effects from reduced 1/6th gravity. The image of the Earth from the lunar surface is absurdedly inaccurate-even though there are images of the Earth returned by the Lunar Orbiter probe in 1966! Kubrick went to great lengths with wire-work for the EVA scenes later in the movie, but not to show men bouncing on the moon! Why avoid something that reduced his level of realism? Because it would have been too hard for his film team to create a life-like effect.

Now, jumping ahead to the July 20, 1969, American astronauts are about to land on the moon. With bated breath at least one billion people on earth watch and listen for failure or success. A ghostly image appears on television; climbing down the LM ladder is Neil Armstrong. He steps off the landing pads, and proclaims “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.” Pretty darn poetic, pretty darn epic. Men have now entered the realm of myth and legend.

The next day, I am completely sure, some folks already started to think that the thing was faked. “Going to the moon is next to impossible, they must have staged it.” Soon, people start to say that Stanley Kubrick may have been hired by NASA to make this ‘fake’ mission, and make it look totally believable. As a matter of fact, Arthur Clarke himself wrote the script (which he often complained about not getting his royalty check from the government).  How then, did the director make this production a reality?

From the believers of this hoax concept, Kubrick created the sets, filmed the landing, and faked the photos all while filming ‘2001’. While it is true that ‘2001’ took four years to make, it seems to me unlikely that he would have had the time and energy to create such a monumental ruse look real. MGM paid nearly $95,000,000 in adjusted 1960s dollars to make ‘2001’. The US government spent $1.4 TRILLION dollars (adjusted for inflation) for the entire Apollo program. I am confident that Stanley Kubrick would have told them he would fly to the moon himself to film the landing!

So, even though the Apollo program cost 1.4 Trillion dollars; no actual lunar landings were accomplished.  Hmm. Kubrick, the supposed director, walks away from all this hard work with what, a cool couple billion in the bank? No. He makes nothing. He can’t even scrape funding together for his dream project about Napoleon. Why would Kubrick, and by extension Clarke, agree to perpetrate such a fraud?

There is no reason at all.

Part 2 to come.


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