A set of NASA images showing different areas of the Moon have the exact same background, leading conspiracy theorists to claim this is proof the Apollo landings were filmed in a studio.
Conspiracy theorists have long speculated the Moon landings were a hoax perpetrated by the space agency to gain the advantage in the space race. Their most recent argument comes in the form of two different photos taken during the Apollo 15 lunar mission in 1971.
The photos were taken several miles apart during the astronauts’ short stay on the surface of our natural satellite. Despite capturing different locations, both photos have an identical background, leading conspiracy theorists to claim the landings were staged and the distant backdrop present in both images is an artificial background created in a studio.
In one of them, the Lunar Module is visible and there are sets of rover tracks leading away from the Eagle. In the other photo we can see rocky terrain and no sign of the LM but the background remains exactly the same. When proponents of the moon hoax theory overlaid the images, they discovered the outline of the horizon, mountains and all lines up perfectly.
David Percy is a vocal proponent of this theory and he strongly believes these images were manipulated. He says that so were we, as it is impossible for the same horizon to appear in photos taken in separate locations.
Our research suggests that images of the Apollo landings are not a true and accurate record,” Percy said. “In our view the Apollo pictures were faked. Many of the images are replete with inconsistencies and anomalies.”
On the other side of the spectrum, NASA vehemently claims this is not the case. Space agency officials say that due to the Moon being smaller than our planet, horizons would appear closer than they are and may look the same even when photographed from different angles.
There is an ongoing effort to debunk these conspiracy claims, as badastronomy.com’s Ian Williams Goddard writes:
“Examination of the photographic archive of the Apollo 15 mission clearly proves that the mountains in the background are large and distant enough that they can be seen and look similar from myriad points of view with or without the lander in the foreground. […] Apollo 15 astronauts went up to those mountains and walked on Hadley Delta. How could they enter a fake backdrop?”
Debunkers claim that since the Moon has no atmosphere, visibility is much higher than on Earth and distant objects do not become faded. In the case of these two photos, the mountains appear identical because there is no atmospheric distortion to change our perspective.
This actually sounds reasonable but hey, we’ve been duped before so our suspicious caution is a legitimate reaction.